Ground zero.

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And then we were a year and a half into our friendship and we were on the phone at 3am and I was realizing my brutal honesty was burning all of our bridges and it was too late to turn back. Because as dumb as it sounds, Pinterest and tumblr are right:

You’re afraid to tell people how you feel because it will destroy them, so you bury it deep inside yourself where it destroys you. 

And it happens slowly, where you become the toxic one, destroying yourself from the inside out and wondering where your happiness went and why you’re waiting for the 11pm “come outside” text and why you feel stuck in a cycle of disaster.

Because the minute you lost your identity in them, your end was inevitable: if the minute ever came they would walk out, you would lose everything. So you held on tighter. You tried to pull them in closer and tell yourself you could handle it and that nothing was wrong. But the closer they got, the more you lost yourself and one day you woke up and realized you’d created a phantom opinion of what you thought they thought of you, and it was like acid to your insides.

That’s when you know someone has become toxic to you. And it’s not always because they’re a terrible person, but because you’ve given them too much power over you. And then you try to explain to the person why you’re internally struggling with how infinite you feel around them but how negative their presence has become in your world, and you can’t make them or yourself understand why you’re feeling this way. And so they do what any person would do: they walk out. And you’re stuck in the place you never wanted to be, losing a friend and left feeling the guilt of the loss because it was your fault and your words that started it all, and you were the one who continued the conversation even though you didn’t have to, and you are the common denominator in both friendships that ended suddenly and dramatically. 

 

And so you turn off social media. You stop writing. You back up and take a month and really evaluate who you are and who you’ve become. Because what the mirror is reflecting back isn’t someone you’re proud of, and the decisions you’ve made, whether seen as mild or terrible, are ones that have ultimately destroyed your spirit and your happiness, and you’re wondering if you’ll ever come back.

But then you come back.

And you realize you can breathe again. Because it’s been two years since you felt like your soul walked free, without burden or blinding guilt that paralyzes you, and you realize that freedom came once they walked out.

And they won’t see it this way, but you know this loss was the best thing that ever happened to you.

 

Because with it, a space opened up. Many spaces. Spaces you didn’t realize had been half-filled, like a child trying to fit square pegs into circle holes. The holes you’d been trying to fill for years were suddenly gaping open and bleeding, and this time you weren’t trying to throw bandaids over them or run from them or pretend they weren’t there.

You just let them bleed.

And one day in the following weeks, those spaces begin to fill by people who love you and see your incredible worth, and He begins to return, even though you’ve pushed Him far away and still feel anger towards Him. But He woos your heart slowly, by using a circle of people who imperfectly but intentionally love you, who ask you how you’re doing and you know they care, who sit with you at church and have good kitchen-counter church conversations, who reach out on a consistent basis to let you know that you have not been forgotten.

 

And you realize these things would have never come if they hadn’t walked out, if you had not been shaken to your knees and brought to ground zero and forced to sit in the mess you made until someone comes and lifts you out, bit by bit by bit.

Because it doesn’t happen overnight, and it will be a long time before you’re out. Sometimes you’ll wonder if He’ll come back for you because the sun has risen but you’re still sitting.

I promise He will.

I promise He’s going to show up again because He’s not one to send His loved one through the woods and not bring her out on the other side.

And if you go too far, you can always come back.

So come back. 

Even if you’re crawling through the rubble and debris. Because this is not your end.

I found gold in the wreckage, put it on a necklace
keeping it ’cause I know that it’s mine
I wear it like a message, so I don’t forget it
keeping it ’cause I know that it’s mine

Phoebe Ryan :: Mine 

This is your becoming, dear, into all that you are meant to be, and this is only the beginning.

 

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