December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?
If there was one thing I learned from my mom’s ordeal with cancer earlier this year, it was whom I could call a true friend. More specifically, I learned how to identify the “convenience friendships” in my life, and how to let go of them, no matter how much history and how many years of friendship I had shared with that person. Or, so I thought.
Five years is a long time to wonder how much you mean to someone. To always be an option rather than a priority. To sit on the sidelines and watch while he or she does whatever is convenient for him or her at the time. I finally understood how much I meant to a “best friend” of mine this year when I withdrew from my social life in order to take care and spend every waking minute with my mom since her cancer was getting worse and worse every day. Even though I was M.I.A. from my social circle for two months, many of my friends continued to check up on me every so often and inquire as to my mom’s health status in many different ways: in person, phone, text, email, Facebook, etc. These small gestures, these minute actions, actually meant a lot to me: It not only showed me that my friends cared about me, but that they were concerned for my mom as well. So imagine my hurt and disappointment when someone whom I thought was one of my “best friends,” someone who knew my mom and was close to my family, failed to show any kind of care or concern at all. Not a single phone call, text message, or email for two months. And that was the confirmation I needed to realize that after five years of sitting on the sidelines and waiting to be a priority, I was always going to be the option, the “bench warmer.” After five years of questioning how much I meant to this “best friend” of mine, I finally knew the answer: not enough.
At the time, it really broke my heart to realize this about someone whom I cared about so much, and whose friendship I placed so much value on. After the heartbreak was over, however, I started to understand that this revelation was for the best, because it meant my not being the convenience friend anymore. It meant investing my time and energy towards my affirmed or newfound true friends. It meant letting go and moving on. And that’s exactly what I did. Until recently.
For the past four months, “best friend” has been making many attempts to come back into my life again. Consistent attempts. Repeated attempts. Genuine attempts, like attending my dance show, visiting me at work, showing sadness whenever I talk about moving away next year, expressing concern when I’m hurt, and making an effort to spend time with me. It’s as if I’ve finally become a priority to this person. I’m not a convenience anymore.
So what does all this mean? Is “best friend” trying to make up for not being a best friend during the time I needed one the most? Is “best friend” turning into Best Friend? I wish I knew. Part of me is thinking, “Don’t hold your breath. ‘Best friend’ has done this many times before. You’re just what’s convenient for right now.” And the other part of me is thinking, “Things are different this time. Learn to forgive and forget.”
This year, I let go of a convenience friendship because I was tired of the incessant hurt and disappointment that came with it. However, the more and more effort “best friend” makes to be a true friend, a Best Friend, the more I find myself letting someone whom I let go, back in again.