Tag Archives: Leaving

Two Years Ago…

27 May

Yesterday I went to Salem Academy (the boarding school that I graduated from in 2010) to see the Class of 2012 graduate. I had a few really good friends who were graduating, and graduation is always a great way to see fellow Salem Sisters who have also graduated. My best friend Skidmore, who graduated from Salem in 2009, came to the graduation too, and I loved seeing her.

As I was sitting in the audience watching the Class of 2012 graduate, it surprised me to think that 2 years had already gone by since I was sitting down in the May Dell in a white cap and gown getting ready to embark on a new phase in my life: college. I remember my graduation day so perfectly, as if it was yesterday. I was so excited, and yet I was also incredibly, incredibly sad. I wasn’t ready to leave the one place where I finally had felt like I belonged only to have to start over again. I didn’t want to leave behind the friends I had made or the faculty and staff who had shown me what it meant to truly follow my heart and chase my dreams. And yet, I was excited for what college would bring. I was anxious to be in a new place with all new people who would all be on their own path of self discovery. I was happy to be done with the grueling academics of Salem, but knew in my heart that without them, I wouldn’t have been as prepared for college as I felt at that moment.

As I sat in the May Dell in my cap and gown, looking up at the all girls’ boarding school that was founded before the United States achieved independence, I was proud. I was proud to be part of another group of women who, though leaving Salem, would continue to think back on Salem in the years to come, relishing in the wonderful memories that shaped our lives. On that day 2 years ago, I was happy. I didn’t think that I would cry until I looked up to see my mom crying. However, in that single moment, all the sadness of what I was leaving behind hit me. But as I shaded my eyes from the sun and listened to girls from my class speak about their fond memories of this place, I let the tears fall. I cried knowing that the young women who stood around me would always be in my heart, even though we were all about to head off to colleges at far ends of the country, and even far ends of the world. And at the end of that day, I left Salem knowing that I’d be back to visit and that I had made some of the best memories and friends that I could have ever imagined.

When the graduation of the Class of 2012 was over, I felt a strange sense of deja vu. It took me a moment to realize that it wasn’t my graduation day, but the graduation of a class that I first got to know as freshmen during my first year at Salem, my junior year. Though it felt sad to see them leave the place that will always be home for me in my heart, I’m happy to know that one of my friends from the Class of 2012 will be heading to Asheville in the fall. It will be so exciting to have a fellow Salem Sister with me once again. Someone to explore Asheville with and talk about Salem with, and most of all, someone to create new memories with, even though both of us know that the memories that will forever bind us are those that were created in a place in North Carolina that I was able to call home for 2 years of my life. However, with my friend coming to UNCA in the fall, it’s as if something incredible has happened: Salem has become both my past and my present.

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Burning Bridges.

2 Apr

“The hardest thing in life is figuring out which bridges to build and which bridges to burn.”

Throughout my life, my mom has warned me about the concept of burning bridges, pointing out that I should think before I burn something that I may want later. The concept of burning bridges for me has come up a lot with past friendships. Up until recently, I was very clingy with friends and often became upset when they didn’t want to always hang out with me. I wanted to spend a lot of time with them, so I didn’t understand why they didn’t want the same thing.

My first best friend Lauren (who is still one of my best friends) taught me what it meant to be a true friend. She became my best friend in 7th grade, and until that time, I wasn’t really aware of what true friendship was. Through my friendship with Lauren, I learned that there’s nothing wrong with caring fiercely about others, while also realizing that it is possible to be truly happy. From 7th grade until 10th grade, Lauren and I were incredibly close. We talked about boys, high schools, fears, dreams and everything in between. She was one of the first people I felt like I could count on no matter what.

During the summer after 10th grade, things began to change. I was going to be leaving for boarding school at the end of that summer, and I needed someone to turn to for support and advice. When that person wasn’t Lauren, I panicked. I had no idea what I would do without her friendship, but most of all I was confused as to why she was hardly talking to me. In the middle of that summer, I got a call from Lauren in which she asked if she could drop something off. I hadn’t heard from her in a month or so, so I was hesitant, but finally said okay. About 15 minutes after that phone call, Lauren showed up with a cardboard box full of things. She handed it to me without saying a word and left. I looked in the box to find pictures, things I had given her, memories….all that was left of our friendship. It was in my hands….broken…and already far away from the person who would be able to mend it. That afternoon, I got all the things together that reminded me of Lauren (pictures, movie ticket stubs, things she gave me, t-shirts from concerts that we went to together, and put it all in the same box that held the things she had given me. I also went onto my computer and deleted every picture of us that I could find. I then placed the box in the back of my closet and willed myself to not pull it out again. A month or so later, when I was packing for boarding school, my mom came across the box and asked me what I wanted her to do with it. Without even thinking, I told her to throw everything away.

When I came home from Salem over Christmas Break, Lauren called me. I didn’t answer. She then called my house phone, so there was no getting out of speaking to her. She asked if she could come over, and I said okay even though the rest of me was screaming no. When I hung up the phone, the color had gone out of my face. I had shallow breaths, and I was pacing and crying hysterically, asking my mom what I should do. When Lauren came over, it was awkward at first. I was cold towards her because I was scared to imagine letting a friend hurt me again like she had done. Without even saying anything, I started crying, and she hugged me, telling me that it was okay. Lauren then said that she was unsure of what had happened between us and that she was sorry. I knew right then that if I was able to forgive her that we would be able to get through anything.

I later realized that the reason Lauren reacted the way she did that summer and the months until Christmas Break was because being angry was the only way she could handle my leaving. If she allowed herself to feel anything but anger towards me, she’d fall apart. Today, Lauren is one of three people who I call my best friends. No matter how much time has passed, we’re always able to pick up right where we left off, and I know that she’ll be there for me through anything. However, every day I regret getting rid of all the pictures and memories of the early days of our friendship. I hate that I can’t look back at those pictures and remark on how I wouldn’t have gotten through those 3 years of high school without her. In the case of the box of “Lauren Memories,” I burned a bridge that I shouldn’t have. Though it breaks my heart that I can’t ever see those pictures again, it also taught me a lesson of what to do with friendships in the future. Now, if I have a fallout with a friend, I do make “friend boxes” and put them in my closet, but I always remember to not throw anything out. If I hate the stuff that moment, I can put it in a box in my closet so that I don’t have to be reminded of the memories every day, but burning the memories…..watching moments catch flame and turn to ash….it’s as if the memories never even happened. And who would want to completely erase parts of themselves? Every single moment makes us who we are.