The hurt still lingers. It lingers even though I am now in a good space. I'm slaying my goals, manifesting my dreams, and my life is unfolding beautifully. I have no complaints. But this is a pain that has not softened.
Why won't this hurt leave? Why can't I release this feeling?
This pain tends to resurface from time to time. It's an open wound that is still healing. It cuts deeper than any cut a past lover has given me. The thing is, I value the people that come into my life. And I am not in the business of short-term friendships or transactional relationships. But now I see friendships are not forever, regardless of time, effort, connection, and space.
In this past season, I have lost a few close friends. I have also lost friends I was becoming close to. I perceive it as a loss because patterns, actions, body language, and energy tell no lies. I sensed the change in these friendships before it was truly over. It pained me to see their Instagram Stories and posts. It became a trigger for me. Not because I was angry, but because I was hurt. I am still hurt. After everything I did for them, I couldn't help but question, "Why was I being treated differently? You mean to tell me; I was a friend for just one season? I wasn't a good enough friend for a lifetime of seasons?"
Eventually, I began to nonchalantly scroll past their Stories and posts to avoid being triggered.
Why is my title of "friend" now stripped?
Why was I no longer good enough to sit at their table?
Why am I only worthy of being just an acquaintance or an associate now, when I've proven myself as a friend?
I just couldn't understand it at all.
My first thought was, "What did I do wrong?" Followed by, "How do I fix it?" Why did I even think this was my fault, to begin with? I tend to blame myself when situations like these happen. But we all do this when conflict or problems arise. Just know it's a habit I'm trying to break.
For weeks, I lost sleep. I relapsed into an anxious state of mind and possibly mild depression. I confided in my cousins and other friends about the situation at hand. I spent therapy sessions rambling to my therapist about what I have done right in these friendships, what I could have done wrong, and how I should go about confronting these friends. And I did try to address my concerns only to not get a response.
So, finally, I left it alone.
I had nothing more to say. I had no desire to fix anything. I just decided to let it be. I chose to give them grace because I realized I did nothing wrong. I mean, I know what type of friend I am. I am proud of how I show up in my friendships too. I'm a giver.
That's just who I am.
What I did do is use my hurt as fuel to focus on myself. I took all the love, time, patience, energy, effort, and grace I gave to them and poured that ish into myself. Read that again.
And when I did that, I began to shine. I spent my time perfecting my craft, my artistry, and I stayed focused in the gym. I nourished friendships (both old and new) with people who were equally interested in my life, happiness, growth, and success. As my light started to grow bigger and brighter, these same friends started to come back around. As if nothing changed. As if there wasn't an issue that no longer needed to be addressed.
I even questioned whether it was me that was toxic at times. And the answer was no, I wasn't. At the time, my mental health relapsed, and I needed a close friend to talk to. I came to understand they were projecting their issues onto me. I am not one to hold grudges nor hate in my heart. And I learned at an early age pride ruins everything. I am the queen of respect, diplomacy, and tact. So, when I received a message or saw them in public, I kept it cool. But I miss the deeper connection I had with those friends.
To know now, that it may or may not be the same between us still hurts. It hurts to know that they didn't see me the way I saw them. They didn't value me the way I valued them.
In this season, I am not tolerating less than what I deserve in any friendship because I am not a "sometimes" friend. I am not entertaining temporary friendships nor friendships where I am not equally celebrated. I am not accepting a downgrade of "friend to an acquaintance" again. Not ever.
I am limiting access to my time, energy, and space. I am using boundaries across the board. And if someday, these same friendships are to be rekindled, it deserves a conversation with mutual respect, transparency, honesty, and vulnerability. And for me, in this moment, all that shit is earned because now the trust I had is gone.
You see, friendship breakups are just as bad as relationship breakups. This is because some of the same principles apply.
You have to come whole-hearted. You have to come ready to talk. Or don't ask or say anything to me at all. I know, I sound mean. I sound jaded, but I promise you I am not. But what I am is serious as AF. You have to realize you are equally exceptional in your own friendships too. Please, don't wait for someone else to show you this. Show it to yourself. You need to know that you are equally worthy of standing next to the person that you call a friend.
You deserve to be equally reposted, invited, nurtured, supported, and all of the above. You are not just worthy of a seat at the table, you are dancing on the motherfucking table too.
And this is how I am handling the loss of friendship this season.
With self-love and self-respect, because I know my worth. And I can only give someone grace for so long.
In the words of Bryson Tiller, we're outta time.
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