On August 12th, 2011, I packed up my trusty Honda and left New Jersey.
I was hollowed and gaunt, outside and in, from events that life seemed hell-bent on throwing at me.
There was the breakup that crushed me first, quickly followed by a whole lot of falling down. Many low points. Nights of club-drinking to dull the pain oozed into mornings of not remembering how I got home and wishing a cruel death to my raging hangover. Resentfully enduring the frantic and cutthroat lifestyle. Fighting pointlessly to let go of that stubborn love. Slogging through gray days of work and pitch nights of sadness. Far too many regrets. And nothing that brought me any comfort.
I sought help when unsteady gave way to dangerous. Clumps of my hair in the sink and severe weight loss, paired with the dark pangs of hopelessness and defeat make for a nasty cocktail. Yet with help, I slowly started to heal just a tiny bit.
A plan started to form in my mind. Home was calling, but the leap was terrifying.
Until the break-in.
The complete violation of my safety was more devastating than the loss of material goods. When I returned after a few days, I sat among the wreckage and sobbed with the realization that I was now fully broken. If there was ever a sign, clearly this was it. I had to leave.
Two years later, I know the choice was the right one. The darkness has lifted and in it’s place strength has appeared. With every accomplishment, every step taken on a distance run, every rope I’ve ninja-climbed, every personal victory in finally voicing my needs, I’ve become a better version of myself. Life List-chasing melds with self-discovery blends with dazzling joy. There is a confidence now, along with a peaceful acceptance of all my idioms and uniqueness. A wealth of new friends have been discovered, yet the near and dear have not left me without. And in all the dreams I’ve chased, the most fulfilling was the one I wasn’t even looking for. Love found me again.
It is said that we should never regret our past, for it has shaped the person we have become. While my gratitude for my countless blessings is immeasurable, I can’t help but sarcastically wonder why that extent of darkness was necessary in my grand plan of the universe. Regardless, I believe that in each of our struggles, trust and faith are the keys to endurance and triumph. Trust that there is a reason. Faith that everything will be okay. And that your emergence on the other side will make everything so, so worth the pain you’ve endured. Hopefully tenfold.
On this anniversary of turning my own life on it’s head, I still may not understand why this was my journey. Of what I am certain is that I love my new life, my new love and my new me.