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I'm Grateful for My Friends


Heidi Yang

I'm grateful for my friends. I'm glad that I have the friends that I do because if I didn't, who knows where I would be today. See, I used to have acquaintances that didn't care about me. Of course that was back in middle school, but it's something I've never forgotten. The friends I had
back in seventh and eighth grade didn't care what I thought.

They didn't care that their problems brought me down and never even noticed that their problems worried me. These friends did have names, though I can't remember all of them, I do remember two of them, Christie and Janet. The group that they hung out with wasn't that great either.

They always brought me down instead of making me feel better. They complained about their pathetic lives and always expected me to care; but when I talked about my life they didn't seem to care, and didn't listen to me. I remember one day when we were walking down the hall to get my friend Heather's medicine from the nurse. My friend Christie started to complain about how bad her life was.

"My life sucks." she said grumpily.

"Why?" I asked curiously.

"Because it just does." she replied haughtily.

"Okay.." I said frowning.

Janet always seemed to complain that no one liked her but us. Or something like that which unfortunately was true. I still don't know how I came to be friends with her. Wait, yes I do, she was a friend of a friend. But she had a terrible personality and a reputation for being a loudmouth and a gossip. She would spread mean rumors about people, even former friends.

She could never be trusted with a secret. She was always whispering something into Christie's ear. The information could've been good, but it was usually bad.  Christie, well for some reason she ended up being my friend. I still don't know why I kept her as a friend because she was a certain four letter word and I knew better than to hang out with people like her.

I guess it was because I didn't have many friends. But still...I should've ended, no never started my friendship with her. I should've never been friends with Janet either but that's because she wasn't a very nice person. Needless to say our friendship was rocky at best. They complained about their pathetic horrid lives even when I said I didn't want to hear about it.

They took advantage of me in every possible way. They didn't care about my feelings at all. They didn't care about me or my life in general; at least they made it seem that way. I realized my freshman year of high school that I didn't want friends like that. I chose to make new allies, ones who actually cared what I thought; ones who actually noticed if their problems brought me down.

That was about four years ago. Now I realize what a truly wise decision that was.  Actually I've known that all along, but it's just recently why that was a good decision has become clear to me again. The other day I was upset about something and my friends that I was with weren't really paying attention. I decided that I could help myself by writing about it. Then two of my other friends came into the lunchroom. I said hi to them and went back to writing. "Hey Heidi what are you writing?" my friend Joelle asked.

"Something about my horse." I replied shakily.

"Can we see it?" Joelle asked curiously.

"Yeah sure." I replied pushing it over so Tiana and Joelle could real what I'd written. As they read it Joelle asked me something about what I'd written. At that point I started to cry, then Joelle got all concerned and said,

"Hey what's wrong?"

"Nothing." I replied trying to regain my composure.

"What's wrong Heidi?" Tiana asked looking worriedly at me.

After a little while I told them that my mom couldn't afford to board my horse anymore and we might have to give him away. Joelle was sympathetic and said,

"Oh, I'm sorry." Then she gave me a hug, Tiana said she was sorry too.

Then the bell rang and we had to go to class. They asked me,

"Are you going to be okay?"

"Yeah, I'll be okay." I replied, I stopped crying by then.

"Okay, are you sure?" Joelle asked worriedly.

"Yes, I'm sure." I replied shakily. Then they walked off to class.

I gathered my books and walked off to my first period class.  That was a couple days ago. But it made me realize that my friends have helped me through many hard times. My sophomore year I was depressed about something that had happened to one of my friends but I didn't tell anyone about it. My friend Katie had run away earlier in the year; and I had no idea where she was.

I felt I was partly responsible for her running away (even though I never was) and felt extremely guilty. I tried not to worry about her but she was always in the back of my mind. It practically consumed my life for most of the year. When Katie was finally found she was in Missouri and had been taken advantage of sexually and ended being put in a group home.

I didn't tell anyone about Katie because I didn't think anyone would understand; not even my closest friends. I was probably wrong but I didn't know that back then. Because of that I became extremely depressed as well.  Then towards the end of the year my best friend Truong told me he had to move back to California. Not only that but two other people I knew and like were graduating. My neighbor Zac and my best friend Matt graduated that year.

Matt was going to go to basic training in Kentucky and Zac was going to go off to college and Iowa Tech something or other. I began to wonder how the hell I was going to handle all of this crap. I became even more depressed, and seriously considered suicide. In May on a Friday before my friends' open houses I found myself standing in my dad's kitchen holding a butcher knife. I came dangerously close to ending my own life. But because of the friends I had at the time I decided that it really wasn't worth it.

I realized how much I would hurting them, and that they might decide they wanted to do the same thing. To me, my five friends were reasons I had to live. My buddies are just like anybody's friends in some ways. But to me they are different than the other friends I've had. My friends mean the world to me. I would walk through fire for them. I would literally give my own life if it meant that they could live their life. I know most of them would do the same thing for me. I wouldn't want trade them for anything, and it will really hard to leave them this year when I graduate.

But I know I'll make new friends in college. But I also know that I will never forget my friends that I made these past four years. I hope they will never forget me either. I know some of them won't. Sometimes my friends have frustrated me, made me worry, and generally made my life a living hell. I know that might sound weird, but it's true. I had a friend back in eighth grade named Autumn who was a neat person but she had a terrible home life.

She was into paganism and black magic; which is fine, but she also wanted to get rid of her pain. That's fine too, except when she started cutting herself with a razor blade to get rid of the pain. That was definitely not okay. It scared me, and it was my first experience with such a thing. I was so freaked when she showed me her arm one day or rather, what was under the white bandage on her arm. I didn't know what to do or what to say.

All I could think was why. I didn't understand why she didn't just talk to us or talk to a counselor. Of course her natural aversion to therapy and therapists could've had something to do with that. Not only did she cut herself Autumn got herself sent to Broadlawns quite a lot because of her nasty habit. That was awful and scary as well. I never knew when she had gotten there until someone told me. Even then I had to practically beg a classmate to tell me where she was and if she was okay.

I was her friend for God's sake, I shouldn't have to do stuff like that. But I did. The last I heard of Autumn she had moved in with her dad and was doing okay. I'm very glad that's she's okay. But those long days and nights I spent praying and worrying about her will never be forgotten. To add to my tension and stress when the word got out that Autumn cut herself everyone in the school thought she was lunatic. Which wasn't true, but people don't care about the god**m truth.

They only want to hurt or make fun of the person and tease or torture their friends. That's exactly what many of them did. Even at my high school whenever I mention Autumn they still say she's crazy! Unfortunately I'm the only one who knows why she's not. I even considered doing the very same thing but never have. My friends make me worry because their problems always seem to become mine as well. Whether I want them to or not my friends problems can consume my life but I try not to let them. Most of my friends think I don't need to worry about them way too much. My old buddy Zac Gearhart used to tell me.

"You worry way too much." He was right. 

Having friends like Autumn and having friends who are different from everyone else can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand it's a lot of fun and you can say you get along with anyone.  On the other hand people think you're weird for having friends who are gothic, dye their hair, pierce themselves in odd places etc. There can be many misconceptions about the Goths and their culture. For the record they are not always depressed and don't always wear black (though most do wear black a lot). The Goths view of life is just different from everyone else's. They can actually be really cool to hang out with and offer an interesting perspective on many things in life.

I try to help my friends solve their problems, but sometimes I can't. That used to tear me apart inside, sometimes it still does. I've always considered myself in the middle of the social spectrum. Not quite pretty or snobby enough to popular and not quite intelligent or bookish enough to be a nerd. Most of my friends are like that too.

There have been times when I have considered ending my friendship with someone. But then I realize why I'm their friend and vice versa, and decide to keep them as a friend. I have ended a friendship as well. That was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Especially since we weren't mad at each other; we just drifted apart. The last time I saw my friend Courtney it was like we'd never apart. But I realized a long time ago, that we were still too different now to be close friends.

The things some of my friends have put me through have really changed my life and I like to think that I've changed the lives of some of my friends as well. From my friend Katie who has a disease she can't control, to my friend Dana who's popular and a cheerleader; my friends are very diverse. From the drama people to the social outcast of our high school my comrades come from every corner of my somewhat small world. I'm glad that they are.

I don't care what my friends look like as long as they are good friends to me. They are very important to me, and have supported my dreams of being a writer.  I'm very grateful for that. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I have many things to be grateful for. I'll never forget what my friends have done for me or the problems they've helped me solve. But one of the things I'm most grateful for is my friends.

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