As I say goodbye to another year and welcome 2012, I have taken some time to reflect on my past, understand that the experiences I’ve been through have made molded me into the person I am today. I’ve accepted that even though I can’t change the past, I do have the power to change my future so that the past does not continue to haunt me. It is a process that begins with accepting that the past is one that should not be repeated, having the will, then finding the strength to follow through and truly change the future.
When my life was turned upside down inside out, I was overwhelmed with emotions…fear, doubt, anger, love. The most difficult was losing my pets because they were my everything, my link to reality, my “kiddos”. Even afterwards dealing with continued health problems ranging from post traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, insomnia, migraines to now discovering the stress has affected my blood sugar and thyroid. I did not know if I would ever find my way through the mess of frustration, the loss of my life as I once knew, and find may way to begin again.
Fortunately, I have a strong support system. Family and friends came to visit me from out of town when they could. While I did not have much family in town, I did have friends. At first I did not want anyone to see me in the condition I was in nor did I want anyone’s help because I felt I needed to be able to do for myself. I tried so hard to hide the pain and bleeding internal wounds. I felt weak to have to lean on others, but I also did not want to deal with those stares, gossip and crude jokes from all around. I was embarrassed of another failed marriage and blamed myself for allowing myself to get into yet another abusive and unhealthy relationship. I wasn’t answering anyone’s calls not even from the insurance or my attorneys. My bills were stacking up and was behind on all payments. My weight had dropped to literally skin and bones. I honestly did not see the toll this was taking on me. My dear friends stepped in and literally camped out with me for days. They helped me see that I could not longer continue the path I was on because it was one of self-destruction.
There are many things I have learned through all of this madness. A strong support system, holding on to my faith, understanding it was not my fault, and asking for help are the most important things that have guided me to find my way back to “life”. I was able to let go of the worry what others thought of me. Accept my past as part of who I am. Keep my chin up with one foot in front of the other. While a very difficult transition, I was finally able to return to work and prove to myself that I was a much stronger person and in a better place.
Finding a strong support system is not as easy as it sounds. While family is always there to be supportive, friends, true friends…well you just never know until something like this happens to you. I believe a true friend is someone who sticks by you when you are down and celebrates with you when you are up. It’s someone with mutual trust, who understands you, knows the real you and appreciates the person you are and, most of all, doesn’t judge you.
Sure, there are many types of friendships. There are situational friends that see each other regularly, have fun together, even share occasional disappointments, but when you move or something changes, you don’t stay in touch. Then there are casual friends that meet each other once in a while, go out for lunch and dinner, catch up on the news/gossip. You like each other, appreciate the company, but are are not best friends. Of course, there are close friends who understand the real you, help when you’re in trouble and are people you can rely on in good times and bad. They will not judge you, they let you in their lives, and care about you deeply. You see these friends more like family. Such people don’t come along often and are the friendships to be cherished.
Sometimes friendships disintegrate or people grow out of them when you don’t spend time together, have fun together and talk (I mean really talk about your lives, decisions, whatever is going on). It really depends on the person. Myself, I value loyalty above all others. I would never let my friends down, I stick by them and they by me. We understand we are human and make mistakes that with the occasional misunderstanding, we know there is forgiveness and love because the relationship is more important. Yes, we always have family, but at some point, everybody needs a friend too.
Happy New Year everyone! May your faith be strengthened, life be humbled, and your journey filled with with more joy than sorrow…and if not, maybe it’s time to take a look back so you can move forward. Take some time to evaluate your past and understand what you want for your future. Ask yourself if you have the support system to help you. If you find that you have been too busy to reach out and be a friend, make the time. Make the time to cherish the family and friends who are important to you. You just never know if someone you love and cherish is afraid to ask or even realize they need help.