I couldn’t have said it better, Mr. Davinci. To know great joy, we must experience great sorrow. To feel love deeply, we must also be willing to open ourselves up for the same depth of hurt. All things in life have a light and dark side; such is the opposing nature of the universe.
Just about a year ago, I felt the deepest, most crippling pain I’d ever felt. It crushed my chest and shoved my heart into my throat. It stole my breath. Pervaded my dreams. Tainted everything I saw, heard and did. Tortured me for months on end. Quite frankly, I don’t know how I made it to the other side with my sanity intact. Hell, I’m surprised I made it out alive.
Dramatic, maybe. But was that pain I felt real? It was the realest pain I’d ever known…and I’ve had some messed up shit happen to me over the years. Shit that would make a grown ass man cry.
But this pain wasn’t due to an injury or illness. This pain was caused by the person I had loved more than anyone in the world. The person I had shared my whole self with. The person I did so much for without asking for or even expecting anything in return. The person who made me believe in the idea of unconditional love.
I never would have guessed he’d cause me such misery…but in hindsight, perhaps we were doomed from the start. Caught in a vicious cycle of emotional and mental abuse…I always came crawling back, hands and knees bloody. I gave of myself entirely, until I had no more to give. He took, without remorse or gratitude; using me to serve his needs until he no longer needed me.
Even after being used and discarded, crushed like an empty juice box, I clutched onto him. Thinking all I had to do was be better. Be smarter. Be more in shape. Be more successful. Be more driven. I hated myself for him not loving me. It was my fault. I was not good enough. But I had thought that all along. He made sure of it. He found a bird on the mend and slowly, methodically, over the years, made sure to break her wings again. He threw her out of the nest and she could not fly.
Those first few weeks were the worst. I woke up, every night, covered in sweat, hyperventilating, not knowing where I was. It seems I forgot my circumstances while I slept. I dreamed of him every night, only to wake up and realize he wasn’t there.
There was a heaviness in my chest that followed me all around, throughout my days. Time moved backwards. I was not in control of my own thoughts. I didn’t trust myself, with myself. I wanted the pain to end…it became absolutely unbearable. I felt as though I were being, very slowly, suffocated. Each day, I felt less and less alive. At that point, I didn’t care how it ended, I just wanted the hurting to stop.
Flash forward to a year later. A year that has been shitty and wonderful, all at the same time. A year of self-discovery. A year filled with mistakes that turned into opportunities for learning and growth. A year of trying to learn to like myself..not quite there yet, but I’m working on it. I have come so far from the days when I was sobbing and shaking, balled up on the floor, unable to move. I am nowhere near where I need or want to be. (I try not to say ‘should’. Shoulds are bad!!) But I’m thankful I made it out of that pain alive. But what I’ve found on the other side is troubling in another way. I feel like my heart is a tomb. Walled in; echoed with silence. The pain that once resonated so loudly within has been replaced by a soundless void.
At first, I welcomed this numb state. It was far easier to deal with than relentless agony. But lately, I’ve wondered if this fugue state my heart is in is permanent. Then that spiraled into thoughts of how far I really am willing to go to feel again. What am I willing to risk…prepared to lose? Am I willing, or even capable of, breaking down the walls I’ve built around me and show my soft underbelly? Can I allow myself to ever be that vulnerable again? There has to be a happy medium, right? I can’t allow just anyone to trample in and leave their muddy footprints on my heart. My welcome mat must be reserved only to those who’ve proven themselves worthy of my trust and vulnerabilities.
I want so badly to feel again…there are fleeting moments of feelings. Thoughts and emotions that swirl just beneath the surface. The fear of being hurt all over again lingers, but the longing to connect with someone again is beginning to overshadow that fear. I want to let people in. I want love. I want to feel. But the deepest feelings require us to be open to the deepest pain.
One day, I will be ready.
Author Kelly Bryant
Author Bio: 30-something female still trying to figure out who in the hell she is….and she’s okay with that. 🙂
Link to social media or website: http://kelly-beans.tumblr.com/