Changed names to protect privacy.
"Do not despair." These words, seemingly simple, have grown to mean a lot to me. Not only is despair from the devil, from a falling away from God's love and truth, but despair is a lack of gratefulness. We all go through hard times in life. For me, these last few months have been a Rollercoaster. I met a young man here at college who completely changed my life. He grabbed me out of a large pit I had dug myself through my past mistakes and self-pity and he basically said (in my translation), "Get off your ass.You are better than this. Look at you. You are wonderful. Why are you still holding yourself back from being the person God made you to be?"
Partially through example and partially through our sincere intellectual conversations, he reminded me of the person who I am, the person I want to be and the I had become. None of which were quite the same.
So let me tell you this story. Although it is still in play, this is the story of how I found myself, or rather, how I began to find myself again. It all started with a change. A change of scenery to be exact. I moved away from home to college. I moved to a beautiful town which I now call home.
Throughout high school, I dated a boy, (for about 3 years) who I was very drawn to. It didn't take long before I cared deeply about him (for me this is no surprise). Unfortunately, I was young and didn't understand certain things as truly as I do now, but truly caring about someone + chemistry (sexual attraction) does not equal love. It took me until I moved away to college to realize that what I had was bad for me. Very bad for me. I was giving and giving and giving, but what I really needed in order to be happy, I was not getting. I was not getting what I needed from myself and I was not getting what I needed for my mental health, my spiritual health, my sexual health or my intellectual health. A snippet of that story is this: I was constantly trying to show him the beauty of the world and my religion; how I viewed the world. But, he wasn't religious in any sense. Although he said that he was "christian", he had no real concept of religion. On top of that, his family, the only family he had, have toxic relationship and personal habits and attitudes, and as he was growing older, he was not setting up boundaries between him and his family which I could see that he needed in order to truly grow and let his pure colors shine. I was absolutely taking all of his problems and making them my own. I lost my identity in that relationship with him, and I was very unhappy.
So I arrived at college, (here's where stuff starts to get interesting/dramatic/exhausting) and the first thing I realize is how happy I am; how free I am from all of the burdens of the past. There was something extremely renewing and refreshing about stepping away from my family and boyfriend and boyfriend's family and creating my own nest just for myself. For the first time in years, their problems were not my problems. That physical distance was life-altering. I went weeks and weeks (maybe months) without going home to visit and I was invigorated.
However, on the side with my boyfriend, things started to get messy. I didn't look forward to talking to him anymore. I just didn't text him unless I felt like I needed to in order to be a good girlfriend. At first, I was all gushy and sweet (like I had always been to him; even after hard times; where I had even almost broken up with him many times in the past) and I remember I still wasted my money on him. This was something I did to somehow make me feel better about how our relationship was going; or something, I don't know, but it was unhealthy. Then, I met Sam. It wasn't until I realized how happy I was just being Sam's friend that I realized how much I dreaded talking to my boyfriend. Dreaded. Genuinely. Just the thought of having to text him stirred up anxiety and tension for me.
My healing process had begun.
I met Sam at my first church service at the local orthodox church in my college's town. The first thing that happened was he asked if I knew <name>, someone I knew who happened to be his roommate; totally not related to being orthodox. I was like.. "yeaah?" And he said, "He's my roommate. How do you know him?" I explained that that person had been my TA at a summer Game Design class that I took. "Oh, do you play games?" "Yes! I am a gamer." "So am I". This is how we first met. An orthodox person. Another orthodox person, my age, whom I had not previously met, who was also a gamer. That fact, right there, alone, was too good to be true. And on that day, not even thinking about dating anyone other than the boyfriend whom I was still with at the time, I felt an immense wave of joy and feeling of fate. I knew that this new person, Sam, was put into my life for a reason. I was beyond overjoyed and beyond excited. This was something I had never experienced before and always only ever dreamed about. Seriously. *sigh* Can't. Even. *sigh*
So, of course, I... just.. opened up to him. Almost instantly, and texted him, and tried to remain calm and normal? but, I am pretty sure that didn't happen. We started to hang out more in person and get to know each other better. Ugh. It's hard to tell this story because I have so many regrets about how I handled this. I did not tread softly or carefully, I jumped into it and of course, it couldn't hold my weight and it broke beneath me and as I thought I was totally growing wings and flying, I was actually falling to my death... or, well, my near death with sharp rocks and rushing water and somehow with the help of.. anyone and anything and a lot of myself, I made it out alive. And then I grew a big layer of tough skin and gained a couple of levels and a shitton of xp. Okay, moving on..
One of the things that stuck out the most about Sam to me at first was how be genuinely made me laugh. A lot. Like, his sense of humor just got me right in the place that detects and enjoys humor.
Anyway, stuff happened, I got a crush on Sam (no surprises) and I broke up with my high school boyfriend (something that needed to happen for a long time now).
And so, I didn't grieve properly. I was too overjoyed by Sam's new existence in my life to really do the needed growth and grieving as actively as I should have. But in a lot of ways, Sam's role in my life helped me do that. He has helped me all the way up until he broke up with me and beyond. I could argue that he continues to help me even now while he isn't even in my life. This makes me smile because I know it to be true.
Well, so, because he and I started dating within a few weeks after I broke up with my ex, 2.5 out of 3 months I was with Sam, I had a lot of baggage, a lot of emotional stuff, a lot of thoughts and a lot of bad habits with dealing with things and no good methods in place for how to take care of myself in the ways that needed to be done. Samuel was more than a shoulder; man, he was amazing. He actively listened to me and always gave great advice. He was the first real healthy relationship I had ever had. Not only did he teach me a lot, but he inspired me by being the kind of person he was. He was the first person I had dated who could and did have rich intellectual conversations with me. The chemistry and the respect were all there and his extreme self-control I found to be one of the most attractive things about him. Being with him taught me a lot about the kind of person I wanted to be and the kind of person I wanted to be with in the future. Dating him was my first step to gaining confidence in myself; my true grown-up self. Not only did I feel free, but I felt that I not only could, but was very motivated to grow into the adult I am meant to be as a person. Not motivated enough though, unfortunately, and after I had grown out of my ex-boyfriend baggage, I had adopted the toxic habits that made me unhealthy with my ex-boyfriend. I began to lose myself again and make excuses. I was sucking up to my fears. Breaking up with me was Samuel's best option.
When he broke up with me, however, there was definitely at least a month of setback because it all came to me as a shock. I felt the most secure with him than I had ever felt with anyone; and for the first time, without clinginess. In fact, I was the happiest, most satisfied I had ever been and he is an extremely independent, self-sufficient person.
However, after I had mentally come to terms with what happened, and really mostly just got used to him not being in my life. Now, I feel like I am the strongest me I have ever been. I know exactly who I want to be and what I need to do to be that person. It sucks, it is hard as hell sometimes, but I power through anyway. Mostly, my anxiety holds me back. My sadness and missing him is still there, and sometimes it hurts a lot, but I know he would want me to put myself first and grow into this wonderful person I am meant to be; a person without fear; a person who doesn't make excuses and doesn't hold themselves back. I still think that we could grow from a friendship with each other in many ways, but I know that if we do develop a friendship again, that is not something that can be forced or rushed, and I especially want any interest of any kind to come from him first because he is the one who needed to get away from me.
But anyway, on top of all this personal growth that this experience has given me; new perspectives on myself, my relationships with myself and others, and this new inner voice in my head urging me onward, being with him gave me a new inspiration to seek out my religion as something of greater or equal importance in my life to anything else. In high school, my religion got put on the back-burner of my identity, and I have since realized how detrimental this is to my personal health and happiness. This is something I never want to happen again, and so I have a renewed religious energy and motivation; So many new motivations to grow into this person who I want to be, and he helped me rediscover who that is. I wouldn't be here without him.
So, I would like to end this on a note (prayer) of Gratitude. Thank you Lord, for all these experiences you have given me; sad and happy, good and bad, easy and difficult, for they all help me grow in the end, hopefully to become the person you intended me to me; through your Grace, Mercy, Love and thy will be done. Amen.