It was then, as I stood up next to the bride at the alter of the church in the country town we grew up in, with sweat dripping down the backs of my thighs, squished into a $699 satin body con bridesmaid’s dress the exact colour of my skin tone, that I decided she and I would no longer be friends.
That’s right. On the happiest day of my best friend’s life, I broke off our friendship for good.
While she was performing the wedding dance, that $1100 worth of ballroom lessons bought her, I was ordering an Uber and eating as much cake as I could fit in my mouth before getting the hell out of there.
No, it wasn’t a decision I made lightly, or that came easy. Far from it. Deciding to end things with my oldest and closest friend was a slow and extremely time consuming process. Little by little, I held my tongue and told myself to stop being silly as she chipped away at me.
Then one day, I realised I could no longer stand being around her. If I’m honest, I can trace it back to the moment I put the custom-made ‘will you be my bridesmaid’ bracelet on my wrist.
When I first found out my friend’s partner had proposed to her, I was so thrilled. Being the first girl in our friendship group to get engaged, it was just exciting for all of us as it was for her. We all wanted to be a part of making her dream wedding come true, myself included.
But as the months and weeks until the wedding drew closer, achieving this dream became increasingly impossible. Not just because the bride kept moving the goal posts, but also because it became less about her dream, and more about pulling off the perfect performance.
My role in the performance was to play the part of the supportive, beautiful best friend - but not too beautiful, which is why the bridesmaid's dress my friend picked out for me (that I was expected to pay for) was extremely unflattering - a long, tight, off-white number that did me zero favours. But that was my fault for not being tall and skinny like the other bridesmaids, which my friend kindly pointed out to me in front of everyone while I stood in the fitting rooms. It was humiliating.
She also asked me to get my long, red hair hair cut short with a fringe, because it would match the 1920s flapper style of her wedding better.
When I politely explained I'd really rather not, she didn't return my texts or calls for two and a half weeks, which was how long it took until she needed something from me again. Then it was the shoes. She'd ordered them online, but they only had size sevens left on sale. I'm a size six.
I know these things are all superficial. For a while, I told myself I was just being selfish. It was her day, her time to shine, and how I felt wasn't important.
But when she told me my boyfriend of two years wasn't allowed to come to the reception because she didn't want to waste a place setting on someone she didn't really warm to - even though her fiancee's ex-girlfriend she'd never met got an invite - I started to realise it wasn't him she had a problem with. It was me.
All these little things made me feel like it could've been anyone standing up there next to her, or holding her dress as she walked down the aisle. It didn't matter that we'd been through all of our big life milestones together. She just needed a character to fulfil the role of the perfect bridesmaid, and I was failing miserably.
After months of occupying my thoughts and draining my mental energy, deciding to cut her out of my life was a huge relief. She was toxic - actually, she'd always been toxic. The real me, who laughs at inappropriate things, looks crap in evening wear and is prone to putting my foot in my mouth wasn't good enough for her big day. She wanted to change me.
Now I realise she always has, but it took the stress of organising a wedding for me to finally see it.
Is it horrible that since I cut her from my life, I've never felt more at ease?
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