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There a million ways that you can get hurt and disappointed. You can slip on spilled milk and get a bruise on your knee, you can get your three month old iPhone 6 wet from a pool party and have it to never turn on ever again, you can get cheated on by the love of your life and have him tell you it’s because you’re just not enough, or you can get an F on your Math midterm which takes up 30% of your final grade. In my case though, the worst hurt came from my best friend emailing me on Christmas Eve. This was not even half of what she sent me:
“I just really want you to stop thinking about what others think of you! Bianca, you used to not care! What happened to the best friend I had 7 years ago who didn't care about what others think? The girl who didn't even bother to think about petty dramas? The girl who had so much self-control yet is super fun to hang out with? The girl who had so much ideas to offer? The girl who was Bianca. I miss Bianca ok. Look, I'm not asking you to never change because that's hella impossible. I'm just telling you to stick to who you are and to never forget it. I asked help from the chillest person ever and gives the most neutral answer ever and I won't name her. I opened up about how I'm feeling but before I vented we were talking about how opposite you and I are, like I'm so loud and you're angelic and everything else then she said "yeah I think Bianca's cool" and I said "yeah she is" and then she replied " medj hindi na" then that's when I vented and then she concluded you conformed to being normal or basic and that's not you, ok. I don't know how to expand on this more but I just felt off with you. Like I meant it when I said I really really miss you and I really do but somehow the distance felt ok as well because I felt off nga. Like, I know you, but at the same time, I don't know you anymore.”

I was never a particularly exceptional child back in grade school and high school. My biggest achievements would have probably just been being in an advanced English class throughout high school, meeting Fall Out Boy (my favorite band) at an airport, and having light brown eyes. I was already more than content with those three. All I ever wanted to do was go to concerts, read Neil Gaiman in math class, and lust over all the clothes I wanted on the Topshop website. I had a fairly good number of really close friends in high school and we always had a lot of fun with each other. We always just talked about the events that happened on our favorite television shows, what food we were going to bring to our weekly Wednesday lunch potluck, and what Cara Delevingne was wearing on her trip to a British coffee shop. My life was simple and I never really cared to worry about anything too much.
When I entered college, I told myself that this time, I really wanted things to be different and that I wanted to try new things. I actually followed through and, little by little, was able to change myself. I dyed my hair light brown this year. I also ditched my favorite pair of black skinny jeans for floral dresses and tiny skirts. I taught myself how to use and put on makeup and I downloaded every single song on the Billboard Top 40. I actually felt really good about what I was doing. I felt that I was allowing myself to grow up and mature as a person. I was exploring other things and learning as well.
I barely talked to my best friend at this point. I actually barely talked to anyone from my old school in general. My high school barkada would keep messaging me on Facebook asking if I could hang out with them for the weekend and I always kept telling them how I couldn’t because I was always so busy now. To be honest, I wasn’t even busy. I didn’t go to a close high school friend’s debut because I chose to attend a party hosted by an organization I was part of at school. I didn’t meet up with another high school friend who wanted to have lunch with me because my college friends wanted to go out and watch a movie. I kept putting my old friends aside for my new friends and I kept telling myself that it’s okay and that if I didn’t do this, my college friends would eventually hate me and deem me uncool.
Somehow, I kept thinking to myself that I was cool for doing what I was doing. I kept telling my college friends how I was so over high school. I thought high school was a petty thing that didn’t really matter a lot anymore. In fact, my friend Bettina, who was my schoolmate in high school that I wasn’t really close with but is my block mate now, and I would even laugh at the people we saw on our timelines who still constantly hung out with their high school friends. We laughed at them for still not being able to move on from childish things. I kept saying that I was so over all the drama and that I’m so much better off right now, with my college friends, in my college life. I really was so caught up with all the changes that happened and all of the changes that I did to and for myself. I believed that college kept me busy and that being busy was something to be so proud of.
During the first semester, my block mates would always invite me to drink with them after school. I was really hesitant and unsure the first time I agreed to join them since it was my first time to really just casually go out and be able to drink alcoholic drinks. When it kept happening though, it already began to feel normal. There actually even were times when I would cut class to drink with my block mates. I didn’t even feel sorry that my parents had no idea about how I was missing classes for something so meaningless. I just felt so cool. I kept telling my best friend about how much fun I was having and she wouldn’t even react anymore. All she’d do was send me a text that as long as I’m happy, she’s happy too.
This continued until the end of the past year and although I really liked everything that was happening at first, by December, I was a complete mess. By Christmas break, I wasn’t even talking to my best friend at all. I stopped responding to anyone who texted or messaged me altogether, even my college friends. Not going to school during those two weeks in December made me realize that I was so tired of everything that I have been trying to do. I was trying to act cool and it involved having to do so much. I was already so exhausted of trying to be someone I wasn’t. I eventually realized that I could never do it.
My desire to change was a riptide. It came out of nowhere and washed away my sense of self. I tried so hard to try to find a better version of myself but I overdid it. They say that too much of anything will never be good. Too much of change was the worst thing I did, not only to myself, but for the people I know as well. I purposely stopped talking to my high school friends and showed them how much I didn’t care about them anymore. I became so pretentious about “maturing” and being in college that I disregarded that I actually had a past. Everyone has a past. I should have never forgotten it.
When I read the email that my best friend sent me, I actually really cried. I was alone in my room at 8pm on Christmas Eve and everything she told me really hit me right in the face. It took my best friend to point out how much I have changed for me to finally acknowledge it. She loved me for who I really was before. She thought I was original and interesting. I let her down the moment that I thought I even needed to change because being who I am already meant the world to her. It was such an insult for me to think that who I was before wasn’t enough when, in fact, I was already more than enough for her. It hurt that I hurt my best friend because I was being so selfish with wanting to change.
I tried to become someone that I wasn’t. I liked listening to Fall Out Boy and staying in on weekends to watch my favorite shows but I still forced myself to like all the songs on the Top 40 and keep drinking out with friends. I acted rudely and disrespectfully, especially towards my high school friends. I did all of that just because I wanted to seem “cool”. I hurt the people that I loved most in the process. I didn’t have to do all that.
Right now, my best friend and I are finally okay. We went out for lunch and were able to talk before my birthday last January 8th and I asked her for forgiveness. She told me that even though I didn’t need to apologize because her calling me out was what she was supposed to do as my best friend, she forgives me anyway. I couldn’t thank her enough. I told her that this time around, I won’t bother trying too hard to change who I am. This time, I would be comfortable in my own skin and not let other people tell me what I should and shouldn’t do. I am already enough as I am.
This time, I am running from the riptide.

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