I’ve officially lost counts of how many times I’ve said that 2014 was the worst, yet most critical, year of my life so far. And it has remained true till now. Though to be fair, before that, from 2011 to 2013, things hadn’t exactly worked out in my favour either. I must say I had a challenging adolescence with more ups and downs than I had ever been wise enough to handle. I did not understand nor love myself; I presented myself in all the wrong ways; I made very questionable decisions; I did not know how to choose people to surround myself with; I was bullied; I was hurt; I felt unloved and unworthy.
It was bad, so bad that for a very long time I had thought that there was just something about me that made people dislike me, that being me meant being unlovable, that it could not be changed. So as a defense mechanism, I embraced this idea. I tried my best to put on a me-against-the-world, tough, badass image like nothing could ever get to me, and thanks to social media, most people would easily buy this. But the ugly truth is, I was painfully insecure and lonely. I wanted to be loved so badly but I did not know how. I loathed myself and I was very, very sad. I cried a lot. I thought of death frequently. I just wanted to disappear.
Only after I’d read my old diaries dated back in 2012 did I fully realize that I did go through a f*cking hard time — definitely too hard for an 18-year-old girl, and over the last 4 years, my mentality and even identity have completely changed. On one hand, I’m extremely glad that I’ve finally arrived at this stage where I’m sure of my values and feel true to myself. On the other hand, it hurts me deeply that I could ever believe I was meant to be unhappy and unloved. It makes me even more furious to think that somehow some people had successfully planted these ideas into my head and made me feel that way at such a young age and the worst part is that, I had allowed it all to happen. I had consciously held on to the thinking that love wasn’t for me. I had let myself get used to being hurt, mistreated and heartbroken. I had settled for way much less than what I deserved just because I wouldn’t know any better.
But you know, despite all that, actually, it’s all okay. Life might be shitty and I’ve made some seriously stupid mistakes but it’s really okay. I have no regret whatsoever. You know why? Because I’m here now and I’m feeling better than ever. Because what I haven’t told you and acknowledged myself is how lucky I’m to have many great people in my life who have always been there for me and thought the best of me even when I saw nothing in myself. And how fortunate I was to be born healthily and raised kindly, to be given an education and the means to eventually be independent and especially this ability to write and express myself. These are all the things I wasn’t able to see and appreciate — and at times even refused to do so — because I was so consumed with self-doubt and self-pity and all the things which momentarily seemed like a big deal but ultimately did not really matter.
Don’t worry — I know better now.
I wasn’t broken; I was just lost. I wasn’t unloved; I was just too wrapped up in my own head to realize that I was treasured by so many precious people for whom I had always been enough. During all the times I thought life couldn’t get any worse, it was actually far from worst. It was slowly getting better. I was gradually becoming me.
Trust me on this — some might break you but some will build you even when you don’t know it yet. Some might hurt you but some will heal you in the most unexpected times.
I know our lives are different but if you take a good look around you and within you, if you put your energy in the right things and right people, those who choose you and see your values, you will have a completely different perspective — a positive one that’s worth living for. It will dawn on you like it did on me that life isn’t so unfair after all as all the unanticipated healing moments gently fill you up and make you strong, and all the amazing people enter your life and give you what you’ve always deserved. And for this, I’m incredibly grateful and will always be grateful. I will never forget how much my heart was touched when someone told me I was a “risk worth taking”, how much my soul was warmed when I opened up about my insecurities and I was instantly reminded of how valued and loved I was, and I finally believed it.
The important thing is, you see, I had never had a clue about any of this. In 2014, my life felt so unbearably heavy that I couldn’t even imagine a day I would have no hurtful reason to dwell on the past and I would stop recalling stinging memories while listening to a sad song. In 2015, things seemed to brighten up a little but there were still plenty of struggles casting shadow over my days, crippling me with uncertainty and uneasiness. But I kept on going anyway. I could see no light but I had never stopped moving forward. I could’ve given up but no, I thrived. And I’m here now and I’m happy to tell you that I’m in a good place.
So, please, don’t stop trying. Don’t stop believing in yourself.
I don’t know what will happen next. Maybe there will be another version of 2014 or even worse than 2014 at some point in time. Maybe I will be hurt deeply again and I will realize some seemingly right people are actually wrong types of people. But I’m not afraid anymore. I will make new mistakes and learn new lessons. I know I’m strong. I’ve survived it, I can do it again. After the pouring rain there will be sunshine. There will be many more healing moments and amazing people heading my way — I’m sure of it. For now, I will take things one day at a time and hope for the best. I will keep my eyes open and make the most out of what I have.
Friend, I know you can do it too. Think positively. Don’t lose sight of what truly matters. It’s going to be alright.