Clickable Heading MYRIAD

…it was the worst of times

Fall 23: Part one


Why did I stay so long?
Well I’m going to be fine
I’ve been training for this moment
My whole damn life
And if, when I say what I need to say, and it makes you pull away
Go on and kick me out of the band
It’ll help me to understand I’m better off anyway
Without this coolshit, bullshit

Lyrics from “Coolshit Bullshit” by Danika


My life kinda fell apart this fall.


I kinda think of this blog as a (slightly more) structured and polished version of my personal journal. I write in a journal basically every day. I carry it with me pretty much everywhere. And I write in it a lot, about lots of things. Some important, some not. Most everything I write for MYRAID starts in my journal before it becomes a post, and only ever does after I’ve thought/written enough about it over a decent amount of time. This is something I’ve thought/written about more than I ever would want to. Adjacent to that, I created this blog as a place to record my life and what happens in it. This changed my life a lot, so I wanted to write about it, as I view it. That is why this is a post. No ulterior motive, no anger or negativity to anyone, just my life. And there are multiple perspectives to every story. This is mine.


I was in love for a while. I started dating someone in 2021, and I ended our relationship about a month before the end of last summer. When you share life with someone for a long time, it’s hard to stop suddenly. It was tough, breakups are. I was sad but knew my choice was final and right, so I tried to fill time until school started again. I went to the beach alone a lot, one of my favorite things to do. I was gifted a new surfboard from a hippieish man I met earlier that day, which was pretty epic but presently irrelevant. I worked most days, I spent hours on the blog, I got back into a couple of hobbies, and I did my best to feel good while reeling from the end of a relationship. I tried to spend time with my friends as much as I could because I loved my friends.

At the end of the summer, I moved up to an apartment at Rutgers University and started classes. There’s another post about being at Rutgers, but the consensus was that despite loving my classes and the proximity to New York City, I didn’t love the school. I ended up making some friends and meeting some other pretty cool people during my semester there (This is your first and only official blog shoutout George. Congratulations!), but at the beginning of the semester, it was just me. I was in a new city, a new university, a new apartment. I knew finding my footing would take a while, but coming off of a summer spent with my friends, it was lonely. I’ve always had people. I had lots of friends through high school, and my freshman year in San Diego. So it was a change. 

In particular, I had a group of friends at home I loved. Memories of prom parties, renting air b&bs, beach days, parties, walks down Asbury, songs, smoke seshes, boardwalk nights, work visits, band shows, mall trips, drives, dinners, diners, sleepovers, facetimes, and hangouts still whirl around in my brain. In particular, I considered one person one of my closest friends. I cherished our friendship and did my best to be a good friend, though I’m sure I wasn’t perfect. We spent lots of time together and never fought. I felt lucky they wanted to be friends, I thought of them as much cooler than me (because they are). Whether it was booking yoga classes to do together, mailing jewelry from California when it reminded me of them in a store, writing cards of how much our friendship meant to me, or driving to them crying at night after an ex kicked me out of his car. They meant a lot to me. 


One day, all of a sudden, my texts to them went unanswered, my snaps unopened, and I was taken off their private stories. I had no clue why, and I freaked out. I hadn’t been home to see them in person in a month, so I paced my apartment racking my brain on what I had done wrong. How I had offended or hurt them without meaning to. When I was anxious enough to worry about a panic attack, I finally called them. Everything seemed normal for twenty minutes. Before we hung up, I asked if everything between us was okay. They assured me it was, and nothing was wrong, so we hung up. Two seconds later I called back because, obviously, something was wrong. So I asked again, and was, again, assured that nothing at all was wrong and that they missed me and were excited to see me. I told them I hadn’t seen their private stories lately, and they told me that they didn’t take me off of them, they just hadn’t been posting. I knew for a fact I was taken off, so being clearly and blatantly lied to felt awful and strange. A friend lying to you is such a hurtful type of betrayal. After that second call, I turned (as I always do) to my journal and wrote a pros and cons list. Choose to live in oblivion knowing I was being lied to, or choose to muster the courage to have an awkward conversation and figure out what was going on. I spent that night going back and forth, but my anxiety was not going away, and I knew it would only get worse until I knew what was wrong. I made a third call, this one unanswered. So I left a voicemail so long that I was cut off by the machine. About how friendship was so important to me, now more than ever, and that I wasn’t trying to catch them in a lie or make them upset, but that I just wanted to know why they had stopped talking to me, why they were lying, why, as much as it was denied it earlier, something was clearly wrong between us. I said I wasn’t mad, but please be honest with me for the sake of my anxiety. I said I just wanted to know what I had done to upset them so terribly. I wanted to apologize for whatever offense I had committed because it wasn’t purposeful.


Close to midnight that night, I was on the phone with my mom because I couldn’t sleep. I was talking to her about what had happened earlier and how I didn’t know what to do about it when I got their text back. Essentially, the text admitted that, yes, they were lying to me, but! they were sorry about it. That I had spent the summer “inserting” myself into group hangouts that they did not want me to be at. That I came to group stuff before they told me that it was okay for me to come and that it bothered them when I did. That they didn’t want me to take it personally that there were times they wanted to have hangouts with our friends without me there, and that they needed space for a few weeks to “reflect”.

Getting that text confirming my worst fear from someone I considered one of my closest friends was a pain like nothing else I have ever experienced. I read the text to my mom (as I was on the phone with her when I got it), and told her that I was coming home. She countered that it would be after 2 AM by the time I got home, that we were in the middle of a storm (and it was currently pouring outside), and that I had classes in the morning. I hung up the phone, threw some random clothes in my backpack, and walked out the door of my apartment. I took the Garden State Parkway south through the rain for hours in silence. I got home at 2:30 AM, and despite her 9 pm bedtime my mom was awake to make sure I made it down safe. She met me at the door and hugged me. I dropped my backpack, slid to the floor, and collapsed into her arms sobbing. My dad watched with a solemn face from our living room. We were there for a while. I fell asleep in my bed at home in the same clothes I had put on that morning in New Brunswick. 


My worst and deepest anxiety is that everyone hates me. That no one wants me around, that they talk about me when I’m not there, that they’re lying about liking spending time with me. I think that’s a common irrational fear. So to get a text from a close friend (whom you’ve told this fear to) essentially telling you that your worst anxiety, the thing you are the most scared of, is true and that they feel that way about you, it is just an indescribable type of hurt. Every good memory I was clinging to since being at school and feeling lonely was suddenly horribly tainted. My whole summer felt like a lie. My friendships felt like lies. I couldn’t help but look back on memories of the summer with my friends and wonder what they were thinking. How they wished I wasn’t there, how they were talking to each other behind my back about how upsetting my presence was.

I didn’t know that I was inserting myself when they didn’t want me there. No one told me that. And it’s not like I could’ve apologized or explained or even learned more. There was no conversation. This text was the first I was told, and also the last, being as it was also the last time they ever spoke to me. To this day.


“Thank you for being honest” 


I spent the next four days in my room. I hardly left my bed. I cried. I slept so much because I didn’t like being awake. I barely ate. I’ve never been one to open up much to family, but my state was so obvious that my parents were seriously worried about me. I remember how scared they were.

I like school and I excel in it. I’ve kept straight A’s in every class, every single semester of college. I skipped an entire week of classes. I couldn’t think about school. I couldn’t think about anything but that text. It was etched in my mind. I have it memorized. It was my first thought in the morning and and last thought at night. Going back to school felt impossible, the thought of writing an essay or listening to a lecture somehow hilarious. I didn’t think I could do it and I seriously considered dropping out of school. My parents tiptoed around me, asking if I was going to go back to Rutgers, if they needed to contact the school, trying to figure out how to help. 

After almost a week of that, I knew I needed to do something. But I didn’t know what to do. So I drove to my sister’s university to talk to her. We went out to dinner together. I held back tears in the restaurant over my vegetarian flatbread as I told her what had happened. She told me I have horrible friends who don’t care about me, and that she was sorry. Afterward, I got into my car and started it, but paused when I realized I didn’t know where I was going. I felt like I couldn’t go back home, like it was a backward movement. But I also couldn’t go back to Rutgers for some reason. So I texted someone else who went to the same university. And decided to continue freezing time by spending the next four days or so with my ex. Going into it, I think all I wanted was to have someone in our friend group hear about what had happened from my perspective, so I told them what happened. They listened to me explain as we wandered around campus shivering in the early October cold. 

After days of that, I got back in my car, took the parking ticket off the windshield ($35 for overnight parking), and started the engine. This time, I drove back to Rutgers. (After skipping two full weeks of classes) From there, what could I do but return to life? It was bad. 


I was depressed. It was the lowest point I’ve encountered yet in life. Like I was in a hole I didn’t know how to climb out of. I cried a lot, every day. It took willpower to keep up with my responsibilities. To get to class, to do my work, to feel any happiness. I came home on weekends because I couldn’t handle being alone. I can’t even really describe what it felt like.

One weekend, I tried to work in the bakery, as we were still open at that point and my parents needed the help. I made it a couple of hours before I was so drained and numb and sad that I knew I was close to losing it, and if I started crying, I wouldn’t stop. I left while we were busy, and didn’t even drive home. I climbed the stairs and unlocked the door to the apartment above the bakery that my grandparents live in during summers. I laid down on a twin bed in their guest room. I remember pulling four blankets over myself because the home was empty and the heat hadn’t yet been turned on for the winter. And I went to sleep. 

There was one day that I listened to the song “A letter to my younger self” by Ambar Lucid on repeat for hours. Music felt somehow wrong to me, so I wasn’t really listening to any (which is so out of my character). For some reason, I liked this song, maybe because I had just found it days prior. Its lyrics are in Spanish and English and are very comforting. It was the only song I listened to for a while. It turned out to be my most listened-to song of all of 2023. When it showed up as the song that defined my year on my 2023 Spotify Wrapped, it almost felt like another thing taken from me in this whole mess.

I was low. The lowest, actually. But at a point, you realize that only you can change that. Things won’t get better until you make them better, which means you have to change something. And I was so tired of the way I was existing. It didn’t feel like living. 


I was determined to feel better, to get out of wherever I was. I tried to move on with life. They had asked for a few weeks of space, and I wanted to respect that. So I didn’t reach out even though I wanted to, and thought about what I would say to them soon when they texted me. But they didn’t. Days went by. Then weeks. (Now months). There was a Chappell Roan concert in Philadelphia the two of us had bought tickets to go to together about a month before, and in the days before I was sure they would say something, at least tell me they were or weren’t going. But they didn’t. I went to that concert by myself, and despite nervousness about my first concert alone (and a slightly scary nighttime walk in Philly alone), it was the best one of my life. I love the artist and sang every word. I had such an amazing time. It was just a perfect night. It felt like my first breath in so long. It was also the beginning of learning how to like being alone.

To process everything, I turned to my journal. I wrote letters to my friends I dreamed of sending even though I never would. Reading journal entries back is interesting, watching my tone shift from hurt to questioning to sadness to anger to acceptance. I wrote down everything I felt, every thought, every point, every epiphany. I filled an entire journal in two months and bought another. Journaling has always had this ability to make me feel better almost instantly, and it was my lifeline for a while.

The more I wrote how I felt, the more I started to feel different. Slowly, I came out of my depression. I think I dwindled for so long because I was waiting. For a text, for an apology, for an explanation, for anything really, I wasn’t sure what. I wanted to know where I stood, to know what would happen next. I was sure something would happen. But at a point, I realized nothing was coming, apart from being unfollowed on Instagram. I was all and completely deleted from the lives of those I spent most of my time with. 

I had saved it a while ago, but I re-found the song “Coolshit Bullshit” by Danika a month or so later, and instantly connected with the lyrics. It felt like the song was written for me, telling me I was going to be okay without the people I was used to. It sounds slightly silly, but when I would (often) drive to New York City or Princeton, I’d blast it in my car on repeat until I believed the lyrics again, like an anthem. 

Months after it happened, even while things were starting to seem better, I still felt like I was reeling sometimes. One day a couple of months after everything, I called my mom crying before a work shift because I was so tired of thinking about it. I hated the fact that, months later, it was still something I thought about daily, and I felt sure that they weren’t. I was upset that I still felt so hurt, so angry, so sad, and they were probably completely fine, having sent that text and gone back to their life. I was sure it didn’t run through their mind every night the way it did mine.

At some point, I turned to a therapist to help. She told me that the process was similar to grieving, in a way. I had lost all my friends, lost people important to me, all in one fell swoop. And it was sudden and unexpected. She told me it was okay to still be struggling, and that getting over something like that is going to take time. About a month before the end of the semester, she told me it would probably be harder when I got back to my hometown. Being in a city with a million memories of my friends attached wouldn’t make things easy. And she was right. For a while, being at home and driving past places we spent time at, the streets we live on, and spent our days walking down, made me so sad. But it doesn’t as much, anymore. 

I think maybe they were caught up in themselves and just didn’t stop to consider how it would feel for me when I read that text. Decided to think of it as removing someone from their group, rather than cutting a person off from all their friends. I don’t think they knew how they were about to temporarily ruin my life when they did. Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t. I’m not sure which is better.  


One of the things that stuck with me was something my mom told me pretty early in: to take comfort in knowing that I would never do to someone else what they did to me. And she was right. Sometimes I think that my empathy is an issue. I feel things so strongly. My sister says that my sonder is getting problematic. I will give a homeless person my dinner on the way out of the cafe. If I see a bird without a leg I’ll think about it all day. Seeing all the dead worms on the concrete after it rains is brutal. Once, in Georgia, I saw a beautiful tree with a parasite plant growing on it and literally shed a tear because I knew it would die. 


Out of the whole group, I don’t think anyone paused to stop and consider how it would feel if they were in my shoes. If every single one of their friends stopped speaking to them, stopped inviting them to everything. About how it would feel to be told that their closest friends wanted to hang out without them more but! to feel hurt by that. What that might be like for them, and what it was like for me. Because after all this, no one from that group talked to me. They followed suit, I guess. Stopped speaking to me, stopped inviting me to things, took me off private stories, stopped liking posts, and didn’t reach out. I guess not one of them saw any sort of issue with what had happened. Or maybe they did, but not enough to talk to me. 


Apart from my ex, I’ve seen one other friend since. One night, only a couple of weeks after I got the text, I was home for the weekend and my parents were out. I was spiraling and racked my brain for what to do because I needed a person. I called one of my friends that lives close by and, after they finished eating a quesadilla, we went on a walk. We wandered the dark streets of Upper Township for a couple of hours talking. At one point, I explained what had happened from my perspective. They said they were sorry, and they had never felt the same way, wished I hadn’t been there when I was. As I left I said goodbye, see you later! Oh, well, actually maybe not. I mean I don’t know? They said that yes, they would see me later. That was the last time we spoke. 


I think it’s important here to say that I never once talked shit about the person. Not to anyone, ever. I told a few people what happened, and the general reaction was sympathy or anger. But I never talked badly about them, that I hate them or they’re a bad person or fuck them for what they did. I wouldn’t say that about anyone, and it’s not true, anyway. I don’t hate them, I love them. We were friends, after all. And they’re not a bad person, either. Yes, they hurt me. But I honestly believe that hurt people hurt people. I don’t think they used empathy or considered their actions’ effects enough. But I also choose to believe they didn’t intend to hurt me like they did. And I hope they’re good. 


I think there was also, strange as it was, a sense of freedom that came with being kicked out of the friend group. Because truthfully, the group was flawed. I loved the group. I still do, and I love all the people in it. But I knew deep down that all was not well. Constant dramatics and an unofficial leader can’t exactly end well. Even when I was in the group, it caused me stress. For months when we started dating, I made my ex ask permission before I came to any casual hangout until they were told to stop asking. It took even longer than that and many corrections from them before I even let myself call them my friends instead of his. I was always terrified to disagree in any way with the friend who cut me off. Both because I knew they were higher in the group hierarchy, and because I idolized them enough to think anything they thought was right. My ex and I actually had a conversation about it, once. From the very beginning, I was always scared that no one wanted me around, constantly anxious about my place in the group (Rightly so, I guess). 

When everything happened, I racked my brain for a reason. Why? Why would they do this to me? One of the answers I came up with was just karma. Because I had listened to them talk shit about so many people. I had watched them hurt others in the group. And I just sat and listened, did nothing. I knew they could do the same to me, so I wanted to stay on their good side. 

One of the biggest takeaways from the experience was that I needed to evaluate the people in my life. Going through a tough time, it became so painfully clear the people around me that were genuine and those that weren’t. 

I watched, as people chose to exit my life, the gaping hole they left filled by others. My parents, my sister, my closest friend, my cousin, my other good friends. They all knew what had happened and each of them supported me differently, and I’m so grateful to all of them. 


In particular, the person I consider my best friend, whom I have for essentially my entire life, became a sort of lifeline for me. To simply know that there is a person in this world, a friend, who will always be there, who you can always turn to, who will always pick up the phone (and probably talk for hours) is truly the best feeling. I felt so grateful because I knew, regardless of everything I had lost, I would always have a genuine, true friend, who knows me better than I know myself occasionally. And I’ll have them the rest of our lives, no question in my mind. Friends like that are rare. And so much more invaluable than friends who don’t have each other’s best interests at heart. 

I connected with a friend up at school. We walked around New Brunswick and talked. They were in the friend group as well. They had felt similarly in the past and understood, but most notably, they were upset. They apologized to me for what happened and were upset with the people who did it. It was the first bit of validation I received, and it was helpful. To know that I wasn’t somehow making this up or being upset over nothing. They were such a good friend to me in the months that followed. Taking me out to parties, introducing me to their friends at school, a boycott of liking the group’s instagram posts, even offering to not go to things the friend group invited them to, and slight espionage: texting me what was said about me when I wasn’t there. 

Another friend at Rutgers was great too, and despite the chaos that sometimes followed our times together (couponing fails, pan thefts, and subway struggles in NYC) I knew I could tell them anything without judgment. 

And of course, I made new friends! Friends for tacos and drag shows and bus rides and feminism classes and sushi and claw machines and tattoo advice and everything else. 

When I came home after fall semester, I was reminded how quickly news can travel. I got together with a couple of lovely friends one night, and they already had heard about the situation with our friend group. They, of course, were the sweetest. They were so sorry and reminded me how much everyone in their group loves when we hang out. 


I also spent a lot of time with family. It was nice to know that I have a family who will always love and be there for me, no matter what. Also, a cousin I love happens to be living in the apartment above the bakery right now, which is so perfect and lovely.  


So, things were bad for a while. But! Things got so much better, because the experience taught me some invaluable lessons. For a long time, I was upset. I felt like I couldn’t move on. But at a point, I decided to approach the situation from a different perspective. 

Truly, I’m thankful to that friend, to those friends. Because if they hadn’t cut me out of the group like they did, I wouldn’t have left on my own. And I think I needed to. 

Now, I’m better. My life is better. The experience brought me to some major realizations about myself and my life. And I wouldn’t change that. If it wasn’t for them, I would be very different today. I wouldn’t have made choices that let me here, now. And here, now is a place I love being.


People love to label hardships as blessings in disguise, or say that the lowest lows bring the highest highs. I never believed that. I do now. Because the worst of these times led me to some of the best.