I haven’t been able to write about this for a long time. I didn’t know if I ever would be able to. My thoughts always said: I can’t go there. If I went there, I would cry. Or get angry. Or breakdown.
But I read Packing Light by Allison Fallon and she went there. It made me confront this. I wrote notes as I read. I got insights. And most of all, I was given courage to go there because Ally did.
She wrote about a relationship falling apart and all the mess and tears and insecurity that came with it. One insecurity was that she thought she’d never have a successful relationship and that she was doing it all wrong. That it was her fault the relationship fell apart.
I was never in a relationship but it fell apart all the same. I thought, maybe this is the one that will work. I got my hopes up and when it fell apart, I cried. I couldn’t work it out: why was I crying? I’d never cried over anyone before, but this time I felt like I was breaking, and it went on and on.
I told myself I was such an idiot for getting my hopes up. I told myself I should have known better. I told myself it was all my fault and I should get over it. Stop crying! But I kept crying.
Then finally the crying stopped. But I just couldn’t go there again. I couldn’t think about it. I couldn’t get my hopes up again. I couldn’t talk about relationships. I rolled my eyes at blog posts about relationships. I avoided conversations about relationships.
And then I read Ally’s book. I cried again. A lot. It told me I clearly wasn’t over this. I hit myself on the forehead three times for crying. And I realised I really needed to deal with this because I don’t want it make me hit myself.
I finally admitted to myself that I’d been hurt. I tried to push the pain away but I know I need to deal with it if I’m ever going to be able to move on from this.
I admitted that I was scared. Scared that I’ll never be in a relationship. Scared that I always ruin relationships. But the thing with fear is that we tend to act out of our fear and our fear comes true. So I pull away from people because of my fear that I’ll ruin the relationship, and by pulling away I ruin the relationship.
I blamed myself for ruining the relationship. I blamed myself for all the hurt I was feeling. I thought, how could I get my hopes up when I knew I’d never be in a relationship. I was so angry at myself for doing this to myself. And so I punished myself by hitting myself.
No wonder I couldn’t go there. If I went there, I would feel pain, beat myself up, and be confronted by my fear that I always ruin relationships.
I need to heal. Finally I see that. Because when I kept denying my pain, there was no need for healing. But I am in need of healing.
Now that I’ve confronted the hurt and the fear, what have I learnt? It wasn’t my fault. Honestly, to realise this has been like the shifting of Mt Everest. I felt like Will in Good Will Hunting. But instead of saying, ‘I know’ when he was told it wasn’t his fault, I was yelling back, ‘It is my fault!’
But I can say it now. It wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t his fault. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. It’s just life. Life hurts and it’s hard sometimes, but that doesn’t mean I’ve done something wrong and I’m being punished.
I’m learning that having a hard and challenging life is okay. It’s how you grow and give. Jesus didn’t have an easy life. I think it would have been so challenging walking everywhere surrounded by crowds, having to spend all this energy loving others. Having to deal with people who hate you and misunderstand you and try to bring you down. People wanted to kill him!
But Jesus knew who he was and what he came to do. And nothing stopped him. Nearly everything stops me. Fear, pain, my own head, what people think of me, ruined relationships. Challenges.
Come on, girl! Stop waiting for life to be easy. It’s going be hard, it’s going to hurt, but that’s okay. Stop letting fear and those lies you tell yourself rule you. Stop blaming yourself when you get hurt. It’s just life. Keep being you and giving what you have.
God doesn’t promise I’ll get the outcome I want. Only that it will be used for good. God doesn’t promise I won’t get hurt. Only that he’ll be with me. So if things don’t work out, I don’t need to punish myself. It was okay that I got my hopes up. It was okay that I was let down.
I still need to work on those fears and lies I tell myself and get out of the cycle they trap me in. I’m still not ready to get my hopes up again. But at least now I’m saying ‘not ready’ instead of ‘never again.’ At least now I am healing and I can write about the pain from a redemptive perspective.