Grow Through It

I remember feeling that my 2016 was a horrific year and I just couldn’t wait until 2017 rolled around the corner. I had such high expectations for this year and what it was going to bring me. Or rather, I held high expectations of what the year should not bring me, as a change from 2016. I expected more gains than losses, I expected a lot of love instead of grief and pain, and I expected much happiness, the type of happiness where I wouldn’t spend a single night falling asleep to tears. It’s true how the saying goes, friends, don’t go into anything with expectations because you’ll only be let down.

Mid-March I picked myself up and walked out on my job. I had no back-up plan as I set my keys on my ex-employer’s desk, nor did I have any clue as to where to even begin looking. However, I knew deep in my bones that I had stayed two years too long in a place that did not respect me, appreciate me, or care about me. After one of the most humiliating displays of unkindness I have ever had directed at me, I chose, with the full support of my family and closest friends, to walk out of that horrible environment and never look back.

Let me tell you, not having a paycheck for three weeks, as well as feeling the immense pressure of school debt, a car loan, rent, and various bills, can do something to a girl. Tie those stresses with the feeling of failure for not being able to hold out for a two-weeks notice, and disappointment in the knowledge you’ll never be able to use your four years of work service at that business for a resume in the future, and you have one pretty little package of a hot mess.

There are memories of me sobbing simply because I didn’t know where to turn. I felt disconnected, confused, and utterly and completely lost.

But, there are also memories of relief. I no longer was witnessing a conniving, prejudiced, POS man act like he was God’s gift to my community. I no longer had to listen to this same man disrespect the clients we were hired to serve, clients I came to know over my two years working in this particular industry, some of whom I had come to consider friends. I no longer had to bite my tongue when his wife would cry on a weekly basis due to his negligence and need to please everyone but the woman whom he vowed to support. I no longer had to pretend I didn’t see everything going on in his business, over and under the table.

So even though I cried during those three weeks, I also prayed and thanked God. I did my best to attempt to be faithful. And I spent each day working to move forward.

I began applying for every position that fit even one iota of my qualifications, and luckily I was granted several interviews along the way. However, the true blessing was when a friend (an employee of the work place I had left of all places!) called me to tell me he had mentioned my name to a mutual friend and she was interested in hiring me. The position in question not only fit my qualifications, but it was exactly what I had gone to college for: event planning. Another winery, this position was looking for someone to manage their wine club and coordinate events. I simply had to smile at the mere concept when I found out…

Within three weeks of me walking out of my job, I was hired into a position which matched every aspect of what I wanted to do. I would be remaining in the wine industry, I would be working events, and I would be able to continue to be social by having one-on-one connections with a wine club of over 750 members.

Blessed doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt.

The beginning of this short journey felt as if my world was crashing. Now, I have been working in this position for over four months and couldn’t be happier. Ultimately I learned that, though things seemed almost unbearable during those three weeks, the feeling was transitory. I gained wisdom, grace, and knowledge which set a foundation for me to carry the rest of my life. I gained confidence in myself and my ability to choose a hard decision for a better outcome. I also gained assurance in God’s work in my life; I know He works for the best for me even though it may take some time for me to realize exactly what that means. The ends far outweighed the means, and I am grateful for what I had to grow through because I am now a richer, wiser person due to the circumstance.

The first week of my new job should have been an exciting time, but looking back there are a lot of black marks. Actually, the first month on the new job is truly black in my mind.

This is due to Wilbur broke up with me on my third day of the new job.

As with any breakup, there was a lot of tears. Truly, my entire Spring 2017 seems as if it were spent with me crying. In hindsight, I knew the breakup was coming for quite some time. Wilbur never said “I love you” to me throughout our entire relationship which should have been the red flag.

Instead, I was blinded by the relationship and thought the world of Wilbur. I hoisted him on a pedestal. And I never imagined he’d cause me so much pain and despair when our inevitable end would come.

Yet he did. No breakup is easy. However, there are kind and unkind ways of breaking someone’s heart, and Wilbur took one of the most disrespectful routes. Wilbur told me that even with all my wonderful qualities I lacked something which made me unlovable. Then to really dig the knife into my heart he chose to leave my confused and heartbroken wretch with the parting words, “I didn’t know this was going to be so hard.”

No break up is easy, but that one was simply cruel.

However, there was a lot more I found out within the next month and a half which made his methods make sense. I won’t go into detail as it doesn’t matter at this point, but it is amazing to have the bag over your head slip off and see someone for their true colors — and witness the colors that person can bring out in you.

The aftermath of his good-bye and the way he handled the situation was incredibly poor. He sent me on a downward spiral. I questioned if I truly was unlovable, because if he couldn’t love me after all I had done for him then I didn’t know who could. I wondered how I could ever trust someone again after being told he cared me for so long and then ending things in the manner he did. I wallowed in deep hurt, focused on the pain of the situation, and fell into a depression.

I questioned what my purpose was in the world.

Then one day I realized Wilbur wasn’t worth my caring anymore. I realized it wasn’t me who was unlovable to Wilbur, it was himself. And I no longer wanted to have a Wilbur pedestal in my life… so I knocked it down.

I began to date, going out with a few people just to say that I was trying again. And it was fun! I dated a few guys who were interesting enough and I didn’t have to place all my heart and soul into someone who could never feel the same way towards me. I was able to be myself — quirks and all — and I liked it. I had forgotten what being single truly meant: exploring new people and seeing if they match who YOU are and are compatible. There was no need for me to put on a fake persona or act like I was okay with certain things when I wasn’t. I could be me 100%.

It so happened I began dating G during this time, and something simply clicked. We became inseparable following our first hiking date.

Life was good. I had weathered the storm and come out in one piece.

There were times the past still hit me. Unfortunately, even choosing to be happy is a constant battle when you have healing wounds. But I did my best. I failed a few times.

But I forgave myself for those mistakes and moved forward.

 

Four months have passed, and I’m doing better than I ever imagined possible.

I once thought I needed an apology from Wilbur. I thought an apology would help calm my heart and release my resentment towards him. However, now I realize that is not something I ever needed nor something I now want. My relationship with Wilbur didn’t actually hurt me; it showed me an unhealed part of myself which was preventing me from being truly loved. That is where I now am: I am past this hurtful experience and terrible relationship, and realize I am worth more. So, so much more. I once blindly and naively gave my mind and heart to a man when I didn’t have to, and I now know that I have the right to choose what I want in my life. It wasn’t until I fully experienced the worst case scenario that I was able to acknowledge that it felt so wrong and that I truly do deserve so much more.

This difficult relationship also pushed me to change my behavior for the better. In feeling helpless, I learned to take care of myself and to rely on those true to me for assistance. In feeling used, I recognized my worth. In accepting what was done to me, I realized that nobody has control at the end of the day except for God, and ultimately surrendering my control to God granted me peace which is what I was seeking all along.

The final lesson I learned in regards to Wilbur is this: even though I have every right to rage and rant and hate every bit of someone due to what they did to me, I also have the right to choose to be at peace with that person. To forgive them is to choose the other side of resentment: wisdom. Finding wisdom in pain is not an easy ordeal. I failed once, and I know I will fail again in the future. I’m human. However, I have chosen to acknowledge the pain Wilbur caused me and channel it into loving those closest to me instead. I no longer wanted to allow that resentment to remain stagnate in my life. I chose to move forward for the better.

That decision to move forward has truly opened my eyes. Over the past few weeks I have started to look at the relationships in my life and see who I want to invest my love into. It’s amazing that the contrast of pain is love and appreciation. Sometimes the way brightness and change enter us are through the wound, after all.

This new outlook on life has led me to analyze my current relationships. Where I once would have hesitated in a new relationship due to trust issues, instead I have fully embrace my blossoming romance with G. As someone who I knew beforehand and knew his nature, it came as no surprise to me that he would show love and respect for someone he truly cared about. And his love for me, even in the few months we’ve been dating, shines through every single day we spend together. I have never been treated so well by a man, and never been loved so deeply. With my new perception in life, it has been my goal to mirror his actions in all manners possible, and our relationship is absolutely beautiful.

I also have been working to build my relationship with my parents and closest friends. I looked at who had been there for me throughout the years, truly and honestly there for me — unselfishly, undoubtedly, and with so much love — and I wanted to mirror those actions.

Unfortunately, that meant some friendships had to begin to take a back seat. Those friendships which were not supportive of me, not healthy, and no longer unselfish. I waged who would reach out to me to hang out in the future and who I had spoken to recently and what sort of conversation those talks had been. I chose to focus on those friends who made a priority to be my friend, and the others I set on the back burner. Not with the intention of cutting off ties completely, but rather to fully engage myself in the worthiest relationships I foresee right now. It’s almost as if I’m starting with a new foundation and I am choosing to build my life around the steadiest rocks available.

This decision did not come without fatalities though.

Two weeks ago M moved out. She told me it was due to financial issues. That’s not the reason. I have not spoken to her since she moved. It amazes me how the people who are able to hurt us the most are the ones we love the most. For someone I viewed as my sister, her departure from my life left a deep and lasting scar across my heart.

I am still dealing with how I perceive that loss, but if this year has taught me anything, there are a lot of lessons sure to come my way. I relish the opportunity, and look forward to coming to peace with this situation as well.

It will just take some time; it is definitely the heaviest lost I’ve ever felt.

I want to leave you, my friend, with this thought: truly coming to peace with anything is being able to be thankful for the experience of the situation. To fully move on from anything, you must be able to recognize what purpose it served and how it made you better. The purpose may not always appear quickly, but it will in time. Be patient, be resilient, and continue to push yourself to the best you possible.

That is all we can do in this life, after all.

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