Hey, guys. After a long hiatus, welcome back to TNTH.
I’ve spent these last few weeks trying to write this post and having it reflect on the process I’ve been going through as I’ve been going through it, and every time I’ve tried explaining myself, it still doesn’t fully explain why. So excuse me if this sounds confusing, or cheesy, or down-right crazy. I promised myself that TNTH is a safe place of honesty and self-expression, so here I am doing just that.
I left for many reasons. I’ve written the list over and over again and I’ve finally come to terms with those reasons. Those reasons, or causes perhaps, made me live a lie for the last 5 months, I’ve been indulging in this life that was not my own, and eventually, I started to break down. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally.
Long story short, the pressure builds up inside of you and everything that you held back for months on end began to pour out. My honest, raw, and purest-self showed and when I look back at it, I remember how vulnerable I truly was. How desperate I wanted everything to end; the self-hate thoughts that circled through my head would not leave me alone. I realized things needed to desperately change before I was back to where I was years ago when the pain caused me to then become suicidal. I needed to find myself again.
During my time away from the world, I’ve listened to a lot of music. Specifically, I listened to Camila Cabello’s “I Have Questions” on repeat. It was the type of song that took you to a place you never knew existed in you. Every time that song plays on my phone, I feel like I fall down this trap door of every issue, problem, and insecurity of mine and I’m forced to come in contact with them all. Long story short, the song comes from her forthcoming debut album, The Hurting. The Healing. The Loving. She shares that the album is a “journey from darkness to light; [how she lost herself and then found herself again through three stages: the hurting, the healing, and the loving.]”
I’ve taken these three stages of self-discovery and applied it to my own life. It’s when I realized that I have the power to fix what I want to fix, find what I want to find, change what I want to change, and to simply heal the hurt so that I can love again.
This is who I was, who I am, and what I’m working to become.
To be completely honest, I can say that this stage roughly began after I graduated college last year. Graduating college is scary. It’s celebration and festivities one day, but when that’s over, you’re left on your own, trying to figure out what your next move is and where you’re left to go. I felt this thought bubble over my head constantly. I had no clue what I wanted to do career-wise, I didn’t get a job that summer, and mentally – I was tired. To this day, I don’t know what happened to me after I graduated but I was honestly tired to do anything. All I wanted to do was stay in bed and sleep all day, and normally that isn’t me.
Summer came and went, and I was now a grad student taking grad-level classes. The first year was hard on me simply because of the fact that the transition wasn’t smooth and the professors made me feel like I wasn’t the greatest writer. As time progressed and my work kept get shitted on, I began to lose passion in my craft.
On top of that, I was beginning to blame everyone else as the reason why I and my friends weren’t as close anymore. “My friends should know that it’s hard for me to reach out, so if they cared, they’d reach out to me.” I began to believe in this assumption that if people didn’t understand me and the issues I had, then they weren’t my friends. I became this person where it was either my way or the highway, in all honesty. I realize now that I was acting that way because I was afraid of losing the only group of friends I had, and in some twisted “Liz way”, I did just that. I lost some really good friends who made me super happy in 2016.
Coming into 2017, I thought I had everything under control. I thought I was happy. I thought I as finally on the right path of my life. Without realizing it, I began to go down this destructive path that was slowly influencing me to do things that I normally wouldn’t do and gravitate towards ideas and beliefs that normally I wouldn’t tolerate for myself. I began to interact with people who really didn’t care about being assholes to the people they care about and I began to drink and smoke my weekends away with my bestfriend when things got too hard and stressful for me to handle sober. I started to use my anxiety as an excuse to not do things or challenge myself intellectually. I started to get irritated at every little thing that went bad for me. I allowed myself to hide my pain from others, especially towards the person I love, just because I was afraid of being a burden to him. I’ve tried different remedies to help cure the pain: journals, organization, different hair colors, and haircuts, but nothing seemed to work. In some sense, I felt completely alone.
One thing I try my best to be is my complete and honest self, and in the long run, I became fake. I was one-dimensional; I was just this happy person who didn’t have nothing wrong with me. Ever. I became this person who hid my life away from everyone around me because I thought I was able to handle it on my own. I thought that if I didn’t talk it out to the world, that all the bad and the useless would just vanish. But I realized life doesn’t work like that. Everything you try to numb away just ends up coming back to leave a scar on your body. I tried to be the person I wanted to be without resolving the issues that ate me alive inside. For the most part, it did, and it almost cost me the one person who made me genuinely happy.
I knew I had to change my mindset and lifestyle around.
I was told a long time ago that you should only allow yourself two days to grieve: the first day you cry about the actual situation itself, and the second day, you most likely cry during your reflection of it. I began to start changing up some bad habits and started focusing on some new ones. I deleted most of my social media apps so that I could stop comparing myself to others, I changed up my hairstyle, I started to listen to music that made me happy, and I began to talk more. I began to voice the concerns and thoughts I had instead of assuming I’m being overly-dramatic or a nuisance. I began to share useless information about myself, like the quirks and interesting things that I normally wouldn’t share. In some odd way, I felt like I was getting to know myself all over again. I felt like this was my time to reintroduce myself not only to the people in my life but actually to myself. Doing so made me feel like I was being honest with myself, and that I was actually listening to myself. One thing I’ve realized is that you have an instinct for a reason. It’s not there to constantly doubt you or make you feel worried and stressed out, but because it’s your body alerting you to something, whether it’s good or bad. Most of the time, your instinct is right, so listen to what it has to say. Most importantly, I realized that you need a healthy balance of the best and broken parts of yourself.
This is going to sound really silly, but I learned this concept of life from one of my favorite TV shows of all time, The Killing. There’s an episode in the third season where the main character, Detective Sarah Linden, goes to the prison where Ray Seward, an intimate who was found guilty of murdering his ex-wife years prior, awaits his final day of life before he gets executed. She goes to talk to him about the night of his wife’s murder to see if there is truly a connection with that case and the case she is working on currently. In a short, simple explanation to a complex (yet brilliant) storyline, Linden tries to get Seward to see his son, Adrian, one last time before he dies, but he refuses. Linden persuades him with this line that has personally helped me get through most of the issues I have with myself:
Don’t leave without letting him see you, know you. He will carry that with him every time he looks in the mirror — the broken parts of you. Because you never let him see the best part.
In other words, she wanted Seward to allow his son to see the good in him after constantly being shown the bad.
“The Healing” process is a progress for a reason. You take time out of your life to take care of yourself, defend yourself, know yourself; you spend time with yourself. Most of the time, you’re not going to know when your “healing stage” is finally over. It just happens when it’s ready to be over and for me, it’s far from being over. But sometimes, I feel like I’m still in “The Hurting” because I still get sad and let minor things get to me, and sometimes I tell myself, “maybe I thought I was onto The Healing. Maybe I really wasn’t. Maybe I’m back at square one.” Or maybe, just maybe, I am realizing that keeping my emotions bottled up when things get tough doesn’t sit well with me anymore. I’ve cried more times this month than I’ve done in TWO YEARS. Maybe crying and feeling and identifying your emotions is just a part of The Healing process. With healing meant that I had wounds to heal that I ignored years ago. It meant that I had to think about the mistakes, the heartbreak, the death threats, the unspoken reasons why I carry them around. To be completely free, I needed to forgive myself. Take responsibility for all the wrongs I did to people and to myself. To allow myself to move on and understand that I am where I am now because of these difficult times. Once I do that, there’s nothing but love left to experience.
This past month being away from TNTH and social media has allowed me to fully divulge into this healing stage without any distractions. I have so much to work on with myself, and this new chapter I’ve started will be me completely in my element. What you see here is what you get.
“The Loving”, to me, is one of those stages where it could easily be misinterpreted. Who’s to say this stage is when you feel happy for a certain period of time? This stage, as like the others, is different for everyone. Out of all the stages, this stage is the most important because it symbolizes peace. It symbolizes confidence. It symbolizes guidance and direction. It symbolizes internal happiness that no one can challenge but yourself. To me, it’s feeling like you accepted yourself to the point where you aren’t afraid of being your complete self because you love who that person is. I don’t know when this stage of my life will come, but I know I am working towards it to be a better person for myself, to the people I love, and to the world. Let it be known that “The Loving” isn’t the final stop on your self-discovery journey, but one of the very first stops in living a happy, productive, and strong life. In the long run, that’s how I want to live my life from now on, even though it takes time to finally come to terms with yourself. Despite the wait and the numerous lessons that need to be learned, it’s worth it all in the end. I know it does, and it will.