Turning the Page, and Why It Shouldn’t Always Hurt

Vagabond Shai Porch

I remember being a child and transitioning from elementary school like it was yesterday. In our district, a new middle school had been built, so some of the kids I had known for 6 years went to one school and the rest went to another. When we found each other again in high school, we tried to be friends and even now, 15 years later, we’re friends on Facebook and chat here and there. But, things just never were the same. Inside jokes didn’t have the same meaning, plans were made separately, and conversations ended with incomplete sentences that trailed off into the awkwardness that had replaced our kindred-spirited giggles only years before.

As I grew older, the same thing happened with friends, and even family, with whom I had known my entire life – my best friend became a cheerleader and I was an artist. We had little time for each other and, even though we greeted each other with big hugs, our conversations started revolving around the same handful of stories and ‘What have you been up to?’.

It happens – people grow, change, and evolve. It’s a part of the human experience. 

This has been an incredibly weird year for me. I spent the first half of the year busting tush, full of energy, rallying to meet my great big goal of going to California for Peace Leadership Training and throwing myself into all things peace, leadership, and public speaking. While doing that, I was also in school, raising children, running an Etsy, and finding myself doing more social media marketing than I ever cared to do. I was happy – elated, really – but I felt things changing.

I started talking less and feeling more. I started expressing less and thinking more. I discovered, and fell in love with, the introverted side of myself. I started growing closer to friends with whom I never expected to have great friendships (like, my incredible photographer, Amanda Lovelace and a handful of beautiful souls with whom I share a love of peace and art). I started finding myself deeply rooted in new ideas, new appreciation, and overcoming new barriers. I watched eight of my close friends graduate college and head off into different jobs, with different groups of friends, or start families of their own, as I developed deeper connections with the people I had around me. I, and so many of my friends around me, were (and still are) going through major life changes – as often happens when your friends are mostly college students.

In some instances, it just simply became obvious that we weren’t the same people and the friendship/relationship wasn’t going to recover to its former glory. For the most part, they were moving on to great things and reaching their dreams, just as I have been doing, but our dreams were figuratively taking us to opposite ends of the planet.

Things like that? They hurt, a bit. Sometimes, they hurt a lot. People start to develop resentment and lash out at each other. People start to forget what they love about each other and focus only on the bad. It can get ugly.

Me? I don’t like ugly. So, I cut ties – ciao, beautiful – for no reason other than I simply want to still be able to smile when I think of them. I wanted to walk away with years of memories before the hatefulness and resentment plastered the beautiful canvas we had painted together in such a way that it couldn’t be fixed. I like that canvas, just how it is.

So when, months later, I get (supposedly well intended?) forwarded messages and copied Facebook statuses where people I loved are happy to see me go – thrilled they’ve dropped the dead weight that they have now convinced themselves I hung over them for so many years and can do great things because I’m not holding them back….that’s heartbreaking.

Because, I know better. I know that’s just the hurt from the reality that we really just grew separately – the stinging realization that we no longer were the great match we once were. I know how much love there was embedded in every fiber of our friendship. I remember not being able to go a day without checking in with each other. I remember being the person they turned to, on a near daily basis, with an exciting story, or in need of a good cry. I remember treating them likewise. I don’t remember negativity – I remember friendship, and being there for each other because, at the time, we were exactly what each other needed.

I remember. I can be happy with that.  I will forever have those amazingly beautiful chapters in the novel that will become my entire existence. And, I will have that canvas hanging right on the wall of my studio, reminding me exactly how I got to where I am. 

 

You can find this post over at Motivational Monday on A Life in Balance!

 

  • http://goinggreenwiththegrizls.com Kassie

    I love this. I moved around a lot as a kid and drifted through friendships. I feel like I am the same way about cutting ties early to keep a more pleasant memory and because so often there isn’t a whole lot of effort on the other end to make a friendship a priority. That’s okay, really. Life happens.

  • DiAnn Davis

    Shai, beautiful soulfriend, I love that you are able (now) to open up about this. It’s easy to let a relationship drag out, self-destruct, and turn into ugly, horrible memories. I can’t even *fathom* you being a dead weight to anyone. You are a light to me. A shining, beautiful, eco-friendly, light … beaming out over all of the negativity that surrounds my every day. <3

  • http://sageadderley.blogspot.com/ Sage

    This is beautiful & heart-wrenching. I recently cut ties from my childhood best friend and it was incredibly hard, but necessary. We all grow & keep moving – sometimes not in the same direction.

  • http://www.meegs1982.com/ Meegs

    Yes, yes, yes. Change is in the air for me too, and with that comes reevaluation of the relationships that we are putting our time, energy, and love into. People grow, they change, and sometimes their contribution to another person’s life is over. That’s okay. That relationship added value while it was supposed to.

    • Shai

      This is exactly how I feel about it – a reevaluation. I love how you said that the relationship added value while it was supposed to. Because, in reality, it did – otherwise, we wouldn’t have hung on for so long.

  • http://www.happy-mothering.com Chrystal @ Happy Mothering

    I always love reading your words Shai. I have found that as often as friendships drift away, the true ones always seem to find their way back to me. Even if it’s been years and many life changes in between, we always seem to cross paths again. So I try not to stress or worry too much, because things always work out how they’re supposed to.

  • http://www.ohhappylife.com Andrea Belarruti

    Ugh, this hurt a little. I have been there too many times and yes, it is inevitable. You grow and grow apart from those who were once like your family. The best thing to do is honor those moments together, knowing you crossed your paths in the exact moment you were supposed to.

  • http://www.sparkletonic.com Liz E Lehman

    Thank you so much for the touching honesty of this post. It really helps with experiences that have been difficult for me. I am way past college now and the feeling of change in old close friendships from different parts of my life continues to happen….i fight it because it feels sad. But it’s really just life taking us in different directions. No one is doing anything wrong. The love is still there. The chapters are still in the novel- I love that. And hey, sometimes people show up again in later chapters. You never know.

  • http://alifeinbalance.net Barb @ A Life in Balance

    I think some friendships are meant to be for a season, and others are there for our entire lives. It can be hard if the other person doesn’t see the change in the friendship and the need to let go and move on.

    Thank you for sharing this with my readers at Motivation Monday. I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts.