The two of you coordinated matching looks; every Tuesday and Thursday you wore purple and white. At lunch, you pulled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches out of your matching Strawberry Shortcake lunchboxes. You traded the extra-pulp orange juice your mother packed you every day, even though you hated it for her wild berry Capri Sun. You gave your green apple for her banana. After school on the yellow bus, you sang SWV’s “Weak.’ She took the first verse, and you the last. You met in the middle for the bridge and belted, “Cause my hearts starts beating triple time…” The two of you were tight from jump.

But as time moved on, and training bras changed to 34Bs, hips widened naturally, and forehead acne was concealed with bowler bangs, the two of you strangely grew apart. Today in your quarter-life retrospect, the reasons are no longer so mysterious.

She had a baby at 17, and you went away to college. While you were pledging DST, she got married at City Hall. You convinced her to sign up to AOL to chat with you from time to time. You didn’t realize that she logged on from her local library because between the baby formula and Huggies, she couldn’t afford a home computer, much less your swanky first-gen iBook. The intricacies of rent, and baby daddy were non-existent in your on-campus life. You were worlds apart, and didn’t even know it. All you knew was that she slowly but surely stop being the friend you called when you had something crazy to tell. The friend you were once connected to at the hip became lower to non-existent on your recent call list.

Nearly five years after undergrad you look around at your impressive social network. You rub shoulders daily with folks with no less than 3 initials behind the names—professors to pharmaceuticals reps—and suddenly you miss the time when you became unmasked, and simply were yourself. You search for her on Facebook, and there she is. Her profile picture is an image of three boys, her sons, DeShawn Jr, DeMar, and Devon. Almost instinctively you feel a sting of guilt. In your so-called busy New York life, you haven’t managed to buy them so much as a bib.

You want to message her but you can’t find the words. That guilt sting sustains, and the juxtaposition of your own profile picture, a semi-”Glamour Shot” with Veronica Webb front row at some fashion week show, makes it all the worst. You think, “I’ll just say, ‘It’s been too long, how are you?’ “No,” you reasoned. “That’s so typical and slightly fake.” You conclude, “Well, let me just request her, and then we can connect from there.” Just moments after returning to your office from your lunch run to Spice Thai, you see a message from her.

“I’m so proud of you. How you been girl?”

The tears just won’t stop.

  • Nikki B.

    Powerful article.

    So many people can relate to this. I never realized that there were so many young people who did not actually make it to higher education, and I was even more surprised to realize how many young women are starting families now. Sooner and sooner every generation it seems.

    I think this is just a reminder to be grateful of where you are, appreciate your potential and intelligence, but to never forget your past and show respect to the people who were not BLESSED with the ability to do what you have been able to do.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/TheBlack-BoxOffice/1485474273 TheBlack BoxOffice

    OMG! This is beautiful…Such a real experience.

  • teej

    glad this didn’t border on an apology for being successful article, but that it retains a bit of humanity for someone who wasn’t invested in as much as the college-head.

    also, definitions of success are subjective. teenage mom could be the most successful at raising her babies, something college-head probably can’t do because she’s married to her job. teenage mom is prob a better, more attentive wife, and has a successful marriage and is doing a hell of a job raising a beautiful, healthy family.

    there are something teen mom’s of the world (who couldn’t do the college thing) can teach college-head’s of the world, cool article, clutch.

  • Mimi

    I agree

  • Andi

    I love this article. I was a teenage mom but I made the decision to finish high school, go to college, have a career and I did it all while married with 2 kids. My college friends are just now having babies and I have become the person the turn to again. When they have questions about giving birth, terrible twos, and tough times in a marrige I can be the person they lean on.

    Just trust and believe that if they are good friends when the time for reconnection comes it will all work out.

  • Lisa

    Sounds like an homage to my bestfriend! Good read. It’s good to have that one friend you can run too no matter the situation.

  • Jay

    Success is definitely subjective. Real friends are forever. No degree or job can come between a true friendship. I have a degree, great career ..powerful network but my real friends who aren’t as accomplished have ALWAYS been in my life. There is room for all types of friends. ;/

  • http://musicmakesmehigh.wordpress. Reecie

    I lived this kinda. I lost touch with a good friend when I went away to college (even though I didn’t go that far) and I tried to stay in touch but I just felt like she was no longer interested in being my friend despite my efforts to keep in touch. it still stings from time to time but I did all those things–got involved, pledged, came home to live for grad school but we had already lost touch. I miss the relationship we had because we had been friends since grade school, but I’m happy for the good girl friends I’ve made since. There really are only a handful of friends I’ve kept since my elementary-high school days. We really just grew apart.

  • bob

    im currently at this crossroad in my life and my friends too when we are evaluating who should be in our futures and some good friends are looking like they are taking themselves out of it but, thats how life goes

  • vanessa johnson

    i think its a great article and the same thing happened to me. having babies before college in highschool etc doesnt necessarily mean you will be unsuccessful just to clarify the above statements, but i believe the author is basically saying that they will be busy with different things now, like i go to events, fashion week, vacations etc but my friend with babies etc goes to baby showers which i do too but our priorities are different. with that i end with its not when or how fast you accomplish something that counts, but as long as you accomplish it period that counts

  • A. Walker

    I add my sentiments to those who have already said what I was thinking: POWERFUL article! I read the title of this article convincing myself that, surely, I would be justified for succeeding, progressing and leaving behind my “girl” from childhood whom, when our names were called, were really called as ONE name. As I continued the article, I saw just how appripo and realistic the article is…it is my story! **sigh** I’ll call.

  • sloane

    i don’t think it’s fair to say that because someone is dedicated to educating themselves and having a sucessful career that their personal life always suffers. sometimes like attracts like and you end up in relationships with people on the same level as you career-wise, who know how to multitask and prioritize.

  • http://writingwhileblack.com writtenbyBene

    Great article. I’ve experienced this with three of my closest friends from high school. At times we lost touch while we were living completely different lives. Now that we’ve reconnected, it’s amazing how supportive they are of what I do even if it has not been their path. And vice versa. I take interest in their lives, their children, encourage them to follow their dreams etc. What is interesting is the difference in how I am when I’m around them in comparison to the friends I’ve made in grad school. Also, I’ve been in a situation where my friend from high school disregarded my feelings and problems because in her eyes, I had a Master’s so I was better off than her. This can be disheartening as well because you don’t really know how to explain to your friend that having a degree doesn’t mean your life is a walk in the park. And I wonder if the friend who went to college ever feels as if a heavy weight is on them because they’re the ones who “made it?”

  • sloane

    sometimes people grow apart because you don’t share common interests or have similar experiences anymore, and you can’t feel guilty about it because that’s the way life goes sometimes. this article resonates with me, because it has happened to me, and while i’m no longer close with certain people because our life paths have diverged, i try to keep in touch base with those i still connect with on some level based on who i am today, not when i was a kid.

  • L

    Wow. This was such a powerful piece. I really commend the writer.

    It’s actually funny because for me getting married has been a huge catalyst in weakening my friendships (which were already on the decline.) I’m college-educated and all that… but I just can’t do the bitter black woman song and dance anymore.

  • http://ifeluvsu.blogspot.com Eboni Ife

    Thanks for this. Very powerful and all too familiar.

  • Ngozi

    I Agree!!!

  • http://syccollection.etsy.com SYC

    I totally agree! True friends remain no matter what, but just as with anything, you reach different seasons in your life and your time shifts. So even though you may not see them every week anymore, they are still your true friend.

    People grow apart the true love remains.

  • Bbelle

    Now you have me in tears…I often wonder about a particular friend but I never kept in touch. I found her on facebook, but just didn’t have the courage to friend her.

  • @twitthis29

    Wow! This is some good writing! Its true…my sentiments exactly. I am gonna share this on DAFACE!

  • sun.kissed

    Great article, I can definitely relate. Seems unfinished though….can we get a few more sentences?

  • EmpressDivine

    I agree with sloane. Sometimes you HAVE to grow apart because you grew up and they didn’t. Or like the article stated you both took different life paths. If we’re honest with ourselves though, we all have that friend or know someone who is still has the same mentality they did when they were 16. Sometimes you even struggle within yourself thinking that maybe you’ve become elitist, snobby, classist, or even more dreaded bourgie. However, the reality is that some people like to remain in their mental/emotional comfort zone at the expense of potential growth.

    Nevertheless, I do hope most people have the happy endings you see in this article.

    Great article! Ya’ll are reading my mind this week.

  • http://www.twitter.com/ebonylolita Ebonylolita

    Oh this is sad… because I lived it. I don’t think I’m better then my friends who had kids in H.S or college. I just believe our lives evolved “differently” Do I still love them…. Yes. Do I wish them the best out of Life…. Always. My life is just different from theirs. I may not visit often, but go to all invited birthday parties for their children. I just can’t do the “play dates” since I don’t have children.
    This is no different between My life & that of my few married friends. The focus in life becomes different & we both can talk for certain types of advice, but there is a different direction that I admire & respect.
    Good article, makes you think about a lot & miss certain people

    !PopStyle! EbonyLolita ;)

  • Isis

    It definitely does happen in all stages of life. Its pretty sad though.

  • http://www.twitter.com/MusicOfSoleil @MusicOfSoleil

    WOW… VERY powerful.
    Thank you @Jovizi for recommending this article!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jessica-Highyellowhottie-Evelyn/100000081211233 Jessica Highyellowhottie Evelyn

    @Empress: On the contray, a girl who has a baby in high school has to grow up very quickly. They are faced with real life responsibilities that some college grads dont have to experience until their mid 20s or later. They have to take on full time motherhood, a job, bills, etc. Yes, friendships do grow apart when we choose to take different paths. Maybe you were speaking generally, but I resent you saying that you sometimes have to leave friends behind because they’ve refused to grow up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jessica-Highyellowhottie-Evelyn/100000081211233 Jessica Highyellowhottie Evelyn

    Hate to sound like a parrot, but this article is definately powerful. It was tough for me to have a baby in high school. I am so proud of my friends, but it does break my heart when I think about how I could have been living on campus, in a sorority, having my parents support me, being spontaneous. I see my friends graduating with their BAs, getting jobs that pay 2 and 3 times as much as mine, and being able to keep that money all to themselves!! I love my kids, but if I could do it all over again…

  • http://www.3-dolls.com Brittney

    This was very moving because so many of us can relate…One thing that I want to point out though is that the friend that did not go to college is not the “failure” out of the two..I think a lot of times..NO MOST of the time.society looks at the American Dream as . COLLEGE. CAREER. MONEY. STATUS. HOMEOWNERSHIP!! but overlooks the fact that many of us dont appreciate and enjoy the simple blessings such as waking up in your right mind..being healthy..having ACTUALLY married the true love of there life…I only say this because I lived the life of the DST college girl..the MUTUAL fund analyst…walking the streets of Wall Street straight out of college..not just front row..but a Model for several designers in fashion week.but I have recently have had situations to SLAP me back to reality and appreciate the simple blessing that God has bestowed on my life…again wonderful article!! 3DOLLS LOVE CLUTCH!!

  • EmpressDivine

    I went back and reread my post to see if I wrote something I don’t remember writing but NOPE didn’t see it. At no point did I say that that girls who had children refused to grow up. I actually never mention women with children at all. My post was general and offered as a flip side to the happy ending presented in the article. Sometimes people grow apart naturally and sometimes you need to grow apart. No harm, no foul.

  • iolastar

    Loved the article, loved the comments before mine. It’s amazing how going away to college can totally change your perception of the world. You really feel that you’re the same person, but when you go back home everything and everyone seems so different.

    In our freshman year how we wished she was there to rock out with us. Time goes on, we drift even further apart, we meet new people. Sometimes it’s best to let go of the past and move on especially when you see no growth. We want her to change, we want her to experience what we experienced, we want her to stop drinking so much, stop letting men run her over, we want her to read this book, and to go to school. We have all these demands on how we want her to be. We just can’t accept that she accepts her condition. So what do we do? We let her go.

    We go through drama with our new friends and then something hits us, we actually did have a real friend. A friend that was genuine. A friend that made us laugh when we wanted to cry. She told us the truth in her signature animated way. She knew you better than anyone else. You think about some of the fake friends you’re currently dealing with and wonder, why did I let her go.

    This article hits a nerve man!

  • hehe

    I really appreciate your honesty.

  • Essence

    Wow. I’m in tears reading this. So close to home.Too close. Thanks for sharing!

  • binks

    Agreed with Jay
    This is a great article overall because the majority of people can relate, because when we grow up and our lives take different directions from the people we love sometimes you do grow apart and discover your own avenues in life and yourself that you shouldn‘t have to apologize for or feel bad. I always believe that people come in your life for a reason, even if they don’t ride with you till the finish line. However, the only hard part I’ am having trouble digesting with this article is the “less successful” because again success is measured by the individual person. Just because someone lead this fabulous and page turning life doesn’t mean that for someone who is a mom, didn’t go to college, doesn’t travel, etc. is less successful because they didn‘t take your course of action. Friendships is friendship and knows no bound nor should it be interrupted with your own personal success. I have a friend from HS who idea of success was getting married early and being a stay at home mom while mines was big city, college, penthouses, and luxury and we are still friends even if we don’t talk as much as we like so it depends…

  • chinaza

    I understand the writer but I think most people accept that lives grow apart as we get older and we move on.
    We do have to let people go and be glad for the good friendships we had.Sometimes we make the mistake of clinging to the past or returning to a place where we no longer belong.
    I agree with binks that we also have to realize that a different choice is not always a lesser choice so we should be careful not to be condescending in our views of people.

  • keep daydreaming

    I can definitely relate….my former bestie was around for everything and understood me…she even made my first weeks of college fun when I didn’t want to go

  • Brooke

    Clutch writer can you please get out my head! because I’m currently going through this situation with my friends…we’re all at different schools and it’s shocking how when we hang during our breaks we notice that someone has changed…it’s sad cause slowly but surely a few have drifted away and i have to admit that sometimes I just miss the old them and wish that we were the same people we were in hs

  • kelly1920

    great article! I can relate…big time.

  • Sasha

    My sentiments exactly!!!!! Love the article and your comment to it.

  • http://hoodlook.tumblr.com Jasmine

    @binks I agree with your comment

    I can completely relate to this article and could picture my long-lost friend as I read it. Unfortunately, we have lost touch through the years because we have less in common (even with me being her son’s Godmother). But I have a serious issue with the title and implication that becoming a woman through trials other than collegiate studies, swanky parties, and material gain makes someone less successful. Honestly, at this age I thought I’d be the one married with kids, instead I see her beautiful babies on FB.

    She is proud of me. But I am also proud of her.

  • Tonia

    Love the articles, tears.

  • Vee

    It’s called growing up. A history of shared juice boxes does not mean a successful adult relationship will ensue.

    I personally believe in leaving the past where it is, but I understand that folk gotta do whatever it takes to help them sleep at night.

  • SunnyDay

    Whoa this was heavy. Just fanned away my tears…
    Thank you for this post!

  • http://sallomazing.blogspot.com Sallome Hralima

    Geneva. GENEVA! This started for me at 13, when I packed my mom’s station wagon and traveled 2,000+ mi with her and my g-ma to Mississippi…off to boarding school. Coming home for breaks was initially exciting. I got to tell A & V about all the cute boys and the girl drama, show them the dances from New York and Chicago, and the hella strange slang.

    Fast forward. Now I am in a New England college while my boarding school besties go to HBCUs. Initially, the phone calls to Hampton, FAMU and Howard were full of giggles and shared epiphanies. Then, as I start looking at global Pan-African issues, and exploring race & gender more prominently, our phone calls are stressed; they are focused on interning at Fortune 500 companies, pledging, and homecoming celebrations.

    My friends at home are dealing with teen pregnancy, rising violence in the community, and getting jobs that pay more than minimum wage. My friends from boarding school are trying to get a man before leaving college, and I’m getting back from West Africa and fighting for Reparations.

    I called V from back home, Te, Cope, and Q from by boarding school days two days ago. I wanted them to know that no matter how much time passes, no matter how far away we are, no matter how different our lives look… I still love them, and want them to keep smiles on their faces. I now just buy them AND their babies “I (heart) BK” t-shirts to make sure they keep a little of me – always.

    Thank you for this post.

  • http://clsoetjane.blogspot.com Kinna LeBlanc

    WOW!
    How powerful and true. This is a place we’ve ALL been.

    KL

  • http://www.singleindependentsistah.com sistah1

    Nice peace. I can relate, but I do not feel guilty that some of my friends have children and families, while I have a nice bank account. I don’t think all teen mothers regret the decisions in their lives. While we may be posing for pics at Fashion Week, some of us are also wondering if we’re going to ever have kids. That’s something those former teen moms ain’t worrying about, and many of them are very happy with the lives they’re living. It’s just different. One isn’t necessarily any better than the other, in my opinion. So, we should be just as happy for them as they are for us.

  • jay

    AND..where’s my orignal comment???! lol

  • Res

    Good point Brittney. “Less Successful” is a loaded phrase. Success is quite relative.

  • Alexandra

    Nice. I can relate to this a lot. I graduated HS in 2006 and there are so many people I knew, that have kids, or who are engaged and are living their lives. My friend who I’ve known since middle school had a kid. I was there for her baby shower, but never went to see her baby even though she invited me many times. Almost a year after, I was closing my myspace account and I looked at my top friends and saw a photo of a baby under her screen-name. I clicked it and there was a pic of her daughter who was way passed infant stages lol! I felt like I missed out and guilty that I never went to go see her baby. I was in the first years at college and very into my schoolwork too. I haven’t spoken to her much.

    My other friend and I, have definitely grown apart and it’s not because of bad blood. We are just 2 different people now. I’ve known her since I was 11. When we all went to HS, she went to another HS with my other friend, but still kept in touch. When we graduated HS, we all reunited again. I went to college with her, and my other friend went to away for her dorm. It didn’t take long for my ‘away’ friend to distance herself from us. I haven’t spoken to Ms. ‘Away’ in 2 years. My other friend; even though I talk to her now and then, it’s just not the same friendship we had 11 years ago.

    I’m 22 now and I’m still making new friends as I move on in life. Not the end of the world.
    Some friendships just cant go on. As we mature, we change. And I sure as hell dont talk to my ‘ghetto’ friends anymore. No guilt there. lol

  • http://neemsnthings.blogspot.com/2010/08/racism-disappeared.html Neems

    My thoughts, exactly!!! I had a best friend like that. I went onto college and came back home to work. She married right after high school and had a child. Even now, I wonder how she’s doing but know we’re different people with different priorities now.

  • Orange Star Happy Hunting

    ITA how one measures success is always relavent to that individual’s life path/journey.

    I have one BFF and we are still BFF’s though our life paths are different, we are both blessed to still have one another and a strong appreciation of our differences as well as commonalities.

  • Shureice

    I come from both sides of this.

    I went to college, traveled and had alot of great experiences and I also had a beautiful little girl. While I am struggling to finish the last few credits on my BA
    I am seeing friends of mine finish M.A’s and Phd’s. So while you are leaving your “less successful freinds” behind there are women who you went to H.S. with you who are more successful who may just have left you behind. lol

    This also depends on your idea of success. I feel that no amount of material success can amount to the level of satisfaction I get from being a great mom.
    Before I had my girl I was considered pretty successful but I would still feel that tinge of jealousy when I saw people with their beautiful little ones. Success to me is giving, not having. A friends level of success is not important unless you make it so,
    and no one makes me laugh like my h.s. and college buddies. No one. lol

  • anonymousposter

    This was really wonderful. I haven’t experienced this, but the fact that it was still powerful for me is a testament to your writing.

  • http://twitter.com/supaflynfuchsia Fuchsia

    *tears* I’m that one friend that never had kids, travels too much, dates the wrong guys and lives a life independent. I feel guilty for not staying in touch, but when we connect it’s always wonderful! It seems like most of my friends stood still in away – had babies, and serious relationships that resulted in families – while I was busy trying to bust out and live up to my potential. I didn’t wanna end up struggling like my mother, but everyone around me wanted nothing more than to be settled. I missed my girlfriends recently and reached out to the last bestie I “lost” to marriage and kids. I hope to move forward with her …maybe create a new dialog but I know it will be hard. It always is.

  • Iguehi

    Thank you for sharing this. I felt the same way, being the friend feeling like I’ve out grown my old comrades–but when we connect it is always love! Thats how friendships should be.

  • Stacy

    Powerful post. I found it interesting that the conclusion was made that the friendship grew apart because one friend was successful and one wasnt. Success as on commentor said is subjective and relative the person. What is key and most moving to me about the piece is while paths diverged the mutual love was still there enough for her to congratulate you on a life well lived. Kudos to her too for stepping out to the plate and doing the same. She could have taken a much easier route, but like a strong woman she chose to face her choices head on. Im proud of the both of you. Its life .

  • meek

    i enjoyed reading this post because it hits close to home.I had friends that i have out grown. And at first i felt guily, then i heard how they were talking behind my back and i got over it.

  • Gabrielle

    Thank you for this. I got teary eyed myself. Its crazy how certain personal experiences are so commonly shared.

  • shaw

    SOOOOOOOOOO true! This story is felt by all of us. I know there were times when I would see pics of my friends single, with no kids and degrees and be jealous but I look at my life and I realize I am successful too, just in my own rite. I have a son I am married and I am a soldier in the US army who will be completing her degree soon. We are all successful we can’t waste time comparing our successes to anothers. This article had my eyes well up, Thank you.

  • http://twiter.com/amberyum Amber-yum

    damn.. I got teary eyed.. found out my old roomie is pregnant and unwed. i wouldnt call myself successful and I have a few “status” pics on my facebook, but hey I guess we all grow apart for a reason.

  • EFW

    I think there is a reason why Less Successful is in single quotes. It’s not necessarily true but that is often how society labels these young women. An as college grads without babies we may not necessarily see our friends that way. My best friend and I ARE these two young women. We however make a conscious effort to stay in touch because we have been friends since before we can remember. I am a college grad with a wonderful career. She not a college grad, is pregnant with a boyfriend, and works retail. We live very far away from each other now. However she is always telling me how proud she is of me and how much I inspire her. And I CANT WAIT until my god-daughter gets here.

    we make a conscious effort not to leave each others lives. And although we don’t talk nearly as much as we used to, she knows I always got her back….

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