To The Friends Who Love Me For Me, Thank You

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One thing that has surprised me in my 20s is the reality of how difficult it is to find friends. In my book, I define friends as the people you can talk stupid, random things with, but also those who you know will be there when disaster turns your world upside down. Everyone else who doesn’t fit in this category is just an acquaintance — otherwise known as the people you know by face, by name, or you hang out with one time and never saw again.

I think the reason why friendship fallouts happen in our early or mid-twenties is because most of us are changing drastically. What we want when we first stepped into our twenties may not be the same thing that we want right now, or in the future. There’s definitely somebody else who you’re going to outgrow. There’s always a person you’re going to love, and then eventually hate. You will vote people off of your life. You will dumbly dislike someone for no reason at all.

And this walking away from people situation is normal. It’s part of your human experience. You won’t be able to hold into everyone’s hands as you move forward, simply because it’s heavy; because it’s such a hassle. Whether you like it or not, at one point, you will have to cut some extra weight to feel a little lighter and be more at peace. And you have to remember that you’re not a villain when you do this.

As someone who had way too many groups of friends, I can tell that, this time around, I have found those that I want to keep in my life until the end of time. I am now surrounded by a tribe who gets me and accepts me and loves me for me. I know this because each time I’m with them, I don’t have to wear mask to feel validated. The mere fact that I show up when they ask for my presence is enough.

I’ve learned that time is never an accurate measurement in knowing whether you can consider people as true friends. It’s the laughter and the endless movie moments that you share with them that will show you if they’re the right ones. It’s not going to be a code that you need to crack. Because when you’re with your real friends, you will know — your gut will tell you.

The day that I thought I was helpless and had no one to turn into, my friends swiftly came in my world to support me without expecting to get anything from it. And that was the exact moment when my little gut whispered to me that they’re worth keeping. That my search for people whom I can trust with all of my heart was over. Because these people were already right there under my nose, never leaving me until my lips turned into a smile.

“Thank you” are two cheesy words that make them cringe in an instant. Because we don’t say them out loud to each other; instead, we show them and we make the other person feel. But I want my words to make permanence. I want to tell the world how much I appreciate them.

To my friends who love me despite my sassiness, thank you. It feels heartwarming to be welcomed and celebrated for the person that I am. It is reassuring to have that knowledge, at the back of my mind, that I don’t have to change me to fit for you. I don’t have to say the correct sentences, greet the right people, be kind to the entire world all the damn time.

Thank you for being the biggest reminder that life is pointless to be taken seriously. For letting me know that my limitations and fears and paranoia are not strange and embarrassing. For slapping me with the harsh truth that killing myself to work hard will not absolutely guarantee me success. Because some things are beyond my control. Because I don’t get to call all the shots in this world.

Thank you for proving to me that finding real friends in my twenties is not impossible. That I just need to open my eyes and my heart and learn to trust again. Thank you for making each day of the year bearable. You light up all the places we set our feet on. You bring beats to a song when the drum stops playing. You pour glitters all over the room when the party is over.

And without you in my life, maybe I won’t be this happy. Maybe I won’t know how to feel young again. Maybe I won’t be brave enough to be wild at heart. And that’s something to be truly, genuinely thankful for. TC mark

Angelo Caerlang is the author of Sparks in Broken Lights.

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