I don’t think there was an exact moment when I let go, but over time I felt myself lose respect for what we had. I stopped caring about your opinions and your way of doing things, stopped caring about what you thought of me.
Our friendship was punctuated by brief moments of happiness that were buried under extended grudges and differences of opinion. Everything between us got blown out of proportion. We were both stubborn and often neither of us right, and that caused a kind of friction that made me feel sick with anger and resentment.
So I made a subconscious decision to walk away. Yes, I walked away from our friendship and hurt us both by doing so. You never quite understood why, though I hope maybe you’ve grown up enough now to see what I saw. I walked away from our friendship, but I also walked away from the constant state of anger, the fights, and the feeling that somehow I was never going to be good enough for you. You couldn’t control me and I was never going to let you; we were an imperfect fit.
That decision broke me, though I didn’t know it at the time. You were my best friend, and I should have been able to trust you unconditionally. So who do you trust when you can’t trust your best friend?
I turned everything inward after I ended our friendship. The self-confidence I have now came after a hard journey of depression, self-discovery, and a conscious decision to be my imperfect and unapologetic self around other people.
But there were times when I thought too much of myself too, when I let my ego dictate my actions. I put myself up on a pedestal above others as a form of self-protection and when I did that it made it harder for me to appreciate other people, made it hard for me to love them because I mistakenly put my own self worth above theirs.
Because you’d made me feel unworthy, I convinced myself that my own feelings were more important that others’, that they could “take me or leave me.” But self-confidence should not come at the expense of others’ feelings and I shouldn’t have to fight through protective walls – walls I think I built in part to keep you out – in order to connect with other people.
I may have left you behind seven years ago, but I’m still working through the consequences of our friendship. I wouldn’t change anything about my past, I am who I am today because of what I’ve been through, but in some ways I don’t think I’ll ever be able to let go of the lessons you taught me.