How To Deal with Losing a Friend
Lately I have been struggling with a sense of displacement. Tied to my anxiety, in the middle of the day or during my Shakespeare class, I begin to not feel real. The world becomes hazy and I have to dig my nails into my wrist to bring my floating self, down. Last week I noticed scars from where I had dug too deep.
It all happened when Natalie* stopped texting back. She had been such a known entity in my life, and her absence made me question what was actually constant.
But when someone so near to you just walks out with no excuse except personal reasons, nothing is ever the same. Inside jokes and familiar situations pop up, but now they just hit me in the gut.
When a safety net has been pulled but you keep jumping anyway, at some point the black and blue scars don’t seem real. Nothing makes sense when part of your most prominent memories are torn in half. It’s hard to realize nothing mattered when at a point our friendship was my world.
I tend to shut out unhappy memories but now I’m at a crossroad because it’s the present that isn’t great. So how do I block out the hurt I feel every time Natalie sits with people that more closely fit her ideal image?
But at the same time, I really am thriving. My other friends have become my closest ones bring me a joy and sense of carelessness that Natalie never allowed me. Perri* and Maddie* are not as aesthetically controlled, and allow their emotions freedom to make themselves known. We cry and laugh and smile together. When Maddie hugs Perri my heart swells and I feel at home.
Nonetheless, Natalie’s absence has thrown me off at Skidmore. I feel a little lost, but I will learn to allow this feeling in the meantime. And lately I keep thinking I’m going to pass out for some reason -- I can tie this to the shaky ground I’ve been left on if I want to.
My mental health is like putty a lot of the time. Mostly, I struggle with allowing myself a balance of typical core emotions (as seen in Inside Out). So even though I’m unnerved or disappointed in Natalie’s loss, that does not mean I am depressed. But at the same time, it would be okay to allow myself time to grieve, even though the very thought of that makes me scared.
Sophomore year is joyous and building itself into opportunities that I could have only hoped for. The friends and people I am surrounding myself with are beautiful souls and I am quite proud of this Jessica that I am becoming.
She is strong and determined. She is passionate and smart. She dreams big and loves hard. She is kind and she is silly. She follows her heart over her mind in every decision, even if last time it didn’t end well. She loves looking at pretty people but she loves her boyfriend more. And she can pick her own damn self back up when people knock her down.
This is the Jessica I am becoming. And for once in my life, I’m not worried about this future. While I still struggle with trusting reality, all I have to do is look at my hands and smooth over my skin to come alive again. My body brings me back to earth when my thoughts get too big.
Most importantly: my body can learn from its past and make better decisions.
I do not deserve to be left in the dust of somebody else’s closed chapter. I am more than a narrative you can end. There is a human here, a body here, that is affected by your decisions. You may have closed the chapter and walked away unscathed, but I have bruises I must nurse now — you have to respect that.
My body and heart is greater than your sticks and stones. The people I know have created a beacon of joy and unfiltered love that will sustain me for years. I know it will.
* signifies names have been changed for privacy