Below is an open letter to a long time close friend who is no longer in my life. I wrote this with no intention to send it - just as an exercise of release and healing for myself. But when I read it over again, I realized that I want to share this with my community, with you. I feel compelled to share for a couple of reasons: first, perhaps some of you are experiencing something similar and can relate to this, and second, I preach both openness and vulnerability as well as releasing that which is no longer yours and in sharing this, I hope to be practicing what I preach.
Let me know if it resonates in the comments below.
Dear Old Friend,
I was sad, deeply, really truly sad to discover myself blocked and erased from your life.
You were there for me during my first heartbreak at age 12, when I bawled and fell into hysterics claiming that he was the great love of my life and I would never love again. You held onto me as I fell and comforted me when I sobbed.
We sang songs together as we went around underage driving in a car, all together, having the time of our life, breaking rules and feeling the thrill of it. Remember every time that Allegrova song came on, the one where she mentions the name of the boy you were in love with and we all gave you a hard time and then sang along with you?
Remember when he came around, that older boy you liked and you would get really quiet. I was there.
We were there for each other through so many beautiful, tragic and life altering moments.
I remember us as precocious 9 or 10 year olds walking around our little hood as if we owned it and the time we skipped middle school with a bunch of girls and I stole lipstick from Walgreens and we got caught but because we were such quick-witted smart-asses they let us go and we ran all the way home, terrified. I remember those times when we wished we would have lunch money and vowed that when we grew up, we would make so much that we could afford to eat anywhere we want to. We both have. I’m proud of us.
Remember our first string of jobs? There were some really weird ones. And then, our real first job, at the dental office. Was I 16 or 17?
You left because you were pregnant. You were getting married. It was a shock to your system. I came to your home and sat in your room and talked and talked and talked. You didn't say much, but I think you heard me.
I think you may have missed my wedding because you had just given birth to your baby and were still recovering and we had kind of fallen out of touch then for a few months. I think your husband, the boy you had fallen in love with back then, he was there, at our wedding I mean. But you were not.
It was such a trip being 17 and having our own place and everyone being so independent and free and starting to create a life. You, starting a family, me with my entrepreneurial aspirations.
Ooh, I remember when we became close again. I think it was several years into my marriage, you came over to the first condo I bought. We sat and talked for hours and hours. Remember how sex obsessed I was and all those sex books I let you borrow? Our husbands became close friends, and we rekindled our friendship. You were there for me when I opened my first and second businesses.
We bonded over our husbands’ severe gambling issues. You listened to me and calmed my stress and helped me through the panic attacks. And, when things got worse, and I became really unhappy, you never tired of hearing about it. You were there.
We spent almost every day together, your family and mine. We grew up together, literally, and suddenly I was watching your kids grow up. There were issues I watched you ignore or look away from, and I attempted to support you through them. It was tough watching you sit in silence when so much was going on behind your back. You stayed by my side when I struggled with addiction and depression and confusion and the loss of my inner compass. You were a true friend.
One of the memories that still sends chills down my spine is the phone call I got from you the night your cousin was shot. I can still hear your screaming, mumbling, crying that it wasn't true, that they were lying. And the ensuing pain we all endured and witnessed as we did indeed lose one of our own, someone who we all grew up with, someone we still mourn and love.
Everything got dark after that. It was a desolate and solemn time. I remember how sad and confused you were. I was there. I tried to comfort you. Back then, you had so much trouble with vulnerability, but you still managed to open up. You felt betrayed by all of the people who were talking behind your back, suspecting your husband was responsible. I held you in my heart.
And, after the truth had finally come out and your husband was arrested and charges brought forth and you and your family had become pariahs, I was there. I knew you. I knew your heart. I felt your pain. You were caught in the middle. You were thrust into the fire. I’m not sure I knew what to do other than just be there and remind you that I had not abandoned you, I was on your side.
I came to visit you and hang out and make you feel supported. I wanted you to know you were not alone. Especially when the boy you had fallen in love with all those years ago, the one that we had in mind when we sang that Russian pop song, the one you married and so deeply loved, was convicted of murder. When the father of your babies was going to continue to be locked up, I sent you so much love.
Us, with our respective husbands, now ex husbands, we bonded over them. Their pathological ways. Their lies, betrayals, broken promises. You saw the years I suffered with depression, confusion and despair. You saw my unhappiness and you were there. You made me feel supported.
I think my favorite remaining memories are our celebrations. The years of birthdays we celebrated with drinks and dancing and glitter and smokey eye makeup and new shoes bought specifically for the occasion.
Hey, remember that time in Vegas when we got in a stupid fight over some stupid article of clothing and then the hubbys talked us into making up at that Russian-themed vodka bar? I just thought of that and it made me smile.
I’ve been thinking about all these things. There are so many other memories in my head that didn’t make it onto the page. We’ve been friends for over 25 years; a lifetime of memories that I will cherish.
The last thing I saw you post on Facebook was a meme that said “true marriage is one man and one woman”. It was around the time of the DOMA ruling. I am a firm believer in each person's right to individual beliefs and those posts in my feed rarely bother me.
I thought it was weird when I didn't hear from you a week before my birthday, as we usually check in with each other and plan celebrations and get togethers. It was even stranger to not get a happy birthday message from you. That is when I searched for you on FB and you were non-existent so I asked mutual friends who said that you are still active on FB. I realized then that I had been blocked and banned from your life.
I’m assuming it was somewhere around the time I began to be really vocal and public about how happy I was in my relationship with my girlfriend. Sorry, not sorry, I couldn't and can’t keep quiet. I am absolutely in love and so is she. I’m pretty public about my relationship because it feels natural to be. When you feel good, you share it. I am truly happy. I hope you are too. You are magnificent and deserve a partner who treats you like the queen of their world. I hope that you connect to him. I hope you are living in joy.
Being as public and open as I am about my life has certainly come at a cost. Your friendship and presence in my life is a part of what I’ve had to give up. I understand it, I suppose. I always preach letting go of that which has let go of you. And so, I let go of it needing to be any different than it was. My favorite memory will be that year when I was newly separated, scared, overjoyed, confused and super broke and it was my birthday. You came to see me, took me out and we had a wonderful time.
I will cherish our memories, and I will release you.