Weddings are an emotional minefield. I never know what latent feelings will emerge, but today one surfaced and left me feeling out of my element. My freshman year of college, my roommate quickly became one of my closest and best friends. Though we were well on our way to adulthood then, in the last year or two of our teens, we really grew up together. I was the wallflower, withdrawn but determined to explore the world outside of my shell, and she was the most magnetic, yet gentle extrovert I had ever known.
Had we met now, I know we might never have been friends, but I also doubt that I would ever be precisely who I am without her. I let her get close in ways almost no one could now. I was more open minded then, so young, naive, and trusting. It's not like she ever betrayed my trust, or that I ever expected her to. It's just so much of the world feels like you're constantly being forced to pick a side. Should you choose wrongly, you will be ostracized immediately and indefinitely. While I agree there are certainly some things that deserve such treatment and are too dangerous to see the light of day, I do think curiosity is a window of opportunity for dialogue and understanding.
Having curious friends has helped me explore so many parts of my identity that I thought were otherwise inaccessible. Now she's getting married, and I felt so many conflicting feelings. I'm very happy for her, but my inner child feels like I am losing a close friend. I know deep down that's not true, but it can feel that way since she lives so far away, while she's making friends with people that are so different from me, and from us. She has new interests that we do not share. I felt a little like how a parent might watching their child grow up and make their own choices; proud, but just a little distraught about what's to come.