It’s easy to do. Day by day, year to year, eventually the world gets to you and you break. Without even knowing. Tonight I saw some pictures of my ex-boyfriend and his fiancé. And it struck me, that “ah ha” moment of clarity. And I saw it. A moment in time; when I was younger and we were out on the lake fishing, just fishing. I didn’t want anything from anyone. I wasn’t worried or looking to the future. I was just a young girl with the whole world in front of me, head over heels in love with my high school sweetheart, fishing on the lake in his grandpa’s boat.
But then life happened. I realized that love wasn’t going to pay the bills or fix the broken parts of me. I learned that wars suck and so do empty promises. And I learned that you can have the best of intentions for your life, but 100% of the time, your life isn’t going to turn out even a little like you planned. My first love broke me. The kind of broken that happens over time. The kind that happens when he gets deployed and for 18 months of your life, a little piece of you dies every day. Then one day you realize you’re so broken and love isn’t going to fix it. So, you move on. You move out. In one day. You pack up the truck, leave the couch, take the washer and dryer, and you move on.
I was so blessed to have been able to transition from my 4 year relationship to 4 years of pharmacy school. I moved to a new city, started graduate school, and I became a completely different person. Before, I was shy, terrified to bring the slightest of attention to me. And I hated that fear. I hated that it controlled me. I hated who I was. So I became Bri, the person that I wanted to be – social, funny, busy. And I was happy. I became independent and outgoing and strong.
But life, that silly little game, threw me some hardships. I broke up with a guy who I unfortunately let create a version of me I didn’t know existed. A version of me I loved and didn’t think I could be without him. And along the way, I lost my best friend. I lost her and him and everything came crashing down. I became this cross, shut off girl. I thought the only way to survive was to stop feeling. So I did. The girl who cried weekly stopped crying. For years. I shut myself off so hard that I ended up getting anxiety and panic attacks. I stopped caring. And it took one man to open me up again. And I will forever be grateful to him for that. I moved to Reno and I cried. I cried all the damn time. And it felt so good. And from that second on, no matter how much people hurt me, I decided I was NEVER going to turn it off again. I was never going to stop feeling. And I do feel. I feel it all. All the pain, anger, joy, fear, everything. And I think the past few months I’ve been a “crazy” person because I was feeling everything all at once for the first time in a long time.
Looking at my past, it has had its moments. Moments I’m not proud of; moments I hurt people, moments I hurt myself. But none of it was bad. I don’t regret a second. Because it taught me so many things. It taught me that you have to your own life and career outside of your significant other. It taught me that I LOVE people and I have to be surrounded by them. It taught me to be outgoing and brave and take chances. I’ve moved THREE times to cities where I didn’t know a soul. I go out to eat and on vacation by myself. I talk to random strangers and force myself outside of my comfort zone. It taught me to be better, to get bored and to push myself.
I am so incredibly happy with who I am. I never thought in a million years I would be a financially independent, hospital pharmacist, who blogs professionally on the side. I never thought I would network as much as I do. I never thought I would do any of the things I did and, of all the times I pictured myself “older” when I was younger, I NEVER could have imagined anything this amazing.
But I realized something tonight. Seeing that picture in my head. Moments in time when I was younger. Something that I think has been causing me a lot of unhappiness.
I do a REALLY good job of talking “at” people. I have conversations with people and 10 seconds in I realize I’m not even listening anymore. I tell people things without asking them questions. I interrupt people.
For the past 3+ years, I have been alone. And by alone, I mean alone, alone. Shut off. Numb, cautious, untrusting. The people that weren’t supposed to hurt me did. And I didn’t know how to handle it. So I became superficial. And I realize that now. I’ve been told I don’t ask people questions about their lives. I don’t have a genuine interest in them. I don’t take into consideration their feelings, hopes, wants, dreams. I look at people and I ask myself what they can do for me. And I realized I detest that about myself. That’s not me. I’m the 3 year old who used to wander up to random babies and tell them that they didn’t need to cry, that everything was going to be okay. I was the girl who would break down into tears just thinking about my parents dying. I cared so much for other people. Somewhere along the way, the world convinced me that to survive, I had to care less. It taught me that people can’t be trusted. Which is true. True about the girl who ripped the bow out of my hair on the first day of kindergarten. I sat in the school yard and cried until the principal had to call my mom. True about the mean girls who used to three way call me and get me to say bad things about people. True about all the times they bullied me so much that I used to sit in the bathroom and eat my lunch.
I understand that people hurt you. You can't prevent it. I hurt people. Even when I try not to. You can't hide from the pain. You have to be strong enough to survive it. But right now, the way I view others, to look at people, and to not SEE them, I can’t do it anymore.
So I'm going to change. I am going to focus on those around me and what I can do for them, how I can be a better friend and person to them. And l'll learn to once again love every second of every day and every person and everything .