How losing friends changes us
So I'll bring you all up to speed super fast:
At a point in time, my friends and I were inseparable. We were total globetrotting, pretty girl, talented, multi-faceted, cultured, well-rounded, designer wearin’ black girl magic! We'd been friends, some of us since about 4th grade, some high school, some colleges. Some of us shared matching tattoos, some of us life altering experiences and secrets. We'd shared clothes, tears, ideas, and dreams with one another.
Somewhere along the way though, life happened and everything changed.
The beginning of the end starts with my falling in love, not only with my husband but the son he brought into the relationship. I sorta became a mommy at 23. Before I gave birth to Prin, Brendan and I became blended family realness! A year that changed my life forever. I knew the way to Brent’s heart was the love I’d show to his son. So I set out to love him and our relationship organically blossomed from there and yeah…so did Brent and I.
My friends sort of continued on this path of self-centered discovery while I was living and breathing for myself and others. Now, I know “self-centered” may have a bad connotation but with context, it wasn’t a bad thing per say. I think everyone has their own path in life and there’s certainly nothing wrong with honing in on yourself at a young age, having experiences and living your life!
In a way, there was a fork in the road and our paths sort of deviated. They didn’t really stop and I didn’t go along with them. I don’t think we the collective knew how to step into the roles of a friend/ support system for a friend who'd become a mother. Maybe not at the time at least. Since, other friends have had children and started families and my observations have proven that, hey, maybe that transition became easier with time. Unfortunately, that was not my experience.
Perhaps I'm making assumptions and I just had crappy friends but I truly don't think so. I mean for much of my life these women were my backbone. They were the better reflections of myself. I thought we'd be together, forever.
So, what happens when you make the transition into motherhood, become a wife and professional and the friends around you don’t shift with you? This isn’t a rhetorical question. I can share my detailed experiences with it, but I will tell you, I didn’t come out unscathed. I toiled with this for years, cried many silent and invisible tears of sheer loneliness. I didn’t have a woman my age to talk to, bounce ideas off of, a shoulder to cry on or anything (part of the reason why I created cortnijsays.com). I didn’t know if I’d totally isolated myself or if I was somehow exiled for having a child. All I knew was, my husband and I had a child to raise and I didn’t really have the time or energy to take pause and think about it. Maybe it hurt too much? Maybe I didn’t have the language to describe my feelings…I wasn’t sure but I knew it was too painful to tackle until now…
Have a baby, they say, and see who your real friends are. lol
Surely there must have been some writings on the walls before that huge leap but in this case, I didn't see them!
I remember a friend stopping by once after I got home from the hospital in December 2013-less than a month after Prin was born. She eagerly asks, "soooo were planning a party bus for New Years eve, you in!?"
I looked down at the infant cradled in my arms and subconsciously made that decision right then and there
"I have a baby now"
she paused for a sec and said..."ohh yea" :/
I didn't get invited much after that.
Losing people changes us, growing up changes us, growing apart changes us.
How you say? My stages of grief sort of started with utter confusion-wondering where I or them went wrong
guilt-its my fault. Maybe I should have nurtured those relationships better or maybe in my vulnerable state, they should have been there more to support me?
f*ck em! anger set in which was just a bi-product of the hurt of felt from their absence
present day, I've landed somewhere between"its no one's fault and that's ok" and "lets do things differently"
I've learned to appreciate the meaningful relationships I do forge
I've learned to value time spent with the folks I do enjoy-short check in calls, quick how ya doin texts and small acts of kindness like sharing books, new music and funny pics on line.
When you lose all of something, you begin to treasure a little bit of a good thing
I've become more empathetic, patient and understanding to the different circumstances that take us away from each other.
More than anything, I've learned to have fewer expectations from the folks I do call friends. Life is happening, and its challenging, right? Were all trying to navigate it and our frame of refrence is different. I cant say I’m better than anyone else and I also can’t say that I havent made some of the very mistakes that have hurt me during these experiences. I will say that as a result, I’ve made the choice to Not be bitter. But kind. Even through the hurt, ya know. Life is short.
I love them from a far and if I do get the privilege of their presence again, Ill treat it at such.
Have you lost friends? how'd you deal???
can we have a conversation?