It’s not you, it’s me.
We’ve known each other since high school and shared many fun memories. We stayed close in college, though, in hindsight, I was already starting to set some boundaries with you. There were times you didn’t belong, like when I had to study, or I needed to write a paper, or hikes I needed to take with a clear head.
I can see now that the times I turned to you the most were when I felt the most uncertainty, the deep sorrow of things ending, and the heavy fear of the unknown.
I left for my senior year of college, having said goodbye to my childhood home for good, the sale already pending. Over Christmas break, my grandfather got sick and died within a few months. I was graduating in the spring and leaving my wonderful friends and connections after four amazing years, everyone relocating to different states across the country. My sister was getting married over the summer. I was experiencing sad things, happy things, big transition things.
I think I leaned on you again when I felt stuck in a corporate job instead of following my creative path. We spent many weekends together, Thursday happy hours and football Sundays, cushioning whatever pain my soul was trying to communicate.
Then something clicked. I saw you for what you are and your role in my life. I faced what was happening under the surface and began to make peace with my past traumas. I made choices to change my life and my direction. There was little room for you anymore. Of course, we still bumped into each other. You were always around. We shared many of the same friends.
But this new relationship we began, as acquaintances rather than friends, platonic instead of lovers, was so much healthier for me.
I had my heart broken into a million pieces, and rather than turn to you, I turned away from you. I faced my broken heart head-on, let all the feelings wash over me, and brought myself back to life without you. I did not let you into my life months later, and our relationship changed forever.
All the times we spent together, I felt so much joy; dancing, singing, laughing, bonding with friends, all those things remained, even without you.
I will still dance the longest and laugh the loudest, with or without you.
I feel so grateful that I can still be around you and choose to take or leave you. Sometimes, we can hang out if I’m out to dinner or on vacation, and I love to celebrate a toast with you or even cozy up in front of a fire on a Friday night, but that’s all it is now. A short visit, a glass, a brief encounter – nothing that will alter my presence at the moment or wreak havoc on my body the next day.
I still see you everywhere and offer zero judgment for how others welcome you in their lives.
If we didn’t have so much history, I might still welcome you with open arms. For me, this is all we are meant to be. Like I said, it’s not you; it’s me.
With sincere gratitude for all of the laughs and lessons,