Whoever Says You Learn Only Good Things From Losing Someone Is Lying
When I blew out the birthday candles surrounded by my family, the one I was born with and the one I chose, I knew what I was going to wish for. I held my hair back and I closed my eyes. In that instant I felt the weight of every moment that brought me to 25. My black boots were firmly set on ground that had seen me take my first steps. I am 25, a bit broken hearted, a bit healed, a layered human being whose strengths and baggage live side by side.
I am so many "I'm so sorry your mom died" and so many eye rolls that I internally made afterwards. I am the resilience that comes with having to rebuild your life every time you lose someone. I am the scars that don't fade with time, but instead become more visible on your skin as tans fade and years pass.
I've learned to light candles alongside the path I walk because I've learned that more often than not life pushes us back a few steps and knowing how to put one foot in front of the other is sometimes the only thing that gets us through. Having a light on reminds us that we've been there before, that we conquered this then and will conquer it again.
And, so, with that comes the reality of the ways a 15-year loss weighs on a 25-year-old's life. For years, I was told to look at the strength that comes from losing my mom, but what the world doesn't tell you is that there's a weight with loss that doesn't sink 6 feet under, it stays on the surface. For me, it's on the surface of my skin, in the way I interact in relationships, in the ways that surrendering is the hardest thing for me to do.
It's in the way I grow smaller when I feel like I'm being abandoned or ignored. It's in the way I overcompensate when I feel like my voice isn't being heard. I lean on control like it's the gas and my speed limit just went up to 200.
Losing someone is your biggest reminder that you can't control anything and your biggest challenge to try.
Subconsciously, I've been trying my entire life. Moments that I should have let space and breath into were suffocated by my need to find something that would work. Sometimes, nothing works...like actually, doing nothing, works.
Standing still, sitting on your hands, and breathing deeply, can be more healing, can vanish more dark clouds, than using all your energy to blow the clouds out of the sky will ever do.
Breaking yourself open as you sit on a bed with someone who you know loves you can be more anchoring than any other moment that year because it reminds you that you're human and flawed.
I grew up in a world that was so aware that I had lost my mom that it made me uncomfortable because sympathy and idolization are close cousins. One helps to heal, the other strips of humanity.
Walking into adulthood, I used writing to make sure I didn't trip on the idolization and remained human. But I've still tripped, I've still - subconsciously at times - believed the hype that somehow losing my mom gave me the wisdom to bypass the hardships that come with being 25. It made me feel invincible and exist in an alternate reality than the one I'm living in.
The reality is that losing my mom didn’t only hone my strong skills it also magnified my fears and anxieties.
I learned to spot gaps and I learned how to fill them, and sometimes I learned how to fill them the wrong way.
I aced getting through my first period, college applications, and the two pregnancy tests you automatically take after the first time you have sex because getting your period is never enough proof.
I made mistakes during my first big fight with my boyfriend; figuring out my relationship with my brother as we grew up, when we didn’t have a mom to navigate it for us; the time I had a health scare and didn’t know where to turn, so I dug myself deeper into loneliness.
I have issues with control, surrendering scares me, I know too much about ICU floors for a girl who took one biology class in college, I cry when Tyler leaves on trips, I pray out loud and treat God like he’s my homie because we've been through some shit together.
I'm the furthest thing from perfect and I haven't only learned good things from losing my mom and it’s okay. I have bad habits and deeply anchored fears and realities I sometimes have to make amends for, and that's okay too.