I never want to sit here and trash talk people. People are an aspect of my life that have shaped me into who I am now, whether our encounters were positive or negative. But in an effort to treat them with respect, though they may not have done so to me, I will change names if I feel the need to protect their identity.

Misery loves company. I have heard the saying over and over. Never did I know what it really meant, until I met Sarah (name has been changed). When I started my job almost 3 years ago, Sarah was the girl who showed me the ropes. She was a burst of sunshine and seemed excited to teach me. Over a few months I learned Sarah was a lot like me, or so I thought. She was in a long term relationship, ready to settle down. She was ahead of me in that aspect, engaged to her boyfriend. David and I were invited to her wedding, but unable to attend due to his college graduation. Time passed and Sarah and I became close. We went out to happy hours often, and shared personal stories and life lessons. Our job can get intense, and when it does, you want good people to protect you. Sarah was always there to have my back. Less than a year after she was married, her relationship started to take a downward spiral. Thinking back on it now, I don’t know who carries the blame. All I know is that two people ended up getting hurt. Her husband decided he was done with their marriage and done with her. She fought for him and I wish she hadn’t. I wish she had more self-respect than to constantly make effort for a man who wasn’t worth it. Because I think he changed her. I think he took the good parts of her and crushed them. After it all, she wasn’t the same. She kept a smile on her face, and no one really knew how badly she was hurting. It wasn’t until David and I ended our relationship that I started to really see how broken she was. David and her ex were completely different. David was always building me up, even to this day. He supported me and made me feel like I was the only girl in the world. He would look at me and say things like “Did I tell you how beautiful you look today?” when I could be just out of bed, with no makeup, messy hair, and morning breath. But Sarah would bash David, as if she felt I needed it. I didn’t. David and I didn’t break up because he treated me badly. We broke up because we needed different things. I didn’t want to hear her talk about him in a negative way. It wouldn’t help the pain. Truly, talking with David was the only thing that helped. He was the only person that understood our situation. But this was the start to the end of our friendship. Sarah always felt like she knew what I needed. I will give her credit for being there for me so often. She helped me take my mind off of everything, encouraging me to remember what made me happy and spend more time doing things for myself. Putting myself first. She went with me to find my new apartment. She was continuously checking up on me but it’s hard to be there for someone when you haven’t dealt with your own problems. Her problems started to overshadow the manner in which she consoled me.
I started working out frequently. It was the only thing I felt I had control of. I could watch what I eat, and I could be active. I had gained weight in my relationship, and getting back into shape felt great. Overall, I lost around 35lbs. Sure, I was smaller, but I was at a healthy weight. Sarah always had issues with her weight. Although she was encouraging at first, when people began to notice my weight loss, she started telling me I needed to stop losing weight because I was getting too thin. The one thing I controlled was now turned into a negative.
Then Will happened. An unplanned situation. Will and I began after a drunken night of a happy hour and bar hopping. A coworker, that with a little alcohol and flirting, turned into something more. When it started, we were nothing more than friends that enjoyed the company of one another. We both didn’t need anything more than that. Inevitably, feelings began to form. But at the time when Sarah was involved in our lives, we were just friends having fun. We spent a good amount of time together, and in Sarah’s mind, this meant we had to be dating. Which meant Will should be treating me like a princess and arranging his life in accordance to my needs. The reality: Will has always treated me with respect. I didn’t need his world to stop turning for me. But Sarah was convinced that I needed more from him or that our relationship was farther along than it was.
The straw that broke the camel’s back. I made plans with Sarah to go out for a night of drinking and dancing in Clarendon. Although Will told me he didn’t want to go, I guilted him into it. Everything started great. We had drinks at my apartment, then ended up out at the bar. Will bought us shots, and when Sarah went to the bathroom, Will and I took shots alone. This started the decline of the night. Sarah felt like she was the 3rd wheel. Despite reassurance from both Will and me, she began to cry and make a drunken scene. Will’s fraternity brothers were at another bar so we decided to go there. On the walk, Sarah escalated to a point of no return. I felt horrible for dragging Will out only to have him deal with Sarah and her issues of insecurity and loneliness. At one point, I walked away from Will to lessen the exposure to Sarah’s drunken ranting. I tried to calm her. Over and over. It didn’t work. The fight culminated at the point where she got physically aggressive, pushing me into the wall outside the bar. She continued to do so in an effort to keep me from walking away. It only ended when a random lady walking by asked if I was okay. I took to opportunity to leave and join Will back in the line for the bar. All 3 of us ended up in the bar, and we tried our best to enjoy what was left of the night, while Sarah was asked to stay far away from us. I actually did enjoy that brief part of the night, as Will and I were able to dance together. I saw another side of Will. He hadn’t wanted to go out, he dealt with my friend’s out of control episode, but when we were heading home, he made sure Sarah was with us. He slowed our walking to her pace. I felt awful for what I put him through. He didn’t hold it over my head though. He and I moved on past that night.
Sarah and I were a different story. I was so angry with the way she acted. I will never be okay with someone thinking it’s acceptable to be physical with me. I, more than most, know what’s like to get too drunk and let my emotions dictate reckless behavior. But I will never disrespect someone enough to physically hurt them. That night gave me the realization that although Sarah offered me support, she has her own issues she needs to work on and they cloud her ability to be a good friend to me. She made me believe that she had my best interest in mind but when it came down to it, she was happiest when I was miserable.
Since the fallout, she has attempted to contact me multiple times. I have seriously thought about reconciling our failed friendship. At the end of the day, I decided I’m better off without her. I’m working on myself, and bettering my life. I’ve made great strides, not without setbacks. But I only see her as a setback now. Setbacks are inevitable, but I have the ability to prevent this one.

Daily Prompt: Brilliant Disguise