Sometimes, maybe destiny just slaps you right in the face.
I’ve been up all night with painsomnia and stomach junk. I was feeling depleted enough at sunrise to doze off. Then my alarm woke me up (1hr and 23mins of sleep according to my FitBit. This little electronic, sin against fashion that I wear in a rose gold color upon my wrist.) I awake to not being able to see out of my right eye. This is a fun, new-ish symptom from pseudo tumor cerebri. That’s right, folks. It is literally, all in my head. My body and brain believe that there is a tumor in my body (my cerebral area; see also spinal cord) that isn’t there. This means that I have all the symptoms of a brain or spinal cord tumor however, I do not. It is as much fun as it sounds to be. To be clear that would be none for anyone who might have missed it. And also; excruciating abdominal pain that left me in the fetal position. Clearly, an awesome way to start the day.
Luckily, my trusty productively distracting iPhone was within reach and I was able to silence the alarm and also message Ms. Teenager Diva to get up for school to no avail. I call out for Tessa to go audibly, or physically, wake her up. I text my Momma and ask if she can transport today. Normally, Tessa would be the one I would ask for this, but yesterday her truck broke down in process and it was a WHOLE thing. Momma stepped in this morning.
Continuing the juggle flow I have going, I dial my psychiatrist, Dr. Loris, to painstakingly explain the current predicament which will require me to cancel, last minute, an appointment I requested ASAP less than a week ago. Frankly everything I just said is self-explanatory. There are way too many things being juggled and I cannot keep up. If my medical history has taught me anything it is: the one thing I can consistently expect is that my physical body will break down under tremendous mental stress. I obviously am a glutton for punishment because I decided to soothe my soul by self-talking shit to myself.
Loser. Burden. Shameful. Worthless.
Again, the smartphone saves me. I open the Instagram application to access a folder of saved affirmations. Before I can even get to it, one of my favorite authors has sent this brief message out to our souls:
There it was again. Another tickle in my brain making my hair stand on end. It rings the bell of one of my first and purest passions: writing. The signs point and illuminate this path again; and I cannot resist the luster.
I shall start with editing current website content. After that I will finish the drafts I have. There may be an influx of notifications, all apologies; and also it is time.
My heart is heavy.
I miss Jedi.
(I don’t know if that name is even suitable anymore.)
It hurts so much; and for what?
His disrespect was clear.
I need to operate with that in mind.
A few minutes ago, I was falling into sleep when a flashback assaulted me. The visceral screaming of my mother. I am a teenager. Im at her bedroom door. This was a pain I was naive to until this moment. Whatever it was, I was certain there was no coming back. My mother would never be the same. I’m very familiar with the scene.
What followed was the echo of my own wailing. A flash of a vision of myself crumbled to the floor. Desperation flooding my senses as I shield the life in my belly from the fury of fists.
Then, a scene of myself clinging to my knees and Im rocking …crying…wailing while my own small children wonder about their mothers prognosis. Twenty something, three children and devastated by a failed marriage.
Yet another scene flashes. A few months back…my husband and I are discussing with my son and father how we are going to move forward as co-parents as we “work on ourselves” and “take a break”. I lash out at my husband, my father lashes out a me. I feel the abandonment is imminent. I try to flee. My Dad physically restrains me. Husband walks out while Im at my father’s hands. My daughter pulls him off of me. I walk outside. I watch my husband leave. I watch my son climb into the car with my Dad. They both leave as well. I return inside and crumble. That visceral cry rises. Again.
I hate myself for allowing my children to be witnesses to this suffering. How do I forgive myself for scarring them for life?
I was broken … so convinced I was over.
Yet here I am.
Sitting on the cold pavement on my patio trying to ground myself in this present time and place. Im demanding my brain be convicted by logic and leave the past there.
It’s not happening. Not now. Not again.
It’s just a dream, Stephanie.
You are not alone.
Go back to bed.
He, or she, is not yours to keep.They never were. They made sure of that.
Some paths cross and intertwine for what seems like a split-second—and we want it to last longer, we plead it to last longer, we get down on our knees and pray to the wet, dewy earth because it seems like everything would be perfect if this love could just last forever.
The truth is, love dies. It withers. It evaporates. It rises into the sky like rainwater and becomes something new.
It’s a cycle we hate.
Because it’s nice and comforting and lovely to think that a relationship should go on forever, that it’s infinite—but most of the time, love is a chapter, a single sentence, a page, a riveting, prose-soaked paragraph—not a whole book.
Most of the time, love is temporary.
What a goddamn tragedy, right? But it doesn’t have to be. It can be beautiful. It can be inspiring.
Yet so often, we sit alone in our rooms, tears pouring from our eyes, trying to pull together the frayed edges of a broken love and weave it into something real, something that would make us less lonely, something that could mean something deeper. We obsess over what could have been, what could have worked, if only this, if only that and blah, blah, blah. Maybe they were the one, after all?
Maybe. But mostly, that’s bullshit.
There has to be a better way to live. And there is.
It starts with the truth: it didn’t work out. If it would have worked, your hearts would be together right now. There would be no question. There would be no attempting to glue things back together with your tears and shaky hands.
When love is broken, let it be
And yes, your heart might be broken, too. But it’s okay. It’s so okay, in ways you can’t taste yet. It’s a blessing. And I know it hurts, it hurts like hell—disappointment crashes around you like fragile china, and it feels terrible, suffocating and vile, like cheap cologne.
But it’s okay. Set it all down. Set down the grief. The pain. The gut-wrenching agony of everything you’ve been carrying around.
Set it all down. Just for a second.
Feel tingly new life and promising possibilities pour into you with every inhale—feel stale air barrel out of you with each exhale.
When you’re ready, release your hands from the clutching, the clinging, the clawing onto fumes of what could have been. Use the depths of your pain to weave something new—like maybe, your own dreams.
What is your deepest, most delicious passion?
What does your soul taste like?
What do you want to leave behind when you die?
Redirect your energy.
The energy of heartbreak is as intense as a crashing sea, and if harnessed properly—it can be a magical time of awakening. It’s not about suppressing pain or pretending like we aren’t hurting—but rather, to gently spin the rawness of that energy in a new direction—in the direction of growth and inspiration, rather than stale, lackluster longing.
We spend so much time worrying about love. When it will come. When it will end. Why did it end? Do they love us back? Will he call? Will she reject me again?
We need perspective. We need to zoom out. We need to do other shit. Awesome shit. Breathtaking shit. Soul-igniting, toe-curling shit that makes us smile a smile so big it could swallow the stars and crack open the sky.
I know we always say life is short, but it’s long, too—strung together of hours and minutes and seconds that can feel very long indeed, like watching paint dry, when we feel unease inside our bones.
So how do you want to spend your hours, your minutes—your life?
Open your eyes. There’s a whole, vast, wonderful world out there to explore. To experience. To taste. To fall in love with.
There are evergreen mountaintops, joyous friends, wet forest floors, and the comforting sweetness of family. There are poems, melty mango sunrises and even meltier, mouthwatering sunsets. There are juicy hugs, inspiring ideas that change our lives, the earthy smell in the air after it rains, stranger’s ruby smiles, travel, disease, poverty, and death. I know, it’s not all pretty.
But it’s real. And our worries about love? Well, they’re not always so real.
Stop, for one second, searching and longing so hard for love—stop obsessing, overthinking, and exhausting yourself in a sea of sputtering worries and fragile hopes and a thousand what-if scenarios.
Relax, sweet soul. Settle into your skin instead.
Settle into your delicious skin so deeply that you begin to hear the hushed whispers of your spirit spring to life.
What if you searched half as hard for your dreams as you do for love?
What if you searched for your soul instead?
What if you delved inside and found the gritty, wild passion that drives you?
It’s all about energy. Where do you want to put yours?
Because sure, we can spend our days fixated on whether or not he likes us, if she’ll call. Hell, we’ve all done that. But is there a more fruitful pursuit that calls your name?
Is there a gorgeous passion that sings to your soul?
Is there a way you could benefit the world, in some uniquely beautiful way?
Now’s the perfect time to do all the awesome things you always said you would, but never actually did.
Paint yourself to luscious life, in the most inspired way ever. Redirect your energy to your own heart. Reconnect with your wildest, most succulent dreams. Invest in your soul. Tend kindly to your needs as you would a sexy new love interest.
Use the blessing of your heartbreak to create a brilliantly beautiful life.
And the wildest, most infuriating thing of all is that when we are lit up—energized, galvanized and living our dreams with an abundance of passion—love will find us. It can’t help but find us. It will smack us over the heads. Love will weave itself into everything we do, it will blossom all around us like lilacs in the Spring.
But take this time for you. Just for you.
Take this time—not just so you can one day find love—but so you can find yourself.
It’s all about energy.
Where do you want to put yours?
When I look back on my life, I see pain, mistakes and heart ache. When I look in the mirror, I see strength, learned lessons, and pride in myself.
~ Author Unknown