“it has been one of the greatest and most difficult years of my life. i learned everything is temporary. moments. feelings. people. flowers. i learned love is about giving. everything. and letting it hurt. i learned vulnerability is always the right choice because it is easy to be cold in a world that makes it so very difficult to remain soft. i learned all things come in twos. life and death. pain and joy. salt and sugar. me and you. it is the balance of the universe. it has been the year of hurting so bad but living so good. making friends out of strangers. strangers out of friends. learning mint chocolate chip ice cream will fix just about everything. and for the pains it can’t there will always be my mother’s arms. we must learn to focus on warm energy. always. soak our limbs in it and become better lovers to the world. for if we can’t learn to be kinder to each other how will we ever learn to be kinder to the most desperate parts of ourselves.” – rupi kaur
My sophomore year has been one of the messiest years of my life.
Trust me, I’ve had a lot of messy years (hashtag mental illness starting in seventh grade probs). But this year has absolutely kicked my butt in a way that I thought I was past.
The past two years, I’ve been the strongest that I’ve ever been. My freshman year, even if I didn’t realize it at the time, was 1000% the healthiest and most secure I’ve been mentally. Eating disorder struggles were definitely present being just a few months out of treatment, but man, I was SO STRONG and reliant on the skills that I knew. I had a lot of emotions, but I also knew that no matter how big my emotions were, I was bigger than them still. They didn’t have to control me. I could feel them and honor them, but also still own them. What I was feeling was valid, but that didn’t make my thoughts true. I had all the emotions in the world, but I knew I had ground over them.
Somehow in my sophomore year I lost my ground.
I really don’t know when it started exactly, but probably around the time that I started “dealing” with trauma for the first time. I didn’t know how to relate my skills to those kind of emotions, so I kinda threw everything I knew out the window.
And dang, I crashed and burned pretty quick.
I like it call it, “November/December happened,” because it did. But so did January, February, March, April, and May. All these months I truly thought that I was in the clear. I wasn’t engaging in any self-destructive behaviors, I was pursuing Jesus in deeper ways than I had before, I had my group of people, I was traveling all around the country, trauma wasn’t that bad. I kept telling people that life was the most yellow it had ever been. Now I’m realizing that it definitely wasn’t.
My friend held me accountable me a few weeks back about some patterns that she was seeing in my life. After I truly thought about her words, I texted her a few days later and told her that this past semester was “death masqueraded as life.”
How true that is.
I thought that I was living so good, when in reality I was masking so much underneath.
Towards the beginning of the semester, I was sexually assaulted again. It really, really messed me up for a week or so, but eventually I convinced myself that it was fine and that I was over it. I truly thought that I was… until after my friend confronted me and I traced everything back and realized yup, everything messy and death living started right after that happened.
I had myself so convinced that I didn’t need healing, when all my actions and reactions were SCREAMING for healing.
The strength that I had over my emotions–the ability to validate them, accept them, and then move on from them–disappeared. I became a slave to my own emotions again, and it. was. hell.
Not only did I become a slave to my own emotions, but I also became a slave to the emotions of other people. I put myself in that role for sure, probably due to the guilt of last semester and everything that happened as a result. With everything that I did and every breath I took, I was trying to do this to please one person, worrying about what this other person thought of me, and making sure that I was doing everything “perfectly” for yet another person. I was exhausted, I was a mess, and I was constantly hella anxious, but everything internally felt okay when everything felt okay in my external relationships.
I wasn’t doing anything drastic, but I was grappling at the outside world to numb whatever I was feeling underneath. I was focusing on anything except what was going on inside, trying to convince myself that my problems were coming from anywhere but within myself.
I had myself so convinced that I was okay even though I was constantly anxious and having nearly full-blown panic attacks over little things, such as friends or making plans or work. Basically, to feel okay, I needed someone with me constantly reassuring me, validating me, and reminding me that they didn’t hate me. I knew deep inside that I wasn’t okay at all, so I was trying to make myself feel okay through my relationships with other people. But that only made me feel more broken.
I thought I was okay. I was convincing myself that I was okay. But not only was there so much going on inside of me, I was also allowing my anxiety to create so many outside problems for myself that made me feel even less okay, making me more anxious to focus on the outside world, please people, and ignore what was going on within me emotionally.
This year has been difficult. The whole thing. I wanna say it was only first semester that was messy, but second was just as bad, just in different ways. In more hidden ways, I guess. I wasn’t physically harming my body anymore (praise Jesus), but I was still dealing with the aftermath of last semester and my recent assault by emotionally and mentally putting myself through so much torture.
I’m not sure where to go from here.
But healing is daunting.
I’ve spent the past five months pouring everything in me into outside relationships to convince myself that I was okay. How do I pour back into myself? How do I learn how to feel okay within myself, without needing outside validation?
Jesus and I were talking about this yesterday. He reminded me that this isn’t who I am. He reminded me of the days when I was so steadfast in who I was because of who he is. He reminded me that I know how to live a different way.
So, that’s the goal. And to do that, I gotta own the crap that I’ve been feeling, experiencing, and putting myself through for the past five months.
So, hey, friends. I’m not okay. I’ve been trying to convince myself that I am by ignoring everything inside and focusing on everything outside. It worked for a while, until it didn’t (shocking, I know). I have a lot of things that I’ve refused to process or work through. I’ve stuffed these things deep, deep down, but they’re still festering inside and causing so much anxiety in every area of my life. I’ve put way too much into outside relationships so that I didn’t have to focus on myself, but that’s left me even messier and in need of even more healing than before. I’m finally realizing this castle of lies I’ve built for myself over the past few months because it’s lowkey crumbling on top of me.
I so badly want to be okay, but I’m just not. And that is okay. I need to be okay with where I am. Not every season has to be sunshine and yellow. Some seasons are lessons. And I think that’s where I’m at right now.
I’ve said since January that this year is a year of healing. “God’s gonna heal that” has been my mantra. And I’m still believing in that. It’s May, and so much has changed. It’s been a lot of steps and a lot of twists and turns and I haven’t experienced full healing in any area yet, but everything that has happened up until this point have been necessary steps to the full healing that I know is coming.
So, things are messy right now. I’ve spent the past semester ignoring a small fire that has now spread to an even bigger fire. I’ve got a lot of damage control to do. But, I know that I am going to be okay. I’ve spent all semester running and avoiding, and now I’m looking at all of the mess in front of me, and it doesn’t seem as daunting. I see how one thing led to another and how I got here. It’ll be a process, but I’ll get back.
I have peace and joy in knowing that okay is coming.