Thanks to you, I’ve finally found myself.
For years, I put you first. I put us first. I became so busy making sure you were happy that I lost sight of who I was. My insecurities and your dishonest behavior fueled my actions even more – I was always striving to please you.
But with every word of criticism you threw my way, every snarky put down and every lie, I slowly became a little bit stronger. My patience began to wear thin, and my skin started to grow thick. The cracks that were in our relationship grew into gaping holes. Like roots of a tree growing on a concrete sidewalk, I was able to break free of the shackles I placed myself in for your sake. I was finally ready to leave you once and for all.
When I walked away that day, I had no idea how big of an impact that decision would be in my life.
Once I was free of the burden of our failing relationship, I suddenly had the one thing that money can’t buy: time. And not just anytime – I had the opportunity that everyone is searching for. Time for myself.
Sure, my heart ached. My mind raced. My hands shook. So I did the only thing I knew how to do to rid myself of the nervous energy.
I worked out. Without a gym membership, I just started running. I would run for miles, every day. Something that I used to consider myself not good at became my solace, my supportive friend that I could turn to when I felt too anxious to sit still. At first, I ran two miles, then three, then four and then I ran my first ever race – eight miles uphill, no less.
I got into the best shape of my life. I finally didn’t have to cater to your specific dinner requirements and I could dive into the world of holistic and healthy eating.
I quit my job that made me unhappy. I took a risk and applied for the job that you never wanted me to have. And I loved it.
I ventured out and made new friends – friends that respected and cared for me, my thoughts and my opinions. When I would have moments of weakness, they were always there for me.
When family events came up, I went. When my friends would invite me on casual nights out, I would go. When work offered me exciting new opportunities, I took them. Without you holding me back, I was finally able to grow into the woman I was destined to be.
Even though you doubted my talents, strengths, and ambitions to travel the world, I did it. I took my first two-week, multi-country trip. And I did it solo. Sure I was nervous sometimes, but I surprised even myself with my capacity to handle any situation.
I visited the museums you never wanted to see. I ate at the restaurants you said you didn’t like. I sipped coffee on my front porch every morning. I started meditating and going to more yoga classes. Sitting alone and reading a new book became one of my favorite pastimes.
The gaping holes you thought you left were just empty spaces that I filled with my passions, dreams, and goals.
I became my own best friend.
I learned to enjoy time alone and invest in my interests and passions. Instead of giving you all my love just for you to throw it away, I fell in love with myself.
Thank you for hurting me because it allowed me to grow into who I am today. The person I am today is someone who I am proud of, so for that, I am thankful.
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About the Author: Madalyn is a Florida-born girl who has spent the last four years working and basking in the Caribbean sun. Even though she grew up dancing professionally, she is often called a “bull in a china shop” for her clumsy ways. A true lover of the outdoors and new places, Madalyn is always up for an adventure. She has a vast taste for different types of music, often getting caught dancing wherever she is. Writing has always been a passion for Madalyn, and she’s made it her personal life mission to spread the love through words by detailing the eccentricities, from the unconventional to the mundane, of a 20-something just trying to figure out this life, one adventure at a time.