Friends

Shaking It Out

I don’t talk about the life I lived in New York much because sometimes I still feel physical pain when I think about it.  New York was home to me, and though I still spend time there pretty regularly, it’s not the same.  I miss home, and it simply doesn’t exist there for me anymore.

Once upon a time I had a friend there who meant the world to me.  After living a life of insecurity and walls for so long that it was the only thing I knew, she helped me begin see that the person I was could be lovable.

We met at my Weight Watchers meeting, and she stood by me every week as I reached milestones.  And I held her jacket and her bag and all of the other crap that she brought along every single week as she reached her milestones too.  🙂

We went out with friends after ever meeting – sometimes to dinner, sometimes to dance the night away with sexy guys who were part of an awesome band that we loved.  I talked about this a lot here.

We shopped together, worked out together (sometimes.)  We went on fun trips, met famous people and spent hours talking at the salon, on the phone  or just at home.  We had parties and went to the Opera with gorgeous men who chastised us for giggling there.  We never failed to keep ourselves entertained, and it was fun.

When her mother passed away, I was there.  I’ll never forget removing her jewelry and closing her eyes for the last time.  We were there for each other because we loved each other.  She was the closest friend I had ever had.

When I left New York I lost more than my home, my boyfriend, my dog and my belongings.  I lost her.  When things hit rock bottom there, I felt abandoned, and it was easier to run away and tell myself that I didn’t care than it was to face the fact that I was wrong too.

The pain I felt when I realized it was over with the man I thought I was going to marry was so intense that I couldn’t bear to face anything else.  I was mad at the world, and I hated him.  I hated everyone – especially myself.

Protecting myself from more emotional pain seemed more sensible than attempting to work out the separate issues that I had with her.  I lied to her.  I was wrong on so many levels, but I couldn’t admit it.  I couldn’t admit it to myself, but turning away from her only made me feel more lonely and filled with regret.

Earlier this Summer I sent her a message out of the blue wishing her well and letting her know that I think of her often.  I didn’t get a response immediately, but when she wrote back she expressed some things that made me want to cry and some things that made me want to hug her.

She told me that she wished I would have just talked to her and tried to fix what was broken between us.  She also said that she wishes that I wouldn’t have run away and that she could have shown me what it’s like to have a true friend.  She reminded me that she didn’t care who I was or what I did.  She simply loved me for who I was and the fun times we had together.  She also said she wanted the truth.

She seems open to talking about it further, but I don’t know where to start.  I don’t know how to begin to mend one of the most meaningful relationships I ever had, but I want to try.  Should I just start by saying “hey, this is what I did wrong, and I’m sorry” even though it’s been ages?

I know that I have to be honest, and the truth is I’m scared.  I’m not scared to tell the truth though I certainly was at the time, but I am terrified of feeling rejected all over again.  I’m scared to face those feelings of brokenness that came along with leaving a world that I wanted to live in forever.

I miss my friend, and though I tried to forgive myself for hurting her somewhere along the line, I would like the chance to earn her forgiveness too.

When I think about her I can almost hear her voice and the way she laughed when I said something silly, but I can’t imagine what it would be like to hear her voice now.

I don’t think she ever expected me to be perfect.  I think she just expected me to try when I didn’t.  And though I realize it’s probably too late now, I realize that I want and need to lay everything out.

I want her to know that I was wrong and that I know it.  I want her to know that I’m sorry for being so selfish and scared, and I want her to know how important she was and is to me.  I want her to believe I’m sorry.

At one point she was my closest friend, and whether I ever lay eyes on her again, I’ll always love her.

Sometimes in life we are forced to live with regret, and I take responsibility for this scar on my heart.  It is my fault, but time has a way of weeding out what’s important.  It also has a way of healing.

I don’t know if she will ever love or respect me again, but I know that at one point she did.  And I should have fought to keep it that way.

 

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22 Comments

  • Reply
    Steelers6
    August 14, 2012 at 1:33 am

    As poignant as this post was, I’m pretty
    confident you will find the right words. It’s
    wonderful that you made that first step in
    sending her a message.
    Wishing you the best,
    Chrissy

  • Reply
    Vilma
    August 14, 2012 at 6:27 am

    She’s giving you the proverbial Olive branch…take it! See where it takes you ..because life is too short to miss chances like this. Take it from someone who’s been there.

    My friend tried to reach out to me to mend things and I didn’t respond. I found out later that she had died from a brain injury. Regret is a horrible feeling.

    V.

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    August 14, 2012 at 6:35 am

    I think if u can’t find the words for an email you should share his heartfelt blog post with her. Hoping for the best for you.

  • Reply
    Kyra
    August 14, 2012 at 7:31 am

    It’s never too late to tell the truth and say sorry, but it may not yield the results you are hoping for. Just like you can never go back home once you’ve left and find it to be the same place, you’ll never get that same friendship back. But, you might be able to have a new one! And maybe you’ll find that the two of you are in such different places right now that the friendship just isn’t a possibility anymore, but you can get closure from having some honest conversations. If she’s open to it, don’t over think it, just say what you need to say. She probably has things she needs to say too.

    One other thing though, sometimes friendships grow in and out of your life. I had a friend that I met when I was 11, and we had a falling out around when I was 20. At 23, I contacted her, and we had a conversation that put us SLOWLY back on the path of friendship. We ARE friends again, and have been these 14 years since that day. We are not the same friends we once were, but we have evolved, and we still talk and visit one another (we’re across the country from one another.) So, anything is possible as long as you leave room to let go of once was and be open to the possibility of something completely different! Good luck! 🙂

  • Reply
    Britt
    August 14, 2012 at 7:36 am

    You absolutely should try. You’ve been given a gift here and one that doesn’t come around often. I lost my best friend too and now even though we live in the same state, our paths never cross and our lives will never intertwine again. Now that I am getting married, I absolutely feel that sense of loss and distortion over her not being a part of it. I wish I had been honest with her too about a lot of things. You also cannot purely blame yourself. You felt the way you did for a reason and it takes two people to let a friendship fall apart. But, if you can mend things? Try. It’s so worth it if you can have that person in your life again, even if it’s a small capacity. I won’t get that chance and it breaks my heart, but it sounds like you have the opportunity to turn it around. It may not ever be just like it was, but it’s worth it to find out.

  • Reply
    Brooke
    August 14, 2012 at 9:17 am

    I had a situation kinda the same. A friend in college that was really close to me. Our senior year, she got in a physical fight with one of my other friends, which you would have thought would be the reason I didn’t talk to her for about 2 years. But, I was more furious over what happened earlier that eventually led to the tempers and the fight. She was supposed to be helping me organize a fundraiser for Relay for life for our sorority (she was my VP) and she had gotten mad at me for not giving her responsibilities. So, I handed this over to her. She first failed by not getting any certain idea put together in time. So I helped her figure that out. Then she didn’t get it sent out to the campus, I did. Then she didn’t get participants together, I did. Then she complained about who I picked (It was the dating game and she didn’t think the girls I picked were that great). Then she was going to host the game (she was a theatre major with me so I knew she could handle this) and then as the show was beginning she got mad at something that was said and done from another girl and walked off the stage. So, I did it. There was a little more drama that happened that she didn’t do, but she helped it along, but that isn’t important.

    She was supposed to be my best friend. She told me that she knew me better than any of the other girls and had known me the longest.

    I lost my grandmother to colon cancer.
    I lost my aunt to breast (but it spread all over eventually)
    My dad’s mom is a three time cancer survivor
    My other aunt was in the process of a mastectomy
    Later than summer my mother, after a surgery, found out that she had a very dangerous cancer looming that could have killed her in 6 months (she was lucky)

    Relay for Life was something that I really wanted to do. I wanted to set a standard, I really wanted to raise money and show support and help find a cure (for I know that in my life I will probably have to face cancer).

    My best friend should have known how much this meant to me and should have put her petty differences aside for one night (for a month really) and helped me b/c she should have known why it meant so much to me. But she didn’t. And it stung, so when there was an opening (the fight) to distance myself from her, i did. Everyone thought it was b/c of the fight, but I knew why.

    I hadn’t talked to her for 2 years. Out of the blue she messaged online about the new Harry Potter book (something we shared) and I guess I just wasn’t in the mood to hate anymore. I was very cautious about letting her back in, I did it very slowly. We actually hadn’t talked about the bad things until recently (Its been almost 4 years), but I still have yet to tell her why i was so mad at her. The day will come and I think it might test our friendship. Truth is always looming.

    Good Luck

  • Reply
    Heather
    August 14, 2012 at 9:51 am

    You need to tell her exactly what you’ve said here. Whether she wants to be your friend again on not, at least you will have told her how you feel. Just being able to do that will make your heart lighter. She probably misses you too and has lots to say to you. Good luck and I hope you both find your way back to each other.

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      August 14, 2012 at 1:33 pm

      Done. I said more, but I said it…

      • Reply
        Abigail
        August 14, 2012 at 6:53 pm

        I hope it went well.

  • Reply
    Liz
    August 14, 2012 at 10:05 am

    I agree with Heather. Just tell her how you feel. It sounds like you were such great friends, I have no doubts she misses you as well. Try and reach out to her before you waste any more time. That’s what I would do anyway. Good luck!

  • Reply
    Amber
    August 14, 2012 at 10:54 am

    You can do it. Real friends are worth it. And you deserve to have her as a friend again, and so does she.

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    August 14, 2012 at 11:44 am

    I always say, do what you need to do to live your life without regret. You’re regretting something now, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to fix it. So fix it! The outcome will be more positive than it currently is. In one profound moment when I was a teenager, my mother expressed indecision as to whether she should go see her friend of many years as he was dying of bone cancer, knowing it would be their last goodbye and that it would “hurt”. Out of the blue, without any thought, I said, “Go! You only regret the things in life you DON’T do, rarely the things you DO do.” She thanked me later (which didn’t happen often in my family) and told me I was exactly right. I often think back to that very statement when I am confronted with a difficult choice, and it affirms the thing I need to DO. Ultimately, it is your choice, but I say GO! Of late, you have been digging deeper, and you are in a process of unlocking the thing that’s been holding you back. Don’t lose your momentum. Go!

  • Reply
    becca
    August 14, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    i hope you are able to work things out with your friend. hugs

  • Reply
    Theresa
    August 14, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Good luck with this, I’m sure it’s hard to face that pain from the past, but no matter the outcome I believe you will grow from it.

  • Reply
    Lisa L.
    August 14, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Oh – sniff – I was crying last night at 2 a.m. I was reading this and also watching that episode of Friends where Joey tells Rachel he loves her. A tissue-fest. I came to realize I’d be lucky to have even a broken relationship with a chance at repair than no real good friends to go back to. I’ve spent my whole life leaving places behind when they got complicated and breaking ties. You are lucky. Work it out girl!

    L

  • Reply
    ariaxami
    August 14, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    I found this very inspiring. I’ve been struggling with whether or not to reach out to a former friend, a former best friend who did accept me unequivocally for who I was/am. Thank you.

    I do believe you will find the right words and phrases to convey everything you want to say. Taking the risk is huge, and the biggest one is done… you already reached out. I hope everything works out for the best, but you’ll never regret or wonder if you should’ve said something. 🙂

  • Reply
    Susan
    August 14, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    My high school / college BFF and I had a huge falling out and didn’t speak for 22 years. We have reconnected again and we both regret missing out on important events when we should have been there for each other, but we know we are here now. I feel like I cheated myself out of being a bigger part of her current life by being selfish. I chose pride and I would never make that choice again. Good luck to you both.

  • Reply
    Nina Patricia
    August 15, 2012 at 2:10 am

    I am glad to read in the comments that you made contact. I do believe in telling people how you feel, the problem is when they don’t care. And it seems she does. I wish you well with this issue, and I hope one day some one in my life can do the same brave thing, and ask me to forgive her…

  • Reply
    Deb
    August 15, 2012 at 3:40 am

    Things might not ever be like they were between you, but do take the time as long as she’s listening to tell your story and apologize. You’ll feel better and I bet she will too. A friendship like that is worth trying to recover, or at least give some closure to. You can do this Kenlie. You just told us how you felt, now tell her.

  • Reply
    Sarah
    August 15, 2012 at 10:25 am

    “Should I just start by saying “hey, this is what I did wrong, and I’m sorry” even though it’s been ages?”

    Yes.

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      August 15, 2012 at 11:17 pm

      Done.

  • Reply
    Bella
    August 19, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    I’m behind on my reading, so I apologize that this response is so late, but here’s my two cents:
    I say that you have nothing to lose. Put it all out on the table and hope for the best. I have a feeling she’s going to accept you, flaws and all, and you two will be able to resume your friendship. Maybe not exactly the way that it was, but you’re not exactly the same two people you were then. You’ve each grown and changed and experienced life. And I think your friendship will reflect that. And if the worst happens and she rejects you, it’s no different than it is right now, right? And at least you’ll know that you tried.

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