She is but a ghost, a scattered memory pulled from the deepest parts of my mind. When I look into her eyes, I see a layer of glass that shelters almost a decade of sadness. This girl from my memories spent her days staring into a mirror that shouted insecurities back at her. She yearned to be more in a world that looked at her as less than. She longed to be better in a society that told her she never could be. Everyone thought she would die like that, with a needle in her arm, laying on top of all the bridges she was burning.
But she didn’t. Her body was given a new soul, a soul that has slowly but surely become me; who I am. Every part of who I was supposed to be lives and breathes inside of this body that was once frozen and useless.
I am whole. You can be, too.
The past was terrible. It was lonely and painful. The past filled you with memories that dance around you like shadows. It has made you feel crazy and chaotic, broken and weak. Maybe your family gave up on you because of it, or maybe you gave up on yourself. Maybe you look into the mirror and you hate the body that you live in. You hate your body, all the way down to every vein that twists and turns inside of you, keeping your heart beating. Perhaps it’s because you see the person you used to be in that glass reflection. Perhaps it’s because the person you became is nowhere near your heightened expectations.
We are all full of different perceptions, different perspectives. The ways in which we see the world, the ways we view the people living and breathing around us, is what makes us who we are. Including the way that we see ourselves.
Sometimes, we are our own worst enemies. We build walls around our souls, burn bridges and break our own hearts. We become the monsters that we constantly tell ourselves we are. But that’s not how it always has to be.
We can be strong and brave despite our mistakes and imperfections. We can be great and mighty regardless of the people we were before. We can kill off the old versions of ourselves, make them exist only in places that make us better.
We can be better. We just have to allow ourselves.
We all have skeletons in our closets. We all have ghosts who come from our past that follow us and haunt us. They peek their heads out at our most vulnerable times. They pick at our thought processes and disrupt our dreams. We think that we are nothing without them, that our past failures and mistakes run our lives. We procure this belief in our minds that we will always be our past, that our futures are reliant on all of the things which we’ve done before.
There is no reason to keep walking around aimlessly in the graveyard of regrets that fear has built up around you. Put your hand on your chest. Your heart lives there. It’s still beating, even after all that you have been through. Don’t allow it to beat for nothing. Declare yourself alive and live the life that you were put on this earth to live. There’s no reason not to.
Stop punishing yourself for those things that you did years ago. You cannot hold the guilt inside forever, it will kill you. Forgive yourself. That’s the only way that you will be able to move on. I know that it’s easier said than done. I know that forgiveness and letting go are some of the hardest things to do, especially when it comes to forgiving ourselves.
It’s a crazy thing, really, that the person who we are hardest on, the one which we chastise and hurt the most, is ourselves. We need to start learning how to love ourselves at our most unlovable moments, to let our hearts work through the most painful things without breaking. Doing that is the only way we will be able to get rid of the ghosts who haunt us, and to stop allowing the skeletons in our closets to run our lives.
The mistakes that we have made are what make us beautiful and strong. They shape us to become better versions of ourselves. We do not have to wallow in the guilt of the past. We do not have to sit in the darkness of what once was.
We do not.
Stop pretending like you’re fine when you’re not, when it feels like your soul is burning out & your heart is drowning. Talk about it. Cry about it. Listen to the way your heart beats when it’s aching & embrace the pain that you feel inside. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you can’t breathe, like the sadness is holding you underwater, other than those moments when you look around you & everyone else is breathing just fine. You don’t have to be alone. You don’t have to let it destroy you.
Make the choice to allow the gut wrenching pain to push you farther. Let it motivate you to become better. Let it make you stronger. It’s as if you’re on a ship & that ship is guiding you through your life. Let your thoughts, your pain & your fears be the lighthouse that shows you how to get home.
Stop wasting your time on people who couldn’t care less about you. Your days are numbered & valuable. Every second of your life counts. Those people who bring you down, those people who constantly doubt you, they mean nothing compared to the light that shines inside of you. You are worth so much more than the negative things that people might say about you. Things like, “You’re never going anywhere,” or “You’re not good enough,” are lies. You don’t have to listen to them.
You only have this one life & it is extremely precious. Your soul is the only soul that you will have for an eternity. The body that you have is the only body that you were given. Treat it well. Pamper it, if you must. Appreciate the things that you have when you have them, because time tends to take those things away sometimes.
We all have these choices in our lives. We have the choice to let everything destroy us, or we have the choice to let them build us up. What choice are you going to make?
You never loved me. You constantly left me on the verge of collapse, ripping at my soul, tearing out my heart. You were terror in a syringe, masked by the feeling of “escape” that you gave me. You lied to me, that’s all you ever did.
You never cared about me. You made me sick, riddled by cold sweats and constant nausea, paranoia and disgust. In the dead of the night, I clawed at my skin. I wanted to get away from you so badly. There were times when I thought that I had finally gotten rid of you, but the bruises that marked my arms reminded me that you weren’t gone. You were never gone. You were always there.
You took my daughter from me. You took my family away. You made me lie to the people that I loved, you made me steal things from people who trusted me. I looked in the mirror and there was nothing left of me but you; you & your empty promises, your sick game that you make millions of people play.
You stole my happiness, you ripped it away from me. I was nothing anymore, void of compassion, unable to feel guilt or empathy. You consumed me until I was nothing but bones peeking out from underneath cold, pale skin & all I craved was you. I couldn’t eat or sleep. I couldn’t live.
But the best part about all of this, my old friend, is that I won. Now it’s you that is nothing. I am three years free of you & I have never felt better. I am strong. I am alive.
I am more than you will ever be.
They say that everything heals with time. They say that the pain gets more bearable & things get easier. But lately, I feel like my heart is on fire & my soul is under attack. The things that I have done, the people that I have lost, the fear & the anxiety that continuously plague my life; it feels like it never stops. There are days where I can say that it isn’t that bad, that the trauma I put myself through is something that I can deal with, something I can handle. Then, there are the days where I wake up dreary eyed & filled with unfathomable sadness. I drag my feet to the bathroom, my stomach lurches & aches, & horrible recollections begin pulsing through my brain. Over & over again.
It was supposed to get better with time. It has been almost three years. Life was supposed to get easier. I’m sober, for God’s sake! Isn’t that good enough?
The reality of all this, the painful realization that has embedded itself into my brain, is that it doesn’t get any easier. It gets harder. In active addiction, you learn how to mask the emotions & the feelings through drug & alcohol use. You numb yourself to the point where nothing really hurts you anymore. You’re just there, barely living, & your body & psyche adapt to it. You don’t really have to deal with all the hurt in your life because the chemicals do it for you. Take those chemicals away & there is nothing left but you. So you have to learn how to handle it. You have to pick yourself up & fight through the things that you didn’t want to fight through before. I know, It sucks. I’ve been doing it for going on three years now.
It’s not easy, but I think that’s where the beauty of it all lies. The beauty of recovery is where your unacknowledged pain is, where your forgotten sorrow lives. You can either take those traumatic elements & use them to shape yourself into a better you, or you can leave them there. You can leave them there & ignore them, until they come back up & next thing you know, you’re using again. Deal with what you need to deal with & keep fighting, because it’s worth it. You are worth it.
It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about you or says about you. What matters is what lives within your heart & what you think and say about yourself. That’s what is most important. Look around you & make a mental list of the things that you are grateful for today. Remember how painful it would be to lose it all. Addiction is life or death, it’s shown its ugly face time & time again. It has taken valuable people in society.
Don’t let addiction win. It’s your choice.
I don’t really give a damn if you are black, white, purple, brown, red, rainbow, etc. We are all fighters. We are born soldiers. Even at our weakest & most unbearable moments in life, we were created to endure. We were created not to give up, no matter how stupid that may sound.
Walk through your personal Hell (we all have one), because I promise you that it ends. The devil, as grizzly & mean as he is portrayed to be, is actually weak and cowardly. He is nothing. He will not defeat you if you don’t let him.
And trust me. I know there are times when it seems like there is nothing left inside of you to fight with, that you have no energy left. Sometimes, we hit our breaking points & we don’t want to go any further. We want to lay down & we want to give up. I am telling you right now that giving up should never be an option. Nothing ever good comes from giving up. We were created to fight battles such as these. The darkness doesn’t last forever.
So promise me you will do something different. Get up, soldier, because you were made for this. Get up, because laying back down could cost you your precious life. And we only get one.
This is for those women or men who are reaching for the bottle, the ones begging for more pills. This is for the little boys and girls getting bullied at their schools, for the teenagers slitting their wrists. For the people who no longer feel like getting out of their beds in the morning. This is for anyone & everyone who has ever struggled, and I am pretty sure that’s 100 percent of the human beings on this planet.
Let me tell you this, people; everything that you have ever been searching for to overcome these battles has been inside of you this whole entire time. So get up, soldier. Fight, because that is what you were born to do. And don’t stop. Please, don’t ever stop.