THINGS THAT TRIGGER ME
I just made a huge correlation between binging and Stephanie. When I binge I stuff my feelings down. Every time I went to Stephanie's house I would binge or have the urge to binge. Stephanie is the person that I have the hardest time expressing my feelings with and being assertive with. So yeah it all makes sense. I binge when I'm at Stephanie's house so I don't have to deal with my feelings against her. I don't know why I just figured this out now. I was washing my hands in the bathroom and I looked in the mirror and thought "Oh my god this is why I binge at Stephanie's!!!" It's weird how things can come out like that. I've been wanting to journal about Stephanie but I've been avoiding it because writing about her would mean I'd have to think about her and that's just something I don't want to do. But how am I supposed to heal if I don't let it all out? This is something I have to work out on my own for a little and then share with my therapist to get it all figured out. I want to put a close on this relationship for good.
When I was nine years old my parents told my sister and I that they were getting separated. About a month later they sat us down again to tell us that my mom had found an apartment and was moving out. Our time would be split between both houses, they loved us just as much as before, this wasn’t our fault, they would remain friends, blah.
My mom moved into the ground floor apartment of a house across the street from Huntington Hospital. On the first day we stayed at our new home, she introduced my sister and I to the girl next door named Stephanie. “Wanna play with rocks?” She asked me. Yes, yes I did. Stephanie and I were the same age and after hours of collecting and placing rocks from our shared driveway onto the concrete slab that covered our joint septic tank, our future as new best friends was solidified. We became inseparable, more than that we became like family. Her mom became a second mom to me, her sister and brother my siblings. The fact that we went to different schools only made our friendship seem that much cooler and meaningful. We had a million inside jokes that would be recited in every card, yearbook, and letter. A Harriet the Spy, and brief but poignant Babysitters club was formed, and choreographed dances to Waterfall, Total Eclipse of the Heart, and Proud Mary were made. It was known that every weekend would involve a sleepover and every weeknight would be spent on the phone. Every crush, heartbreak, mean girl story, and hilarious recount of everything and anything was shared in great detail. Whatever void I would have felt from my parents divorce was filled by our friendship. She was my first real best friend and at the time we thought it would last forever.
The thing about meeting someone when you’re nine is that the next ten years for a girl are rough ones to say the least. You go through crazy hormonal bitchy phases trying to figure out who you are and where you belong in the social stratosphere of grade school. Crushes grow more intense and more important. The need to fit in or stand out by not fitting in becomes the only thing that matters. Every little issue is now apocalyptic, and human decency sometimes goes right out the window. You get your period. It’s really just an awful time for all. Add in mental instability and a fat girl complex and you’ve got yourself a cornucopia of fun.
Somewhere along the line, the insanity of being a teenage girl got the best of both of us. We were off getting caught up in the stupid drama that makes television shows about high school so fucking good and all of a sudden our friendship which was once filled with innocence, love, and sweet dance moves felt like one giant, heart wrenching, drawn out fight. It was horrible and sad. We did and said awful things to one another both in person and behind each others backs and it went on for a ridiculously long time. The back and forth of our relationship was absurd but we still loved and depended on each other and didn’t want to let our friendship die. We would go for long periods of time without talking until one of us caved in and apologized for whatever it was we did this time and tried to go back to being best friends. For years we searched for that intense bond we had when we were younger, but only found it in fleeting moments and then it’d be gone again. We had grown too far apart and had done too much damage.
In the midst of all of this both Stephanie and I moved into different houses. My mom bought a house closer to her job and Stephanie’s mom decided to rent hers out and move to a nearby town. The shared driveway where our friendship and our selves grew couldn’t even keep us together anymore. If I was older and more self aware at the time I would have seen this as a huge sign to move on and let go, but neither of us were that in tune with the powers that be (although we would have told you otherwise, as this was during our Wiccan phase) and we didn’t take the hint. We held on and fought and cried and shit talked for so long that at the end of it I think we may have hated each other.
The toxicity of our friendship became a crutch I obsessively relied on. It enabled me to be angry and hurt and it validated my pain even if my pain had nothing to do with it. There were very real things that happened during the course of our drama filled relationship. We both hurt each other greatly. But I blamed Stephanie for years. It wasn’t until I started to figure my own shit out, way too long after the damage was done, that I would start to take responsibility for my part in the downfall and destruction of our friendship.
Before being admitted to Warner I came to the conclusion that the only way to move forward in either of our lives was to let our friendship go. This time for good. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do and I can only imagine that it is what having to break up with someone feels like. I was a coward and couldn’t handle talking to her about it in person so when I went away I just stopped talking to her. At the time, I was so blinded by my anger and sadness that I convinced myself and others around me that I was in the right. In some respects I was, because the truth is it really was the only way for us to move on and grow up. Could I have handled it differently? Yes. Could I have been nicer about it and stopped dragging our shit into public forums? Absolutely. I was an angry, hurt eighteen year old I handled it the only way I knew how at the time.
Almost ten years later, In the beginning of December of 2012, a mutual friend of ours, Tyler, died of a heroin overdose. When I got the phone call that he had passed I immediately thought of Stephanie. Tyler was not just one of my closest and dearest friends all throughout high school but the first love to the two best friends I have had in my life, Lorenna and Stephanie. It had been about two years since I had spoken to Tyler. Partially due to a natural separation that happens once high school ends and partially due to my inability to handle his addictions at a time when I was managing my own. I have been blessed with a strong core group of lifelong friends, and if it wasn’t for that fact I would have been forced to find out about Tyler’s death like so many others did, from facebook.
I spent that morning glued to my phone and g-chat, consoling and crying with all of my friends. I knew in my heart that I needed to reach out to Stephanie. Having no contact information, I sent her a facebook message, breaking the news, sending my love, and wishing this wasn’t the way I was contacting her. She wrote back with the same shock and confusion about what had happened and just like that for the first time in over nine years Stephanie and I were talking. I spent the rest of the day in a haze, glued to my facebook anxiously awaiting the next message. We sent more apologies, more clarifications, more love back and forth to each other and it was surreal, relieving, and sad all at once.
That day and week held so much emotion, beyond anything I had ever felt before. We had lost one of our own in a really tragic way and at the same time it brought all of us together again. Stephanie and I spent the wake/funeral catching up and attempting to deny the reality of why we were there in the first place. We shared stories of the last near decade of our lives as our dear friend lay in a casket on the other side of the room.
A huge lesson that I learned from Tyler’s death was reach out, make amends, and tidy up your past. The last thing you want is to find out your long lost friend is gone forever and you no longer have the opportunity to tell them how much you love them and how much their friendship helped shape who you are today. I'm so happy I got the chance to do that with Stephanie, even if it took a horrible tragedy to allow it to happen. At one point we had the type of friendship that little girls dream about. She was my family and after everything that happened between us, when I look back on it, that is all that really matters.