What Pushed Me to Comfort
Through high school I struggled with caring what everyone thought about me and how I looked in their eyes. Because of this I now feel I often relied and depended on others. Frequently it was to the point where I would not want to go to the bathroom alone during lunch hour or visit the mall with someone other than my best friend. Maybe that was because of my anxiety, or maybe my anxiety is because of my lack of independence. It is a process I am still processing.
My judgement of friends was terrible – sometimes still is – and I was forever getting close to the wrong people. My circle got smaller and smaller, yet I still always felt like I needed someone 24/7. Because of that need I went through a lot of emotional/mental abuse from people I thought I needed. People I trusted. Eventually I secluded myself from those I had begun to feel unsure about and stuck with a the few I considered “close” plus an online friend or two. Again, this only ended in what I can say was not a way to be favoured.
For me one of the final straws were my best friends Spencer and Frankie going completely mad. Of course they were friends first which caused much of the friendship to be one of us united with Spencer against the other in some pointless fight. Over three years later Frankie was out of my life for good. Things with Spencer were great. Only one day she got mad that I begun watching Supernatural. From that small argument stemmed a whole fight involving other characteristics we shared.
What had happened? Spencer and I were so close that we had decided to make care packages for each other, and though she was unable to follow through I would still make her cute things. We were so close that we had inside jokes on social media, our own Tumblr tags, and became the friends that people often say they wish they could be like. On days when Spencer would be going through a rough patch that was almost unbearable for her I would be the one to talk to down and make her see the positive side of things, even if that side was minuscule in comparison to the problem at hand. No matter what she was going through or how she lashed out at me because of it, I made sure to be there for her and let her know she was not alone.
Baffling was how such a large issue was all started by a television show. The biggest problem, it seemed, was my spirituality which Spencer had encouraged and helped me to learn more about. All of a sudden I was being accused of stalking and harassment despite having proof that it was much the other way around. Random anonymous users would tell me that I was worthless, I was a terrible person, to kill myself. There was a point when I seemed to realise that the whole friendship was one-sided most of the time; that it was based upon hypocritical thoughts. No one can ever know how damaging that thought was, only to be followed by the thought that I would not trade that friendship for the world.
The whole ordeal went on for ages. I switched social media – not just new names or URLs, but registered for whole new accounts. Things died down and peaceful months followed. Unexpected by me and those who had helped me to cope came an eerily knowing Tumblr ask regarding my work for The Pulp Zine. Threats followed. It ended in a panic attack at my local police department, and text from Spencer about how sorry she was. Legally I was advised not to reply no matter how badly I wanted to. After no responses from me and a phone call from a detective, things died down and I did not bother to reopen the issue. No matter how much I missed my friend.
This is now December of my senior year and my anxiety had become most terrible. Having all my friends and the people I was close to graduate was a big blow for me. When you run with people who can be compared to fictional high school rebels, drop outs, and the like, it seems quite the transition to then be pushed towards those who enjoy school more than they do meeting with friends. Naturally, none of them really liked school, but there was definitely a dedication that could not be found in my older friends.
Having few friends my age sucked because they seemed to exclude me or not want me around any longer. To make it worse, they were all cheerleaders and I was the theatre nerd. Major cliché. No longer having my best friend nearby caused me to take my old friends up on their offer to hang out. For the whole year. From freshman year to senior year, however, everyone made other friends. Luckily for me I grew really close to Daniel – or so I thought – over the summer, so I did not feel totally alone when moving from one group to a group filled with people I had not yet encountered.
Like any other girl who had a beautiful boy reaching out to her daily during art school and sometimes all hours of the night, I developed feelings for said friend. Another cliché: it was complicated. Really, it was. Though that is between two people that I’m not comfortable speaking on behalf of, I was also part of this hurt. But this beautiful boy was someone that had been my best friend at one point. As someone I loved dearly, seeing his pain tugged at my heart. Before I knew it he meant more to me than I should have allowed.
During the same time frame I also was becoming very close friends with Andrew. Some nights we would talk about really heavy things and my heart would be in my stomach while other nights would simply be small talk. Apparently I know more than even his closest friends. Perhaps that is why it tore me apart rather badly every time Andrew would ignore me because one of his other friends. It made me very sad to see him take their sides because some of them decided to judge and dislike me before getting to know me; because one did not trust me though they had never even met me.
One thing I wish I had given attention to through high school would be how to identify unhealthy relationships. All of the people I had thought would never, ever hurt me did. Even in these wonderful friendships that I have been most saddened over, the highs were the highest and the lows were the lowest. What can be seen as most astonishing is that this doesn’t even cover everyone else that I had wrongfully put my trust in.
To say that one is mature is often seen as a sign of immaturity, because of this I guess my best bet is to say that I have grown as a person. This growth has helped me to see what is most important. Due to my upset and reluctance to get close to people much of my summer was spent getting used to being a lone wolf and finding comfort in myself. These incidents pushed me to take a look at things from multiple perspectives. Being able to forgive those who had wronged me helped me to be at peace with the happenings I once was not. Can I forget? Likely never. Be that as it may, without these experiences I would not be who I am nor would I be as comfortable on my own or with who I am as a person.
“What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be.” – Ellen Burstyn
Disclaimer: Though much of this was public on social media and may be obvious to certain readers anyways, names and defining details have been changed for privacy reasons. If you know who is being spoken of I ask that you refrain from referring to them by true name in the comments. Any comments violating this will not be approved or will be edited by myself to completely omit names. Art was created for this piece by Jessica Owen, please visit her here: Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Website. Click here to view an enlarged version of the featured image art.