Being an introverted type of person, I thought being friends with her was for the better. It all seem to click when we met in kindergarten. We thought we were going to be lifelong best friends. Over the years of elementary school, we spent more and more time together and kept growing closer as friends. It was all fun and great until I let her take control of many of my decisions. She would speak for the both of us and do things | didn’t agree with, but I would simply brush it off and continue to follow along. I was giving up my lead role to please my lifelong best friend.
It all began in fifth grade when a lot of my life changed and people were coming and going. One of my old best friends moved away, but I wanted to become friends with her old friend, Claire. My lifelong best friend, Juliet, didn’t exactly like that idea though. Juliet wanted to take over for the both of us and didn’t want to try becoming friends with Claire. We were only starting to get to know Claire and spent a fair amount of time with her when Juliet decided to take this idea to action. I remember that day vividly.
It was a cool, cloudy day and we were all out at recess when Juliet asked me if I wanted her to tell our “new” friend, Claire, that I hated her. I was shocked at how she came up with such a mean idea and I didn’t understand why she asked me if I wanted to do that in the first place. I didn’t hate Claire, I was only trying to become friends with her. My response to Juliet wasn’t a clear no or yes. Juliet then decided to make the hard decision for me and told Claire that I hated her. When Claire hear the supposed truth, her heart broke. Slowly a small stream of tears glides down her cheek that gradually turn into a running waterfall.
Her eyes told a story of a newly broken heart. This whole time she thought I was trying to become friends with her, but now it looked as if I was using her. When | caught a glimpse of Claire’s reaction to the three bitter words, I became upset with myself. I knew I should’ve spoken up and tried to do something to stop Juliet, but I didn’t want to hurt our friendship. By not saying anything, I hurt more people than 1 intended to. After getting a small and firm discipline talk from the teacher, Juliet was telling me how she felt as if she didn’t do anything wrong.
My feeling of upset grew to an awkward sick feeling that made my stomach turn. I felt uncomfortable with this idea that we “didn’t do anything wrong”. For the rest of the day, I was able to easily distract myself from the issue with everyday life on its own, but that sick and uncomfortable feeling didn’t simply slip away. After the big fifth grade drama, life kept going downhill. In middle school, following Juliet didn’t get any better. The problem I had with Claire only expanded and Juliet would randomly say some mean comments to Claire such as, “Why do you always follow us around? Maybe we don’t like hanging out with you! Every time Juliet would drop a mean comment, I would stand there just as shocked, but a little less hurt than Claire was. I let Juliet talk for the both of us, even though I didn’t agree with the many things she was saying. When Claire wasn’t around, Juliet would talk about her badly. She’d describe how weird, needy, and pathetic Claire was. This whole time as I watched this happen, I kept being quiet, introverted, and following the crowd. Everything that happened during that time in my life was like me being on a leash following my owner. I didn’t take lead in what I wanted or believed.
All I wanted to keep the friendship Juliet and I had. With every new issue that came up in life I would follow Juliet’s ways and ideas. Some people who knew the real me, asked me why I was friends with Juliet. I know some people asked because they didn’t like Juliet, but a few asked why because they could tell I wasn’t being myself. Each time I did something that Juliet would of done, the awkward sick feeling I got from the drama with Claire would stir up in my stomach again. With each step| took in Juliet’s footsteps, there was a feeling that this isn’t what | was supposed to be a part of.
This feeling that kept sticking with me was like when you try to fit two of the wrong puzzle pieces together. Once those two wrong puzzle pieces are together, they get stuck and it seems that the only way to get them apart is to break one or the other. Every time I was asked why with good or bad intentions, I would feel this sharp pain in my stomach like I just got stabbed. It felt as if a little piece of my heart cracked because I knew this friendship wasn’t right for me. In those moments, I easily wanted to drop the topic because it’s difficult to know what to do.
All these great people are telling me Juliet isn’t the world greatest friend, but she is the only best friend I’ve truly ever had. Our friendship has been so close and we have had so many fun, crazy memories since the beginning. It’s not something that I can easily let go because after I don’t know where to go or what to do. After someone foundation is taking away, where does one go after that? After a long year of many reminders and warning signs, I finally was able to open up my eyes and see what I was taking part in. I could see that | wasn’t making my own decisions like I should be, or standing up for others and myself.
My mind then clicked and I was able to take a step out of my shoes and see what the other people were seeing. With better understanding, I decided that I should start creating my own unique path filled with ideas and things that | find important. This change started to happen when I began surrounding myself with positive, inspiring people that had many similar beliefs and morals I did. Through this positive environment, I was able to discover who I really am. I was slowly undercovering my full potential and I was cracking out of my introverted shell.
I realized I am a leader and if I was going to lead other people, I needed to take lead of myself. Bit by bit the puzzle pieces were starting to pull apart. As I was discovering a part of my true identity, Juliet also started to show her true colors. She started to take her ideas and morals to the extreme and start to do the activities she only talked about. She did activities I didn’t agree with, such as finding a Romeo, skipping assemblies, and finding enjoyment in very suspicious things in her free time. She showed she didn’t care for ideas and morals | clearly cared for.
Stepping up and taking the lead of my life has taken a lot of small steps, but I finally recognized what I needed to do. I needed to make my own choices and control what I can because it’s my life. I shouldn’t give up my right to make my own decisions to keep a friendship that hurts me. Life will hit me hard at times, but I need to control what I can and try to make the best of it. We all have the ability to make our own choices and do what we believe is right. Don’t give that right up to follow the crowd or someone especially when it hurts you. Life will be full of decisions big or small, but make everyone yours and not someone else’s.