Heartbreak Can Transform You or Consume You. Choose Wisely.

When you find yourself in this place, I hope you can find the strength to walk away. I hope you choose a love that captivates your heart and unravels your soul.

There really is nothing more painful in life than heartbreak. We all go through it at one point or another. I went through it a year and a half ago, someone I love dearly is going through it right now.

The thing is, we all go through it — each in our own very personal, very painful, way. These are our dark moments. We could never appreciate the moments of love and happiness if we didn’t have the dark ones.

These moments are the most powerful. They force you to make a decision… to either stand up and fight, or, spend your life as a victim of circumstance.

These moments have the power to transform us. Whether it’s a sudden break-up or losing your job unexpectedly, they happen for reasons we’ll never know. And they will keep happening over, and over, and over, again until we have the balls to stand up for ourselves and make a change.

It’s beautiful when you think about it.

That we all have a story inside haunting us from our past. One that’s so painful, so critical, in how we became who we are today. When we chose to fight.

The beauty happens when we look at these dark moments from our past and can finally see them as moments of strength and inspiration, not pain and regret. When we change our role from “Damsel in Distress” to “The Heroine.” The woman who said, “EFF YOU ASS HOLE I’M BETTER THAN THAT. I DON’T NEED YOU TO CHOOSE ME — I F*CKING CHOOSE ME.”

That’s when we change our story.

I feel that any opportunity we have to speak our truth is worth the risk. I believe that words, stories, and the Internet, are all very powerful things. When we’re vulnerable enough to tell our story to the world, the Internet has a way of helping our words find the ones who need them the most. We heal ourselves and others when we share our stories from darkness.

I’ve been avoiding getting into the nitty gritty of this past year for reasons I’m not sure about. I’ve been struggling moving forward despite my enthusiasm and new found clarity on who I want to be, and I think I’ve figured out why.

Fear. Maybe shame. I’m afraid, and honestly a little ashamed of resurrecting the girl I “used” to be. But she’s still there, I can still feel her weighing down my heart.

So throwing all caution to the wind, here’s my story. From one of the darkest, most defining, years of my life to date, in all it’s glory.

Lolly, I want you to know this story because it’s about a time when I decided to fight. 2014 is the year I took back my life and I hope it inspires you to somehow turn the hardest experiences into opportunities to create the life you’ve always dreamed of.

And away we go…

My Transformation Story — Part 2: The Heartbreak

(Because a lot of f*cking transformation has happened over the last two years… there’s no order in the timeline of my story because it’s all relevant at any time. There are things that happened before this that I hope to find the courage to share with you when I’m ready, and when it feels right.)

It was New Years Eve of 2014. I had lived in Charleston for 6 months and still didn’t know a soul. It’s sad, looking back and realizing how much I had let my relationship keep me away from the rest of the world. I was scared to do things on my own. I had lost all confidence in myself.

I had forgotten how to be my own person. My now ex would leave for weeks at a time and go back to Florida to work, and I literally did nothing besides go to work, come home, watch Hulu — and drink ungodly amounts of wine. And I even thought, “man, was I living the good life.”

On January 4, 2014 I was sitting in the living room of my one-bedroom apartment and saw a Facebook message I wasn’t supposed to see, saying something no one should say about the person they care about, to someone they shouldn’t be sending messages to in the first place.

My heart shattered instantly.

(REAL TALK: no person who truly cares about you would ever do anything to make you feel this way.. if only I had known that then.)

Then it all began… I’ll never forget bringing it up to him, desperate for any sort of reassurance that he loved me and didn’t mean what he said. Instead, he looked me in the eye and said, “well it (the message) is true.”

My stomach dropped. All I could do was grab my keys, get in my car, and drive to the ocean. I parked at a beach access on Folly Beach and walked down to the bottom of the stairs, sitting in silence, too numb for tears. I think a part of me was hoping for my fairytale movie scene. You know, the one where the guy magically tracks me down and tells me how much he loves me and never wants to lose me, and then we go on living happily ever after.

That definitely didn’t happen.

When I finally got myself together enough to drive back to my apartment, he was almost finished packing up his truck. Words can’t even begin to describe the feeling when your heart shatters and the realization hits that you’re going to be left all alone in a city where you don’t know anyone, by the person who’s supposed to love you for the rest of your life.

My emotions came in waves. There was silence, followed by sobbing, yelling, and sadly begging. I literally fell to my knees and begged for him to stay. I was so angry. So broken.

And then, it was all over. I was left standing there watching him drive away, paralyzed with disbelief. I’ll never forget calling my mom curled up in the fetal position sobbing in my living room feeling absolutely numb.

How could he do this?

How will I get through this??

Are you kidding me?!?

You don’t get it MOM I will never be able to get through this!

MY LIFE IS OVER.

I don’t think I had ever heard my mom sound so scared, thinking about what I might do to myself 8 hours away from home with no one to turn to for support. And that’s when it happened. That’s when I realized I had a choice.

It was in that moment that I vowed never to feel that way again. I texted an old sorority sister I hadn’t reached out to since I had moved there and, thankfully, she took pity on me and invited me out with her friends. I didn’t stay out very long, but dammit I did it. That tiny step was the biggest step in the right direction I’d taken for myself, besides moving to Charleston in the first place.

In that moment I reclaimed my life. I refused to let some asshole ruin me. I made a choice. I could have admitted defeat and run home with my tail between my legs, but I chose to fight for myself. For the girl who had dreams of living in Charleston since she was 18 — since before some boy had even come into her life.

I used to be fearless. Confident. I marched to the beat of my own drum and didn’t give a shit about what people thought. I was so caught up in my relationship with another person that I forgot about the most important relationship of all — the one with myself.

I had neglected me for so long that I didn’t even realize it until one day I looked in the mirror and couldn’t recognize the timid, depressed, ghostly pale girl looking back at me. I made it even worse by making the terrible mistake of stepping on the scale, seeing a number 20 lbs heavier than I had ever weighed in my life. I remember thinking, “Who the f*ck was this sad, lonely, 150-pound stranger?”

And then, the magic happened.. and it kept happening. And as I sit here on the other side, having made it through the unknown, nothing makes me more proud than to be able to say that I f*cking fought.

It wasn’t easy. I was lonely and taking anti-depressants for a little while. But then I met my friend Jordyn and one day I decided that I didn’t need to take them anymore. Going home to an empty apartment was lonely, so I started working out after work. Then I started making friends at the gym, which made me workout even more because I enjoyed being around people more than I hated working out. Then the more I worked out, the more working out started sucking less and less.

I moved out of my apartment and into a house on Spring Street with people I had never met. It ended up being the best decision of my life. The more I put myself out there and did the things I was scared to do, the more my confidence grew. The more vulnerable I was with myself and the people around me, the friendlier life got.

By the end of 2014 I can truthfully say that at 24 I am not the same person I was when I was 22. Not just physically, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

Your heart will be broken. It will be so broken that for the first time there won’t be words that can possibly describe the pain — the ache in your soul. But, trust me when I say that it’s going to be the best thing that’s ever happened to you. Stay in there, you’re so strong and you will rise from the brokenness, radiating more beautiful, more YOU, than ever before.

It’s a crazy feeling when your world starts to fall apart. When the person you care about more than anything cuts you so deep. Deep enough that you would give anything to avoid feeling the unspeakable sadness you know is coming your way.

Heartbreak is one thing that is so unbelievably powerful in dictating the direction of our lives.

It’s sad to see how many of us avoid it at all costs, even if it means staying with someone who’s slowly breaking you from the inside out. There are so many reasons that flood our minds as to why we should stay with people who don’t deserve us. Especially when we’re this close to walking away.

Please, please, please. Find the strength to walk away. Don’t be afraid of starting over. If a relationship with your boyfriend/husband/best friend is no longer lifting you up, then LET. THAT. SHIT. GO. If you don’t you’ll be putting up with it for the rest of your life.

Do you want to live everyday just putting up with life?

HELL NO.

Create space for someone better. Because you deserve the world and love that’s greater than all the stars in the skies.

I know someone who’s this close. And when you find yourself in this position, I hope you can find the strength to walk away. I hope you choose a love that captivates your heart and unravels your soul. I hope you refuse to give people the power to choose shitty love for you.

Love is already within you. When you choose love, love will damn sure choose you right back. If you’re looking for it in someone else you will never find it. No one can choose you, only you can choose you.

I hope that YOU choose YOU — right now.

The ending of a chapter is the most important. It’s the foundation for the next chapter. It’s what we leave behind — the people, the relationships — that leave the scars we carry from our past. Always remember that YOU decide how each chapter ends in the story of your life.

You also decide how each chapter begins.

You don’t have to let your past follow you into the next chapter. Even when it comes running back to you. Because believe me, it always does.

I stumbled onto this article from Brain Pickings about David Whyte and the journey of heartbreak and belonging, which is where a lot of my inspiration came from for writing this. It’s definitely worth the read.