Forever—I used to believe in it.
I believed that every thought and deed could determine whether I was going to inherit eternal life, in perfect harmonic bliss, or an eternity burning in damnation for the evil I had committed.
I spent every day making goals and setting intentions to help me become a “better person,” and I never quite succeeded—for perfection was always out of reach.
I thought that each person I met could possibly be the one who would take me to that magic celestial heaven.
I struggled to make and form real, authentic friendships—for each relationship was determined by another’s “worthiness” for me to associate with them.
Could they help me or hurt me on my path toward eternal life?
As a deep thinker—longing for intimate and meaningful connections—I found myself wanting and hungry for a desire that could not be fulfilled.
I longed for acceptance and true love from all I met—that would allow real understanding—the dark and the light, the hurt and the joy, the pain and the fear, embracing all of the different sides of me.
How could everything I am be determined by ignoring every part of who I am—to qualify for a place that may or may not exist, but only within our minds?
So, I gave up on forever. And in its place—I found something more.
I found laughter and joy, pain and heartache—I found hurt and pain, and I cried and screamed. I bled and crashed and delved deep into the dark abyss of my mind, a place that I had not allowed myself to ever visit before out of fear for what I might find.
I discovered thoughts and feelings—real feelings—that I had long buried deep inside and ignored, because it did not fit within that framework of a perfection that could not be realized.
I wandered through dark nights and storms, raging inside the raw parts of my heart that were never before uncovered, and I allowed myself to want, to desire, to long for those things and people and experiences that I had never attempted to visit.
I allowed myself to delve into the darkness.
Terrified, I bled even more. But—I began to find myself. I found laughter and love and light.
I found joy in my children’s voices and thoughts and feelings. I let them dance and play and sing and cry and rage and hurt. I helped them know how to think, so they could give a voice to the thoughts inside their heads. I gave them the space and the freedom to express what they had bubbling inside themselves.
I slowly gave that freedom to the little girl still trapped inside myself—and I cried for all that had been lost and missed. I held her in my own arms, and I bled more—onto the pages of my life. And I shared those words with those who needed them.
I embraced the fear that had been held back and allowed myself to fall. I laughed at my mishaps and learned from my lessons.
I found that I could need people, and people could need me—uncovering all the beautifully broken layers of our hearts for each other, loving every flaw and crack.
I accepted that every person I met could be my forever—right now.
For every moment is a memory—a forever—all by itself.
Yes, I gave up on a forever that was out of reach—and I found my now.
Author: Stephanie Parry
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina