If you were any other kind of person, this wouldn’t be so hard.
I’ve known you for a long time. I can’t even remember when we weren’t together. I was there for you when you went through all that crazy growing up stuff, when you took your first steps out into the “real world,” when you started to find your voice. When you started to say and do what you needed to get heard. When you started to feel comfortable in your own skin, yes, even as you bemoaned the sprinkling of silver hairs and character lines it took to get there.
I couldn’t imagine being without you.
But sometimes you really piss me off.
That last time you let someone take advantage of your friendship, that really sucked. You knew exactly what would happen. You knew this person had thrown away your friendship time and again. You knew this person would come back when they suddenly needed your friendship again, your overflowing support, warmth and empathy. The listening. The just-being-there.
In fact, everything this person was incapable of giving you in return.
I know you figured that out long before you admitted it to yourself. But because this person tacked the word “friend” on it–no, it was “best friends forever,” wasn’t it?–you just went ahead and let yourself be the listener again, the giver, the supporter. Oh sure, it would be good for awhile, it always was, just like old times. So easy to get back to the laughter, the stories, the music. The pattern before the pattern changed. BFFs.
But it always ended. And you always knew it would, and you always knew it would hurt you, and each time you went ahead and invited it all back in anyway.
For the longest time, I couldn’t forgive you for that.
Then this year it all changed. You had finally had enough. That last time was the last time. You did one of the hardest things I’ve ever known you to do: You turned your back on someone you called “friend.”
You’d finally realized they didn’t deserve the name.
It took me until now to realize something: Maybe your heart just had to catch up to the rest of you, to everything telling you to give yourself the empathy and support you were giving away. Maybe there were still things you had to learn from that person and this experience. Maybe giving someone those extra chances and “being there” is just what makes you you.
And maybe you had to go through all this to be a better you.
I still don’t pretend to know everything about you. I think that’s something that’ll take a lifetime, and not even quit then. So I wanted you to know something now: You’re a pretty awesome person. I know you don’t think so. I know I don’t say it enough. Maybe if I do, one day you’ll believe it.
I forgive you. I’m sorry it took this long. But I’m glad I finally figured it out too.
(Prompt: Forgiveness. Who have you forgiven this year and what was the journey like that brought you to forgive them?
Answer: I forgave myself. Wholeheartedly, unashamedly. But oh, the struggle.)