When I first lost myself, I was thirteen years old. My knees went weak and I fell to my closet floor. My whole world had just been taken from me, how was I supposed to live now? My life had been "picture perfect" up until this moment, besides for my parent's fighting on the daily- but I thought this was normal. I had fallen, and it felt good to know I could fall no further, for I was completely and utterly numb. This was what I thought the beginning of the end felt like.
Since this, I've traveled the world. I've cried gallons upon gallons of tears. I've been to Greece and Africa, Hawaii and the Smoky Mountains. I've flown across the country and world, landing and taking off countless times to go places. I wanted to get as far from my pain as I could. I spent weeks on islands in Florida, weeks at overnight camp in the woods of Pennsylvania, weeks sleeping in Rwanda under the stars with my cousin. I've been to therapy and hospitals and seen psychiatrists. I've donated blood and stayed with different family members and walked into a cadaver lab and touched a dead body and I've hugged and cried and laughed and screamed and made memories. I've stood in the pouring rain and swam naked and been woken up by thunder and bathed in hot springs and swam in one of the Great lakes. All of which I thought would take my pain away. I've been on different medicines and schedules and remedies and schools and jobs. I had been on the verge of ending everything and almost gave up plenty of times. I'd taken razors to my wrists and snapped rubber bands against them just to feel something. I have scars now, but looking back I couldn't stop myself. Even after all those things, I still was never feeling what I thought I would.
Now, to find myself? That was a completely different story. I knew to find myself I had to go in the most painful of places. Since I'd lost myself, so many things had happened. I'd moved houses two times, I'd been diagnosed with plenty of different mental illnesses, my parents both had gotten significant others that I had to get used to, I'd gotten my license and even had my first kiss. I'd witnessed death and birth and marriage and divorce. I knew in order to find myself, I needed to go back to where it all began.
Before I go back to where it all started, I want to share some of my writings. In my darkest of times and heaviest of moments, I turned to words. Sometimes I just looked at other peoples writings and cried and cried because they were so beautiful and somehow they knew exactly how to word what I was feeling. The writing I'm going to share is from March of 2021, I had just spent three weeks living with my aunt in Florida and I was flying home as I wrote this.
March 27, 2021
"I wish there was a place to call home that didn't hurt. Everywhere I go seems to hurt just a little less than before. But then I go home, an everything hurts again. Home is supposed to be where there is peace, not pain. I wish I had a home that was painless, that I could escape to when I needed. My pain follows me, I leave my home and it's still there. I wish there was a place to call home that didn't hurt".
Since I've written this, I've felt happy. I've felt sad and heavy and dark and light and my heart has opened and closed. But there's one thing that has stayed the same through it all, I still haven't found a place to call home that didn't hurt. Because everywhere I go seems to hurt the same.
The next writing I'm going to share is just from a few days ago, when I was at (another) one of my lowest points in life. For me, the holidays are terribly hard. The days leading up to Christmas always seem to drag on and the days afterwards wiz by. I get heavy and dark and sad, or at least more than usual during this time. The other day I sat down and wrote this:
I knew what I had to do to find myself though, I had to go right back to where it hurt the most- like I said before. I had to go right back to where everything began. I had to go back to where there were fights, and screams and hits and cries and laughs and memories. I had to go right back through everything.
And so I did, I went right back to the old house. The one where I first learned how to ride a bike, where I lost my first tooth and learned how to swim, where I back flipped on the trampoline and broke my first bone, where I brought my first pet home and became a teenager. I went right back to where all these things happened, and I sat there. Because this wasn't our house anymore, this wasn't my home, we didn't own this property any longer, and I couldn't go inside. But sitting in the driveway was the closest I could get. The new owners used the house as a vacation summer home, so during the winter the winds howled and screamed at the windows and walls, but she stood still. There wasn't anyone home, there wouldn't be for a while. As I drive up the winding driveway, my eyes began to water. I hadn't been on this dirt road in almost eight months, longer than I had ever gone before. I shifted into park and sat there, flooded with emotions and somehow overcome with a sense of almost peace.
So, sitting there, in the empty driveway, eyes full of tears and knuckles gripping the wheel. Everything I had experienced in these past (almost) three years came right back through my mind. Rain pounding on the windshield and music on silence- I found myself. I had found myself right where I lost myself.