I wake up at 6 a.m. every morning and look out the window of the top floor of my two-story house at a beautiful sunrise. I live at the end of a cul-de-sac, so I take a moment to admire the birds in the trees and the people in my neighborhood taking down their trash cans for our friendly garbage man to pick up. I walk downstairs to my two dogs sleeping peacefully on the couch and I prepare my coffee, mostly decaf right now because I’m pregnant and expecting my first baby in just a few short months. I look around my living room at my matching furniture, plants, and all of the baby gadgets that I can’t stop buying but that my fiancé so willingly puts together without any complaints. I open my computer in preparation to spend the next few hours responding to emails in my pajamas because I have the luxury of working from home doing a job I actually like. Life feels good right now, it really does.
Life hasn’t always looked and felt like this. Life has never looked anything like this until now actually, not even when I was younger. I still remember the times when I felt so numb I couldn’t get out of bed, so anxious I couldn’t eat, and so hopeless that I couldn’t see any sort of tomorrow at all. I remember the child in me that felt scared, alone, and unhappy.
The thing about life as we grow and heal is that even though we mend ourselves, work our asses off to put ourselves back together, and turn the pages that hurt us the most; we will always remember the previous chapters in our book no matter how much better the book gets over time. It’s just part of claiming our story so we know exactly how we want to write the rest of it.
I will always remember the little girl inside of me no matter how much I grow into the woman I am becoming.
I will remember the times I felt so uncomfortable in my skin that I convinced myself that the only thing that would make me feel better was to look better, to create some version of me that I wasn’t already. I’ll remember how little I ate and how much I forced myself to sweat while I compared myself to everyone that walked past me.
I will remember the parts of my story where I didn’t feel chosen, the parts that I didn’t choose myself, and when I wasn’t wanted or valued like I now know I deserve to be. The coldness of trying to keep someone else’s side of the bed warm when they never had any plans of coming home will always be a soreness in my memories, even if it doesn’t ache anymore.
I will remember my own self-destruction, the choices I made, and the thoughts I let live in my mind when I was in pure obliteration mode. The real devastation was the process of annihilating everything that was good for me, everything I thought was too good to be mine.
I will remember my anxious attachment tendencies that were born in the middle of the night, hearing screams I couldn’t muffle, and an absence that taunted me. I will remember my anxiety, the way I learned to anticipate the worst without ever knowing I could also hope for the best. I will remember pining for someone to love me and walking in on another girl in his bed instead, and I’ll remember the way I didn’t walk away like I should have right at that moment.
I will remember these things because to be whole now, I need to remember what broke me before. I need to acknowledge where I went wrong so I can make it right. I have to be uncomfortable with parts of who I was so that I can make a home inside of me today, one that is comfortable.
I’m whole, even on my hard days. I’m whole even though I once convinced myself I wasn’t. I’m whole even when I’m picking up my pieces and deciding where they’ll fit now. I’m whole even though I’m still healing. I’m whole even though sometimes I still hurt in a life that is so much better than any life I’ve lived before.
I’m whole, but I’ll always remember the pieces that broke me because those were simply just the things that taught me how to always put myself back together and want more for myself.