The person who unfriended me (and remember when this wasn't even a word) and I haven't spoken in person in ... Well. Twenty years, I think. Maybe twenty-one. In the time since we last spoke, children were born who are now old enough to drink legally. Which, holy shit.
When we last spoke, we were not old enough to drink.
None of this, of course, is the point.
We were young. We grew up. We became the people we are. As it turns out, the people we became do not see eye to eye on a lot of issues. He became politically conservative. He has very specific religious beliefs. While I respect his choices, I do not share them, and I (who have only become more liberal and outspoken) have likely offended his sensibilities on more than one occasion.
The interesting part of this particular story, though, is that twenty one years ago, he encouraged me not to be afraid to be who I am. He was one of the first people who saw all of the awkward and weird and said, "Honey, just embrace it. Be the spectacle you've been convinced you are -- if you feel like everyone's looking at you anyway, own what they see."
It had never occurred to me before that I could use painful self consciousness to my own advantage.
It has never left me since.
I understand why he unfriended me. As I said before, we're not the people we were. But who he was helped me to realize some of the best things about myself.
I wish I'd thanked him for that. I hope he's aware of my gratitude.