You’ve probably figured out by this time in your life, that life is just plain not fair. If you’re like me, you realized this at a much younger age. And while you’ve may or may not have spent the entire time up until this point feeling scorned and vengeful on the unfair or tragic events that have been thrown at you to no end, by some measure you have made it to at least some point of self-reflection.
A good friend of mine once told me, "The worst thing happened in your life and it didn’t kill you." My childhood and teen years were certainly not the best years of my life, and every time I would hear or read the phrase in reference to adolescence as, "The best years of your life," I truly felt like throwing up. Without going into explicit detail, the recent events with the uncovering of the sexual abuse happening to the USA women’s gymnastics team at the hands of the team doctor, brought back a lot of painful memories.
At the time, I did not see a way out of my situation, which took place every single day, for four years. If these were actually supposed to be the "best years of my life," whatever laid ahead of me was sure to suck. It wasn’t until I got to college that I finally realized, life just was not supposed to be that way.
It was unfair, yes. Disgusting? Completely. It made me sick every single time I thought about it. For a while it was extremely hard for me to try and find any way to come through the pain—on top of concealing it for years, finally coming forward, facing the obvious backlash that comes with these things when you do decide to come forward, and realizing that he would never be punished for what he did, I felt like everything was pointless. A never-ending cycle of crying, depression, and self-loathing consumed me for over a year. It made the first year of college miserable.
The point of all of this, is to stress the fact that despite everything you have been through until now—no matter how big or how small it is relative to anyone else’s problems, the fact that you are even alive to put things into perspective, means a lot. You may not have had the same experience as me, or even remotely close, but no matter what it is—from school stress, to an eating disorder, to a family death, health issues, or even a break up that turned your world on its axis—making it far enough to look back and say, "That was horrible, but I’ve made it to this point. And that says something," speaks volumes.
We do this thing where we don’t give ourselves enough credit. I am the guiltiest of this. We constantly look at yesterday, rather than looking at how we made it to today. Hindsight is 20/20, and if you do find yourself always looking back at the past and the devastation that occurred there, learn to look at it in perspective. This is hard, and I am surely not as close to this point as I would like to be, but I have made steps to try. I have surrounded myself with people who have uplifted me, pulled me out of bed in more ways than one, and have never left me throughout this process. While a lot of things are much easier said than done, if we spent our time putting our dark times next to our better times, the good will always outweigh the bad, especially if you have fought your hardest to make it to better days.
One of my favorite quotes, from one of my favorite shows comes from Pennsatucky on Orange is the New Black, during season 4: "Pain is always there, because life is f***ing painful. But suffering is a choice." I cannot tell anyone how to overcome anything, and can only speak to the way I have fought to make myself better, while using the dark days as a reference point. But if I have learned anything at all, it is that if you’re going through hell, keep going.