Friends

Warning: Sentimental post contains lengthy paragraphs

When I hear the word “friendship,’ several things come to mind. The first is the wonderful group of friends that I am currently surrounded by—the ones that provide undying support and constantly encourage me to be the best version of myself that I could ever be. Being at such a crucial point in my life, it means the absolute world to me that I am blessed enough to be surrounded by such fantastic individuals with huge hearts, big dreams, and genuine intentions.

The next thought that crosses my mind is that of friendships of the past. When I was young, I was never the little kid in the grocery cart that waved at strangers or the kid that could just run up and join a game of tag on the playground. I recall my mom always encouraging me to go and play with the other kids at family functions, but my being shy just wouldn’t allow it.

As I got older, it got seemingly better and I blossomed a little more, but there was still always a sense of anxiousness and fear of judgement, that came along with meeting new people—especially those my age. The awkwardness that accompanied this way of thinking eventually resulted in some bullying that pales in comparison to most of the problems that people face today, so I won’t harp on it. But, at one point, maybe in my preteen years, I decided that enough was enough. People weren’t going to have a say as to whether or not they would like me, and overnight I became this social butterfly to whom it was no unordinary occurrence to enter a room full of strangers and leave with a handful of friends.

On into my high school years I found myself constantly surrounded by dozens of fantastic individuals, mingling in many different social circles. The security in knowing that I would always have friends to turn to helped me rest easy even if the fact that I was dead tired from making sure I hung out with each friend group that week was constantly present in the back of my mind.

Finally during my senior year, under tragic circumstances, I managed to form bonds that still to this day give me chills as to how quickly they were formed. In addition to the already amazing friendships I had, I found my social niché and fell into a group of friends that I thought would never break. And to ensure that I would never lose these guys, I found this system, so to speak, as to how to properly maintain all of the friends I had, and for the longest time, it seemed to be working.

It wasn’t until life started getting serious and college came around that my social circles all started to shrink and it immediately felt like I was doomed to fall back into my state of friendlessness, if you will. I was losing friends left and right: some by choice which resulted in much guilt; others not so much, which usually resulted in anger and resentment. The high demand of attending a college that was hours from home and running a show choir proved extremely difficult on their own, and trying to maintain all of the friendships I had managed to salvage since high school ON TOP OF THAT sent me into a downward spiral: grades dropped, motivation was at an all time low, and an underlying presence of guilt and anger made it impossible to make friends in my new environment.

Eventually I decided that best way to handle the situation, was to push it to the deepest, darkest folds of my mind, and leave it there so that I could focus. I didn’t need the people who chose to leave me behind, and why would I want people in my life who didn’t want to grow alongside me? With this mindset, my grades improved and I was able to be seemingly happy for a while. It wasn’t until recently that it came to my attention that I was slipping again. But, I had ignored the situation for so long, that its taken some time for me to realize the true source of this funk. Finally, it hit me… I needed closure.

The fact of the matter is, addressing this subject is like like taking a hard shot of nostalgia and chasing it with the harsh sense of reality. Life has pulled all of us in so many different directions, but at one time, it was us against the world and nothing could stand in our way. Some of you, I speak to on a daily basis, some weekly, others monthly, and for some of you, it’s been years. But if the condo trips, endless amounts of thai food, ambush interventions, trail dress escapades, Harry Potter marathons, laughter, and tears meant anything, it is this: If you ever feel like the entire world is against you, know that there is at least one person on your side. We might not always see eye to eye or be traveling along the same paths but if one thing is for sure, it is that I have nothing but love for you and wish you nothing but success on your journey.

Thanks for the memories.

-CP

And should you read this and think me strange or codependent, I extend my greatest condolences, as a life without friends as great as those that I’ve encountered doesn’t sound like one I’d care for living.

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