This life is hard. Right?
Agonizing. Backbreaking. Unapologetic.
Two weeks ago I cut ties with the person who had been my rock for over a year. We did everything together. When I looked into the mirror, a separate pair of soft brown eyes was always staring back at me, and I felt safe. I felt safe knowing that this soul was never going to stop cooking the morning eggs. I felt safe knowing that there would always be an extra towel laid across the radiator, to keep it warm for them. I felt safe saying goodbye, because I knew there was always going to be a hello.
I felt safe. This word soon grew to become a curse word—I wasn’t put on this earth to feel “safe.”
We were both speeding down a dead-end road, both of us scratching and clawing at the wheel in an attempt to turn around, but the wheel was locked. Despite the “safeness”, our days were laced with extremes—love ran rampant, but so did the pain. “Love” became interchangeable with codependency and obsession. I grew restless.
So, I pulled the plug on our relationship. They were gone.
But shortly after, like an addict, I hastily tried to re-connect the power, despite the chords’ many frays and frown-lines.
Our relationship was battered and non-functioning, co-dependent and addictive, yet I still tried to plug it back into the socket. We were ruined, but I remained dedicated to the destructive jabs of pain in the pit of my stomach, over hearing the echoes in the hollows of my blackened heart. “It’ll work this time. It has to.” And it did—for a second. Then, the connection was lost.
This cycle continued for far too long.
Tears streaming down my face, I glanced into the mirror, but this time, the soft brown eyes weren’t staring back at me. I asked myself how I got here again. How, after so many heartbreaks and the eventual metamorphosis after each gut-wrench—how am I here again? Didn’t I learn my lesson the first time? Let me re-trace my steps, whisper my mantras to myself, anything—just please, life, take this feeling away from me.
Am I missing some great piece of wisdom that everyone else on earth knows, except for myself?
The answer? No.
No, love. For this—this is life. In all its shambles and tears, I will find myself. In the pain. The bittersweet pain, the tears, the breakdowns, the identify crises—these moments lead us to our true selves. A stronger self, one that has a callused heart, but will eventually find love again. And it will lose love again. Yes, heartbreak will eventually return, and no, I most likely won’t handle it better the next time. But you know what?
That’s okay. That’s fine. That. Is. Life.
Life is found in the magic of a lover’s smile, and in the iridescent glow of the moonlight on your walk home. It’s found in their breath, lips curled in anger, heartbreak spewing out like lava. It’s found in nostalgia after you smell their forgotten white shirt, in ecstasy when you kiss, and in despair after they’re gone. Life is built on these moments—shitty, gut-wrenching, lonely, amazing, powerful, blissful, life-altering moments.
Life is hard, right? Yes. But life is far more beautiful.
Learning to let go and free myself has been one of the hardest but most valuable lessons in this world. It’s so easy for us—so safe— to cling to the old, grab the broken chord, and attempt to re-ignite the spark. But who has time for safe?
It’s time to drop the chord. Life is an abundant, messy, confusing, exhilarating journey. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“You can only lose what you cling to.” ~ Buddha
Author: Emily Palecek
Editor: Renée Picard