Friendship and Letting Go

I’ve categorized the two types of relationships I have had and will have formed in my life – friends that come and go and teach me a lesson or two about life, and friends I often call constants, the indestructible pillars of strength, the unchanging north star. I considered myself so fortunate to have such a set of friends.

I had so much faith in a friend, never once did I question the strength of the pillars that held our friendship upright. Its frailty had gone unnoticed until I’ve begun to see the long ignored cracks that now have opened, threatening to crumble everything that was built on an era of friendship. Perhaps I have put too much faith on someone that I’ve forgotten – people are merely people, not invincible, enduring, powerful gods. And I am not any better. The thought has made it easier for me to alight the pressure and guilt of having to let go of someone who once cradled me during my darkest moments. I too, am human, and I have changed.

On a journal entry two years ago, I described my closest and treasured friends – “My friends are scattered fragments of my soul, reminding me of my true self when I have long forgotten.”

Today, I disagree with the words I once wrote. Friends have reminded me of how outgoing, extroverted, funny, and carefree I was during my younger days and I really loved the person I was then. For a time, I believed I have lost that person in me as I’ve evolved into someone more serious and introspective. I missed my old self. I longed to be the noisy, life of the party, bubbly, clumsy, foolish, extroverted me again. I sought old friends to bring it back to me and at times, it came back and I was happy. But when I began to embrace more of the person I was evolving into, a person with more self-respect, unaccepting of crap and facetiousness, I felt less and less inclined to recourse back to the person I once was. It was wrong of me to entrust friends with such grave a task of reminding me of my “true self”.

The true self is not in the past, not some imagined self in the future and definitely is not defined or rekindled by friends. The true self is found in who you are now and what your heart is presently telling you. No one should ever dictate who you are, how you should be treated and make you feel bad about yourself. That power belongs to you alone. Anyone who cannot respect your being should feel free to walk out the door.

After having accepted that everything in this world is a constant flux of coming and going, the categories dividing my set of friends have merged into one set that is universal: all of us are merely crossing each others paths at different stages in our lives with no guarantees of lasting. But still I say, what a wonderful thing it is to give a part of your soul to someone despite the possibility of endings: you can never lose yourself in loving someone, more so in letting go; you can only transform and grow.

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