Dear Rachel,

I don’t like you. I didn’t like you much when you were actually my friend, and as the years have gone on, although the rationales have changed, I still don’t like you.

I want to tell you that I am grateful for the lessons that you taught me. If the only thing that you ever taught me was how not to treat people, then that is nowhere near enough for the damage that you caused me, as most people already know that being kind should be a natural state. I have often wondered if there was some sort of abuse happening in your life and that it could possibly account for your behaviour, but irrespective, am going to start with the nice things that you gave me.

Thank you for introducing me to the Beatles, they are an amazing band, and I love the poetry contained within. I also thought that the films, especially Help! was really funny. Thank you for letting me copy your science homework on changing energy states. You don’t know that I did this, but when you gave me the work to copy because I had been off sick, your answers were already there, and time is somewhat short, sometimes. Thank you for the lifts your dad gave me; it was nice to have sometime access to a vehicle. Thank you also for the mutual development of the ‘perfect day’ (one swim, one cinema) or the ‘doubly perfect day’ (one swim, two cinema).

Looking back, I realise that you copied a lot of what I did, or had. Getting a vinyl player when previously you had only had tapes after seeing all my vinyl, playing the guitar, learning sections of poetry, stealing poems from books for English assignments, going to church, going to the same dance classes, befriending my outside school friends and I know that there were other things too. It seems petty thinking about this, but it was relentless. Maybe you felt that you needed to assimilate bits of me to erode me, or maybe you idolised me, I have no idea.

Maybe that is why I have naturally sought out strange people and places.. places that you wouldn’t want to go.

Now for the things I didn’t like about you. You smelled strange, like really old sweat, you laughed at me when I sang, you openly mocked me in front of others, frequently. When Megan started teasing me, every single day from the beginning of secondary, you joined in and I felt as if I had no one. When Megan socially excluded me and no one else spoke to me when she was around, you did this too. If I had a friend over for tea who wasn’t you, you would ignore me or get cross with me, usually both.

I don’t think that I have ever met anyone else in my life who was that possessive and as jealous.

Nothing is worth the cost of harm. I did not learn this when I was with you, but continued to allow harm as a trade off, until one day I stopped; I was 40. Settling for less than I am worth is something that I will no longer tolerate.

You also mocked how flat-chested I was, the clothes that I wore, if I wore makeup, my lack of knowledge on world issues or when I mispronounced words. You were impressively clever, so I don’t understand why you felt this compulsion to berate me so much. I heard that you cried, apparently, when I scored one mark higher than you on a test. I know that you seemed to perceive me as thick, as scatty, as useless. How could Sally dare to be better than anyone else in anything? I know that you got your masses of ‘A’ grades and likely have done exceptionally well in your life. And that is an amazing thing, and me getting a couple of ‘A’s does not detract from yours in the slightest.

I don’t need your judgement or superiority in my life, and carrying you with me is a weight I am saying goodbye to. Thank you for what you have taught me and through my reflections of the time we spent together, I continue to learn.

  1. I don’t need to be superior to be intelligent. Humility is a good thing
  2. Fun shouldn’t come with a trade off in harm
  3. Change is possible and starts with challenging yourself, this can be harsh
  4. I am incredible. Knowing you taught me the framework for compassion, I am a better friend to others now, because of what I experienced.

There is likely more I could say, there always is.

Regards

Sally

 

Map Point. Who do I need to say goodbye to?

 

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