The quiet moments are often the most difficult. When I finally give myself the chance to take a break and take some time to myself, I find myself struggling. For the longest time the words were screams, now they’re only whispers: “No one will ever love you the way I loved you.”
When I first heard the words, they dominated my thoughts. I began to fill my time, making sure my mind was constantly at work. I didn’t allow myself to rest until I had put in a full day away from my apartment, and even then, I would make sure that I kept myself busy at home until my eyes closed by themselves.
I found myself in this vicious cycle. Though the words were only whispers, I couldn’t help but feel self-conscious and self-aware whenever I found myself taking a break.
The whispers began to transform over time. When I would find myself in times of quiet contemplation I couldn’t help but hear all that had ever been said to me. I would hear the voices of people I once thought to be friends mocking my kindness. I could hear them speaking down to me, telling me that my studies are a waste of time.
As I replayed their words and actions in my head, and as I tried to understand what I could have done wrong to cause so many young men, and so many close friends break their promises, I kept closing in on myself.
For months I lived in a prison, allowing the insults of others to take root into my heart and into my mind. I began to think, “Well, if everyone else is saying I’m stupid, and if everyone else is saying I’m undeserving of love, It must be true. It must be a reflection of myself.”
I’ve learned a lot from the experiences I have faced in my life so far, one of the biggest lessons being that I am not alone in this.
For a long time I was ready to quit. I wanted to drop out of school, take a break, and move away. I had let the negative comments take dominance over my studies, over my job, and I wasn’t doing as well as I should have been. I found myself clinging to a young man who wasn’t ready to love me, and let my life veer off course for a bit. I had hated who I was becoming, and had started to hate those around me.
But something changed. As I started removing myself from negative situations and friendships, and began to quietly focus on my schooling and on my future, I realized that the whispers and words weren’t a reflection of myself, but a reflection of all of those speaking them.
At that moment, I almost felt a sigh of relief. In the midst of feeling upset, I was happy to know that I was a victim of circumstance: What was being said about me was not my fault and it wasn’t personal. I promised myself in that moment to grow and to love, and made the decision to put a full day in away from home at school and at work; however, this time, it wasn’t to run away from the negativity and the sadness I was feeling, but to further my career and to experience more than the anxiety that often came from being closed inside four walls. I wanted to invest work into myself, and that’s exactly what I have been doing ever since.
If I could tell someone reading this anything, it would be to never, ever, give up on themselves.
The one thing that was once driving me to quit school is the one thing driving me to pursue my passions. Unfortunately, negativity will be a part of any landscape, and no matter where any of us are, it’ll be a challenge we all have to face.
Though I’m still growing and still trying to figure out just what it is I want to spend the rest of my life doing, I’m happy. I no longer have to think about the insults before going to bed, but can rest easy and excited for the coming day.
Once I put the hurt aside and focused on myself, focused on where I wanted to go, and invested in people who love me for who I am, my life became so lovely, and I have been feeling so free.