a manifesto for my friends

I had a thought today and it stopped me in my tracks. Finally, something I didn’t have to cling to – the rampant runaway train of thought in my head actually halted and allowed me to really consider this question I asked myself.

I wonder if people remember me the same way I remember them.

Was I as important? Was I as special, as influential, did I play a role in the clips of your evolution that you store in your memory? Do you roll me around in your head and wonder all the what-ifs and regrets as I often do?

My initial reaction was doubt. I love simple things about complex people and it results in obsessions over nonexistent relationships with real people who can only stand by and watch as I play my version of reality, quietly pitying me and wishing I’d leave.

I’ve created many an awkward moment with my overestimation of friendship. I’ve poured my heart out and felt it slide like egg yolk off my face. I’ve been too forward at times, and I’ve assumed things I shouldn’t have. I’ve made mountains out of molehills and halted construction of bridges entirely. I’m not good at making friends, I’m worse at keeping them in the manner to which they deserve to be accustomed.

But there are moments in my memory I keep. They’re not even important, per se, but they’re remarkable. The smallest of firsts, but what I remember. I wonder if those little things hold as much weight for you as they do for me. I just wonder if I meant as much, even for just a fraction of the time.

Some of my worst decisions were anger-driven and out of panic. Some were overwhelmed exclamations of “fuck it and fuck you, too!” (Okay, maybe a lot were the latter and maybe there were a lot more f words.) Regardless, I guess I sit here today and feel less than stellar for setting fire to those particular bridges.

I remember letting a girl braid my hair in 7th grade. We’re not friends anymore and I can’t really tell you why except I felt jealous and irritated at a high point in her life when I was going through a low. I wonder if she remembers me like that – was I just a girl she used to know? Or does she remember being only the second girl in the history of my life to invite me to a sleepover?

I was thinking of my first grade best friend today, for some reason, and recalled how we actually re-met in college. The world is such a smaller place than we remember to see. I wonder if she too, remembers me as her first grade best friend – or if I’m just another name in the yearbook she can’t recall.

I’ve had a few really great friends in my life. I’m so grateful for the two I met first – we don’t see each other often and I wonder if we’ll ever see each other all in the same room again – but I love you both so, so much. I am so thankful you guys were there to light up such a bleak existence for me back then.

I’ve had some that have grown into my life so elaborately that it’s hard to tell when their family ended and mine began. Coincidence after coincidence after coincidence built the electric current between our heads – you catch my drift and I catch yours. Thanks for the cousin, by the way. He makes a great husband. If loving you was training wheels for the rest of the family, you can imagine the amazing ride I’m on!

I am a self-proclaimed “Super Googler.” I am constantly checking in on old friends. I’m a creeper, for sure. I just like to know I still have time to procrastinate. I like to know if you’re happy, if you ended up with a hot spouse, you know. I want good things for you. (Except for a literal handful of people whom I’m very happy to report got fatter than me.) But seriously, I check local obituaries constantly. The sad thing is, browsing the internet is how I’ve been notified of the death of a former close friend at least 6 times, NOT counting Facebook.

It’s hard to make friends with girls. I could never read them as well. I couldn’t figure out the right things to say to sound cool enough to be friends with them. For some reason, I couldn’t bear the thought of trying to be cool with my own personality. I wonder if the voices in my head are all the people I pretend so hard to be? Could my auditory hallucinations somehow be directing some “Stranger Than Fiction” scenario? (Whoa, slow it down. That’s crazy talk.)

But I had a few. And I loved them fiercely – and still do. I just don’t know how to swallow my pride and admit that I miss them. I don’t know how to say the sorries that need to be said, I don’t know how to turn off the judgmental bitch in my head that continues to goad me on. “I just think it’s funny that…”

Shut up. It’s not funny, and maybe I had reasons to call it quits on our friendships then, but it’s been a few years now and I wonder often enough to think maybe it’s time to drop you that line I’ve been meaning to.

Facebook is going to kill me. It feels like a social cancer, infecting me with jealousy and making me delirious with envy. If only I could be that thin, that pretty, that rich, that smart, that funny, that confident, that lucky. If only I could buy a house, too. If only I could drive a new car, too. If only I could take my kids on the vacations they deserve. Man, if only I wasn’t such a whiny selfish brat I could do these things on my own, but instead I’ll sit here and be frustrated and somehow bring myself low enough to believe that you, my friend, somehow don’t deserve those things, too.

I don’t have friends because I don’t have patience. I don’t have time and I don’t have the heart to make time when I’m so afraid that they’re faking it that I can’t even fake it? Social anxiety is a lonely dysfunction.

But I do! I want to get together. I want to talk sometime. I want to meet you at a bar and do shots! shots! shots! and I want to take that trip Up North and ride down the river. I want to get our kids together and I want to cook dinner. I’d love to show you around my town and I’d love to see yours. I’d love to drive across the country and crash at your house. I’d love to remember those we lost together and I’d love to be invited to your wedding. And I’m so, so, sorry that I don’t know how to properly follow through on any of these things. And I do still love you and want to be your friend.

This isn’t for anyone in particular. This is for all of you – everyone on my friends lists – whether you’ve been with me since Buddy Lists, Top 8, or Someone You May Know. I’m just saying hi, saying I miss you, and checking in. Hope you guys are having a beautiful life and if not – I really am sending good vibes your way.

I love you all. xoxo

ps – Ben, you stole my cupcake pan and I want it back, you jerk. ❤

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