When you’ve done something you know was wrong or hurtful, and you regret it and wish you could go back in time and undo it, and all you can think of is how you destroyed something beautiful, it’s helpful to remember that you are a child of God, and everything you do is forgivable in the eyes of God, or a higher power, whatever you want to call it. God is love. When love is present, there’s no room for blame, shame, and fear. Everyone makes mistakes. That’s what makes us human. We can grow and learn from our mistakes. You can learn to forgive yourself, even if the other person can’t do it. You can learn to forgive the other person for not forgiving you.
Every morning I get up and make myself a cup of coffee, and I start writing. I tell myself one of these days I’m going to spill that coffee, and I should be careful, and then I try not to think about it because I know it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more I try not to think about it, the more I’m still thinking about it. Today I finally spilled the coffee. And the world did not end. I spilled it all over this cube I keep at the end of my bed, and I cleaned it as best as I could, and thought, if I have to buy a new one, it will be okay.
With my ex-boyfriend it was the same thing. I had this feeling that one day I would say the wrong thing, something irreparable that I could never recover from. I had this feeling that I could not speak until the time was right, and the time never seemed to be right anymore. It doesn’t stop me from wishing I hadn’t said this particular thing, especially when I know that his interpretation of my words is much worse than my true feelings or intentions. But he just cannot trust me. He couldn’t really trust me before this, when he was having an episode; he’d told me he can’t trust anyone but his kids during those times.
Right now I have an opportunity, and that is to learn a new way of thinking. I can learn a new way of thinking if I want to get through this and come out stronger. I can talk to myself as if I’m my own best friend, or sister, or child. I can tell myself that I love myself no matter what, that I know I am a good person no matter how flawed, that those flaws are what make me human and lovable. I am lovable. I have a lot going for me. I am smart, capable, and strong. I’m resilient. I have loved, and I am loving. I have tried incredibly hard to do the right thing in all my affairs. I’ve done the best I knew to do at the time throughout my entire life. I’ve been through some hard times and I’ve gotten through them, and I can do that again. Life has taken me down a winding and rocky road, and that’s what makes me interesting.
Yesterday my mind wanted to take me down a dark path, that feeling of not wanting to be on this earth anymore, of wishing I could be as lucky as my mom and have a stroke and die instantly, because I don’t have the courage to pull the trigger on myself. It seemed as though life will never get better, that I’ll forever find myself back in this same place again of not knowing who I am or what I want to do with my life. Everything had seemed to be going so well. I thought I had it all figured out. I felt like I was finally okay, that life was finally good, and then boom! Mom died. I felt so devastated I didn’t think I could feel any deeper pain, but it was also beautiful because I knew it meant my love for her was stronger than anything, and I knew she loved me. Then I just lost all interest in school. Now my ex-boyfriend is indecisive about whether or not he’ll take me back after I said something unforgivable in his eyes, and the heartbreak is almost unbearable. I feel unloved and rejected, like a horrible person who can’t do anything right.
I have not felt suicidal since I was drinking, and I hope never to feel this way again. I started taking medication a few weeks ago and I do feel that it’s helping, but it takes time to work. If I want to climb out of this pit I need to do everything I can to get out of it. Of course I don’t want to die. Life has so much more in store for me. Pain is the touchstone of spiritual growth. This is the biggest opportunity for growth I’ve ever had, and I can and will get through this. God does not give us more than we can handle. There’s a reason for everything. And all those other cliches. One day I’ll look back and this and say that this was the one of lowest times of my life, and the pain was enormous, but I became a better and stronger person because of it. I can feel angry at him but I don’t have to blame him, and I can feel sad but I don’t have to be a victim. I’ll be okay whether we get back together or not. I will grow stronger either way. Hard times will come either way, and I can overcome them regardless.
One good thing about this is that I can relate to other people better as the result of this experience. In the past I chose men who were easy to dominate, control, and manipulate, men who’d stay with me no matter what, and I felt safe because I didn’t have the fear of rejection. At the same time, I didn’t have an intense love for them, and quickly grew bored. I longed for the kind of love I have now, except now I’m realizing that I developed an unhealthy dependence on this man. How many women have I known who were heartbroken and went on and on about the love they lost and the struggles they had in their relationships, and how many times did I feel I could not relate?
My friends have shown up for me in ways I have not shown up for them, and that has been a real lesson for me. I can take a few minutes out of my day and be there for them, instead of looking at the clock when I get an inconvenient phone call or an interruption from work.
My boss/friend sat down with me for what seemed like an hour last week and let me cry, and told me I am a good person, that she can see me become a manager there, that I’m a good worker. She said that the manager at the other location may be moving, which could put her in that other store, and me as the manager at our location. This scares me. I don’t feel like I’m manager material, and don’t want the responsibility or the hours. Not that the hours really matter unless I’m in a relationship, which feels very much like it won’t be happening now or any time soon. On the other hand, becoming a nutritionist terrifies me because that would mean even more responsibility, and I don’t feel capable. The problem is I have no idea what the future looks like, and I’m terrified that I won’t be good at it.
Another good thing is that school will keep me busy. Pathophysiology is incredibly hard and we have tons of assignments due, so I’ll have no problem staying busy when I’m not at work. Maybe I’ll take more classes next semester to stay even busier, and then I’ll get out of school faster. Because the thing is, if I can learn a trade and do it, I’ll be financially independent, and I can buy my own place, a townhouse or tiny house or whatever, and I can support myself in my own space without living in a house with five other people. I am capable.
I can do this, and I might spill the coffee again, and maybe it will even get on my cell phone or laptop next time. But I will survive, and there will be no apocalypse. I can do this, one day at a time.