What I Never Thought I’d Be Thankful For

I originally read this post over at Meadow DeVor’s blog and thought it was an interesting concept. When I was trying to think of the five things I was most grateful for, my mind kept pulling on one terrible thing and all of the growth that came out of what was at the time one of the most horrible things that had happened to me.

{and that horrible thing isn’t how when I went to finish this post I discovered the 600+ words I had finished and pictures were suddenly gone and all I had was the above paragraph}

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This will be the time that I talk (once again? I don’t know how often I’ve actually truly touched on this subject) about the time I was dumped and how I let it destroy recreate my life. When you date someone for four years, you are investing the time you’re presently spending with them, but you’re also investing in a future with them. You’re investing in the wedding that you’ve talked about, the houses you want to start looking at buying, and all that jazz that comes with the territory. Unless, of course, you’re us. In which case you’ll pretend to do those things, both be miserable, but then one of you dumps the other out of the blue after a 16 hour bus ride from a conference. Not that that happened (#ithappened). Anyway. Backstory as to what this relationship actually was – a coping mechanism.

I’m not a believer in using other people to heal. In fact, there was a huge purposeful waiting period between wonderful current bf and old bf just so that I wouldn’t accidentally use someone to cope. I began dating old bf about a week after my younger brother (who was 15) died of a cardiac aneurysm. Over the course of that 4 years, my family’s house burned down (and the family was saved by old bf), my 19 year old cousin was hit by a car and died, one of my dear friends died, another was in a major car wreck which left her with her back broken in four places, another friend committed suicide, and then there was the fact that I was already suffering from unmedicated OCD, general anxiety disorder, and major depression. Instead of trying to perform self-care and the like, I used my relationship to fill that hole. It gave me a person to be and tasks to fulfill. It gave me tangible “goals” to reach in the most unhealthy of ways.

In the aftermath of being told that I was a terrible person and the like, and being told that he never wanted to speak to me again (after spending virtually all of our time together), and dating my roommate etc…I had a really terrible time.

The bad: failed all my classes, got fired from two jobs, lost 30 lbs in less than a month, lost my leadership positions, didn’t finish graduate school applications, and disappointed myself and my family. I also went into a deep spiral of depression that I tried to cope with using extreme OCD tendencies that I already had that lasted for about a year. I also lost nearly every friend I had and felt like I had destroyed the reputation I had created for myself through years of hard work, and had destroyed my GPA in the process.

So why on earth would I be thankful for any of that?

  • It let me know who my real friends were - There were people that I would have sworn up and down would attend my wedding and that now I don’t even have their phone number. And then there were the people who were stoic giants, even when I was being super crazy. The people who, two years later, are still in my life and are actually active participants in making it better.
  • It got me on a health kick – I realized at that point that I had gained about 70+ lbs dating him, and although a lot of the initial weight loss was not healthy, the difference in the way I looked, felt, and carried myself was drastic, and since then I’m down 40 lbs of that.
  • It forced me to acknowledge what love is…and isn’t – I had to acknowledge that love isn’t turning yourself into someone else to fill the other’s needs. I learned that it isn’t accepting less than what you deserve because you feel affection toward them. I learned that it’s not verbal abuse, it’s not a lack of respect or encouragement. And  I learned that you do not have to completely engulf yourself in a relationship to prove anything. I learned how to love truly and deeply without losing the love for myself.
  • It kept me from committing to a career path I wasn’t actually passionate about and has given me actual work experience - It kept me from just applying to graduate school willy-nilly because I felt like I was going to have to be the breadwinner if anything was to be done. I still haven’t graduated…and will be graduating two years later than even that year late, but in the end it doesn’t really matter. I’ve figured out a lot more about what I know and don’t know and real-world experience.
  • Lastly, it made me rediscover who I actually was as a person - after that breakup, I couldn’t have even told you what my favorite color was. I couldn’t have told you my favorite television shows, my favorite games. I couldn’t even tell you what I was interested in. By being really abandoned like that, I had to go on this massive journey of self-discovery, and now I’m ten times the person I was. And instead of giving reasons like “we both like math and watch Chopped!” my favorite person gives reasons like “She knits, she makes bad jokes, etc..” and can actually appreciate the things that make me an independent entity.

So Happy Thanksgiving everyone :) Sometimes it’s the things that seem the worst, and when times seem darkest, that something good is on the horizon.

2 thoughts on “What I Never Thought I’d Be Thankful For

  1. Wow, I am impressed that you are able to look back and be thankful now. It sounds like you’ve been through quite a few twists and turns already in life!
    Here’s to even more growth and happier awesomeness (totally a word) in the future.

    • Thanks! It was a bit..rough…when it was happening, but I feel like I’ve grown a lot as a person. And yeah, I hope so too…hopefully to get more done in 2014 :P (I feel like my goals keep carrying over hahaha)

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