BREAKING FREE

"You know, ever since we were little,
I would get this feeling like I'm floating outside of my body, looking down on myself.
And I hate what I see. How I'm acting, the way I sound.
And I don't know how to change it.
And I'm so scared that that feeling is never gonna go away."
- The Edge of Seventeen




I'm embarrassed to admit this, but as the new year came around I was someone who believed that it meant a chance to become a completely new person.

Let's rewind for a second as I share more about the experience I had through each stage of grief. When I lost my father last May there were a lot of factors at play that helped keep his spirit alive. I gained new family members who made me feel as if he wasn't truly gone. I don't remember much from that summer, it truly is a blur when I think back on that time of my life. I just see how happy I was to have another sibling to annoy for the rest of our days. My grief hit me hard once August rolled around, and I like to refer to that time as my dark days. I fell deep into my depression and anxiety.
Every morning I woke up wondering if I'd ever make it out alive.
In November I began writing my book (more on that later), and writing that story helped heal me in so many ways. So, when the holidays came I felt as if I finally reached the acceptance stage. I had a great holiday season with loved ones. It was busy and full of lots of love. It was the happiest I had been since I lost my father, and I finally thought this was it. I have finally moved on. Now, bringing you back to the new year where my mindset was to put behind the darks days and finally move on with my life. I thought I'd walk into the new year with my life together.

Obviously, I was wrong.
My father's birthday was in January when my life was beginning to slow down and not much was occupying my thoughts at the time. I logged onto social media that day and saw a lot of posts celebrating his birthday. I was curious as to why everyone was wishing him a happy birthday a day early? Then it hit me.. I didn't even remember the right date because it had been that long since I even wished him a happy birthday. I know, what's the big deal? Looking back I remember this sinking feeling of loss I felt. I felt this pain of never being able to include my father in my life as an adult. When I picture my wedding, I see no one but him walking me down the aisle.
I realized that none of my imaginations were going to come true.
A huge wave of grief pummeled me deep into my constant thoughts of him once again.

This feeling made me believe I was special.
That I was the only person in the world with real problems, that ever lost a loved one.
Up until my final breakdown, self-pity did not look good on me.
I was so fed up with myself, and that night I couldn't handle it anymore.
I felt alone and desperately needed to talk to a friend, someone who truly knows me enough to help me make sense of these feelings I had. That's when I saw how disconnected I had become from the world.
After that night I began to see everything in a new way, and I became more miserable because I wasn't sure where to start on fixing everything in my life. Most importantly, I saw how hard I tried to be this person I thought I was supposed to be. The person I read grief articles about. I wondered how I allowed myself to become this person I truly hated? I needed a change.

The first thing I did was stop ignoring my phone and friends.
I didn't realize how much I missed my friends until I started talking to them again. I feel so lucky that most of them stuck with me through all the dark days. I've slowly been able to reconnect and care for my relationships outside of my family. There's no doubt about how much I love my family, I feel like I should say that, and they helped me get through so much.. But I think we all need more than that kind of support, right? My friends keep it real with me, they don't hold back when I need to be put in my place, and that's what I've been missing in my life. I hope everyone finds their people because now I see how important it is to hold on to these friendships for life.
Next, I stopped caring so much about certain things. I didn't worry about what others expected from me, what they thought of me (especially on social media), and after 27 years I finally grew a backbone. I started making tough decisions about my own life without worrying how it would affect everyone else.

It was easy to think of a title for this post because I truly feel as if I've finally broken free from the hold I was putting on myself. There's a lot that I understand now, such as, I'm going to make more mistakes, my grief will never truly be gone, and it's okay to be a little selfish.

"Make as many mistakes as you can, that in the future when asked what you want, you won't guess the answer but you'll know."

Here's what I hope you take away from my story.
In a way I do believe in the 'five stages of grief' but I don't think the pain of losing a loved one ever truly goes away. I lost my grandfather when I was a little girl, and there are still days when I deeply miss sitting next to him eating ramen noodles every summer.
And it's okay to take all the time you need to heal emotionally. Your grief won't just go away in a certain time frame like all those articles state.. It's going to take time. And you'll have good days where the pain isn't even there. Then there will be the tough days when it eats you alive. Embrace all of these days because it's all about the little steps you continue to take in order to move forward. 
I see it through myself every day now. In the way I'm slowly mending my friendships or waking up thinking of other thoughts outside of my father.
Allow your heart to break, whether it's from losing a loved one or even losing that job opportunity. Through every heartbreak, you'll learn things about yourself that you never knew.


xxo


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