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December 10, 2019

Changed by the pain.

I remember the day he walked out of my house and slammed the door. I sat on my kitchen floor, sobbing hysterically and begging, screaming for him to come back. He was the one who broke the trust. He was the one who never respected my boundaries or put to rest my insecurities. And yet, here I was, begging and pathetic. I cried for days. I called in sick to work. I could physically feel my heart shredding apart. I didn’t know what to do. He was lying to me and he was caught. They always get caught. And I hated myself so much for confronting him. I had lost him. My panic and rage over his betrayal had pushed him away. It was all my fault now. If only I had kept my mouth shut. I knew he hated it when I would question things. I knew he found it annoying. Why would I be so foolish and demand the truth? Why did I need to know the reality of what I was so desperately afraid of? A friend brought me a pill that would calm me down and make me forget everything for a while. I slept a few hours and woke up remembering that my life was over.
I remember leaving him. I packed up my little boy and all the things I could fit into my car. The walls of my new apartment were empty, along with the kitchen cupboards and we had only blankets to sleep on. I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t know how we were going to make it. He would show up unannounced and use all the techniques he knew so well, to intimidate me. My poor little boy knew I was hurting, so he laid with me on the floor and held my face in his chubby, perfect little hands. “Mommy, don’t cry”. But I couldn’t stop the tears. I couldn’t catch my breath. I can’t win. My life was over.
I remember racing to the hospital after hearing that my dad suffered a heart attack while he was working. I prayed all the way there. I walked in believing I would see him alive and he would try to convince me that I shouldn’t worry. Instead, I was met with the unmistakable, obvious look of doom on the faces of the doctors and nurses. I collapsed to the floor. My faith was shaken. My world crumbled. I fell into a deep depression that eventually would trigger the vicious cycles of eating disorders and panic attacks. I was never to be the same again. I had lost all control. I had lost my best friend. My life was over.
All those sleepless nights, the brutally painful heartbreaks, the overwhelming panic, the desperation of needing to be loved, the unbearable loss of safety and security, the pathetic chasing, begging and pleading and holding on to what was never mine, the dread and despair that suffocated me; I remember it all so well. The moment itself can never be changed. But the effects of those memories are always taking new shape. What I once thought would surely be the end of me or push me right over the edge of sanity, slowly became my voice, my strength and my weapon. The armor that would protect me from all future attacks. My body saved all those feelings so I would gain the experience of knowing how to overcome them.
With losing a loved one, I learned that the pain of loss can be so great that it paralyzes you. But every day, you regain your senses, little by little. Every month that goes by, you notice that the heaviness is not enough to hold you down any more. You eventually accept that it will always hurt, and no, you will never be the same. But you appreciate the sunlight a little more now. The loss was not the end of you. It was the end of one version of you. And after a few years, you embrace the version of you that has come out of the darkness. You feel as if you can conquer anything that comes your way now, because you know the ultimate despair. And there is nothing that can happen to you now, that will ever be as painful as the loss you endured. And you got through it.
With heartbreak and failed relationships, so many times I thought I was just done. I had had enough. Game over. I can’t do it anymore. All the games, breaking trust, crossing boundaries, disrespect and disloyalty led me to wonder if I just wasn’t worthy of love and a healthy relationship. But the memories still take on new life within me. What once was a memory too painful to relive, became a guide I could use to share with others. What once was a memory that made me cringe in embarrassment or rage in anger, became moments of smiling over how far I have come and sometimes laughing about the nonsense I used to allow. What once was feeling unlovable and unworthy, became realizing my hand in all of it and refusing to allow it any longer. The need for validation started to fade. My false perceptions of love gave way to a deeper understanding, because of all those memories that used to flow from my eyes and down my cheeks.
And here I am, still seeking love. Still hopeful that I will find contentment. I can’t be angry anymore. I can be grateful because those losses created a version of me that I can live with. A version of me that I would like to keep around. I may be an empath to a fault. I may be lost at times, or afraid. I cry a lot. The memories are still the core of every version of myself. But everything that has happened taught me more about who I am and even better, who I am capable of being! The best thing I’ve learned is that we get through. Somehow, we make it through. Life wasn’t over. In fact, every struggle is an opportunity for rebirth. I can be shaken, but I won’t be taken down. One day, one heart ache, one lesson at a time, we are fusing together all the different versions of ourselves. We are building up our own power supply. We no longer despise the things that happened, or even the people who hurt us. We are a million memories piling up and creating a masterpiece. And one day, we awaken with gratitude.

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