(In case you missed my intro to what Beyond the Pages is, since it’s so new, I’ll keep it on here for awhile)
I’m a pretty open person and I’ve certainly shared a lot about my life here on the blog and elsewhere on Twitter but I’ve put off this idea I’ve had for a while because it scares me. What idea you ask? Well, it’s nothing huge but, as I read, I often want to have conversations with people because books make me think, they bring up things from my past that I want to reflect upon and they really just connect us. Some of my best conversations have happened privately because of books and talking about our shared experiences. Sometimes I’ve thrown in a few sentences in a review but I feel like I don’t want to make my review becomes this huge paragraph of my personal life. But I SO want to give myself the opportunity to share a bit of myself with you (things from my past, random musings, things I’m facing now) when these things come up in books and maybe perhaps learn a little bit about you if you’ll allow? So that’s just what my Beyond the Pages segment is going to be — random things from books that I connected with and want to share. Nothing fancypants. I’ll admit I’m scared though to talk about some of these things that I know I’m going to talk about which could range from my greatest fears, how I was in college, losing my mom or maybe we’ll swap dating stories and the craziest thing I ever did.
This one is not going to be NEARLY as serious and MEANING OF LIFE as my first Beyond the Pages post but it was something I was thinking about during my latest read.
The book that inspired this conversation:
Friendship is really the main focus of this book. These 4 girls have been besties at summer camp since they year they met when they were 10. They are now 17 and haven’t seen each other in 3 years since their last year of summer camp and in those years their friendships have really changed as they get older and go in different directions — for many reasons. When they come to their weekend camp reunion they all know it isn’t going to be like it always was because of how their friendship seems to fit differently but nobody really wants to admit it or address it.
It got me thinking a lot about friendship. It’s something that I’ve really struggled with in my life — especially RIGHT NOW . I’ve always had a lot of FRIENDS (mostly guys tbh) and acquaintances. I’ve struggled to FIND the bff-ness that so many other people have, to keep it when we start to grow apart, to know when to let it go when it needs to. I struggle now, as a 27 year old married lady, because I feel like I have no close friends around here anymore. We all are in such different places in our lives and have grown out of the friendships in some case. And it’s so damn hard to let all that HISTORY go.
Let’s chronicle my friendships ok? I’m talking about BFF-type friends.
Childhood: Had my best friend Missy. Played at her house nearly every day.
Middle School (6-7th grade): Dropped elementary friends because we were just changing.
8th grade – 9th grade: MOVED 4 hours away so basically NO FRIENDS in the begining. A girl in the neighborhood & I became friends mid way through the year and became quick BFFS. We seriously were so close. When I think of best friends I think of her. Nobody ever understood me the way she did, I never laughed as hard as I did with her, we had the most fun EVER, a zillion inside jokes and she was honestly the person who had my back.
High School: 10th grade our BFFness was still in tact but 11th grade and 12th were a STRUGGLE. I was making new friends and so was she and there were DEFINITE cracks and a lot of not nice things said as we slowly started to express this AWKWARD feeling of our lack of bffness. Ended up just really fading away…
College: Those friends (mostly a group of guys and like 2 girls) that I referenced above? Well, the one other girl of the group (we had been FRIENDS since late middle school but not besties) and I decided to be roomies in college because we had been SOOO close and agreed that we were in fact BEST FRIENDS. We were that way until our junior year when our other roommate and her got in a huge fight putting me in the middle. Just the beginning of our demise.
2008-2010: Still remained close with our group of friends but there was a huge strain between the bff and I that neither one of us addressed. A lot of things I heard said about me. Awkward attempts to try and pretend all is well.
2011 -2012: No Friends? Well, that’s not true. I got really close with a few girls through blogging when I started in 2010 and I don’t know what I would have done without these ladies during all the wedding planning and lack of bffness locally. REALLY CRAZY BAD TENSION between bff and the group of friends. BAD BAD BAD.
2013: The year I let go of this VERY long bff-ship because I knew it was better for me to let go — probably better for her too to stop pretending & making awkward attempts to fix. There has been so much that has gone on that I could never explain in this post but I just don’t think a fix is going to happen.
Writing all that out just makes me have such nostalgia. THERE ARE SO MANY GOOD MEMORIES. There are so many things I don’t understand about how people who know the deepest depths of each other’s souls can walk away from each other. I think of my college BFF and she was with me through everything with my mom being sick and when she passed and I just never thought anything could ever get between us. Ever. I just keep thinking “Where did it go wrong?” “Could I have fixed it?” I know that I had faults as a friend and that there were things that I contributed to but I just could have never fathomed not having my best friend that had been with me through good and bad from late middle school and our mid twenties. I also think maybe I didn’t try enough. I saw it happening and I let it. I could have addressed it and stop trying to pretend we could go back after certain things. I didn’t. We probably could have moved forward.
I think the biggest things I think about friendship right now are:
1. As I’ve gotten older it’s really hard for me to make friends. I can talk to anybody and be a friend but I’m talking about REALLY REALLY close friends but it is really hard for me to find that these days. The ease of making friends that I had when I was younger is not there. It’s part that at my age we are all in SO MANY DIFFERENT PLACES — married, with kids, married to their career, single, etc. Plus, where do I meet them?? March around with a “bff wanted” sign? I’m out of practice I think. I also think after so many years of rough patches with friends and trust issues…I’m afraid. I know I am. I show it in the friendships I’m currently cultivating. I’m an open person but I get skiddish and back off sometimes because of the past.
2. That BFF-shaped hole in my heart aches sometimes: It’s true. There is nothing like having a best friend. There isn’t. I have a ton of VERY close friends right now that I LOVE like crazy but it’s different than your BEST FRIEND. That person that acknowledges that you are their best friend. You know you can call them crying at 4am for a dumb reason, that they will go on random adventures with you, they will get your dumb jokes, that they will always try to cheer you up, call you out lovingly when you are wrong, finish your sentences, can read you like a book and know what is wrong with you before you do etc. There is no tip-toeing or second guessing with them. It’s just hard to explain…but if you’ve had a BEST FRIEND you know. I mean, yes, Will is my best friend but I need a lady sometimes.
3. It’s funny, though, throughout all of this I’ve realized my sister has always been my best friend: My sister and I were SOOO close when we were younger. It was just the two of us. We went through a reallyyy rough time during end of high school and college. That timing? When my mom got sick with cancer, passed away and then the aftermath. We’ve been through a lot. We screamed at each other and called each other the worst names in the world but the funny thing is that even in the times of “hate” if somebody wronged one of us our protective side came out and we always had each others back. We became best friends again the day she called me and told me she was pregnant with Genevieve. For the first time in a long time, I was the first to know something about her life. Every since that day we have been closer than we have ever been before. I call her when I need to cry, to vent, to admit something really stupid. I can be myself 100% and she knows the WORST things of me and the same with her and I never feel judged. There are very few relationships I’ve felt that kind of closeness with and I am so thankful we were able to salvage it. I’m extra thankful that I have my sister has my best friend and I hate that for so long I didn’t care about cultivating that.
This was really rambly, I know. But friendship is important and I’ve been thinking about it so much — the loss of it, the definition of it, the beginning stages of it, how to fix it when it’s broken, how to BE a better friend because I’ve been failing and how to open up again. It’s hard. It really is. As much of what I love to read features romances, I crave more friendship books because it’s so important to who we are. I was the girl who wasn’t friends with girls and I regret that. I valued guys more than I did my friends. I didn’t know how to handle friendships when things changed. I didn’t always know how to be a friend. But I do know now how much I really need REAL, close friends and how I miss it so much.
Tell me about your friendships! Do you have a bff? Have you experienced a “breakup” with a bff? Is it hard for you to make friends as you’ve gotten older? How do you deal with things when friendships start to change? What books do you love that portray friendship? Let’s talk friendship!!