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Note: I accidentally deleted the first incarnation of this article and didn’t know how I could find the strength within me to repeat such an emotionally draining process, but here we are. 

Sometimes people leave. They can hurt, disappoint and leave you for no reason at all. Overtime, it is easy to internalize that pain and use it as an excuse to build an impenetrable wall of ice around your heart. Yet, what you don’t realize is that ice can melt, and for that one moment your guard has dropped and you are not alone anymore whether you like it or not.

We all give away pieces of our heart to inconsequential people, and occasionally long to take it back after exchanging feelings and emotions. Sometimes we share things with the wrong people and get our hearts handed to us with an arrow shot through the center.

Those people leave and we may never see those parts of ourselves ever again; the things that person brought out in us. The realizations we have made in spite of them or at our own expense. They take away the good memories we built in their company but also the bad. Why do we let people who may not remember us in ten minutes from now dictate how the rest of our lives are going to go?

Look around you. The people that surround you are not the same people who were there five years ago, or the ones in ten years from now who will be standing beside you at your wedding or for the birth of a child, the loss of a loved one or your big achievements. 

When I feel like I’m struggling to grasp the disappearance of someone or some dream I’ve lost along the way, I look to my spiritual soulmate. A woman (fictional, of course) who reflects deeply on how I feel about myself and the relationships I’ve had in my life so far.

That woman becomes my original lonely girl. She’s a woman who does get angry, can feel pessimistic, and is obsessed with Peyton Sawyer. She pours through CD jackets internalizing lyrics and making friends with only the musicians in her headphones. She knows they will never be able to hurt her and leave like everyone else before in her life. She pushes away the few friends she has managed to accumulate due to fearing rejection. She keeps her art and her music locked away vowing to exist only in those four walls of her bedroom where no one can leave her again. Once she allows love into her life and begins to trust the people who have stayed, and who refuse to give up on her, she lets down her defences. But in the long run, she is betrayed by friends, her birth mother dies just as she is getting to know her, her father lies to her, she faces personal and professional failures, but she gains faith and learns to trust from these dilemmas.

I lost myself the very same way in the pages of my novels and under my covers with the music in my quiet little bubble. I had learned to shut down when my mind pushed too hard against me; when I put myself out there only to be bullied and rejected by the people I had overshared with, or the ones I had alienated with my silence and lack of communication. I had no way of communicating the complicated and conflicting feelings and thoughts that were preventing me from feeling comfortable in my skin.

I am currently not speaking to my best friend. Can I even call someone who abandoned me during one of the lowest periods of my life my best friend? I was there for her bouts of depression, the existential crises, the parents fighting, possessive boyfriends and the messy breakups and the cancer of a loved one. In return, she stopped talking to me for months at a time on a whim and bullied me into believing I wasn’t worthy of being loved and finding my place in life. She allowed her friends to pick apart my behaviours that are essential to my being. My essentials might not be “normal” or accepted by most, but they are an important part of who I am and how I see the world. I wouldn’t trade my time with her though because I realized that knowing what I stand for and what I am not willing to take has made me stronger and allowed me to heal some old wounds.

A myriad of sensory and trust issues have made it so that I have loved and trusted very few people in my life. The ones that have gotten to know me have stayed with me as a result. I have developed  a sixth sense of when I’m going to be hurt, so I shut down and push until there is no one left. I reject before I can be left. With each person I have let in somehow I have gotten knocked down another layer. I am not at that place yet where I feel completely free, but I am getting there.

The part of the quote you never see is that “people always leave… but sometimes they come back.” People do leave whether it is for a night or a cooling off period. Sometimes a week or a few years can pass before you see someone again and you will both forget why you lost touch in the first place. But you also need to remember that there are the people who never left you; there are people who refused to give up on you. They are there to fight alongside you and make you laugh until you pee your pants. They’re the ones who help you build and recoup yourself. They’re the ones who force you to see the truth even when you feel so broken it doesn’t seem real or possible that this is your life and you would do the same in return.

Somtimes they don’t come back. A terrible pain comes with the realization that things you thought mattered in your life were merely inconsequential stepping stones into becoming the person you are and want to be. 

Ronda Rousey recently did an interview with Ellen about losing her first title fight. She admitted that she fell to the floor crying and went to a dark place where no one should ever find themselves, worrying that since she was no longer a champion she lost her worth and will to live. She had thought about killing herself, but when she looked around her and saw her friends, family and her boyfriend surrounding her, she refused to give into the grief. She threw herself into the people who stayed. I know that she helped so many people who feel the only way; they feel that the only way to find acceptance is through the false validation of those around us, when in reality the voice that is crying out for love and approval is our own. We must create our own adventures, fight our own battles, and only then may we become the kind of people who can stay for others, who others will stay for and who won’t let the pain from the ones who didn’t take over their lives bother them.

I keep putting my heart on the line every day. I choose to see the best in people, despite the pain it causes me when they leave because they didn’t understand, or they ran their course in the brief history of my life.

Sometimes you have to take some time on your own to figure out what it means to be yourself with other people. You can’t be saved and you shouldn’t want that. You got where you are today because of the people you have loved, the ones you have lost but mostly through sheer determination and faith in the good. 

If they leave don’t internalize the blame. Sometimes people break down, get overwhelmed, lose their way or struggle to find their place and they need to walk away. Sometime they have no good reason for leaving at all. It isn’t your fault for being human. It isn’t theirs either. Forgive. It is the only way to move on.

But remember this, sometimes they do come back. You just need to trust.

Samantha Allison is a second year English major at U of T. This is her second attempt at conquering the blogging universe and hopes it pans out this time around.In her spare time she rocks out to Indie music and spends way too much time looking up videos on YouTube.
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