I’ve been thinking about guilt

Yesterday I spoke to someone I haven’t really interacted with in years because our break up started a spiral of trouble and heart break in our little friend group. And I realize now that I always thought it was my fault.

God I loved her so much. But she was crazy at the end. I don’t think it’s all her fault; she was dealing with some heavy stuff in her life that I didn’t make easier.

But what always killed me was that after we broke up and I wasn’t seeing her much anymore, she attached herself to one of my other friends. This other friend is a wonderful, lovely, shiny lady and my ex totally lied to her and misused her trust.

And I see now that I blamed myself for the utter turmoil that my friend was experiencing because of my ex – if things hadn’t ended as badly between us then she wouldn’t have reached out and started a new relationship and ruined that one too; and now she blames me for ruining all of her relationships and taking all her friends and winning this competition she always put between us.

My anxiety was putting all this blame on me for the disintegration of this relationship. And I’ve been carrying this for years! I’ve been keeping tabs on her through social media, just trying to figure out how she’s doing and what her mental health state is like. Because I felt like I owed it to her; I needed to know she was doing okay so that I knew I hadn’t ruined her whole life.

Talking to her yesterday, even briefly and very superficially, was a surprise. We were both at an event that was big enough for me to be able to avoid her, but she knew I was there. So I said hi. And she said hi. We complained about the bitter weather, and she said she had heard I was teaching. I think I asked how she was doing, but I don’t remember.

We were both putting on these fake grins and slugging through this conversation with the ease that people with social anxiety are good at faking.

But it was still healing. I left feeling proud of myself for making a mature choice.

I think she’s doing okay. I think that after how hurt she was, if she can talk to me like nothing’s wrong then we’ve both healed over the years.

God, the way this ended has been a huge weight in my life for three years. I’m ecstatic I don’t have to carry it anymore.

*also this is some sort of cosmic timing since the 30 word story I recently posted is how I imagined our conversation would go if we ever talked again. I’m so happy that things worked out more pleasantly than in my story!*


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Chicana, feminist, writer slugging through grad school with a job teaching composition.

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