Friends. The word used to make me absolutely cringe. I've had a rough time with friendships; I'm not sure what it is about them that makes me completely crumble sometimes. I've had times with ups and downs, I've had moments where I didn't have a single friend. I've had days where I've never felt so loved. After all these years, I think I'm just starting to figure out friendships: how they work and how I want them to be.
I think I had/have problems getting along with people. As I'm usually looking out for numero uno and I have a slight problem with my ego, I may have pushed people out of my life. Sometimes though, I just wasn't always the best when it came to "choosing" my friends.
Elementary school was blissful; there wasn't any drama, you could talk to anyone, heck, you could pretty much be friends with anyone. When I reached middle school however, I was most definitely shell-shocked. I would not consider middle school to be my finest years. I can't count the days and weeks I spent sitting at a lunch table alone or crying after school because so-and-so had made fun of me or said something about me. To be completely honest, I didn't handle these situations well. Instead of resolving them,I tried to hide. Nothing was accomplished, and to this day I am still teased incessantly by everyone around me. It's a part of my life.
High school came quickly and it was truly a sink-or-swim deal. Because of this, it was also a big exploration time for me. I drifted from group to group never really fitting in with any of them. I had friends here and there, but I didn't really belong anywhere. Junior year I joined the newspaper staff and made it my life. Senior year I was dealing with less-than-great friendships that reminded me of middle school days, but I was editor-in-chief and it was where I felt like I belonged.
In college now, I finally have a grasp on who my friends actually are, and I'd do anything for them. However, it took more than a few terrible experiences to find out who was still by my side when the smoke cleared. It truly was a rough experience for years, but it has made me appreciate my true friends that I have now found and realized. Turns out some good ol' stabs in the back and heartache can make you see what's good for you. Although I wish some of those things hadn't happened the way they did, looking back I couldn't have it any other way and find these same results.
My sister is thirteen and about to be an eighth grader. She's not exactly taking the same path I did; she has lots of friends and to be completely honest it feels like she's trying to be the person that she 'needs' to be to be with them. Although I've stressed to her so many times that that's not the way it's supposed to work, my opinion doesn't seem to be a big deal at this point. As someone who's felt the lowest lows and highest highs, I just want to tell her and girls like her that someday it will all come together for her like it did for me. It was rough. It truly was. But fortunately in the process, I never lost sight of who I really am. I never felt the need to change for anyone, and maybe that's why I was so difficult to get along with at times. But the people who love me for who I am have stuck around, and they're the ones who are the most important.