To My Real Friends, and Fake Friends...
"Baby girl, don't you know that If you can account for five BEST friends in your life, you are truly blessed. Honey, the friends you have are going to come and go; and that’s life. You will always make new ones. And that’s okay."
You know how you never forget certain advice that someone once told you? Those words never left your mind because they actually meant something bigger than what you knew at the time. You understood what they were saying in the moment, but you didn't actually grasp the deeper meaning until it actually happened to you. Well, I know I can account for one great piece of advice that someone once told me when I was a teenager. It was in the heat of an argument about who my real friends were and why I felt so strongly about having to make new ones, like it was a slap in the face to make new friends and move on. I was so naive back then, but I remember that one night I was so upset when my mother told me I had to move schools again. Since this was something I had to do often, I was pretty tired of doing it. Not to mention I had just made so many friends at the current school I was in. I mean, why would I want to leave all those people that I thought were my true pals for life? Why should I have to start all over again? It just didn’t feel right to me.
After speaking my mind on how angry I was for having to move schools again, my step father had to sit me down and give me some tough love. And like I said earlier, I heard and understood what he said, but I didn't realize the significance until I got older and I had to actually apply it to a situation. He said, "Baby girl, don't you know that If you can account for five BEST friends in your life (holding up five fingers to my face), you are truly blessed. Honey the friends you have are going to come and go; and that’s life. You will always make new ones. And that’s okay." And you know what, he was right. He was very right indeed. I was so scared that I wouldn’t make new friends because I thought I already had some good ones. I thought that because I was so anti-social, and unpopular, that I would never make good friends again. Little did I know, most of those people weren’t my true friends anyway, and that It was truly a blessing that I was able to leave them behind when I moved away. I didn’t need their negativity in my life anyway.
You see, back then, I was the quiet sweet girl that no one really knew or cared about in school. Sure I played some sports, and participated in some social gatherings, but no one ever really knew me that well. Now, once I did make friends, I was always the one that was too nice and gave too much of my time and energy to the wrong people. You see, I was the good caring friend that everyone took advantage of but never understood why. Now I know that they treated me that way because I let them. Once I started to wise up in college, I tried my best to make sure my friends would not take advantage of me. But of course, I needed to stop being so nice first.
So now I would like to say Thank You to all of my good friends, and to all of my fake friends that I have encountered in my life. You really showed me a thing or two.
First, I want to thank all of my good and true friends. I am so blessed to have you as my guardian angels that never left my side. Although you are a small group, I want you to know that I appreciate everything you have done for me thus far. I want to thank you for having patience with me when I was crazy stubborn, spoiled, poor, homeless, depressed, ignorant, and especially, when I was hungry. If it wasn’t for you, I don’t know where I would be. You pulled me out of the darkness and into the sunlight many times over, and I can never truly repay you for that. I only ask that you continue to be my backbone when I need it and continue to have patience with me. For I know how I can get…(wink, wink)
Next, I want to thank all of my Fake Friends (Frenemies) because they impacted my life more than my good friends have….
To all the boys and girls, and men and women that took advantage of my kindness from my childhood up until now; thank you. You helped me realize that I can not be kind to everyone all the time, just because I want to. Not everyone deserved my kindness at 100%.
Thank you to all of the young black girls that made fun of me in school because they were jealous or just couldn’t figure me out. You hated that I didn’t talk like you, dress like you, live near you, wear my hair like you, like the same hobbies as you, watch BET like you, have more black friends like you, dance like you, play sports like you, and more. You made fun of me for having money, which was not something I could control, obviously. You used to tug on my hair in class when the teacher wasn’t looking to see if it was real, and I hated that. But I want to thank you for being so rude and cruel to me; another black girl, just like you, who really wasn’t that different. Because even though you treated me like crap and didn’t involve me in your games, sleepovers, or secrets, or get to know me at all, I was still nice and humble; and I was never evil to you the way you were to me. After a while, It just seemed childish to acknowledge your ignorance on a daily basis, so instead, I hung out with the white kids, Hispanic kids, Asian kids, Indian kids, and others. At least with them, they accepted me for who I was and I could be myself around them. Because even at a young age, I decided that I would stay open-minded and not just stick to one race because I was too closed-minded and hateful to get to know others. My parents taught me to love all races, since we all bleed the same color. So thanks for being hateful, when you had no reason to be.
I want to thank the fake friends I had when I had money and was able to do more than others who were less privileged than I. The truth is, It was not my choice to have a hard working mother who wanted to give her daughters more than she had when she was young. I was born into it. But even though I had money, I never flaunted it. I never criticized other people who were less fortunate than me. In fact, since I didn’t understand the struggle, I would share my money with you so called “friends” and you didn’t even have to ask. If I saw someone in need, and I knew how to help, I would. I had what I needed, so why not share what I could to help someone else. But of course, once the money was gone, and the economy got bad, you started to drift away from me. It’s funny because I actually thought you liked to hang out with me because of my personality; but I was dead wrong. As soon as I told you I no longer had large amounts of money at my discretion, you turned on me. Asking me questions about how and why I never had money anymore to go out, get a drink, go to a nice restaurant, go shopping, get my hair done, etc. You had no idea how hard it was for me to see my life fall apart at my fingertips. And Instead of being sympathetic, you just laughed in my face when I told you I was now basically on my own and had to work three jobs while in college to make do. It’s sad that I had to explain myself to you for you to understand where I was coming from. I mean, you were supposed to be my friends. People that should be helpful, understanding, and caring. But it’s okay. I’m glad I lost my money and had to start over. Because you gave me a good reality check on what real friends are and who really cares about you in the real world. When the money is rollin’ in, you have an abundance of friends; but once the money runs out, you are standing alone on the sidelines. Thank you to my past gold-digging friends who never appreciated me for who I really was, with or without my money. I didn’t need you anyway.
Lastly, I want to give a huge thanks to the fake friends I had that did the worst things to me when I didn’t even see it coming. You really did a number on me, because I really had no idea you were capable of such betrayal. So I want to thank you for all the backstabbing you bestowed on me when I was too naive to see the forest through the trees. Thank you for lying about how I really felt about me. Thank you for turning my other friends against me because you were jealous and selfish to allow me to share my friends with you. Thank you for not inviting me to your social gatherings and never telling me why to my face so I could understand. Thank you for embarrassing me in public with harsh words and name calling since you knew I was too nice to say those things to you. Thank you for starting fights with me and other girls who hated me because you just wanted to follow the crowd. Thank you for making yourself my competition instead of my partner in something that was meant for ME, not you. Thank you for assuming I was stuck up without ever getting to know me. Thank you for spreading rumors around about me and then coming over to smile in my face afterwards. Thank you for trying to steal my boyfriend because you knew I couldn’t do anything about it. Thank you for stealing my money when I wasn’t looking. Thank you for leaving me out in the cold wondering about your well being when I just wanted to know you were safe. Thank you for never calling me back. And most of all, thank you for claiming to be my good friend, when you knew you never wanted to be. You helped me see that I really can’t trust anyone, and that finding a good friend is like digging for a needle in a haystack.
To God and My Loving Family
I would first like to give a HUGE amount of thanks and appreciation to my one and only, my best friend, and my protector, GOD. Words cannot express how thankful I am that you sent your only son, Jesus Christ, down to Earth to teach the people how to love, pray, and always be faithful no matter what. Without you, there would be no faith, hope, and love in the world, and we would all be lost. And if your son Jesus Christ did not die on that cross for us that day, we would never have known what true love is and what it means to show it. So thank you for giving us another chance, when we knew we didn’t deserve it. For we know we are not worthy, and we don’t deserve what you have given us. If anything, we are still learning how to be grateful; me included. But we have come so far from where we used to be as a species; and that’s all thanks to you. Because of you, LOVE exists. I love you. And I know you will never leave my side. You will always be there when I need you.
Next, I would like to give thanks to my family. Especially to the family members that have been a teacher, motivator, and caretaker to me when I was lost. When I needed someone to show me what having a “real” family was like, you were there to show me. And every time I think of you, I cry, because I can remember exactly how I felt in the times where you showed me love when I felt I didn’t deserve it. When you took me in, when I had nowhere else to go. When you believed in me and pushed me to do my best no matter what my situation. You taught me how to be an adult, and I am so grateful for it. I wish I would have known before that family means so much more than to provide for their loved ones financially, but to be there for each other through thick and thin. Because we are blood, we share similar traits, personalities, and attributes. When all of our friends have come and gone, family is all you have left. I didn’t know that when I was little, but now I do.
And just to add on to thanking my family, I want to give a special thanks to my mother. Yes, yes, I know we have never had the best relationship, this is true. Nothing to be ashamed of, many daughters don’t get along with their mothers. Heck, many children don’t get along with their parents period once they hit the teenager stage. But, to separate me and my mother from other families, I have to say, and it kills me to say, that I realized the reason why we never got alone for so long, was because we were so much alike. My goodness, I should have really seen this coming. But it may be because I showed many attributes of my father when I was young. I was sweet, timid, and too generous, with no limits. I used to be so quiet, shy, distant, hard headed, and a deep thinker with my head in the clouds. I thought if anything, I was more like my father, than my mother for sure. And I thought I was going to stay that way. But oh no, God had other plans for me. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t understand why my mother was so strict ALL THE TIME.
She always had something to say about who I was with, where I was going, and why I needed to go in the first place. “Geeeeez, can you just let me live?!” I thought to myself every time she made me stay home and clean, or do homework. She always gave me these long speeches about how I need to be when I grow up, and how I need to watch who I make friends with, and how I need to be thankful for what I have and stop complaining….yada yada yada. All day, every day she would say these things and much much more. But to be honest, I was wrong for not listening. I thought all her yelling and long speeches were because she disapproved of me. I thought I was never going to be what she wanted me to be as her daughter. I thought she wanted me to be like her, and I couldn’t. I was afraid to. I thought she was cold and mean. But my God, was I surprised when I started to grow up just like her. As soon as I had my heart broken for the third time, in a shocking way, I was done. And I mean, completely done. I had to stop and figure out who I was, why I do the things I do, and what I need to do to stop letting people run over me. I began to think about everything my mother tried to teach me when I was younger. I began to think, “Wait a minute, I don’t owe anyone anything. I don’t have to make everyone happy. It’s not possible. I am tired of people playing games with me. And I am tired of thinking other people will have the same heart as I do. Because they don’t.” After that, I changed completely. I found myself working harder, having less friends, less free time, and being more outspoken about what I want. I was no longer a sweet little mouse everyone took for granted.
I became a woman that demanded respect, loyalty, and honesty. I became someone who was a diligent leader, with an assertive mindset everyone could see. Now I find myself talking like my mother at work, with friends, and at home. Ha, even in training my dog, I felt that I sounded like my mother when she was raising me and my sister. I always felt that she would talk to us, me and my sister, so mean and blunt; like we were adults. Now I know why. She wasn’t the kind of mother that was going to baby us all our lives, she wanted us to have common sense at a young age and to know that people in the world don’t care about you. It’s a hard world out there, and she just wanted us to be ready for it. So I want to say thank you once again to my mother for being so strict, and teaching me how to be an adult at a young age. I’m sorry I didn’t understand before, but now I do. You were only looking out for my best interest. I love you for that, because without your honesty, I know I would be just another statistic. You were always a strong woman to me, and that’s exactly what I needed. I love you, and I hope you always knew that. I just want you to be proud of me and be my rock when I need you. I am sure that motherhood is not easy, and I am sure I drove you mad plenty of times with my ignorance. But I know you did your best to raise me. Thank God for strong mothers!