Culture Family Life Stories Life

A friendship doesn’t have to last forever for it to retain its impact

My god-sister and I were close once; thick as thieves as the saying goes. We got our hair braided together, we went to school together and did everything else together. We were linked by friendship, first our parents and then our own. We’d play with our rice and stew while complaining about our two siblings. Our friendship had that ease of language that didn’t require words. A tilt of my head would explain my shock at someone’s behavior and a narrowing of her eyes would convey her dislike of a person.

Somewhere along the line, that changed. I can’t put a precise date on it. When there’s a significant change in someone’s life there is often a portrayal of a decisive event, but I can’t say that’s been the case for me. It happened over time; an impercepitble change that’s hard to quantify even now.  All I can really say for sure is that our bond is no longer there.

I first came across the term “seasonal friendship” on one of the many viral tweets that land across my timeline on Twitter. Some people are part of your life for a specific period of time or a defining chapter in the long-form story of your life. Slowly but surely, paths diverge. At least, that’s what happened in my own situation. She was ascending, becoming friends with people very different than I. That’s neither bad nor good. It just is. I was figuring out who I was, I still am, but even more so then. I was trying to develop my own identity outside of being someone’s sister, someone’s cousin or someone’s daughter. Along the way, I’ve discovered parts of myself that I love and others that I don’t.

In all of this, there was the feeling of not belonging. The things that were expected of girls and the pervading elitism that ran through the veins of those expectations were not something that I could deal with and I didn’t want to. Additionally, there was growing acceptance in myself that I may never fit in with particular groups of people. I am too loud, too opinionated and quite often just too much. But for the right people, I am simply enough and they wouldn’t have me any other way.

At the beginning of our friendship fraying, I was angry.

I felt left behind and like a discarded part of her old life that was regulated to the past without a second thought. With a couple years on my side, I can now see that isn’t the case. The quiet death of our close friendship taught me that people are allowed to outgrow things and that includes relationships. As we change and transform, take on a different life as we grow older, some things simply can’t come with us.

Our distance has taught me to not only accept the arrival and end of seasons but to embrace it. I can honor what I had with someone and carry the lessons along the way while also saying goodbye to that period of my life. In friendships and romantic relationships ending, there doesn’t need to be a villain or a hero. We are all complex and flawed individuals that are in a period of change almost all the time. Who someone is today may not be the person they are tomorrow, which means that some things can’t be forever. The inability of something lasting forever doesn’t dim its light or dull its beauty. My friendship with my god-sister taught me that there is beauty in letting go.

Get The Tempest in your inbox. Read more exclusives like this in our weekly newsletter.

By Modupe Adio

Modupe Oladiwura Adio is a writer and lawyer from Lagos Nigeria. Modupe is obsessed with all things pop culture and the intricacies of global black culture and its impact on the world.