What I Left Behind

Everyone ends up leaving something, someone, or somewhere behind, at some point in their life. Sometimes it’s painful, like leaving behind a good friend when you move away. Sometimes, it’s a good memory, such as when you graduate high school.. You did it!

Sometimes, it’s hard to cope, other times, it’s the best feeling in the world.

Before I went to high school, I transferred school districts. My mom and stepdad had found a house in a different part of town, and it was going to be too difficult to get my sister and I to school on time, and get my mom to work on time as well, not to mention picking us both up in the crazy rush home. It wasn’t going to work, no matter how much I begged and pleaded my mom to let me stay in the same district. I had already transferred elementary schools once, right before fifth grade, but it was still the same district. On the plus side, I had already had friends there. Switching to a new district, in a new part of town, with nobody familiar was terrifying. I wasn’t ready, I cried for weeks.

In my mind, I already had friends, family, familiar people. Going somewhere completely new where I was all alone was completely terrifying. At first, I was sad. Then, as my eighth grade year drew to a close and my mom still had not changed her mind, I got angry. I was furious! Who was she, making me leave my best friends forever? Why would she do this? This isn’t fair!

In my juvenile mind, the people I had as friends at that time would be forever my best friends. I began to get snarky and cause problems at home, talking back and yelling. Things out of character for me, my aunt still tells me that I turned into a demon for a few years (Sorry Linz, I’ve always been one- I just know how to hide it). There was a point I told my mom that I would just not go to school. I threatened that she could drop me off, but the mall was conveniently close to school, so I might end up there instead. My mom was patient and waited (longer than she should have) for my anger to dissolve, but it wouldn’t, and she finally had it. She told me, “If you decide to skip school and they take you to juvie, you will sit there until they decide you can leave!” Of course, demonic me couldn’t let her know she was getting to me, so I rolled my eyes and gave my best whatever, but I was (and still kind of am) a total chicken. I won’t survive in juvie! I’ll lose my friends and everyone will hate me forever! Did I ever mention I was also a complete drama queen? Because… I totally was. 🙂

The move was made, I went and signed up for classes at the new high school, and I went from angry to terrified again. Now that I had seen the school, I felt a little better at least knowing what it looked like and how it would look when my classmates and the building chewed me up and spit me out. The last week at my old district, I cried and asked my friends all the time for reassurance, making sure we would be friends for life, making sure they wouldn’t go anywhere.

Only ONE of them stayed. My best friend since fifth grade, Kammie. I drifted apart from everyone else, or, more accurately, they drifted from me. Everyone I knew still had their friends, nobody else had to go somewhere new and start fresh the way I did. Nobody else had to stop, wait up for me. Some drifted apart faster than the others, and some stuck around for a year or two. There was a lot of times I made plans that fell through, lots of missed phone calls that were never returned. Slowly but surely, I started making new friends, and stopped calling altogether. I grew very frustrated, and felt forgotten and unloved. These were people that we called each other, BFFs, or BFFLs- Best Friends For Life. In hindsight, of course these people weren’t going to be my close friends all the way to the end. But then, I think of Kammie, and think why the hell not?

When I drifted apart from the group, I felt alone, even when I was surrounded by my new friends that always wanted to make plans, hang out every Saturday, and texted me nonstop (hallelujah for unlimited texting, or my mom would have killed me a long time ago!). I gave up on calling some people, but I would call and talk to Kammie for hours and hours at a time- most of the time, singing at each other, messing up because of the phone delay. Everything else we talked about, I don’t even remember most of it. I remember, I also started writing in a notebook full of letters that I wanted to send them, basically (dramatically) saying that we had a good run as friends but that I gave up. What else I remember is that I had made a friend for life, long before that; one I could never thank enough for everything she’s done for me, for being there for me, even when I’m a complete pain in the neck.

I started writing anonymous letters to people that made a difference in my life, positive and negative- a project that I never finished. I did write a few positive ones, but there were a few that I was just so angry that, even years later, I was still angry at how terrible of friends they were. I felt so alone, excluded, and they didn’t seem to notice or care. But, I also wrote an ending, basically saying that I refused to be angry anymore, and that by turning the page after writing the letter, I was finished. I washed my hands of them and I’m done.

But, as I went through high school, I made friends I never thought I would. I had an absolute blast, and soon started to forget how hurt I felt. By senior year, I knew I would only see most of those old friends of mine at marching band competitions, once or twice a year. I didn’t expect to see them or talk to them more than that, and with my new friends, I didn’t long to the same way I did as a freshman and sophomore. I was confident as a senior that I had good friends that would be around for a long time, and without ever really noticing, I drifted from them too. This time, it wasn’t as painful- I was busy, and excited for college and the new season of color guard coming up. I was giddy when I received my roommate letter, and soon, I had yet another new group of friends that grew daily.

I guess that what I really left behind was an old version of myself, and a group of people that was great at the time, but not for me as I grew older.

And that’s okay!

People change, things change, all the time. Hell, I’m definitely not the same person I used to be (Thank God, seriously), and I think that by writing this, I definitely miss being friends with them as a younger person, but as an older adult, I’m content with where I am, and who my friends are now. There are tough days, but we all get through it. My friends are all different, but they all bring out the best in me, and that I would definitely never ever change.

How often is it that you have friends that are basically like family, separated at birth? Don’t let those people go. They’re going to drive you crazy, you’ll get sick of each other, but after that, you’ll find your way back. You’ll find each other again.

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