I’m sitting here thinking of all the things I wanted to apologize to you for. All the pain we caused each other. Everything I put on you. Everything I needed you to be or needed you to say. I’m sorry for that. I’ll always love you because we grew up together. You helped make me who I am. I just wanted you to know, there will be a piece of you in me always. And I’m grateful for that. Whatever someone you become and wherever you are in the world, I’m sending you love. You’re my friend to the end.Her (2013)
Today is the 17th of August, 2014.
It is 10:33 am.
I have spent the last three years hanging on to old wounds, reopening them every day to remind myself that I am alive and that I have been injured.
Every second of that has been seconds off my life that I could’ve been writing or singing or loving another human being.
I am done. I will no longer seek to reopen these wounds. They are old and they need to heal and I need to move on.
It is now 10:36 am. And I’m about to put on my shoes and walk out into the world, for the first time, free of all the things I’ve let chain me to my past.
I have a new life now, and it is time that I enjoy every minute of it.
We all have something. It nags and pulls and tugs at the backs of our brains to remind us that no matter how wonderful our life is, it will happen, and it will ruin us. Some things are small - we worry about getting sick before an important presentation or running out of gas on the highway during rush hour. Some things are very big - war, natural disasters, our loved ones dying. Some things fall in between - they are the things we keep to ourselves, in the very quietest parts of our souls. Because were we to say them out loud, our fear of them would at once seem irrational but also not big enough, and our worry would only grow.
What happens when these things happen?
The answer, while difficult to understand while our minds are warped with fear and anger, is really just this: we live through them.
In the last three years, everything I ever possibly could’ve worried about has happened. These are things that kept me awake at night, that gave me nightmares, that had me wishing they’d JUST HAPPEN ALREADY because damnit the fear was going to kill me.
My first love, my boyfriend of 7 years, the man I thought I would spend my life with - he broke up with me.
And I was stuck in Vermont with no money and no promise of a career, and I had given up on my dreams for him and now I had nothing.
Then I fell for a man who could never love me back because his heart belonged to somebody else.
Then I fell for another man who could never love me back. I worried that I’d never figure out why. He dragged me through the mud for two years. And let me tell you: I still have no idea why.
Then I got a big city job. I worried that it would be awful. It was hell on earth and it broke my spirit.
I lived with a man who treated me like garbage and convinced me that I was worthless. He was abusive and a drunk and probably would’ve killed me had he the chance.
I got the flu twice in one year.
My credit cards were stolen.
Terrorists bloodied the streets of my favorite city and my home. Cell phones wouldn’t work, and I had to walk two miles to get to my family through the chaos of a city after bombs go off.
I got sick. Really sick. 4-am-I-need-to-go-to-the-ER sick. And I was all alone - no boyfriend, no friends, not even my family could be there with me.
I quit my job and didn’t find a new job before my last day and I spent two weeks with no idea what my next step would be.
My mom got sick and we thought that this sickness might kill her. She had a scary surgery and I sat in the waiting room and watched movies on Netflix until her doctor called and said it was all okay.
And then, my first love, he got married. To a beautiful woman with a big heart. And he loves her beyond measure. This was the thing I dreaded the most - to see him happy first, after he broke my heart, and to still be alone.
I have been really alone. More alone than I’ve ever been in my life. I have traveled alone and slept alone and eaten alone more in the last three years than I ever thought I could. I once believed that that much loneliness would kill me.
And you know what? I’m still alive. I am still alive and I am still me. I am still all the things I was three years ago and then some. I am brave and kind and strong. I am smart and beautiful and funny. I am a good friend and a good sister and a good daughter. I have a pet that I’ve miraculously kept alive for 6 years, and she sleeps in the crook of my elbow and meows with excitement when I come home from work every single day. I mentor a little girl who looks so forward to seeing me every week that she jumps up and down when I get to her house. I have learned to draw naked people and did so without giggling. I have seen so much more of the country and of the world than I ever thought possible. In a few weeks, I will start a job that is new and scary in all the best ways and I’m going to kill it. I just know it, deep down in my gut, that this is the best thing possible.
The things you dread will happen. They will always happen. You will always make it through them. They will never be as awful as you think they will be. And as soon as they happen, your heart will pound as if it could drop right out of your chest. It’s not anger or fear or nerves - it’s relief.
Let it wash over you and blanket you in knowing that you’ve faced the worst thing possible. You did it, and you are not smaller or more broken or less loved than you were just minutes before. You are you. You have survived. You will always survive.