Rock bottom. I’ve been there. Lived there. Landed hard, then pitched a tent, settled in, and refused to get back up. It’s a lonely place to be, and when you’re there, you think you’re the only person in the world who understands what it feels like to be crushed by life. You feel short changed and cheated out of the last whisper of happiness that you thought was yours, until it wasn’t.
That was seven years ago, and I’ve long since climbed out of my hole, but it wasn’t easy, and there were times when I didn’t think it would ever be possible. I remember every single person who told me it would get better, easier, and that it would hurt less with time. I didn’t believe any of them. I resented them, and I envied them, because they had the kind of confidence and belief in themselves and in life that I so desperately wanted.
I sat, empty and exposed, and felt as though I needed to hold my breath, lest my memories spill out and create the kind of mess that no one wanted to clean up. In some ways, I think I refused to believe that the ache and agony wouldn’t always feel so raw, because I couldn’t see past it. I couldn’t see into a future where I wasn’t crushed under the weight of my own unrelenting fear. And yet here I am.
Seven years. A lifetime ago, yet only a drop in time. Time itself doesn’t heal us, but it can hold our past in place and allow it to slowly fade as we move forward. It gives us distance in order to gain the courage we need to rebuild and to understand that we are not defined by our past, but are instead strengthened by it. It has taken me years to understand, embrace and celebrate that strength. And finally, here I am.