“It is just what it is.”

Sometimes I think: no friendship will actually win over the tides of time.

Why do we try so hard over relationships we know we won’t see through to the end?

Lately, my thoughts often linger upon an old friend; former deskmate, maybe-best friend. We were, our friendship was, all about our conversations. From that first day at sixteen, finding ourselves seated side-by-side in our modest Form 4 classroom on the second floor of the school building directly across from the musollah (lit. prayer space) to those long evenings at age eighteen in our neighborhood Coffee Bean and Starbucks, sometimes studying together, mostly conversing – we were, the two of us, all about the things we spoke about. We were the thoughts that crossed our minds and the beautiful things that filled our hearts and souls. We were that kind of friends.

Now we don’t talk anymore.

I think that is what gets to me most; how silence is the new normal between us. Text message conversations, when they briefly occur in supposedly important moments, are awkward and intermittent and worse of all, superficial.

“How are you?”

“Sorry I’ve been so busy!” 

“I heard you’re in the UK by now. How is that? How’s everything?”

“I thought you forgot about my birthday!”

How is it that we’re talking, and yet nothing goes through? Sweet nothings; we don’t even try pretending to fill up the silence anymore. It is just what it is. Girls grow into women. Sometimes that growth process coincides, most of the time it doesn’t.

It is just what it is.

So here I am now, trying to come to terms with this. I think I am upset. If I am being completely honest and transparent, then yes. I am incredibly upset. But I am coming to terms with the fact that you can love a friend, any person really, with all your heart and nothing but sincerity in your soul – and fail to make them stay. Because even though our personal journeys intersected many times in our girlhood and early womanhood years, the paths we are on right now are clearly diverging from each other. What did Gwyneth Paltrow coin her marriage separation? Ah yes: conscious uncoupling. To a degree, maybe this applies to this friendship too.

Sometimes I lurk her Twitter, the only social media where she is still active, and she sounds happy, unsurprisingly still incredibly well-loved by her circle. Ever-optimistic and increasingly beautiful with each passing year. How do some girls do that? Some girls exude charisma and softness, living up to endless allegory about womanhood and flowers. Some girls exude a presence so strong that it stuns others, rendering them unable to respond with nothing but loving them for being the girls that they are, fueled by the goodness in their hearts and the softness in their characters.

She is, as you can expect, one of those some girls. 

I am not.

It is just what it is.

I am, right now, in the process of coming to terms with the cold reality that even the best and most meaningful friendship dies, swallowed by the rough waves of reality. It is just what it is. Girls become women who become colorful, distinct individuals of their own and sometimes, in that process of becoming, we lose each other.

It is just what it is.

Thank you for lending me your heart and ears over the past decade. You were the best friend I never had. Also the girl I never could be, all grace and softness, who taught me that some girls truly are worth every prose and poetry ever written in the history of mankind. Still, most of all: you are a person I am sincerely grateful for, not only because I once knew you well, but to have my journey coincide with yours has been a blessing.

I loved you. I sincerely wish you well.


4 thoughts on ““It is just what it is.”

  1. I feel deeply related to this entry. It is the question I have asked myself for the last months, or even the last couple years. I mean friendship can last, the one became friend and he or she would remain to be my friend for a long time. but be honest, we aren’t close to each other like we used to. we don’t know each other like we used to. we don’t tell each other about life, we don’t exchange lame joke, we don’t x, y, z to each other anymore. it isn’t because of distance. we were apart since I left for the States, almost 8 years ago. it isn’t because of life path, our paths have never looked alike, apart for that one time we attended the same school for 2 years (not even same class). it isn’t because of hobby. I never liked DBSK, as well as she never liked SMAP. I liked to cook, food but she loved to bake, cakes. that’s not the reason.

    it’s because of us. we’ve grown, and drifted apart.

    sometimes I am that person who awkwardly started the conversation through text message (beside I’m an engineer so naturally the conversation isn’t that natural), but even I got tired of it. and yet I don’t try to contact her anymore.

    I’m at the point thinking no one would stay in my world for long. they came, stayed for a while, and left. some might come back years later, some might not. I’m not that lucky person who has someone staying by my side through every single hardship I faced. and I’m not that good friend who stayed for every life event of whom I once claimed my best friend either. we both left. that’s a reality.

    I like this part the most,
    “I am, right now, in the process of coming to terms with the cold reality that even the best and most meaningful friendship dies, swallowed by the rough waves of reality. It is just what it is. Girls become women who become colorful, distinct individuals of their own and sometimes, in that process of becoming, we lose each other.

    It is just what it is.”

    but again, I still believe friendship doesn’t die. just the “best” and “meaningful” parts passed away.

    and sorry for my long but not so making sense comment. finals hit and I just want to hibernate in my room and not think about anything. but life has never had merciful. I thought I got away from adulthood by going to stay in academia for the next 6 years, but still, life is hard, and cold anywhere.

    1. Hello May Lily, I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been feeling down and physically exhausted. I hope you get some rest now that (I assume) finals is over. Sending hugs and encouragement from here <3 <3 <3

      No worries about long comments and especially thoughtful reflections like this; thank you for sharing your story with me :) When you pointed out all the things you don't share in common with your friend and how they never mattered, and so why should they now too? and reaching that point where you're also basically going, "It is just what it is." – that really gutted me, because I think this particular friendship of mine with this friend (and several others) are like that too – I think somewhere along the way, we just outgrew each other in the most natural way. Which sucks to admit, but… there's definitely truth in that. Maybe we're to blame for not trying hard enough, or acting too passive and emotional about it – someone else would probably reply us with, "just call up your friend!" – ha and I don't deny that, but it's weird to be at that point where you know you're still the same people yet different. Can't pinpoint the change or unease, but you feel it to your bones. Conversations become stilted etc.

      I am coming to terms with this. It makes me sad, but secretly I am also hoping that maybe, maybe some point in the future our paths will collide again. Because that's life, right? We just never know.

      PS on the point about adulthood: it sucks. I don't think there's actually "getting away" from it, but I hope you learn to deal and accept it with a peaceful heart and sound mental and emotional maturity. If it's any consolation- we're on this path together, you and I :)

      1. thank you, jandoe! :)

        I still have one more take home exam to turn in. the deadline is midnight on Sunday, so I am taking my time to procrastinate (as usual) haha.

        a friend once told me I was too sensitive about things, so when something changes, even a bit, I know it. I tried to tell people I’m not that sensitive/emotional, but maybe I am, I just deny it. I have one close friend, she and I went through a lot together, regardless of our physical locations. recently she moved back home from Japan, and since then I “lost” contact with her. I texted her when I got my car back (I got into a wreck in January, it was my fault and luckily no one got injured. but it took them 2 months to fix my brand new car.) then we both fell into silent. it is abnormal for us to not telling each other about life for this long period of time, but I don’t know. maybe because we all busy (I feel sorry for “busy” and “fated” – people like me always blame them when things go wrong). maybe she found someone else to share the stories with. or maybe “it is just what it is.”

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