I tend to hear about requests for submissions and decide I’m going to write something and then the date is two days away and I still think I can do it, then get angry when I can’t. Earlier this year, I pushed myself to submit to the HerStories Project’s call for essays on friendship loss. When my essay was selected for inclusion and publication, I couldn’t believe it. I liked the story I’d written, but I didn’t consider it worthy of being in a book.
And then I kicked that imposter syndrome out of my brain and declared myself talented and worthy.
And then the voice in my head who is the worst lying liar on this planet that is still a planet (I’m so sorry, Pluto, still) told me I would be laughed at. Carrie’s mother’s voice came to me: They’re all gonna laugh at you. She said I was chosen because the book needed diversity, not because I deserved it. She said I was chosen because they didn’t get enough submissions, not because I deserved it. All of these things are lies, as are the other lies she made up and spewed like undigested food confetti in my head.
I still believed her.
I don’t so much now, now that I see my name in the book, now that I have reread my essay and read the others. We are a talented group of women and I’m here to tell that liar in my head that if she doesn’t leave me alone, I’ll let the other voices in there have at her. The one in charge of my wardrobe can’t wait to tell her she’s bringing us down with that fleece.
When I was in fourth grade, a girl I’d been friends with since kindergarten decided we were no longer friends. I wrote her a note and stuck it in her glove. I think it said something about wanting my socks back and her being disinvited to my Halloween party. I would also need my witch hat back; your witchiness won’t be so great without my hat, now will it? Nine is a hard age, y’all.
When I was in my mid-20’s a friend decided she was no longer a part of our group of friends. We were too callous. Nothing was serious. I think we made fun of her tattoo. We weren’t callous. We also refused to take anything seriously. I haven’t spoken to her in over 12 years. I still speak to the others almost daily. I wonder how she is.
A few years ago a friend I cherish told me I wasn’t there for her. I wasn’t listening. I wasn’t a comfort, I didn’t understand, I was disengaged. It was true. When I don’t know how to help someone, I tend to listen but offer nothing further. I didn’t know what to give her anymore, and instead it turned into silence and let me wait until she finishes talking about this hard stuff she’s dealing with so I can ask her opinion on what I should make for dinner. We didn’t speak for months. I was miserable. It took a husband intervention. We’re back to talking nearly daily now.
My Other Ex – Women’s True Stories of Losing and Leaving Friends is available for order on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble. In it, my essay discusses the loss of a friend (I question whether she ever was a friend) who I kind of want to see today, 13 years later. I can’t deny wanting her to see me now, see me happy, see that I have worthwhile, loving, long-enduring friendships. I want her to miss me. Why do I still want her to miss me? After what happened, I am better off without her. I have nothing to prove to or show her. I still want to prove something and show her me because I’m pretty damn wonderful.
There are so many ways discussed in this book of how we lose and leave friends, so many whys. It deserves a read, friends, if for nothing more than a vigorous head nod and exclamation of You’re better off!” For the record, you’d be saying that to me.