It’s always darkest before the dawn.
There’s been a lot of darkness in my life; some if it real, some of it fairly shallow compared to others’ actual darkness. Nonetheless though, sometimes at our very darkest, we don’t necessarily realize how grateful we are for the horrid things that happen to us until much later in our lives. Here are five of my favourite in-hindsight-it-wasn’t-that-bad moments.
My First Heartbreak.
When I was 21 (22? I can’t really remember anymore) I had my heart actually crushed for the very first time in my life. It sucked. It sucked for a longer time than it was socially acceptable for a heartbreak like this to suck. That’s who I was then. The girl who couldn’t move forward, and it affected so many decisions in my life that I was forced to make if only to better myself. And I did better myself. And if I hadn’t faced pain like this at a time when I needed that wake-up call, I might not have necessarily had the valuable life experience and newfound confidence and strength I gained by changing my life around. Nowadays, I have found what it means to actually love someone and more importantly, myself. And the thought of me dating the first person who broke my heart back then, afterwards, or ever basically, kind of turns my stomach. It’s actually disgusting. Just like he turned out to be
All of the Lesser Heartbreaks.
That icky, saccharine song, “God Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts is something I was introduced to when I worked in housekeeping and I watched CMT on weekends because Much Music doesn’t play music videos on weekend afternoons. I hate the song but something that stands out to me all these years later about it is the idea that everything we’ve gone through romantically leads us to the person with who we’re the most happy. I think dating a lot in my mid-late 20s has made me wiser, more street-smart, more realistic, and more aware of what I wanted. Sometimes it sucked and sometimes I fell hard and ended up disappointed. But all of those things led me to what has, to this point, felt the most right.
Every breakup and heartbreak and romantic disappointment on earth can’t compare to breaking up with people you thought were your best friends. That pain still follows me sometimes. It’s dark and angry and bitter. But what I’m grateful for in retrospect was that a terribly poisonous friendship that brought out my worst self didn’t continue longer than it should have. I won’t have those awful people at any of the most important and best moments of my life that are yet to come. I’m rid of having to pretend to act or be a certain way to please others, and I’m done with knowing other girls are talking behind my back because they talked about each other with me. I have better friends, I have people in my life that I have come to find are actually valuable and actually care about me, and have since the beginning. I won’t take those friends for granted again.
Almost Failing at My Career.
Sometimes I still feel like I’m failing in my career. Other times I feel like I’m doing a fantastic job. My career is the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done. Eight months in, it’s the scariest thing I’ve ever done. 100+ people count on me. Their families count on me. Extensions of who they are are counting on me. It’s a lot of pressure and I feel like I need to be perfect and wonderful all the time. I’m a leader. For real. For the first time in my life. But I look back at that day when I was placed on a notice for my lack of talent in the profession I chose, and how defeated and beat up and ruined I felt. But in many ways that was the kick in the ass I needed to turn everything around and be who I needed to be enough to be where I’m at now. I’m not perfect by any means. But I’m lucky enough to be here. And I’m not going to quit.
Getting Rejected from Grad School.
I had a dream to be a writer. For years, it was all I ever wanted. I imagined myself in an office or wherever just pounding away at the keys and creating stories and having a blast. But at 29, I’ve learned about myself that’s a dream not worth chasing. I will never be successful. I will never have the courage and confidence to beat down doors and take rejection more than success. In addition, the life I want and the life I was prepared for prior to my applications to grad schools across Canada don’t match. And the life I have now isn’t perfect at all, but it’s better than it would have been because in teaching I found something I never truly had before. Passion. Care. Constantly trying so hard to be the best I can be because it actually matters. Writing is something I love. I’m writing words right now because I truly do love the craft of writing. But it’s not my life and I’m glad I didn’t end up finding that out when it was too late.