When I was younger, I had always dreamed of my adult life being filled with freedom and fun, with a squad big enough to fill a minibus. By fun I mean travelling the world, having cocktails by the poolside and hosting tons of movie nights. We would have long calls and gossip about anything and everything! Boy was I in for a rude awakening.
The older I grew, the more the dream friendship squad I had perfectly curated shrunk. With the benefit of hindsight, I can now say that self-awareness gave me the ability to spot red flags from a mile away.
After spending a year single and with far fewer friends, I learnt that I often forgave people over and over again out of the fear of loneliness. The more I reviewed all the relationships I lost, the more unseen, unheard and unimportant I felt.
Now, I take responsibility for choosing to be the ‘understanding’ friend instead of expressing myself and holding them accountable for their actions. The hurt I carried from years of being mistreated made me realise that my mental health was more important than having people in my life that I could barely count on. I understood how I wanted to love and be loved, I was no longer willing to settle for less.