Dear me at 14:
She has been your friend since you were four years old. You shared a street. Your mothers became friends. Your geographical proximity and identical age bonded you quickly. You spent countless summer evenings playing in the yard, listening to the crickets, the warm summer breeze slowly drifting into night. The smell of sprinkler water on the pavement and freshly cut grass.
You thought that your friendship would take you through to adulthood; the two of you often posturing what you might be like when you became all grown up and very important.
Then came hormones.
Then came boys.
Then you began attending the same school.
Then everything changed.
Slowly and insidiously, your childhood friend became someone completely different. Someone solely focused on securing her status with the cool kids, even if at your expense. Somehow, everything had become a competition between the two of you- except you didn’t even want to compete at all. You just wanted to be friends.
You wanted to be the first girl in your class to get a second hole pierced in your ear (how rebellious!). Excited, you immediately told your childhood friend, forgetting for the moment that she had recently morphed into a shameless social climber. The next day, she showed up at school with (guess what?) a second hole pierced in her ear. Now if you pierced yours it would look like you were copying the person to whom you gave the idea in the first place.
David M. was looking cuter by the minute. Excited, you immediately told your childhood friend, forgetting for the moment that she had recently morphed into a shameless social climber. You returned to school the next day to find them kissing in the hallway.
You decided to try being a badass and take your first puff of a cigarette (naughty girl!). Excited, you told your childhood friend, forgetting for the moment that she had recently morphed into a shameless social climber. Upon arriving home your mother grounded you for the remainder of your adolescence. Apparently word travels quickly on Skyview Crescent.
Are you seeing a pattern here?
I hate to break it to you, but the friend you once knew no longer exists. The person you trusted with your secrets can no longer be trusted. You keep trying to bring her back to life; to win her friendship once more. But sadly, the best thing you can do is quickly mourn this loss and move on. In the land of Junior High School, the name of the game is survival.
This will not be the only time in your life that a girlfriendship ends in this manner. You will have a few more major breakups involving equally major breaches of trust.
You are passionate. You are easy to know and quick to open up. You trust easily. You fall madly in love with your friends and form very strong bonds very quickly. These are all wonderful qualities. Don’t abandon them because of fear. But be prepared that these traits will lead you to a few bad apples along the way.
“So what am I supposed to do? Just keep making friends and then waiting around to see if they suck?” you might ask.
Ever heard of the saying, “What’s down in the well comes up in the bucket”? People can only pretend for so long; eventually, everyone’s true colors shine through. For some, this will belie someone completely different from the person you thought you knew. For others, it will only intensify your respect and admiration.
And that’s the good news: you will meet and make genuine friends. Your bonds will be completely unique and bring so much meaning to your life. Having experienced a couple bad apples, believe me, the good ones will be so much sweeter.
So try not to be heartbroken for too long. Value your memories, accept the changes that your friend has chosen to make, and move on. She is allowed to live her life however she pleases.
But the next time you have a rockin’ secret that you need kept, maybe try keeping it to yourself for a while. After all, if you want something done right, it’s probably best to just do it yourself.