The Hard Love

June 25 2017

Hello world! Let me just start this out by saying how utterly humbled and honored I am that I finally get to write to you! I so look forward to my Listserve emails and I hope that what I have to say touches someone somewhere the way that I've been touched by so many of you.
I have truly struggled with what to write. I really feel like I don't have anything interesting to say but maybe it's just that I can't find the words to make anything I say interesting? At any rate, here's a little story about the past year of my life.
In April of 2016, I went through the worst breakup I have ever experienced. It was my second love, you know the kind they say is 'the hard love'. The kind of love where trying to make it work becomes more important than whether it actually should. This is the love that teaches you a lesson and the love that hurts, and boy, were they right. Although towards the end we both knew it was disintegrating and we both knew it was over, I was not prepared for the aftermath of that last goodbye. It was one conversation, after two years, and I have not heard a word from him since.
I cried...A LOT. I analyzed what I did or didn't do. I got angry between shots of Jameson and screamed ""F%$# HIM I'M BETTER OFF ALONE"" and then cried some more. I self-medicated with drugs and alcohol. I asked him, begged him, to talk to me (to no avail). I went out of my way to drive past his place on my way home from work. I was a mess. I was convinced that this cycle would continue for the rest of my life: meet someone, fall in love, live happily, crash & burn.
But there were other things that I did too, and these things were KEY to getting me to where I am now. I traveled - I climbed a waterfall in Portland, OR and wandered the streets drunk on Irish breakfast shots with my best friend. I drove my grandma to her winter home in Florida and laid on the beach alone blasting music in my ears. I went to Colorado to see my favorite group perform at the Red Rocks Amphitheater with a group of friends that I consider family. I laughed A LOT. I danced. I read books. I stayed up until I could say good morning to the sun after long nights talking about life with my friends. I threw myself into my schoolwork. I went out and did things that made ME happy. Rediscovered who ME even was underneath all that sadness and hurt, because if he took everything else, he couldn't take that.
And so let me tell you, ladies and gentleman, how much self-discovery and self-awareness can do for a person. No matter what you're going through, have gone through or will go through, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Take care of your mind and your heart. It's so easy for us to let others control how we feel and how we think. It's so second nature to give yourself, all of yourself, to someone else in order for them to be happy. And that's normal! Love is the most beautiful, mysterious part of life. Just be happy with yourself first. Be in love with yourself, know yourself, trust yourself, spoil yourself. You'll find that the 'hard love' type of people fade into the distance and stay in the darkness you left behind with them. Go climb a waterfall, its more fun anyway :)

Ashley B.
Chicago, IL
[email protected]

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