“Life is painful and messed up. It gets complicated at the worst of times, and sometimes you have no idea where to go or what to do. Lots of times people just let themselves get lost, dropping into a wide open, huge abyss. But that’s why we have to keep trying. We have to push through all that hurts us, work past all our memories that are haunting us. Sometimes the things that hurt us are the things that make us strongest. A life without experience, in my opinion, is no life at all. And that’s why I tell everyone that, even when it hurts, never stop yourself from living.”
― Alysha Speer
It’s approximately 3 years and 7 months since I left my abuser, yet it seems like a lifetime ago. I’m not sure when things changed so dramatically in my life since then, but they have. For starters, I had to count back to figure out how long it’s been since it happened. It’s not something that crosses my mind anymore. The anxiety and nightmares are all but gone, and something even more amazing has happened… Somewhere along the way I found myself.
I have taken some time recently to go back and read some of my early blog posts. I was so unsure of myself when I started this blog! I wanted to speak out about domestic violence and show the world that abuse can happen to anyone and it isn’t something to be ashamed of. I wanted people to see that there is life after abuse beyond just surviving. I wanted to let people know about the concept of THRIVING, even though I didn’t quite have the hang of it yet.
Every race I entered, I wasn’t sure that I could finish. I would have anxiety and not sleep beforehand. I was still terrified of failure. I was afraid of what not meeting my goals might do to my self esteem. With each victory, I set my sights on something bigger; but all the while I doubted my ability.
However, at some point I stopped worrying about failing. Maybe it was my first DNF that broke me out of it. After all, I had technically failed the issued challenge, yet I was nothing but impressed with myself that I had accomplished as much as I did. Was I disappointed? Yes, but only that I didn’t have the opportunity to finish- NOT because I didn’t think I could. In the end, I didn’t quit. The course was shut down- but before it did, I had accomplished something few people could say they they have done. I took on that mountain and all it’s grueling torture and I DID NOT QUIT.
Perhaps I was stronger than I realized all along. Maybe I wasn’t ready yet to take on life at the extreme pace I am capable of. Ever since my abuse, I had found myself afraid of being overwhelmed. I wouldn’t plan multiple activities in a week or too many projects at once for fear that it would be too much to handle. It’s only recently that I’ve found that I NOT ONLY can handle multiple projects and commitments at once, but I am better off for it. I have more energy and enthusiasm for life when I’m channeling all my energy into being productive. This has been especially true of my work for CT-ALIVE. It’s been completely inspiring to brainstorm and put our plans into motion. It makes me feel like my life has purpose and like I can take on anything. So instead of taking time to myself to “relax” or zone out in front of a movie at night, I’ve been working on making a difference in the world… and I can’t say I really miss the TV.
It has been as if I all of a sudden woke up one day recently and decided, “you know what, I like who I am, AND I’m ok with it if other people don’t“. If someone says something negative about me, I no longer have that knee jerk reaction to defend myself. I feel like I finally have found myself, and I like the person I am today. I am secure, confident, and more relaxed, AND REMARKABLY: I’ve stopped apologizing. I am done apologizing for who I am, for having opinions, or for other people’s issues. I am keeping my head above the drama, and, for the most part, doing a good job at it. I have better things to do with my time than get caught up in cattiness. I don’t want to hear negative things about other people, especially when they aren’t even present to defend themselves. I have finally found my voice, and I’m ready to use it! (For the greater good, of course)
Three years ago, I was lost and broken. I was in a terrible place and suffered from crippling anxiety. Today, I stand before you not cracked or broken, but solid and resolute. There’s very little that ruffles me at this point. I have too much to be happy about! I’m focused on seeing the good in people and the beautiful things in life. I don’t have time for hate or resentment, even toward people who have wronged me in the past. If someone doesn’t appreciate me for the loyal and caring person I am, it’s his/her loss, truly. People in this world make bad decisions, and I have FINALLY learned not to take them personally. I can only control my own behavior, so that’s what I choose to focus on.
I am moving forward in a positive direction and life continues to get better… I’m pretty sure all the endorphins have had a role to play in it as well. 😉 It’s pretty amazing to look back and see how far I’ve come on this journey; however, I am even more excited about where I’m going!