Image by Eliot Elisofon

When we go through extreme pain, we become altered; most people do not remain the same.

Some people are able to dust the experience off and move on, some are able to skillfully relegate the pain to the back of their minds where it doesn’t take front and center of their thinking.

Some of us however like me, ruminate on it over and over again; wishing it could have happened differently, that we could have done something different to ensure a better outcome. Some of us hurt passionately, the same way we experience life passionately.

I have always loved this quote by W.H Auden –

“If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving one be me”.

My friend saw it on my phone one day and asked with a very serious tone –

“but why would you want to be the vulnerable one?”

I answered very honestly – because I find it rewarding and fulfilling to show love.

I have indeed observed of myself that I am most times the one who goes out on a limb, in various ways.

It could be in my friendships, where I find I am the one who tries harder to ensure we maintain that close bond or in a relationship, where I have an unimaginably high threshold for pain, always hoping for better.

I have been advised that I am too trusting of people and that I require some cynicism.

Something I have now taken on in a small dose.

The year 2015 changed me in more ways than I could have ever imagined and was a turning point in my life.

Having been through the eye of the storm in my marriage, something shifted powerfully within me, I was changed forever.

I wallowed in pain.

I cried,

I prayed,

I begged,

I sought professional help.

It hurt, it hurt deep into my soul that I could be punished so severely for something so small, but I tried to hide it all behind a smile, while I died little by little inside everyday.

The pain was so severe that I tried to end my life.

I became a shadow of myself and my weight plummeted drastically.

My struggle made me aware of the many things a smile can conceal.

It is scary that we walk past people everyday with smiles on their faces yet we are completely oblivious to whose world may be upside down, who may be smiling on the outside but screaming in their head for help, who may smile today and be planning to drive their car off a link bridge the very next morning –

that was me.

In this period in my life, I learnt that not everyone means what they say; some people are outright liars and are dishonest in their ways, their words are merely a means to an end.

I learnt that because you care about someone, it doesn’t mean they wont break you if they can.

I learnt that sometimes feelings change, no matter how desperately you want them to stay the same.

I learnt that there is power in following your heart.

I learnt some friendships change as time goes on; you either accept the change because your friend is worth keeping or you keep it moving.

I learnt that not all of your relationships would last forever even the ones “ordained” to, some of your very best friendships or your marriage may end at some point and life will go on.

I learnt that it feels especially good to stand up for yourself and I learnt that to live a fulfilled life, one that you are truly happy with, you need courage (a lot of it) and you need to be able to challenge set societal norms.

I learnt that I have formidable strength within.

I learnt the power in having a fantastic support system and ultimately, I learnt the power of prayer.

I learnt that I don’t want to be the more loving one anymore, though I know that it is something I will always struggle with.

It is indeed a very vulnerable and lonely place to be.

I do still believe it is better to give love than to withhold it or be the reason someone hurts, be it intentionally or not.

It’s the same way you get that warm fuzzy feeling in your heart more when you give than when you receive.

However, I am tired, drained and emotionally exhausted, I have been altered beyond redemption.

I have therefore chosen to just be kind.

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions” – Unknown

Words by Kemi Williams.