Street Art @ M50, Shanghai
I pulled out my box. Every girl has a box. That one that you hide under your bed or in your closet. It is full of letters, pictures and memories. I pulled out an old letter, which to this day is the most beautiful love letter I have ever read in my entire life. As I began to read through the pages of an incredible four year long relationship, tears poured uncontrollably down my cheeks. The words seemed to fly off the pages and hurl me back into the some of the most horrifying and happy years of my life.
Late summer nights spent strolling down the streets, dreaming, planning, laughing and loving. From day one, we spent hours lost in deep discussion about everything and anything. We were that couple who preferred to read in bed rather than go to the bars and drink. We preferred waking up together on a Sunday morning than going out on a Friday night. There was no denying the deep connection we shared. On the bus, at the grocery store, or at the movies – we always radiated immeasurable happiness. Everyone who knew us knew we were crazy about each other. We were so in love.
One of the things that I loved the most about him was his ability to make me laugh in any given situation. He could make me laugh even when I wanted to kick him instead. He knew me better than anyone else. He taught me how to laugh, how to stand up for myself, and most importantly, he taught me how to love myself. That last one came at a great price. Ultimately, he rescued me from my own demons at the expense of our relationship.
My internal voice had always told me that I was unworthy, selfish, and unlovable. That voice had stemmed from years of verbal abuse and neglect from my primary caregivers in early childhood. In turn, I eventually lost myself in layers of pain, anger, hurt and resentment.
As a result of my ugly layers, I was unable to see the remarkable, hard-working and loving young woman that he had always seen in me. He fought relentlessly to uncover all the layers that I had created to protect myself from the pain of abandonment and abuse. But I was too insecure and afraid to face myself in the mirror and begin to deconstruct all those years of heartache.
Finally, I woke up one morning sick of hating myself and decided to look into the mirror. At that moment, a small light ignited within me that burned to find peace with the past and move on. So I began my long and arduous journey to discover the strong, loving woman that was aching to come out.
Days, months, and years passed before I managed to find peace and lay my demons to rest once and for all. I discovered that the key to love and happiness is being able to open up and completely reveal your vulnerability despite the potential risk of being hurt or rejected. Ultimately, without taking a leap of faith you will never be free to love unconditionally. That was the greatest lesson that he taught me.
To completely open up and bare all the good with the bad is by far the hardest and most rewarding lesson in life.
Although we are separated now I can honestly say that there has not been a day that has gone by in over four years that I have not thought of him. He has no idea the impact he made on my life and my heart, for refusing to give up on me despite the tremendous internal adversity that I faced. would never have gotten to where I am if it were not for his relentless and unwavering faith in me.
I slid the letter into the box. As I placed the box back into my cluttered closet and closed the door, I was struck with the overwhelming knowledge that I was closing a chapter in my life. And it was one hell of a chapter! If there is anything I have learned from it, it’s that love takes us on a wild rollercoaster of ups and downs, good and bad, laughter and tears. The goal is to sit back and enjoy the ride.