In early January 2020, on the edge of dozing off to sleep, a buzzing of my phone startled me awake. Raising my head only as much as needed off my pillow to read the sender’s name upon the screen, I lay back down and went to bed. Assuming in the span of mere seconds, based solely upon the message having come through Facebook Messenger, that it was a message sent in frivolity. I decided sleep was more important.
The following morning in the midst of the daily hustle and bustle of being a Mom, I opened the message. Reading, rereading, scrolling through the replies from the group, then returning back to the original message, my breathing halted, heart coming to a stutter-stop, and the world as I knew it came to a crashing halt. One short message, succinct in explanation, cut straight through my heart. Dagger unseen, sprouting out of an action as simple as opening a message. An action undertaken repeatedly on a daily basis, lodged the dagger in my chest leaving tattered edges, eternally unanswered questions, and served as the catalyst of change in my life.
Our friend group ranges in ages from mid 20s to 40s. We are all different, from different backgrounds, states, and beliefs. All brought together through one commonality, a desire to do good. Finding each other, we set out to help those in need, and despite every defining difference between us, eternal bonds were formed. The youngest in our group was in her mid-20s and joyfully expecting her first child. There was no one I could think of better suited for motherhood. We were all filled with joy and excitement for her upcoming change in life. Her due date was on the horizon, until, consumed by a darkness unfathomable in depth, she ended her and her unborn baby’s life. News of this cataclysmic moment shared within a group message, ignored by me in favor of sleep until I found a free moment to check, left a trail of memories and destruction in my heart.
The result of my choice would have been the same either way perhaps, though the knowledge hitting while alone versus having the support of my husband could have eased the news enough that the impact may not have incurred the change necessary in my life. Such is the way of the universe.
Over the following months, I shared parts of myself and my life, darknesses of thoughts and emotions from my past with others. Though we had all dealt with depression or anxiety in some form, it seemed I held a deeper insight into both the inaction she took as well as her final act in this life. I understood it intimately. Through these conversations coupled with the unending throbbing pain in my heart, an evolution of deeper consideration and evaluation of how I viewed the entirety of my life began. Delving into what Jung calls Shadow work, I sought to find connections from my past to my psyche and self-worth struggles. Slowly understanding dawned, I silenced the wicked inner voice, an unwelcome companion for 23 of my 33 years of life, which sought only to bring about chaos, destruction, and ultimately my end.
It has long since been that I have adopted a basic tenet of life: Struggles and challenges will always abound, yet they do not have to shatter me. Facing down my inner demons, abandoned dreams, perceived burdens, and consciously choosing to no longer navigate the waters of life as though bearing Atlas’s curse, led me to newfound freedom. Throughout the hardships of life and paralyzingly painful losses, parts of my psyche sought to change the very essence of my being. In an epic battle of wills between my conscious and unconscious, I purloined my identity like a thief in the night. In the victorious limelight I attained, I took pen to paper and wrote the single most important lesson I had taught myself: To truly know the world, one must first know thyself. Look first within to illuminate with perfectly sharpened clarity without.
It was truly the only course, for all sources from external forces matters not. Once I discovered the portions of my identity based on falsified beliefs, whether merely those projected upon me through my own volition or allowances made for other’s projections, I found were completely expendable. My journey of learning shed light upon discoveries I lacked insight to prior. My first discovery: along the paths I have taken in life, there have been guides. Guides who led me, wholly unbeknownst to them, shining a light in the darkest of moments, and brought back to me parts of myself I never believed I contained.
In true synchronistic fashion, my guides live their lives, unaware of their casted roles in the story of my life. Each in their own manner have given me pieces crucial to survival. I discovered, whether through the pervading malicious acts of people I chose to be a part of my life, wrapped beautifully in dreams manifested into reality, redemption gained through bonds broken, or presented simply, yet beautifully, as acts of kindness, love, encouragement, and hope, cherished life lessons, gifted in the words of others.
My second discovery was the song of my soul. Singing to me throughout my life in the form of writing. Writing, the passionate flame of purpose, blazing like the fiery stars shimmering in the night sky, igniting my heart and soul, fueling my mind, and throughout my life, aiding me in healing. Writing, reaching out to me in the twilight hours, beseeching me to put pen to paper, and set my spirit free to soar. As with all things, writing evolves over time. From youth to adolescence to early adulthood, and now, woven throughout the lessons of life required of me to learn, is the evolution not solely of who I am, but also of my writing.
Far too easily could my story be misconstrued as one of sorrow and pain if gazing upon it no deeper than surface level. Look to the light, the hope, the love. This is a story of people, famous and mundane alike, whose words, songs, actions, and inactions have impacted my life. This is a story of the pervasive nature of having a life’s purpose, and the journey to discover it. This is a story of strength, resilience, perseverance, and the chemistry with kismet bringing me to, or bringing to me, all I required to rise up, become myself, love myself, and use my once silenced voice for those still unheard.