“There is a particular kind of suffering to be experienced when you love something greater than yourself. A tender sacrifice. Like the pained silence felt in the lost song of a mermaid; or the bent and broken feet of a dancing ballerina. It is in every considered step I am taking in the opposite direction of you.” ~ Lang Leauv
After tirelessly fighting for my marriage for a year and a half, I was finally done.
I was left with nothing; I had become nothing. I was left with less than what I began with. I was lost, miserable, betrayed, hurt.
I felt like a quitter.
I was left with scars in the form of trust issues, prescription bottles, and an overall feeling of uselessness.
I finally gathered my courage, cursed all of the unfulfilled promises I had believed time and time again, packed my things, and left.
After basing my life around one man for four years, altering myself to please him, and essentially losing myself in the toxicity of our marriage—I had no idea where to begin. I was no longer sure of what I wanted or who I even was. The only thing I was certain of was that I felt like I could breathe again and I swore to myself that I would never become dependent on anyone ever again.
My next weeks would be filled with Mariah Carey songs, binge eating, and looking for constant distractions. I was afraid to have time by myself. I was afraid of the deep corners that my mind may wander to. So, I kept busy—just as they say to do. I thought I was happy, I was having fun, I was free. I was doing things that I had not been able to do in years.
But I still did not want to be alone with myself.
A few months after I had made the decision to leave I went on a weekend backpacking trip with a few friends. The first day we all hiked together as a group, making conversation and jokes the entire day.
The second day we were all moving at our own paces and I found myself hiking alone almost the entire trip back. It was at this time that I was alone with myself, my thoughts, and Mother Nature and I realized I was truly happy.
It wasn’t until I had been trekking on my own for an hour or so, that I even realized I was alone. I was enjoying my own company—and I loved it.
I was able to reminisce over the past year of my life and not feel like a quitter. To think of my failed marriage and not question any of the decisions that I had made. I was finally able to see that I was not a quitter or a failure—but a fighter.
Someone who overcame adversities and heartbreak, someone who had made mistakes, and someone who could truly say they gave their all to something and felt no regrets. Someone that can confidently say “Screw you”, to anyone who has the audacity to judge my decision to leave and label me a “quitter”.
What many people are unable to understand is staying in a toxic relationship is being a quitter. It is quitting on yourself. I let my hopes and dreams die.
I forgot what I deserved and accepted the treatment that I became accustomed to. I forgot that I could love myself. I had allowed myself to fall out of love with me.
So, love your damn self.
Don’t let anything impede on the love you have for yourself. And if you are like me and have fallen out of love with yourself—find it again.
Don’t be like I was, trying for months to hide from myself and my demons. Face them and be proud of what you have been through and overcame.
My life has not played out how I ever would have imagined. But now, I have finally realized the woman I am in my imaginary, fictional, fairy-tale life is not nearly as strong as the woman I am becoming.
“Learn to be alone and to like it. There is nothing more freeing and empowering than learning to like your own company.” ~ Mandy Hale
Author: Emily Cutshaw
Elephant Apprentice: Roslyn Walker / Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Flickr/PHOTO VANOVA