So, my thirties – this is where I’ve learned the most in the shortest amount of time. And yes, it all hit me like a ton of bricks. Often felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest suffocating me, but hey, I’m still here and stronger now than I was before. And for that, I am thankful.
Just before my 30th birthday, I experienced something that changed me. That distinct before and after. I understand that sounds intense, but we all interpret and deal with things differently. This experience is not really something I have any intention of reliving or sharing, as I have taken the lessons and left the rest. Not much shakes me, but this experience rattled me to the core, and it also completely woke me up to life. My life. The one I’d been living on autopilot, just going through the motions. It stopped me in my tracks and I was forced to evaluate my life and face things head-on.
Up until this point, I was always the strong one, for myself and for everyone else. No one had seen me break, or falter, or blur my picture of perfection. But this? Well, it cracked me wide open. I cried, I was vulnerable, I even turned to the person closest to me for support and understanding. Unfortunately, I didn’t receive the support I needed at that time, and instead, I was made to blame. As you now know, my whole life I’ve had trouble opening up to people, being vulnerable, and letting them into my world. But here I was, breaking and asking for support, but I was shutdown. And there I was with yet another reason to not let anyone in. My fear of being vulnerable, of needing someone, and being shutdown was again confirmed.
So, I internalized everything I was feeling. And it ate me alive. And it was confusing and difficult to deal with. I take responsibility for myself, so I’m not blaming anyone here. I am just sharing my experience. These are all things I’ve moved past – again, just taking the lessons and leaving the rest. Holding on to any of it will only make me bitter, and that is not who I am. I’ve made the conscious choice to keep moving forward.
About 5 months after this experience, I decided to begin seeing a therapist – for talk therapy, because I could somehow trust a therapist who I knew was bound to confidentiality. I was safe with her. I was not the one who disclosed this experience to her, but she was made aware, and asked if I wanted to talk about it. I did briefly, because now it was staring me in the face. I remember nothing else she said about this situation, except for the word “trauma”. And that was all I needed to hear, and it let me know that I was not to blame. I understood the situation from a different perspective now, and I felt like I could do the work to move past it, instead of just ignore it – my typical go-to.
I turned 30 shortly after this experience, and I was understandably not in a good place emotionally, I was dealing with things on my own (this was before the therapist), I was just feeling very down and dark. My world was closing in on me. Not only was I trying to navigate this dark space, but I was 30 now and thinking to myself, what have I accomplished in life? What am I doing with my life? What do I have to show for 30 years of life? I cannot keep on this way. Something must give.
So anyway, a new year begins, I still was not in a good place, and I had no idea I was about to experience the worst year of my life. Something I’ve had to come to terms with throughout these last few years is that our thoughts, actions, and decisions effect more than just us. That’s a given, yes – and still a very tough lesson to learn.
Up until this point, things had slowly been crumbling. But now, my world was steadily just breaking and falling apart. And within about 8 months, I walked away from my marriage, I was living on my own for the first time, and I got divorced. And this was just not at all what I had planned for my life.
As all of this was happening, I found myself getting to work later and later. Thank God I had a flexible job then. I am an early bird, yet I was getting to work close to 10am sometimes. Days following my divorce, I ended up in the ER, which resulted in a week off work. Throughout all of this happening, I never took a day off work, and I never let anyone know what I was going through. So, I know this week off was God’s doing. I needed the time off, but I wouldn’t allow myself to take it, so it was forced upon me. Following that little ER stunt, I couldn’t work out for a bit. And I eventually stopped working out altogether. Then I chopped off my beautiful long hair, I traded in glasses for contacts, I wore dark eye make-up most days, and darker than usual clothes. Everything bright about me had dimmed throughout the year. My flame just went out.
As if everything else isn’t bad enough, I find myself in a continuously unhealthy situation with someone. It was many things, but most of all it was toxic. It’s not something I’m willing to discuss, as it’s not something I wish to relive. However, many of my posts so far are connected to this. Anyway – that whole year I had been in a bad place, but with this situation, things were getting darker for me. When I think back to this time, what I see now is that I was free-falling backwards into an endless black hole. My journey to rock bottom happening at a steady pace.
I was closing in on myself as I continued to feel so much, yet I wasn’t allowing myself to deal with and manage my emotions. I was all out avoiding them, or I was all-in feeling everything so deeply. It was an emotional roller coaster, and I just simply could not find stable ground. Finally, I made the decision to walk away from the toxic situation I was in. I admit, I fell back a few times. I’m human after all. But I did eventually walk away, as it was just keeping me stuck in a really bad place.
I wrote previously about my faith in God, and it was during this time that I was struggling to build my relationship with Him. But I was trying, and I prayed, and prayed, and prayed. And completely unexpectedly and out of nowhere, a new person was brought into my life. A bright spot, if you will. Talk about divine timing. We end up becoming really good friends, and almost immediately I found myself slowly being lifted out of the endless black hole I had fallen into. This is the same person that challenged me to listen to Christian music for 30 days straight. The same person that gave me the book on positive self-talk. The same person that introduced me to the bible. The same person who probably has no idea they helped me on my journey to learning how to love myself.
When I told him before that he saved me, he minimized the impact he had on my life (being humble and all). But honestly, I have absolutely no idea where I’d be had God not dropped him, this bright spot, into my life. I learned a lot about myself, and yes, as life would have it, I also collected a few more lessons. But he also helped me see that I am worthy and truly blessed. And while he ended up having to go, his presence in my life absolutely showed me again that everything happens for a reason.
We don’t meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason.
Once again, I have so much left to say. So, I just might need to add another post to this series. We shall see! Thank you for reading my story so far. And again, I simply pray that my words reach who they are meant to. Stay blessed.