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Heartbreak. Something that leaves you feeling so exposed, incapable, and confused. We’ve all experienced this one way or another. Regardless, everyone experiences this.
Heartbreak doesn’t have to come in the form of a relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend. In more cases than one, it comes from the ones that are closest to you. It hurts, and from that point on, whether you mean to or not, your perspective on people changes. So, I’ve decided to be a bit vulnerable with you guys today, so ready or not, here it goes.
Not many people are aware that I come from a divorced home. I don’t want to make it seem as if my childhood was horrible, because it wasn’t. As a matter a fact, as a child, when I looked at both of my parents, I saw them as a team. I wanted to be just like them when I grew up. I wanted that kind of love. I remember for Valentine’s Day, every year, my dad would want to make each of us feel loved individually. That way, it was more personal, and special. He would give each of us a basket filled with candy, a card that addressed each of us in our own special way, and the thing I loved most: a stuffed animal. I vividly remember one year he gave me a squirrel (for some reason I had a weird obsession with squirrels), so I named her Allison.
Let me tell y’all, this squirrel was one of those things that I couldn’t sleep without, couldn’t leave the house without, and let’s just say, she traveled with me in my backpack to school. I loved this stuffed animal, not only because it related to my current animal obsession, but because the person that gave it to me was my hero. That specific gift on Valentine’s Day was an example of two things, the first thing being: no matter how much I ranted about how many squirrels I spotted while driving home, he still listened (even though he would turn up the volume to the radio), the second thing being: he loved me enough to spot that stuffed squirrel on the shelf of the store and bring it back home for me.
However, as time passed by, I grew up, I noticed things, and heard things I may not have paid attention to before. To cut a long story short, there were things I wish I could unsee and some things I wish I could unhear. Then, there was the process of the divorce that happened. That process alone took a toll, not only on my sisters and myself, but my mom. I watched as my mom would take money from a bill, (didn’t even know bills were that important at this age), just so we could go on a field trip at school. Then, she would still give us spending money for those field trips. I watched as my mom would continue to find creative games for us to play, and imagine, just because the lights were off due to the bill not being paid on time. The funny thing about that is, I never knew about the lights being cut off until the age of 19, because she would stress, so we wouldn’t have to. She carried that burden so we wouldn’t feel like one.
However, that is another blog topic for another time. I say all that to say this: my perspective of Allison changed. I say Allison instead of life because I was a kid. As I went through that with my dad, my love and obsession for Allison slowly shifted and changed through each event I witnessed. From the words that were said against my mom, and the actions that were made to hurt her, but hurt all of us. The eager waiting at the door because it was dad’s weekend, just to find out dad wasn’t coming, and couldn’t call to let us know. Those nights, Allison either became my tissue or my punching bag. It’s funny, because when I look back on it, as a kid, I probably thought Allison was hurt by the words I said to her, or she cared when I would hold her tight and cry myself to sleep those nights. As a kid, my emotions and actions towards Allison were intended for the person that gave her to me. So, getting angry and upset with her, or just embracing her with my tears, was my assimilation of my dad. She was a replacement of him.
As time went by, she went from being a replacement to becoming a reminiscence. Although I wanted to reminiscence on all the good memories that were made, and reminiscence on the love that was shown through the gift of giving her, I couldn’t. After every night of being left at the door waiting, it was just an added memory to the list of reasons reminding myself why I didn’t need her anymore. Why should I need her, when the person that gave her to me acted as if he didn’t need me? The moment I gave Allison away was the moment I recall experiencing my first heartbreak. I felt like I was forced to detach myself from this thing I treasured, and built so many memories with. Not because I wanted to, but because I had to. Without her, I thought I would no longer find a reason become angry, or hurt, whether my dad showed up or not. She was no longer something that I had to look at or remember, therefore she no longer had a hold on me. Right?…WRONG!
Now, I don’t say all of this to express my animosity towards squirrels. Ahaha, I’m kidding, I don’t hate squirrels, but I also don’t scream anymore when someone is driving and one happens to run into the middle of the street. So, it’s a love-hate relationship. I am saying all of this not only to be vulnerable with you, but also to explain to you that heartbreak isn’t for “the weak”. By that, I mean this: it’s about time we start to throw away that stigma of being labeled as “weak” because we’ve had our heart hurt by someone we valued. You’re not weak for admitting that, and you’re not strong for walking around pretending like it doesn’t affect you when, in reality, it eats away at your thoughts every day. Everyone has experienced heartbreak in their life. Whether it’s from your favorite fish dying as a child, or breaking up with someone you thought you loved, or even if it’s from a parent. There’s no heartbreak too small, or too big. Heartbreak is heartbreak, and the heart just hurts, but don’t allow that heartbreak to handicap you from moving forward. If I’m being completely honest with y’all, I’m still sorting through what that looks like in my life now. After going to Young Adults at my church (Journey Church) this past Thursday, a speaker named, Jenny Gullickson, spoke on this very thing. What stuck out the most in what she said was this: “People don’t always realize how much they’re hurting you, or how much they’ve already hurt you. But it’s your duty to notice that there’s something hurting within themselves, that causes them to react in hurting you. So, have enough love in your heart to work towards forgiving them, because it’s not you that they’re hurting in the long run, they’re hurting themselves without even realizing it. But it is YOU that’s hurting YOU, by choosing not to forgive them.”
Although that’s something that we don’t want to hear, we need to recognize the truth that lies in this very statement. Waiting around for an apology from a person that doesn’t even recognize they’ve done something wrong is like sitting and watching paint dry on a wall that hasn’t even been painted yet. You’re wasting time and energy concentrating on something that doesn’t have the capability to change because the action they’ve done hasn’t been recognized by themselves yet. So, this is what part of my season will be looking like after hearing her speak about forgiveness and so many other things that are relevant to my life now.
So, this first blog goes to Noticing.