I once was the secret friend of a girl in fifth grade. We’d sit together in the gym and play, she’d tell me ghost stories and I’d run after her in tag. But that was only in after-school. When she saw me in the daytime, when the cliques of other girls turned their noses up at me, she pretended not to know me. In those days, I thought that was something I had to accept and felt so lonely. I still struggle with liking myself as an adult, but no matter how lonely I feel, I’m never going to accept a friendship that erodes me again.