Over at Mom Faze, Randi wrote a letter to her bully and encouraged us to do the same. Mine is directed at a childhood 'friend' who actually was more of a bully. You can play along, if you like.
We were best friends in grade six. People used to think we were twins, even. The shared secrets, movie nights at your house, all the things that close girlfriends should have growing up, I shared with you. "Best friends forever", we'd write all over our notebooks in colored felts and giggle.
That is, until we hit eighth grade and you decided that you wanted to be popular. Suddenly, I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t wear the right clothes, have the right hair, the right friends, the right anything. You were ashamed to be seen with me and found other friends-which would have been okay, had we just drifted apart but instead, you were always on the periphery. In a small town where both our families were involved in church, it was hard not to always run into each other.
For years our on again, off again toxic friendship permeated my life; friends when you felt like it, distant at best. You talked behind my back to my friends, ruining other relationships I had worked hard to build, and made sure that I was alone. You coveted everything from the stereo I got for Christmas to the contact lenses my parents gave me for my 16th birthday and drew other people into thinking that I somehow didn’t deserve those gifts, feeding them words to say that you deserved them more. Instead of being supportive and happy for me, you tore me down every single time attention was paid to me instead of you.
There were times that I wished we had never met, and instead of simply telling you to get lost I turned into survival mode because everything I wanted to do from church choir to drama team, youth group and school you were involved in or your parents helped run, and I couldn’t get away from you even if I tried.
You told me your prom dress would be the same color as mine, and when I changed the color from what I wanted to a second choice, you copied that too. Then at the last minute as I planned an after prom party at our house, you threw one at your house just down the street.
Everyone went to your party.
It wasn’t until we were adults and you told me that I’d go to hell for living with the man I loved before we were married that I began to see your true colors and realize that I didn’t have to put up with you anymore. Still, once we were mothers and living just down the road from each other, I allowed myself to rekindle our friendship one last time. We fell back into our old patterns soon, and eventually all it took was one last phone call where you were distant and cold, for me to finally see our friendship for what it really was. You were a bully disguised as a best friend.
That was 16 years ago, and now we live about 20 minutes from each other. I wonder what I’ll say if we ever run into each other in a store. The last I heard from you, was an apology for not wanting to be my friend in grade eight. It was something you needed to do for you, the letter said. That’s what it always was about, wasn’t it?
I know better now. Sadly, I sincerely doubt that you do.