It had been a long winter, the kind where people can’t stop talking about when the weather will be warming up. But last April, I didn’t join in on such hopeful discussions about when spring would arrive because I knew it meant you leaving. Like always, eventually the weather did begin warming up and in what felt like a blink of an eye spring had arrived. Everything I once knew and loved was disappearing along with the cold weather and dirty left over snow.
To say I was a wreck is an understatement. I was lost and helpless. The changing of seasons left me disoriented. My normal state of being became confused, lonely and mentally exhausted. I missed you, but you hadn’t even left me yet. But I knew you were about to.
The anticipation was the worst part of it all. It was a slow and tormenting countdown to your departure.
And now winter is over once again, which means spring, and then summer are here and that it’s been exactly one year since I lost my mind over you. What surprises me most is that I look back on those times with a warm nostalgia. Sometimes we don’t want to believe it it, but breakdowns lead to wonderful things. For me, it led to a beautiful self-realization.
I was able to learn a lot about myself from you making me feel so useless, alone and unlovable. It took me losing myself to find myself. The months that followed that April were the months I learned I was okay without you and eventually, that I was better without you.
You never realize how much strength you have until you’re forced to use it. I was sitting on a park bench alone crying, desperate for someone to take care of me, to fix me and then it hit me. I was there to take care of myself. That thought had never occurred to me before.
Little by little I began picking up my broken pieces. I was gentle with myself, taking my time to ensure the pieces were put back properly, until eventually all the pieces were back together. The pieces would never be in the exact same positioning as they were before, I couldn’t expect them to be, but I liked the way they were; I had put them there.
It was in the months that I was faced with the task of pulling myself back together that I learned the most about myself. I learned that I loved yoga. That long walks can cure any anxiety. That nothing is better medicine than laughter. That running was a fun challenge, one I was more than capable enough to take on. That children, good friends and animals always act as instant mood boosters. That reading and enjoying a glass of wine is more than an acceptable way to spend a Friday night. That no matter what, you should always stop to watch the sunset when you get the chance. And most importantly, I learned that I deserve to be loved and respected.
Sometimes I still cry when I think about that April but I cry from a very different place. I cry out of sympathy for that girl who I no longer recognize as myself. She’s very different than the person I am today. I cry because I’m proud of her for how far she was able to come from such a low place.
I see now with clarity and with the ability to connect the dots, that there is beauty in any breakdown. I learned so much about myself, about love and life. I made mistakes that I can now see had led me to my breakdown. But I don’t regret any of them, or for associating myself so closely with you when you were so clearly wrong for me, because those things only helped lead to the catastrophe that I call April, which eventually led to me becoming the stronger, happier and more independent woman I am today.
There’s always beauty in the breakdown, you just have to find it.