(I will warn you before I begin; this post is going to get real. You’ve been warned.)
I had no intention of writing this or even sharing this with most of you, I didn’t feel it right at the time and my heart needed some privacy to heal. But after some time devoted to introspection and reflection, I’ve decided that I will share this. While it might be embarrassing and hard for me to share… perhaps one day it will help someone wrestling with a similar situation.
If you’ve kept up with my writings or know me in person, you are probably aware that I was engaged.
I know what you’re thinking… the “was” sticks out like a sore thumb or a neon sign against a black sky. I was engaged. (I’m not going to go into further detail, other than to tell you that we had dated for a few years and had been engaged for just over one year.)
I was the one who broke it off.
You’re probably thinking, “Are you crazy?” or “How could you do that?” or wondering how I could possibly be such a cold, cruel person. My reasonings for writing this are not to evoke any sympathy or pity from you, or to make you choose “my side” in the matter. To be frank, I could care less what you think about my decision. Whether you see me as a bad guy or the good guy in this narrative, I only ask you to read on.
The fallout of a breakup is always messy and difficult, your whole world changes in a blink of the eye. No matter which one you are, the one who ended it or not, it is painful. You start to not be able to recognize yourself in mirrors or reflective surfaces, your whole world begins to become unfamiliar. When you look down at your hands, they seemed stained. There are cracks in your heart that are spreading throughout your bones and eventually to your skin. Your pain, your hurt, your confusion seems to ooze from the cracks. When you think scars start to form, the wounds reopen. Your brokenness seems broadcasted across your forehead, flashing to alert everyone who may come your way.
These last few months have felt surreal. There are times that I feel like i’m walking through a fog, desperately pushing apart the gray to find just a brief second of clarity. My shoulders are sore from the weight I’m carrying, all the internal emotions and all the external opinions. I’ve seen friends turn their backs on me, and I’ve heard whispers of speculation behind me in classes and judgmental looks cast my way.
I will not lie to you, this is perhaps one of the most difficult times I’ve gone through. And I know that pales into comparison to what he’s going through.
With hurt in the past, I’ve learned how to become cold and unemotional, my tough exterior protecting my soft organs from the predictable pain. I developed a rhino-type skin that could deflect even the sharpest of arrows. I developed callouses on my heart.
But this…this tore those callouses off to reveal the soft, vulnerable skin underneath. My heart was exposed, naked without the cold shield I had spent so much time to forge. And for a minute… for a minute I rushed to put my armor back on. I hurried to reform the callouses.
But hearts were not designed to be locked behind towering walls, they were not made to be covered in inches of cold stone.
My sweet followers, I do not know the type of pain you are going through. Whether that be the hurt of a breakup or the searing pain of loss, I know that we are all fighting our own battles and keeping them away, hidden. But my point for writing this is to tell you that you are resilient enough to get through this, and you are strong enough to let others see your brokenness, to ask for help if you need it.
In this healing process and as I begin to sort my life out, I have been tempted to hide away this dark part of my life. I seek shadows and quiet corners to work through it and process things. While time alone isn’t inherently bad, it is absolutely impossible to get through this part of life on my own.
I have said it time and time again and I will continue to do so – we cannot get through life on our own.
During this time of such huge change and chaos, the only thing that has kept me sane are the supportive voices of those who love me. These voices are the ones that cut through the cluttered lies and harsh judgments. These voices are the ones that speak encouragement and love into my broken heart and put their hands against the wounds to stop the bleeding pain.
I am still sorting through things, I’m far from healed. But healing is a continuous journey, a constant process. It is a road that cannot be walked with a hardened heart. It is one that requires a softness and a willingness to stitch up your wounds, no matter how hard it hurts in the moment.
This part of my life will leave a scar, it may haunt me and follow me where I go. But it will not dictate who I am or how I view myself. I refuse to let it have power and control over my life.
I choose to look ahead, to hold tight to the hands of those fighting beside me. I choose to value myself. I choose to seek joy and seek the good.
My friends, there may be situations in your lives that feel defining. There are things that continue to haunt you and follow you, no matter what you do. It is easy to fall into the temptation of letting these things, these difficulties to define you or to harden your heart. But I believe that each of us have a resiliency in us, we have the strength to overcome whatever it is life may send our way. And I urge you to keep fighting, even when it feels like you can’t. Fight alongside of those who love you, and fight for them in their battles as well.
Do not let your heart become calloused.