On Letting Go + Moving Forward
Words by Bashfully Bold Header Image by Ben Duchac // Footer Image by Ian Schneider
I woke up on Sunday morning with the special type of hangover that comes from mixing Champagne with Pinot Noir and back again. You know the type of hangover - that one you get from spending the night with a group of friends where time flies, drinks flow and you’ve talked about everything from self love, first boyfriends and career aspirations to the new and exciting opportunities that are finding their way onto your paths (and everything inbetween). We danced in the kitchen, sang along to Bruce Springsteen and ate a delicious curry that had us all sighing in delight. There were group photos with our faces pressed close, arms and legs and shoulders tangled together and soft giggles coming from deep within our chests. There were quiet conversations on the balcony and shrieks of laughter from the kitchen punctuated by the clink of full wine glasses. It was one of those hangovers where you wake up with the edges of your mouth still twitching with laughter from the night before.
This group of fabulously diverse, fierce and intelligent women aren’t old friends by any means and only in the last year or so has our friendship begun to solidify, to move beyond the shared history of us working together - towards something deeper, something more rounded. They are the women in my life who speak boldly, listen carefully and laugh wholeheartedly. These women take you out for lobster rolls and champagne on your birthday, remember your Uncle has recently been diagnosed with cancer, send you flowers for no reason, commiserate your losses, cheer your wins and support your dreams. They are the friends who send group texts after you’ve left their company to tell you how much they love you and how they’ve enjoyed the time spent together and it’s on these nights as I head home that I grin a little wider as each person responds with their own version of text love. They’re extremely special to me and are becoming the group of friends that I’ve always dreamt of having as an adult.
My friend Charlotte and I have been emailing about friendship lately; about the friends and friendships we’ve had over the course of a lifetime and how they’ve both inflated and deflated us, and what we’ve done when some friendships cease to come from a place of mutual love, support and respect. I think that’s the hardest part about friendships - coming to the realisation when one is floundering and there’s nothing you can do about it. I’ve been struggling with this recently as an old friend and I have forked off into such different life directions that we seem to be bamboozled by each other’s priorities and way of life and the only thing that joins us together now is the memories of a friendship that once was, but just isn’t anymore.
A particular comment from Charlotte keeps floating through my mind: maybe there needs to be an understanding that things have changed and you are not the same people you once were. She’s a smart lady you see and so very right -- the time that has passed with this friendship unfortunately hasn’t refreshed it with any new shared experiences or commonality. It’s gotten stale and heavy and the thought that this has happened with a once pivotal person in my life makes me feel incredibly sad, guilt ridden, lost even and I’m trying my hardest to work through it with grace and honesty. It’s sad and confusing but at the same time there also seems to be a new and delicate understanding (you are not the same people you once were) and I’m trying to get used to sitting with that. To feel it out, to let it flow around me, to see how it feels shouldering the realisation that things have come to an inevitable end. I’m sure it will take some time to process fully and I’m trying not to rush it, even if it is achingly uncomfortable.
It was with Charlotte’s words in mind that I sat back on my stool on Saturday night and surveyed the fabulous group of women sitting around me and I thought it was possible that my heart might actually burst with happiness. I thought to myself this is it, this is what friendship means and it was at that moment that I felt something loosen, I felt the sadness and guilt back off just that little bit. I felt slightly more at ease with the heartbreak and pain that has been shadowing me lately, that little bit more confident and understanding that it’s the right decision to let that old friendship rest and instead be glad of the memories of what once was.