I have always been a naturally small person. This photo was taken when I was in the tenth grade with two of my best friends from my swim team (the one on the end in the beige skirt is still one of my best friends). I am in the black skirt and white top without the sun glasses on; the one in the very front. I was probably 16 years old in this photo and weighed about 105 pounds. I was always a very clean eater, a very active girl, and always conscious of my health.
When I was in the twelfth grade I quit the swim team so I could focus on school to make sure I got into a good university. The three girls in this photo with me (I'm in the centre taking the photo) were my best friends. The one on the right side had been one of my best friends since the ninth grade, the one on my left since eleventh grade, and the one behind just came to our school that year but fit in to our group perfectly.
I think everyone can relate to having different groups of friends; the girls in the 2010 photo were my "fit friends". Even outside of swim practice we would go to the gym, we would discuss new recipes together, and we would try new fitness classes. The girls in the 2012 photograph were the kind of friends who like to, let's just say, indulge. I found that instead of working my butt off for university applications, we would be skipping class to go get a poutine, and pulling all nighters to get drunk instead of to study. It was definitely the epitome of a carefree senior year. By the grace of God and the skin of my teeth I managed to just squeak by the university acceptance minimums, not to mention my health was visibly deteriorating (I was pushing 150 pounds on my petite 5'2" frame).
This photo was taken my first year of university on St. Patty's day. It is actually painful for me to look at this. My skin looks awful, I'm overweight, and I'm so drunk I don't actually remember this photo being taken.
This photo was how I knew I needed to make a change. It wasn't easy, I will never claim that it was, but I think the changes I made are completely worth it. The first thing I did was look back at my life and see where things went wrong and why. It was after many tears and attempts at denial that I finally admitted to myself that these girls, whom I loved so much, were no good for me.
I can recall very vividly a conversation we all once had where one of the girls said that she felt sad all the time. She was pissed at the world and hated everyone. I then remember saying something along the lines of, "holy shit girl, I swear I genuinely like almost everyone I meet, like I'm so happy all the time." The response of my other friend, the one who I considered my best friend since the ninth grade quickly retorted, "I know, your happiness annoys me." It wasn't the weight. It wasn't the alcohol. It wasn't anything except this conversation that pushed my decision to cut ties with them. I realized that those words should never come out of the mouth of someone who called you friend from the same lips.
We all went to the same university and were in a lot of the same classes; the process of cutting ties was very ugly. I wish it hadn't been that way but I can only control myself and my words and my actions.
I found myself growing back into a natural friendship with my swim team girls. We had maintained a fairly strong friendship while we were all at university and when they came home for the summer we all fell back into our old swing of things. We enjoyed many bike rides around the city, we went to the pool, and we went to the gym. We also did tonnes of fun stuff like going dancing at the outdoor bar and heading to the beach! I felt like I was finally getting myself back on track and back to who I was (we are still so close, and the blonde is still one of my best friends!)
I met these two in first year university and instantly fell in love with them. Cutting ties with my friends from high school was so much easier with these two hooligans by my side. They are such beautiful people and I couldn't ask for better best friends. They are so supportive, and adventurous, and kind hearted, and loving. I am now back to a healthy weight, my skin is better than it ever has been, and I have been accepted to college in the fall. I have gotten my life back on track.
I feel like there's so much talk about letting go of a toxic relationship in a romantic capacity, but I don't think enough people realize that friendships can be just as toxic and harmful and detrimental to your well being. I know it's really hard to see how toxic your friendships may be, but if you notice it I really hope you can cut ties. No one deserves a best friend who doesn't treat them the best. I know high school is tough and feeling like you belong somewhere is important but to what cost? The friendship I had with those girls is invaluable; I still care about them more than they would ever believe if they gave me the opportunity to tell them. It makes me sad to think that our friendship came to end, but I am so grateful that, thanks to learning who I'm not, I have been able to grow into who I am.
Thanks for reading, xo, Katelyn.