Picking up the pieces

By Gisselle Hernandez, Features Editor

I have been blessed enough in this life to be able to experience dipping my feet in the waters of Rio de Janeiro, see the sun set over Hollywood Hills, witness the sky explode into a burst of color near the Brooklyn Bridge on the Fourth of July and poise over the edge of the Grand Canyon.  These are some of the life-changing experiences I will forever be grateful for and am humbled each time I think back to what my parents have been able to give me.

As with many breathtaking things in life, I did not experience some of these events alone. Along the way, I’ve strung friendships that span across countries and break the confines of time passing by.

However, a lot of those friendships have ended because of those same factors as well. Eventually, sharing an emotionally-charged moment in front of Christ the Redeemer or having someone snap a candid of you losing yourself to your favorite band’s music at their concert is not enough.

Throughout my life, I’ve always had the habit of wondering why my friend turnover rate had been so high (it’s getting real in here). I had always blamed myself for pushing them away, searching for one of the many flaws in myself that might have scared them away. Because of this, I am always wary of developing new friendships, putting up walls or taking a long time to get comfortable with someone. Fear of losing people had me paranoid, and maybe I really did push them away, but then again, maybe I didn’t.

As I approach the big 2-1, I’ve noticed I’ve grown a lot since 17-year-old me went to Brazil, since I moved to the U.S. to begin college two years ago, since I started working at The News. This entire time I’ve been trying to be cautious with new friends to make sure I don’t “mess up,” but in a non-fiction workshop in one my classes, I noticed many people experience this: losing best/close friends. Then, I started thinking of these “losses” as gaining something in return.

I remember reading somewhere that whenever someone in your life leaves, it doesn’t mean it didn’t work out, it means their contribution in your life has served its purpose. This is obviously much more comforting than thinking you’re the one who’s in the wrong, but I’ll take what I can get. I apologize for this column sounding like a diary entry – I tend to do that – but I’m just saying don’t be too saddened when someone has served their purpose in your life, which is, ultimately, to grow.

Drifting apart from a friend might seem like the ‘end of an era’ as Monica from “Friends” might say, or you might try looking for that person in other people.

But every person who has crossed your path, shared an unforgettable moment with you or changed you in any way, no matter how minuscule, that change stays with you, even when they leave. Instead of looking at the broken shards of glass they left behind, appreciate the stained-glass window they made you into today.