Thought Catalog
February 28, 2017

In Order To Move On — Turn Their Leaving Into A Lesson

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What is the issue?
Jenny Woods
Jenny Woods

“Why is it so hard to move on when you know that it is the right thing to do? Why does it still ache, why does it still hurt?”

“Well — think about it like this. Love is your childhood home. Your favourite part on the couch, the same chair at the kitchen table. Love is your worn in sweater, the way it smells after you hang it to dry in the garden. Love is the creak in the stairs, the hook in the entryway you always hang your coat on. Leaving makes a mess of it all, it rearranges things. Suddenly, the couch is different, and your favourite chair is broken. Your worn in sweater is torn, the clothing lines in the backyard have been blown down by wind. Suddenly, the stairs are quiet in the night, the hook is on the other side of room. Healing forces you to move. Forces you to buy a different couch, forces you to replace the chair. Healing stitches together your worn in sweater, patches it with new fabric, pieces of another story. Healing forces you to embrace the silence in the steps, the fact that you have to hang your coat in a different place from now on. Healing forces you to change, to leave behind the familiar. Healing forces you to rebuild.

And how difficult must that be? To leave everything you have known behind. Even if the stairs were creaky, even if your sweater had patches in it, they were your stairs, it was your sweater. There is nostalgia there, memory. There is investment there, routine; a sense of comfort that softened you. When you have to say goodbye to that, suddenly, you are by yourself in a world that you don’t recognize. Suddenly, you have to adapt. There is nothing more harrowing than that. You’d much rather grip at what you knew, at the past, because that is where you are safe, that is where you are sheltered.

But I promise you — that within itself is not good for a human being, for a heart like yours. It is difficult to move on. It breaks you down in ways you never expected to be broken before. But when this happens, do not fear the rebuilding. Do not lament the pieces of yourself that you have lost, the pieces of yourself that were left over. Instead, splay them across the kitchen floor. Look at each and every one of them. Look at the memories, look at the sacrifices. Look at it all, from a place of healing, and choose to create yourself again. Shape your spine, stronger this time. Shape your heart, bigger this time, unable to be contained in routine. Shape your eyes, capable of seeing more than you ever imagined. Shape your mouth, give it the capacity to say all of the words you never allowed yourself to say.

Learn from your break, from the unfamiliarity of it all. Sometimes, it is okay to leave behind everything you have known, because it makes room for you to explore everything you never knew you could become. Sometimes, it is okay to close the door of your childhood home, of your old, worn in love, because only then will you realize just how much was out there in the world, waiting, always waiting, for you to finally embrace it.” TC mark