Friendship is a very valued relationship in my life. For most of my life, my friendships have created happiness for me. They have guided me through easy and not so easy days. They have felt solid, as if my friends and I were opposite sides of the same rubber band; we can stretch but we always stick together. Recently, however, at least one of my friendships went from creating happiness to creating chaos in my life. It started to erode my confidence and made me start questioning myself and the love and loyalty I thought I had around me. That friendship and friend had the power to do all that. At least until the day I took that power back.
I have been friends with my best friend for 10 years. We have been going to the same school since kindergarten. We were inseparable for so many years. Every weekend we would see each other. Every day we would text or FaceTime. She knows my strengths and weaknesses and I know hers. She is the Serena to my Blair (Gossip Girl reference). Our friendship was the tight rubber band, always sticking strong. We both felt loved by the other. We had equal power and used it for good on each other until 7th grade.
7th grade was the time where 70 new people came to my school. This meant exploration, freedom and new bonds. That was all exciting for me. I thought it meant welcoming new faces and relationships to your pre-existing friend circle. I guess I was wrong. One day you go from having 10 friends to having 2. This happens even if those 10 friends promised each other that they would stick together no matter what. Instead of inclusion, middle and high school becomes more about exclusion. And, the so-called “sticking by” disappears. I became used to this with others, but I always thought that my friendship with Serena (we will call her that) would be that rubber band that would stay strong no matter the time, no matter the place. Again, I was wrong. It seemed like our 8 year friendship went down the drain. Serena became less and less there for me. We stopped seeing each other every weekend. We stopped texting or FaceTiming every day. This made me really sad and sometimes mad. She created chaos in my life. She brought me down. She went her own way and I just had to accept it.
Accepting it was the hardest thing, but I knew that was the best thing to do. I had to accept the fact that our friendship was not as strong as it had once been. I had to accept the fact that we were not going to see each other every weekend. I had to accept my choices to either maintain our friendship on her terms alone or move on from her and develop deeper friendships with others who shared more of mine. I have done both. I have accepted her for who she is and have made some great new friends. I had to realize that I gave her the power to make me feel sad, to create chaos, to bring me down. That power is mine to keep, not hers. I deserve that power. I should be at the other end of that rubber band. It is knowing and accepting myself that should give me power. That power, not a single friend, should give me that energy.
If a friend holds your power, take it back. The power started with you and should end with you.
– Brynn, 16 years old