Heartbreak (great sorrow, grief, or anguish)

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Heartbreak. We all experience it at some point in our lives. It could be the death of a pet, moving away from everything you know, your closest friend betrays you, someone you love dies, or your relationship is ripped apart. Whatever the cause, true heartbreak is physical. The feeling of your heart being ripped out while still beating in your chest. The reaction to that kind of shock is to curl up in a ball and howl in pain. It’s a visceral acknowledgment of loss.

Nearly a year later, I can still physically feel that moment of genuine heartbreak when I choose to revisit that night. It’s as if the wounds to my heart haven’t completely healed and may reopen at any moment. I’ve spent these months walking through my life with a palpable pain that has become noticeably less, but not gone. It still strikes with such ferocity that I am, again, brought to my knees.

This was, and is, not something I could navigate on my own. My immediate reaction was to call my mother but she was on vacation. So I called a friend and drove an hour hoping she could magically make sense of it all. It’s actually a funny story for another time.

I reached for the people closest to me to share my shock and the burden of my agony. I called health services at work to find a therapist NOW. I met her within days of the event. I discovered for myself that the most amazing things happen in the midst of horrific pain. Some will refer to the people that love and support them as their village, their tribe, or their support network. I call them my basket because they support each other even as they are supporting me. I am suspended in their love.

The one year milestone is rushing at me. I have discovered so much about what I thought I had versus what I might have actually had. I’m reflecting on who I was and who I want to be. I have begun to expose those things about myself that I had hidden away in the name of compromise that may have actually been submission.

This kind of anguish grants the opportunity to look inward. And I do.

Struggling (have difficulty handling or coping with)

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Life is full of curveballs. Sometimes it will bring you a happy coincidence and sometimes it will punch you in the gut. Either way, it’s never a straight line to where you are going. How you react and regroup is what determines your path.

The past year I have had several “punch in the gut” moments that I have refused to let define me. I have had people expect me to behave like the person I was 15 or 20 years ago because they cannot, or will not, see the person I am today. How I’ve changed over the years. How I’ve grown or at least how I think I’ve grown. It makes me wonder if they still see me like that because they have not grown at all. They have become stagnant and struggle with life.

The nice thing about rolling with the punches is that I’m at a point where I feel like I’m growing again. Things look brighter, less gray. I’ve begun to think about things I let go, like writing. I’m choosing to make my life more colorful, active and meaningful. I’m spending my time with people who are important to me. People who are positive, uplifting, funny and creative. The kind of people who believe in love and kindness.

It’s not as if I never struggle with parts of life, it’s that I am determined to face each struggle head on with a ferocious will to overcome and learn. Lately, I’ve learned that I am resilient and that is a very good thing.