Dear friends who were not good friends,
I don’t want this to take away from the good times we had. I know we had some nice moments together. We would giggle together about almost nothing at all. We would support each other in our sports and took a ridiculous amount of photos together. I don’t want the fact that this is being shared on a bullying prevention sight to make it seem like you were a bully. To me, you were never a bully, more of an inconsiderate friend. To someone reading this in a similar situation, for them, it could be bullying. We were friends; however, I am not going to stand here today and say that I wish we still are.
We were not good friends to each other. It seemed like every day I walked on eggshells around you, terrified of saying or doing the wrong thing. You once asked why I didn’t start writing until I got to university, it is because I didn’t have a voice. I felt like every time I went to speak, I was overpowered by you. Every time I had an opinion different from yours, you shut down. You used a belief we shared to make me question myself, my self-worth. Whenever I see you again, I feel myself regress back to that girl without a voice, to the girl I swore I would never become again. But around you, it’s my natural instinct.
I’m not trying to paint you to be the worst people in the world, because you are not. You probably didn’t know what you were doing. But you were never a good friend to me. Admittedly you can’t hold all the blame, I know I had my own part to play. After all, this is the first time you have heard me say these words. But let me be clear, I don’t hate you, but I can’t say I love you either.
Through every piece of drama, I stayed by your sides. At first, I thought it was blind loyalty, now I see I never want anyone to feel the same way around me as I felt around you. If you taught me anything it was how to be a good friend; for that, I am thankful. While there were good times, I have memories that have haunted me since I left. You probably don’t remember the time I was packing for a trip…I was leaving for 2 weeks and I was so excited to get away from you. You giggled and laughed as you put both your legs into one pant leg of my shorts, then encouraged another to do the same. It came up to just above your knees and you fell on the floor giggling because you couldn’t walk. You were supposed to be my friends, but that’s not what friends do. It took years to learn to love my physical self, it took even longer to realize that I was not the size of two beach balls in high school. But I thought I was, partly because of that memory, and partly because of other comments you made.
I seem bitter, and I don’t mean to. We were young, we didn’t know any better. I’ve moved passed the blind adoration of that time. I’ve moved passed the deep sadness and burning hatred I had for you in college. You are the people I used to know, who shaped me to be the person I am today. You are the reason I know how to be a good friend and the reason I found good ones.
It took time and accepting an apology that I know you will never give me. But I found people who let me speak my mind and encourage my outrageous self. They help comprehend my incomprehensible ideas instead of mocking me when I stumble over my words. People who love me for who I am and who I am becoming; who don’t let me cry alone. People I don’t have to hide my tears from. People who I am their equal, we cry to each other, we laugh with each other. If my worst day is their best day; we commiserate my day and celebrate theirs.
While I wish I could move forward enough to be that friend for you, I know I cannot. It wouldn’t be healthy for either of us. So, if you haven’t found them already, I hope you find those people in your life. I hope you find satisfaction in your career, your love, and your life. I wish you no ill will. I just wish you would be better for them than you were for me.
The woman who found her voice.
Felicity Harfield is a 22-year old University of Michigan Graduate and also a dyslexic writer. At the age of 11, she moved from London, England to Detroit, Michigan. She still has an English accent, and has found when she first meets someone, it’s all they seem to care about. But after years of battling insecurities, anxiety, toxic relationships and periods of depression Felicity knows the truth. She sees who she is without the accent and toxicity she has experience and strives to continuously learn to love herself. This is a three-part series of letters to different elements in Felicity’s life. Felicity has found that writing letters to aspects of her identity that she is insecure about has helped her. She hopes to help other people who have gone through similar periods of confusion in their life. “I am not always comfortable with who I am. I may never fully love myself, but I see how others could love me and sometimes that’s enough.”