I found this quote today:
“No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.”
– Alice Walker
It struck me. The last three years have been so full of ups and downs and changes…and GROW I have. I’ve grown in both direction, honestly. I’ve gone down into the depths of pain and sadness. It was like I was GROWING DOWN. And I’ve also grown up. I’ve learned so much about what it actually takes to be in a successful relationship, how much I have to compromise and how strongly I have to hold tight to certain parts of myself.
And you know what’s weird about growing down? Not everyone goes with you. Not everyone even stands at the top of the hole looking down at you and waving, as if to say, “I’ll be here when you get back but I ain’t goin’ down with ya!” A lot of them just…leave. Your downward spiral, your learning curve makes them uncomfortable. It doesn’t fit into their life. And so…they back away slowly. Sometimes they turn up on the other side and sometimes they just steer clear because, let’s face it: you’re unstable.
How many times have you been unstable? It’s happened to me a couple of times and you know what? It’s embarrassing. It’s painful. And you kinda don’t want anyone to know it’s happening. But when life gets hot-messy enough, everyone notices. And it separates the forever-people from the ones who just can’t hang. It’s a super painful process, that curd from the whey separation so to speak. Mostly because you’re standing at the bottom of the hole looking up and wondering, “Don’t they see how far down this is? Why are they all leaving?”
We’ve all been the person at the bottom of the hole, and we’ve all been the person who has left. We’ve been the ones who climbed down into the pit with the people we love to reassure them they’re not alone. And we’ve been the ones who backed away slowly because we aren’t sure how to handle our own feelings, let alone theirs.
My point is we’ve probably been on both sides of that quote, and it doesn’t make anybody wrong or better than anybody else. Some people are meant to stick around your life. You are meant to stick around for certain people. If you owe someone an apology for not sticking around, give it to them! But that doesn’t mean you have to make it up to them or show up now to re-friend. I look at the people who peaced-out during my rock bottom/digging through the rock phase and think, Yeah. That’s ok. I get it. Your not a bad person. You’re just not my friend.
Has it ever occurred to you that the people who are no longer your friends might not actually be BAD people? They just might not be YOUR people. And why would you want not-your people taking up space in your life when more of your people are waiting in the wings to get in?! Bless them. Let them go. And keep an eye out for someone else who might just throw down a rope and climb into the muck with you.