Those I've Loved Along The Way

Mourning the loss of a person who still lives down the street.

I suppose that this may be my most personal blog yet, and in fact will be a good part of the book I one day write. This part of my life is full of pain, and questions. As I post vaguely about it from time to time- the outpouring of support, or someone telling me they are also going through it, makes it a little more manageable. I’m not the only one.

 What is a best friend?

I guess that could go many ways. With many different definitions. When you make friends in kindergarten, and then keep them all through elementary school- you don’t understand at that young age just how much of an impact they have already had on your life. We spend time as young kids writing BFF on everything, buying matching necklaces, and then giving them back when we have a fight. You all remember that, right? I mean I’m sure it was mostly a girl thing, but still.

 Then middle school comes along, and things and people get awkward. Hormones start, boyfriends start, maturity begins, and friendships either make it, or you kind of go your own way, and become closer with other people. Somehow, I still had my closest girlfriends that I had all through elementary school. We kept close until the day we graduated high school, and for the most part still talk at some point a couple times a year. We all have families, kids, and busy lives. We were all in each other’s weddings, and I know all of those girls were present when my first born came into the world. I mean like- in the room!

 Somewhere between the end of 5th grade, and the start of 6th a new friend came into my life. She was going to be new at my school, and I felt like it was my job to bring her into my friend group. So, the first day of 6th grade as we all arrived at school and waited in the cafeteria- I still remember when she got there and came walking in. I yelled to her to come sit with us, and the rest was history.

 From that year on, we were the best of best friends. We went through cars, family issues, boyfriends, vacations, her covering for me when I skipped school, sports, homecomings, proms, graduation, birthdays, kids, weddings, and eventually a business.

 When I started the boutique, it was no idea of mine. I should also add that prior to the boutique she talked me into selling lip gloss. Definitely funny considering the kind of person I was at that time.  So anyway, we started a boutique. We both put $500 into a bank account, ordered clothes once a week, and sold out as soon as we put them up. This went on for a few weeks, then we wanted to start doing lives. Now, we were both still working our full-time jobs, then basically working the boutique in the evenings. I spent many of nights eating dinner that her husband would cook while we worked. I’ll never forget the dinner we had while discussing that we just wanted to make money while we were sleeping, and this was the way to do it. Ha. Ha. Ha.  Yea, no.

 Once we started doing live sales, I’d say the tension was a little higher. We were having to manually invoice and keep track of everything which was a lot of work and could become stressful.

 I’ll never forget the beginning of the end- Let it be known, I had no idea the impact of this night until the end.

 There was a snowstorm, and we decided we wanted to do a live. She got dropped off, and we started the live. I can’t remember exactly what happened, but it was almost as soon as it started. In the early days I wasn’t on the camera much. I would usually sit back and reply to comments. Which is what I was doing. Something wasn’t going as planned and I had said it out loud a few times during the live. The reason for that was being I was frustrated, and trying to keep up, and something was giving me a problem. You see- this person and me have very, very similar personalities. We are both very strong willed- type A, control freaks. That’s why we are both running bomb businesses. However, that can cause a tension that no one wants to be around. You ever been in a fight with your best friend, but feel so strongly about being right that you don’t back down? Yea, well that was both of us. We got in a screaming match, she left, and we didn’t talk for a couple days.

 It wasn’t long after that she had asked me if I wanted to run the boutique alone. She was working on a new project. I was a little scared, but the first thought in my head was that Christmas had just passed, and we had customers with gift cards. If we closed up shop now, how would I ever gain their trust again if I ever wanted to run another business? So, I dug in and said yes. We split ways with the business, and I started fresh. New name, new brand.

 I lost customers who were loyal to her but didn’t know me. No big deal, I regained them eventually, or made 100 new ones.

 We got a mobile boutique shortly after that, and the new name was announced. The rest is history. Just kidding…

 We soon would move into our first store front, which if you didn’t know was initially just a place for us to move to get out of our house and be able to ship from. Then I thought, if we are going to be here, we may as well have a fitting room and be open.

 So again, I’m somewhat teamed up with my best friend because I am renting space from her.

I am going to be very blunt right here, and I say this all the time. Had I known how things would end, I would have never agreed to starting this chapter with her, ever. Ouch. Freaking ouch.

 Almost a year had passed, and we had outgrown the space. Our online business was crazy and growing by the day. This also meant that inventory had to grow. We were in a huge scaling process, and straight up out of room. We were also on the second floor and had people who couldn’t come into our store, because they couldn’t climb steps. I made a decision that I wanted to grow, and we had to go to grow.

We began looking for new space, and initially tried really hard to stay on main street. It just wasn’t working out. So, then we considered other towns, and looked at a few places. We finally landed on Bridge street. We would have a huge parking lot and go from 800 sq. feet to 3500 sq. feet. Plenty of room to grow into. So, we went for it.

 Things were so weird between us at this point, that I couldn’t even share my excitement with her, because something was not right. We hardly talked. I had an employee issue, and after that things just weren’t the same.

 While I know I have many faults, I wish things that came up at the end were addressed sooner. I have a temper, yep. I also stand up for myself. We moved out, and I haven’t seen her since. While we exchanged very brief text messages, it didn’t end nicely.

 I have learned a lot about myself since not talking to her, and since I have time to dissect things that she said, or where I was wrong. I have spent many nights crying about it. Reaching out, and not getting anything in return. I finally told myself- Brittany you have got to put it to rest. It’s not good to dwell, and I sure as shit can’t fix it. Life has to go on, and so do you.

 Now, every time I drive down main street, or past where I would drive to her house, I think about her. My youngest asks about the girls who were her friends and she doesn’t understand. I also now have a certain population of people who I am uncomfortable around because we have things in common such as my old best friend.

 When a relationship ends because of death it hurts. When a relationship ends because someone decides they just can’t bring themselves to be around you and your toxic traits anymore, you suffer. You try to reason with yourself on how to fix it, but it’s not up to you.

 What I’ve done to try and ease the pain- I have been working hard every day to be a better person. I have worked very hard on how I look at things. I try to be more positive and live in the moment. I work on best case scenario and not the worst, and more than ever I try to consider my audience, my behaviors, and the way I relate to people. You only get one first impression, and once someone has heard something negative about you with no real reason, that’s pretty much it.

 I think now especially it’s a great time to reflect. Mend that relationship, fix your friendships, say sorry, and move on. How’s that song go? “nobody gets a second chance to make new old friends” I have accepted that it’s time to move on, and not stay in this dark place of what if anymore. People will love you; people will hate you, and it's kind of out of your hands on how they developed that opinion. Reconsider how you talk about someone next time, it could potentially cause more hurt than you know.

 I know we can all relate to this at some level, and I know time is usually the best medicine for healing. Life is so short, don’t do something in a moment of anger that you may regret as you grow older.

 Be kind always.