An open letter to my best friends.
I already find this first line funny. Here’s why:

I am somebody who enjoys measuring a lot of things in time. I love comparing myself now to who I was a month, a year, or even two years ago. I find it interesting to see how I’ve grown, how I’ve changed, and sometimes, how I’ve spiralled. It’s very easy to get lost in your own little world and to forget where you are and where you've come from.

I guess that’s why I find the first line almost ironic. Because I think about myself now, writing this letter to the friends that I have surrounded myself with over the last few years that have become the sisters I (definitely) didn’t ask for but definitely needed. And then I compare this version to my former self who, in both high school and primary school, very much struggled with making and keeping friends.

Though I may not seem like it (I can act like a bit of a dickhead around people I’m comfortable with), I am quite a naturally introverted person. I get uncomfortable in a lot of social situations, I enjoy my alone time, and for a number of years, I never quite got the hang of knowing how to act around different people. I always felt as though I was an interesting toy with little quirks that people would be fascinated by and infatuated with for a few months, and once they realised that I didn’t really offer anything else, they eventually got bored and left. It was like clockwork. Even when I found myself within groups in high school, it was always the elephant in the room that I was on the outer. I struggled with this concept for a very long time, always wishing to find my "person."

And in 2017, I did. In fact, I met a handful. And now I cannot get enough of any of you.

As mentioned in a previous post, I graduated from high school in 2016. I was a good student, able to cruise through year 12 with a score that allowed me to get into the degree of choice with minimal effort. I had just begun a high level of cheerleading and I was managing to balance it well. I was happy. In 2017, the mood quickly shifted as I entered into my first real relationship.

I don’t care to go into great detail about what happened, for both his privacy and for my own. However, I feel the need to at least explain its effect on my own mental health for context. And, let me start off by saying it was the most chaotic 18 months of my life.

By May 2018, I was on the verge of being suicidal. I couldn’t leave my bed. I recall pulling over on the side of a dimly lit road with my car pointing out over the line just hoping that somebody would miscalculate and hit me. I came home every night screaming. I kept a diary for the final 5 months of the relationship, and in my second-to-last entry, I wrote;

"I had always thought that he was the issue. But what if it was me causing all of this? I feel so fucking lonely, but he keeps saying I'm imagining everything in my head. I think I'm going crazy."

Being lonely is a peculiar thing because it has very little to do with the number of people you’re surrounded by and more to do with who you’re surrounding yourself with. In 2017-2018, I had built a wall around myself and this relationship that I was in, believing that if I put all of my energy into this one area of my life, something positive had to change. But as a friend once said, my partner took away my solitude yet offered me no companionship. I had always experienced bouts of loneliness in high school due to constantly feeling like a wallflower within my own group. However, this was a level of emotional isolation that I had never experienced before and I didn’t know how to handle it. But the only thing that kept me sane and kept me driving straight on the road was (more or less) the girls in my photo.

I can’t count and recall everything that they did for me in that period of time. But I am talking to you girls directly now, and I cannot stress this enough:

You saved my life.

You literally carried me when I physically could not walk. You bombarded me with a million messages over the span of 18 months asking me if I was okay, or if I needed a lift, or to talk, or just to have company. I never noticed, but I gradually and unintentionally became a mean and cold person to my friends and family. But every single day, you copped it on the chin and kept chipping away at this wall that I built around myself to keep everybody out. A lot of people, understandably, dropped out of my life throughout the entire ordeal because they couldn't understand my personality change. My own parents even struggled to understand what was happening. But you girls stayed. And you understood.

It’s common knowledge that I love my cheerleading team. I have been offered a spot on one of the best co-ed teams in the world by my head coach on a number of occasions, and each time, I rejected the offer and stayed on the team I was on. People thought I was crazy passing up on this seemingly "amazing" opportunity. I gave a number of excuses at the time, but the truth is that I felt compelled to stay with my friends. I owe you girls my life because you saved it. Simple as that.

I don’t think I have ever said that to you in person, and maybe it’s because I’m not good at talking or maybe it’s because I’m a pussy. Probably both. But I need you to hear it now because as I lay next to my current boyfriend whom I love very much, extremely happy and grateful for where I currently am in life, I feel the need to thank you as I am genuinely not sure if I would still be here without you.

I love each and every one of you. All of you.

            - Loz (AKA, big John)

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