Navel Gazing and Other Hysterics

For Those Who Are Hurting

I have lovely friends. Lately, a few of them have had some hard times, and I’ve discovered a very difficult truth about myself – I am shit at pep talks.

It’s not that I don’t want to be good. I do. My heart is there. My intentions are there. Maybe I could blame it on the distance, the miles turn my desire to hold my friend, to grip their hand over a cup of coffee and let them cry on my shoulder into a lame “I’m sorry, that sucks dude” over facebook messenger. Empty.

I know I’m not you. I’ve never experienced exactly what you have. I’m not trying to make light of your problems, or diminish your suffering. But I do want to offer you a light at the end of that tunnel.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about heartbreak, and hardship, and walking off cliffs. I’ve been thinking about rejection, and loss, and how you’re supposed to survive when everything is gone.

I have some experience with being broken.

– In high school I fell in love with a boy named Matt. A boy who was everything. He was older, and artistic, and athletic, smart and accomplished. He made me feel so special. He called me at 3am. He wrote me letters. I felt like a miracle. He blew my universe into a million pieces and I was never the same. He took my virginity and shortly thereafter said “I just can’t do this” and went away to college. I felt empty. I felt numb. I felt like he’d discovered I was a fraud. I wasn’t actually special, he’d been tricked. I’d never felt so shitty.

– In fourth year of undergrad I applied to teacher’s college. I wrote essays. I sent in my fee. And I waited. And I watched my friends get congratulations and welcome letters in the mail. And I waited and waited. And it never came. I don’t know if it was my mediocre grades (B+), my poor choice of majors (History and English) or maybe, and this is worse, I write a shit essay. I put all of my eggs in one basket, picked the basket up and realized that it was bottomless. Broken eggs everywhere. I was graduating in mere months and I was totally lost. Not only did I have no idea what I was going to do with my life now, but everyone I knew watched me fail.

– In my second year of grad school I cheated on my boyfriend of six years. Repeatedly. And he discovered my infidelity by finding my blog and reading the nitty gritty details. I can still remember the catch in his voice when he called to confront me. You’re probably thinking ‘what the hell Meagan? This isn’t your heartbreak, you’re the asshole.’ And, you’re totally right. I was the asshole, and that was the hard part. All the pain I was feeling was caused by me. I had no one to blame. I discovered how shitty I can be. I also realized that everything I’d been planning for the last six years was gone. Should I have realized that cheating on my boyfriend meant that the relationship was over, yes. Did I? No. What? Wait? We’re not getting married?

– I’ve had postpartum depression (twice), a massive weight problem, I’ve quit almost every job I’ve ever held because I felt like I wasn’t good enough, I’m terrible at finishing projects and I’m currently scared shitless to send the manuscript of my novel that I’ve slaved over for a year to agents because they will tell me I suck at that too.

These aren’t the only bumps in my road, and I know that they won’t be the last. I’ve spent some time thinking about when hell happens, and the conclusion I’ve come to is this:

What if the failure and the loss, the heart break and the rug coming out from beneath you are the universe kicking you in the ass? What if the rejection, the pain and the doors slamming in your face are destiny trying to correct a mistake that you’re making?

What if your brokenness isn’t purposeless?

What if your hurt is an opportunity? And your wound means freedom?

We have all heard about when one door closes that you need to open a window, and I firmly believe that. Roadblocks aren’t the end of the road, they are just a signal that you need to go another way, but I think that there is a higher power at work here. Maybe it’s God, or destiny, or the universe, whatever you believe, I don’t think that part really matters. What I do think matters is that your pain isn’t purposeless. It is intentional. You’re hurting because you’re growing and change sucks that way.

What I do know is this. Every moment, every decision, every side trail my life has taken has lead me to this point. If I had stayed with Matt any longer, he only would have hurt me more. Hindsight has given me the gift of knowing that we never had a happily ever after ahead of us. If I had been accepted to teacher’s college in Canada, I wouldn’t have been in grad school in Michigan and I wouldn’t have met my husband. If I hadn’t cheated on Joel, I would likely be married to him, unhappily. I wouldn’t be here, with Josh, and Willa and Redding.

The universe saw me take a wrong turn, and it corrected. Over and over. It sucked and it hurt, but I’m better for it.

To my friends who are hurting. I hope this helps you. I hope you know that you’re not alone and that everyone has been this low, everyone has felt this way. Your pain is not purposeless. You are growing. You will be better because you’ve survived. I hope that you can see these are not setbacks, but opportunities, freeing you. Take them and run. And if you need me, I’m always here.