As many of you know, I have been writing a book. Well, as I write my book, I see pieces and parts of my life going into book and sometimes, that scares me. It scares me because I am reminded events in my life that made me grow. What is consistent with the events that stand out is the growth. What isn’t consistent is how these events have affected my life.
We all have life experiences that broke us, tore us, or shattered us. We have made mistakes and we have made good choices. We have been lied to and we have lied. No one is perfect and we have either been burned or we have burned others.
As I develop the characters in my book, I think about the people that I have come across in my life. There is one character that stands out. That character was born out of someone in my life who loved me dearly but who I chose to let go. For a long time, I thought that if I could turn back time, or if this person would come back in my life, that somehow my life would be complete but I know better now.
Looking at my life, I am not sure that person would fit into the life I have now but it doesn’t stop from wondering “what if.” There are a million what-ifs in my journey but one thing is for sure, the what-ifs are not as important as how I have grown as a result. That person loved me at a time when I need to be loved but I couldn’t be with that person, not because I didn’t want to be, but because it was never meant to be.
Another character in my book was created because it is the person I long to be with. This character isn’t real but it is a person that I would pick if I could. See, as independent and as strong as I am, I still want a hero. I still want someone who takes cares of me even when I think I am too stubborn to be taken care of. That first character was my past and that second character is where I long my life to be now. Realistic or not, my life is a journey of growth and I have made friends and enemies. For everyone who has come in my life, they left me with something but good or bad, those things have developed me into the person I am now.
The life I have now may not be the life I dreamt about as a little girl and it is not necessarily the life that I dreamed about as an adult. I don’t think anyone of us ever get the dream life. I think we simply get what we were always intended to get. What stand out are the very things that break us and build us because they are what make us who we are.
For a long time, I thought that I had to hide what I have been through or what it has done to me. The fact is, I have lost my grip, I have tripped and I have fallen but most importantly, I have gotten up. I have also found many instances where I could not lean on anyone. I was alone to stand up for myself and to fight what mattered. As I have gotten older, I decided that I have nothing to hide. I know who I am and I am human. What I have been through is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, how I have handled myself is admirable and I am proud of that. Finding that pride has not been easy but with each passing day, I have learned to be proud of what I have accomplished and the strength I have gained as I have fought some really tough battles. The emotional part not only involved overcoming my obstacles but it has also and continues to involve letting go of what others think of me. I think that is the hardest part because I have spent my whole life being told that others have to approve for me to be happy. What a misguided perception I had.
My book might be a work of fiction but with every stroke, I see people who have come in and out of my life. Some friends, some enemies, some love interests and some family or those I consider family. I see parts of me that I love, or hate, or that others didn’t like about me or that I despise or admire in others. I see growth in me that happened because life forced me to grow. I don’t always see myself like others my age because what I have been through is unique and it has made me older and wiser. Sometimes, I even feel older – not physically, just emotionally and intellectually.
I just know that what has broken me has forced to grow and as a result, I have no reason to ever look back. Looking back means I don’t move forward. I am especially not looking back to anyone who has judged me or disliked my choices. I have done what I thought was right for me and for the people I love. Right now, I am struggling with reinventing myself because I am scared of what that means. When you try your whole life to do what is expected and then that fails, you try to understand that the situation was a failure, not you. I don’t see myself as a failure but the choices I made to make others happy set me up for failure.
I am strong enough to admit where I have failed and I am learning that who I am should be who I want to be not what anyone expects me to be. I have grown and I grow with every word I type, every page I finish and every chapter I finalize. Bluntly put, I no longer care what anyone things of me. Those who love will accept my choices and don’t who just have an opinion know exactly where to put it. Hey, it’s not my fault that what has broken me has forced me to grow. What else could it have done?