Old Friends Gone Away

How many friends do you have from when you were younger? Like “life long friends”? I have a few from high school I still talk to, and a few from when I was in the single digits that I met through church. My closest friend is 5 years younger than me. It seems strange at 28 to have a best friend who is 23. But we share a simple outlook on life and the same general ideals about things. She is a mature 23, and I quite frankly am an immature 28 so I think it works.

I started going to my main church when I was 2. Up to that point my parent’s didn’t take us to church, but they met someone who introduced them to that way of life and so we went. I’m not sure how we became friends, but I was “best friends” with a girl from that church, let’s call her Angela. I can remember visiting Angela’s house many times as a young person and not really enjoying myself. We were 6 months apart, so our parents had us play together a lot. I can remember being pen pals with her class in grade 1. Another boy from our church went to her school and he was my pen pal. Our two classes met for an end of the year get together type thing, and he left me to play with his friends and her pen pal left her so there we were, just sitting at the picnic bench together…and that was it I guess? From that moment on we were bffs! We really only saw each other on Sundays and when we were allowed to have sleep overs. It was a great best friend relationship up until gr 7 or so. You know, when life starts to get interesting.

Reader, prepare yourself for some grade A ranting from this point forward! I’ll try to keep it as un-petty as possible, but when I talk or think about Angela, I still get this over whelming sense of dread in the pit of my stomach!

So as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a pretty large girl (fat and FABulous!) but Angela is not. She was a slim, slender, athletic type up until high school. I developed early, but didn’t enjoy the “benefits” of that since I was the class fat girl. Angela went to a different school and felt ugly and unwanted pretty much from grade 7 right through high school. From the moment she started to feel this way, our friendship changed.

If you remember from a previous post, I moved to a larger city in grade 8. I made new friends and had a different life now. I think she felt a little jealous because up until that point, Angela was pretty much my only friend. Now I had a whole group of friends and we would make plans and hang out just like girls do. She was left out of my sphere at that point. I could walk to my other friend’s houses, where I’d have to have my parents drive me 30 minutes out of town to see her.

By the time high school got started, she was an entirely different person. She enrolled herself in a self-esteem group, sponsored by a large makeup company. She started self-harming and rebelling against her parents. I would see subtle changes in her as time went on. I would cut my hair super short, and within a month she had done so as well. I got my nose pierced for my 16th birthday with my dad there to hold my hand, she went behind her parent’s back and had her belly button pierced, hiding it until it got so infected she needed to go to the hospital. She developed late in life, around 15, and then the boys started to notice her! She went from being completely flat chested to being a C-cup over a summer. Then the personality REALLY changed.

Angela LOVED all the attention from boys. Her life goal was to be engaged at 19, married by 20 and have a baby by 21. And she went after that. Dating every single wrong person out there. As she passed her milestones and didn’t have any, she started to become bitter and angry with the world. Her entire happiness was linked to those time lines. When she started dating someone, she cut everyone else out of her life. By the time I had graduated from university, I had had enough. When I left for Korea, I left her behind and didn’t contact her until about 7 months in when I received an email from her. Now this is our pattern: she reaches out, we talk for a few months and hang out, I instantly realize that I don’t want her negativity in my life, I distance myself and 7 months or so later she pops up again.

The last cycle was when I started teacher’s college. I had moved back into the town were I grew up and she was living there as well. The first time we saw each other after about a year, she was pleasant for all of 10 minutes. Then the complaining started, and the constant talk of her life and her new boy friend. She spent one afternoon judging a mutual friend and his new fiancee for the pregnancy scare they just had. As all of us were raised Christian, being pregnant before getting married was a BIG NO-NO. So she ranted for an afternoon about how they are being hypocrites and not setting a good example and how her boy friend is great and how they are having a good relationship.

Skip forward a year and a half and Angela reveals she is engaged. It was announced the first weekend in September, and the wedding was set for November 1st. I didn’t really think all that much about it until I really started thinking. Yes she had wanted to get married quickly, and now she was almost 27 not 20 so the rush would be on. But less than 2 months? Well she confessed it was because she was pregnant herself. So the wedding was coming up so quickly so that the baby wouldn’t be born before.

After being in each other’s lives for 25 years, I had anticipated an invitation to the wedding. We were no longer best friends so I had lost all desire or expectation to be in her bridal party, but still an invitation was on my mind. It never came. Instead an email, explaining that since it was pretty much a “shot gun wedding” (no she didn’t say that, but I’m saying it now!), and so quick and small, she was sorry but it was “family only” but I was more than welcome to come to the church service. The day quickly approached and not wanting to go without really being wanted there, I made the mistake of asking for details. The reply was such a brush off, I decided that I had to stop right there being involved.

Deleting a friend from your life is always a hard process to begin, especially now that everyone is so connected. So her wedding was in November, I was sent bridal and baby shower notices, however hushed up they wanted to keep it. But it wasn’t until April that I actually made the move to permanently delete her from my life. The first to go was facebook. It’s the easiest way to keep tabs on someone, but I realized the only reason why I still had her on there was to keep in the loop on what a mess she had made for herself. So before the baby was born, I deleted her. Then the numbers came out of my phone, and anything saved to the contact list in my email. I was finally at peace!

I heard she had the baby, a boy. After getting married she still lived at her parents house for the work week since she didn’t want to leave her job. I’ve heard that after her maternity leave she will continue this arrangement so that she doesn’t have to leave her job and that her mom will babysit. A mutual friend filled me in – without me asking! I’m not sure if that will work, or how long her marriage will last like that but I wish her all the best.

It’s now August, a nice solid 9 months since we last had contact, and right on schedule she has popped up again. I’m hoping that I’m dealing with the situation well – but I can’t reconnect with her. Once you cut out negativity in your life, its so easy to let it back in without even thinking about it. But its so much more damaging once you do. I can’t let that negativity back in, and I wont. I hope she understands that I’m not trying to be mean or hurtful. I’m simply looking out for my mental and emotional health.

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