I’m lying on my bed with my arms wrapped around my pillow, waiting patiently as I do around this time of day. Suddenly, I see a shadow drop from my window. Excitedly, I jump out of bed. “It’s started,” I think to myself.
You see, I live at the top of a very tall building right next to the Hudson River, and every morning I can hear the seagulls calling softly outside my window.
One day a couple weeks ago I was in my room writing when this shadow flashed across my window. Curious but also scared of what could possibly be this high up, I opened the window and carefully got closer.
It was a group of seagulls taking turns diving off the top of the building. I could see their bellies as they took nose dives into the vast concrete ocean.
I’m not sure how long they’ve been doing this, but every day I make sure to catch them in their glory. Undoubtedly, I am amazed every single time. Amazed at the fact that Mother Nature still finds ways to teach me even in the absence of the wild.
The feeling of falling takes me back to a darker time. What is it about an old love that is hard to let go of? Why is it so hard to stop loving those who hurt you? What is it about our stubborn minds that insists on remembering the bounce of their curls or the curve of their back?
I’ve come a long way since heartbreak. I can read letters I once wrote her. I can listen to songs I once attached to her scent. I can go to places where the ghost of her memory once haunted and not feel like an ocean is washing over me and drowning me in its depths. I’m finally okay. I’m more than okay — I’m happy.
It feels like I walked into the sun after years of darkness. I can feel the its rays on my brown skin embracing me in their warmth, and I feel like singing. I feel like music makes me want to dance again. I feel like the clouds that once invaded my head have cleared and I can finally see myself. I have ambitions again. It;s like the fight was pumped back into my blood. I’m ready to start reaching the pinnacles in my life I was too weak to pursue. I feel like a little kid after a good nap.
I close my eyes to take a moment of gratitude. I’m so thankful to have reached the light, because for almost a year, it felt like my heart would stop beating at any moment. It was unbearable. It felt like I was left alone in a deep well where no one could reach me. For months I would grip my chest and cry, terrified that the pain would last forever. It felt like It had become an extension of me. After a while, I wondered if I would still feel complete if it ever left. I had become accustomed to surviving with it. I had a pulse, but I wasn’t living. I had lost the strength and the desire to leave my bed. My stomach couldn’t handle eating or drinking anything. I was detoxing from a love that went sour.
I thought the only antidote was the very thing that got me sick, even though buried somewhere in my consciousness was the fact that I had to let her go in order to hold on to myself. I was slipping away.
At the time, nothing anyone told me resonated.
“It’ll get better you just have to give it time.”
“You’re better off without her.”
“She did you wrong, and you deserve better.”
“The pain doesn’t last forever.”
Nothing resonated. Nothing.
I was convinced no one had ever loved like me. Not this hard, not this deep. She was the love of my life. We were going to grow old together. We had a whole life to live. Any other love was replaceable, forgettable, but not ours. No one understood this love, and because of how real it was, I convinced myself I was alone in this. This hole in my heart would never leave. I would die with this pain if the pain itself didn’t kill me first.
No one would ever love me like she did, and I had given all of me to the point that there was nothing left for me to give to anyone after her either.
Looking back, I’m not sure exactly how I made it through. I just know I took on one day at a time. I learned that although pain can be our greatest teacher, it can also be the biggest of tricksters. Pain can make you believe it’ll never leave.
Don’t believe that lie.
Hang in there, love. I promise it gets better. I promise there are brighter days ahead. I promise you will laugh so hard your stomach hurts. I promise you’ll get your funny back. I promise you will be excited and ambitious again. I promise you will have dreams that make you want to soar. The miracle will happen, you just have to stick around for it. I promise the pain does leave. I’m living proof of it.
As I sit at my window, I can’t help but think of how beautiful it is to be like the seagulls.
Fully confident in my direction, but also confident that the vast space is not something to be feared but something to be embraced. Something to be explored.
I don’t know if they know I watch them, but I’m grateful for the conspiracy that brought them to my window.