“To those who are broken, to those who are healing, to those fighting silent battles, to those who cry themselves to sleep, to those who feel alone, to those who have been left, to those recovering, to those going through a divorce, to those who have lost a love one, to those who have been left by the choices someone else has made, to those who have given up hope… I see you, I am proud of you, keep showing up, and keep going.
It is 4:30 p.m. on a Friday and it is payday; I’m so excited for the weekend and pray the next 30 minutes flies by. Then, anxiety kicks in. ‘Why am I so excited to leave work just to go home to an empty house and spend Friday alone, again?’ Most people can’t wait to leave work. But when you are going through a hard time, sometimes being at work is the only thing that keeps you sane, that keeps you focused, and keeps your mind occupied.
Sure there are friends I can hang out with, but will I be bothering them? Are they tired of hearing me sob and vent about my life? Also, I definitely don’t want to hang out with that friend who tells me my husband walked out because there was obviously something wrong with me, and I need to make a decision right there and right now. WARNING, never hang out with that friend! You know what I mean, the friend who wants to tell you what you should be doing and tells you how you should be living. The friend who you always feel worse after hanging out with. The friend who deflects their issues on to you. The friend who thinks speaking their mind and coming across harsh is what you need. The friend who judges you based on how you’re choosing to survive and heal.
Remember, friends can break your heart too. It’s sad but it’s true, some of the worst heartbreaks I have had are from friends who did not want to ‘deal’ with me when I was going through a tough time. At the end of the day though, these are not friends. You know how it goes — everyone wants to be your friend when your life is going great, then they disappear at the slightest hiccup.
I once had a very good friend tell me they just could not put up with me drinking and getting tattoos. Just to be clear, this friend never reached out to me, they just simply stopped talking to me. What this so called ‘friend’ didn’t know, is with each tattoo, I was taking back my body; I was making my body my own again. Each time I went out, I was celebrating not being trapped in a home where I had to walk on egg shells, and not having someone using me as their emotional punching bag. Each time I went to dinner and had a drink, it was me being able to think for myself and make my own choices for the first time in 11 years.
What this ‘friend’ also didn’t know, is I needed her during this time; I needed my friends through the worst part of my life. I needed my friends when I would cry myself to sleep every night for months, when I couldn’t get out of bed, when I couldn’t even go to work, and when I couldn’t get through the day without crying. Meanwhile, these friends didn’t ask questions or check on me. They simply disappeared, started rumors, or ghosted me.
I also had a friend, my best friend, my soul sister, tell me I can’t keep my life together because I wasn’t able to keep my marriage together. Ouch, that one hurt! She said more awful things to me: I would never be able to hold down a job, because I could not even keep my marriage together. The person who I had confided in for the past 11 years, just used my biggest fear against me.
I know now what she said at this time, said more about her than me. I’ve had the same career since graduating college, so I still to this day, have no idea where the comment about holding down a job came from. After she screamed and yelled at me over the phone, she quickly deleted me from all social media, blocked my phone number, and I have not heard from her since. This crushed me, broke my heart, and hurt worse than what my husband was putting me through.
Months later, I finally realize these were not my friends and it didn’t matter how long we knew each other. I realized this after I started to evaluate who I was as a friend. I would never abandon a friend; I would never scream and yell at a friend. I’m the friend that shows up, that will listen, that will let you cry on my couch until 2:00 a.m. I’m the friend that will answer your call when you can’t sleep. I’m the friend that hurts when you hurt. I’m the friend that always supports and never judges you. I’m the friend that will go to dinner/brunch/breakfast with you, that will go on that weekend away with you, who will check on you. I’m the friend that would do anything for a friend.
So again, it’s 4:30 p.m. on a Friday, and it’s payday. Go hang out with that friend who will pour you a glass of wine; who never gets tired of listening to you, even if it is the same story over and over; who will turn on 90 day fiancé, put the volume down, and just listen without telling you what they think you should be doing. Go to the friend who you can stay at their house as late as you want, who will sit on the back porch with you and listen. Go to the friend who makes you feel better about yourself, who gives you pep talks, who treats you like family, who invites you to their family gatherings and holidays. Go to the friend who invites you to get you out of the house, who invites you to go out of town. Go to that friend who supports you, who does not judge you, who knows there is a way to talk to people while they are hurting without making them feel worse about themselves. Who knows people heal differently, and does not judge you for how you’re choosing to heal. You do not have to make any excuses on how you chose to heal; you do not have to explain yourself to anyone. Do not spend your time stressing about friends who exit your life, there is always someone there to listen; go see that friend. More than likely, the friend who ends up showing up, who will sit for hours with you on the couch, and listen to you vent over a bottle of wine, will be the person you least expect.
To all the amazing women in these photos, these are true friends. These are the friends that love and support you, who never pass judgement, who always show up, who have never left my side, who accept me for who I am, who I can always count on, who have become my family.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Cortney McBride. Follow her journey on Instagram here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more stories from Cortney here:
‘I was separated from my husband, left a toxic job, and lost most of my friends. Then I thought of the women in my life.’: Woman realizes she is a ‘strong woman’ because she was raised by ‘stronger women
‘Oh thank God, one surgery and he’ll be back to normal.’ My dad was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor. He was going to survive, no doubt in my mind.’: Daughter reflects on holidays without your dad
‘I turned in my 2 weeks’ notice. I didn’t have any job prospects. I just knew if I stayed, that place would’ve sucked the life out of me.’: Woman abandons dream job after upper management creates ‘living hell’ environment
Do you know someone who could benefit from reading this? SHARE this story on Facebook with family and friends.