On this day two years ago, I found myself on an AMTRAK train on my way to Richmond, VA to meet up with my best friend and take solace in being hidden in her Winston-Salem, NC home for the weekend. When I asked her if I could come down to NC for the weekend, I don’t think she knew what she would be tasked with. My crying spells were often and long. I couldn’t sleep well. My moods were up and down. Anything could set me off. I was a mess.
There were many days during that season where I questioned whether I should still be here – was my life worth it? I didn’t share how deeply depressed I was because I didn’t want people to think that I wasn’t strong or that I had let some guy get me feeling so low. The truth was my life at that time was the product of a perfect storm of many different elements, a storm that started nearly a year and a half earlier.
I took the way life was happening at the time hard because I’m human. I took it hard because I was the good girl and had bought into the idea that if I do things the right way, all the things I want to happen will happen. I took it hard because it forced me to let go of that last semblance of perfectionism – my life by that time was a huge pile of manure and my spirit hadn’t seen such heavy days since my freshman year of college.
I can’t remember anything about Thanksgiving 2013, to be honest. My head space was that foggy. I remember little about that weekend down in NC except I knew that I cried and cried…and cried. I was doing everything I could to stay alive and none of it looked neat, pretty, or linear. Looking back, I don’t regret a moment of it.
The more I’ve shared of my story, the more I’ve realized that I have not been alone in my struggles. I wasn’t the first one to lose love, lose a job, have some financial setbacks, feel inadequate academically, or think I’m behind or that I’m missing out on all the things that were in my 10 year plan. I wasn’t the only one. The more I shared, the more I was allowed to be healed by the words of others’ testimonies. I was strengthened to know that there was life after this season and strengthened to know that who I am is not determined by who I’m with, where I work, what I’ve accomplished, or what I’m doing. I was empowered to hope a realistic hope – that things can turn around and things could be golden but it would be a process and it would take some time.
So once I gave myself some room and gave myself time, I began to really see that hope materialize and realize. Smiles would come without me thinking about them, I was getting my mojo back and willing to put myself out there again in more ways than one. The process has taken time and that has been a gift. What I’ve gained during this time is worth so much more than if I had just done the bare minimum to merely bounce back. I was/am resolved to be better than what I was.
As I was surrounded by family yesterday, I couldn’t help but to get a little choked up. Just two years ago I wished to be invisible but yesterday I was glad to be seen for who I have become. Two years ago I didn’t think I could get out of that place but yesterday I looked at my life and have seen just how much it’s blossomed.
I’m grateful that every journey into the valleys in my life has, with time, led me to the mountaintops. I’m grateful for the family and friends who may not have known every detail but knew enough to walk with me in whatever way they could. I’m grateful for every person who said to me “I’ve been there” or “Trust me, it won’t always be this way.” Life is far from perfect but I’m grateful for the time to process and heal – and the time to look back at life and, through it all, have no regrets.