Old Friend, I’m Changing The Narrative

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I’ve caught myself talking about you several times this summer.  I’ve told stories about your strength, like when life smacked you around and death took your loved ones, but you got back up again, different. Stronger.  I’ve alluded to the valuable lesson you taught me when you showed me a picture of yourself from when you were in high school.  “Crazy hair, huh?” That’s what you said but what you didn’t say was that you loved yourself anyway, even though your hair looked like Kristy McNichol got in a fight with a weed whacker and you carried those extra pounds that “didn’t help” when you wanted a date to prom.  You didn’t say it, but I’d heard you loving the young you in that picture and you taught that to me.

It feels good to change the narrative.  To have rounded the bend of resentment and hurt and to have arrived at some place new where the good stuff gets to be just as big as the stuff that tore us apart.

I found pictures of us as I was packing up the house.  And letters and notes and emails I inexplicably printed out and saved. (Guess I didn’t understand the “mailbox” function of email.)  “Who’s that?” my kids asked.  I told them the truth.  “And old friend Mommy hasn’t seen in a long time.”  They’ve never experienced the complexity of friendships that stop and start, come and go. I didn’t give them details.  Who knows? By the time they are old enough to ask where you, the woman in the picture, went, I may have more answers.  Maybe they will know you by then.  Perhaps not.

But I’m telling the good stories, those pieces of our relationship where the sun was shining on both of our faces.  It’s so healing to remember us in this light and take stock of all the gifts I received being a part of our relationship.

This. This sweet and peaceful feeling of gratitude and wholeness.  This is the gift of forgiveness.

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46 thoughts on “Old Friend, I’m Changing The Narrative

  1. It’s all you can do, right? Decide which parts of the story to hold and tell? Focusing on the parts that still hurt only make you cling to hurt.

    Good for you. And sorry about the weedwacker.

  2. Very interesting. I wrote a short blurb the other day in response to the Down on Detroit comments I’ve seen lately. In it, I revisit the Detroit I knew and loved with my no-longer-bff. She and I parted ways (badly) when I met my husband. It has always stung and I have carried around the same feelings that you have. I know how that feels. All of it. Anyhow- I think I’ve even brought her up before when you have posted about your ‘Dawn’ on here. I felt good writing about what fun we had- not a word of negativity and I didn’t FEEL negative either! I even used her real name….

    So yep. I think we’re growing up. Possibly ‘You’re Always On My Mind’ is messing with us too.

  3. This was beautiful, almost too personal to read. Changing your narrative leads to changing your energy — with this simple but difficult gesture I truly believe you are making way for more wonderful things to come. So proud of you my friend.

  4. Whenever I see the old line about forgiveness being a gift to yourself I roll my eyes because inevitably it’s on a poster of cats “hanging in there” or whatnot. But I shouldn’t be so quick to eye roll because it’s so, so true. Good for you!

    • Honestly, there were days when I wondered if there was anything in here but bitterness and regret. There’s more. Letting go helped make room for people like you. I’m grateful.

  5. at first i thought you were talking about your old self… but then i got it. my old bff and i split on irreconcilable difference by the time my first child was born, but our families are forever tied. there has also been unexpected death and pain, but i’ve learned to forgive and move on. we will never be old bff’s but we can be some kind of f’s when we happen to cross paths.

  6. Sometimes acknowledging that things are past is the best way to move forward. Sure, we all want the good times again and we keep our door a little open to any possibilities. But reclaiming the part of yourself that gave so much to a relationship is more important to your integrity than to sacrifice anything for a relationship.
    Nice post.

  7. WOAH! very well written! There is an air of mysticism around this story and I like it a lot. Every sentence calls for questions in my mind, thought provoking 🙂

  8. I love to think of the good. The good was good. The bad was later and pretty damn bad, but the good is still there and the best part is recalling the FEELING from certain moments. It doesn’t erase the bad or negate the good. It just reminds.

  9. Friendships are so difficult, especially the ones that end (badly). Good for you for being able to see past the anger and the hurt and remember the times that made the friendship so amazing in the first place!

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