Friendship Breakups Exist, and Sometimes They Hurt Worse

By Nicole Mitchell
Photos by Justina Kellner

“I’m going to break up with my best friend after this.”

That’s what I said during my first appointment with a new therapist after she asked me what I was going to be doing after our appointment.

As a military brat, I grew up with friends in all places, so the inevitable ending and beginning of friendships was nothing new for me. But this friendship was like no other. We spent most of our time together throughout our last years of high school: time at school, sleepovers, hanging out at coffee shops, and even holidays were spent exclusively together. 

Then there came a time when we just weren’t clicking anymore. That friendship we had in high school was changing. Gradually, our relationship felt one-sided and different. We hardly ever talked, and when we did it felt as if I had to control the conversation completely. I had lost my best friend, but we were still pretending that we were okay.

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Au Revoir, French Girl

By Reese Bentzinger

My career goals constantly changed in college. One class could make me go from journalist to anthropologist. But who I wanted to be was never in doubt: The French Girl.

You’ve seen her, maybe followed several versions of her on Instagram. Despite lacking filters, her photos are perfect. She always manages to catch perfect lighting while drinking wine by the Seine. She’s skinny, yet wrinkles her nose at the thought of diet and exercise. Every night she manages to tangle herself in spontaneous adventures even though she’d prefer to be at home with her books.

She’s imperfect, and she knows it. That’s why she’s perfect.

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I didn’t have COVID-19, but I almost died because of it

By Emily Park

Around Thanksgiving, I found myself sure that the COVID test I had just taken was going to come back positive—an assumption that came very close to ending my life at 23 years old. Because of the pandemic, I waited far too long to seek medical attention and experienced delays in my care due to the hospital being overwhelmed by the virus.

I had all of the major symptoms the CDC had been drilling into our heads for the last nine months: shortness of breath, a cough, body aches, an elevated temperature, severe exhaustion, an increased heart rate—the works. But it also turns out that all of the above are also symptoms of a pulmonary embolism (aka blood clots in the lungs), which is the third most common cause of cardiac death.

After a few days of symptoms, I had a virtual visit with my doctor who strongly predicted the COVID test she ordered would come back positive. I was only 23, had no history of clots, and COVID was rapidly spreading through the community. There wasn’t much reason to assume it was anything besides the virus.

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SOUP: The Trouble with Transitioning

By Jen Harris

SOUP offers a content warning prior to every column, as the subjects discussed herein may be triggering for some readers. Please proceed with caution. If you would like to try a grounding technique for triggered moments, here is a personal recommendation.

The trouble with transitioning is, I’m not a man. When I look in the mirror, I cannot imagine I could look more like my father, though I know a beard would do the trick.

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My birthing story: I was one of the first non-binary births at Truman Medical

By: Max Sheffield-Baird

I never expected to become pregnant. I had made my peace with it years ago. I was assured by an OBGYN over five years ago that I could not ovulate without medical assistance. As I came to terms with my gender identity as a non-binary trans person, I saw my lack of menstruation as my body doing me a favor and saving me the dysphoria of a monthly reminder of my body not quite fitting the person I knew myself to be.

I’m a nurse. I’ve actually attended two births. Each time I cried. It was a sacred experience to witness. Whether you’re religious or not, I was able to see the argument for a Deity when I’d see a baby take their first breath and their parents get to hold them for the first time. For my own birth experience, I had nervous anticipation. No one comes into Birth prepared. Not really. I had a birth plan but I also knew that nothing goes 100 percent as planned. It was an exercise in letting go and surrendering to the process. I’ve never been very good at that.

I did expect to educate the labor nurses and obstetricians around me on my gender identity and how best to support and affirm me as I went through one of the most vulnerable times of my life. I created a sign and hung it over my hospital bed at Truman Medical: “My name is Max, I’m non-binary, I use they/them pronouns.” The nurses asked questions and were respectful. They asked me if “mom” was still appropriate to use.

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