There are so many things in our lives we lose in our lifetime. We lose friends, family, jobs, loved ones, enemies, time, possessions, hope, even faith. We hear from people who tell us we’ll never lose them, and then something happens, and they are gone. Maybe it was a fight or disagreement, perhaps we said things in the heat of the moment, and then it was too late because that person died before we could make things right. I’ve had that happen. I’ve also had to lose people in my life to find myself.
We have so many twists in turns in life that we don’t see coming. One of my closest friends has been a barracuda in her professional life, and now she’s struggling because she hasn’t found her voice after her life fell apart. She struggles to see where she fits in through her professional and personal journey. She’s tired of her head and heart jerking around, and she sleeps more than she should. She embarks on new challenges frequently and tries to be there for others but loses herself in the process. I know the feeling too well.
When we go through traumatic journeys, we lose parts of ourselves that we never fully get back. Sometimes it’s a sense of trust in the people we defend, while other times, it’s the faith that there is a powerful presence that lights the way. So many people believe there is a God. I’m one of them. But it’s challenging to keep faith all the time, especially when bad things happen that we don’t understand. Some people believe in science and the universe. You might be one of them. But it gets painful to watch people we are close to suffering from disease or heartbreak. Sometimes we’re the ones causing the pain and suffering and are so self-absorbed, we can’t see the damage we’re causing.
I’ve spoken about my miscarriage before. When I lost my child, I lost myself. I felt hollow, broken, incomplete, and worthless. I was angry, confused, hurt, frustrated, and scattered. There was nothing that anyone could say or do that healed the pain. The years that have passed have eased the pain, but it’s still there, buried. The anger I felt when my ex-husband got with a look-a-like infuriated me because she got pregnant and had a child.
Unfortunately, he didn’t have the respect to tell me, and I found out on Facebook. We were supposedly still friends then. He wasn’t obligated to tell me, but it would have been the adult thing to do. Oh wait, I forgot. He was still dealing with a child mentality himself. I lost so much respect for him over the years that the thought of him today numbs me.
I lost patience with people who tested my last nerve. Those that I should have walked away from years ago, I clung to the hardest. I lost a sense of who I was because I didn’t allow myself to heal. One of my exes became a woman. I struggled hard with that incident. Many people say that others should be allowed to be who they are, and I believe that to a point. But when you see the world as Male and Female, the Transgender world takes some getting used to because it’s not as familiar to you. Using pronouns for folks takes a lot of getting used to for me. My brain doesn’t always compute he/she/they. Sometimes I feel that I’m losing my ability to speak freely because of offending others. If people can’t have honest conversations about the struggles they deal with, how does anyone expect others to change their minds and hearts?
Listening to each other can be one of the most challenging things we do in life. We might lose time and patience with each other, but it’s better than people reacting in violence. When I attended Guilford College from 2004-2006, we had many discussions in class about Restorative Justice. I’ll never forget a professor who taught a class that stated she wouldn’t want someone working for her that had been in prison. She wouldn’t trust them. My first thought was that she was part of the problem. We lose our ability to trust our instincts when told of information we aren’t comfortable hearing. My second thought was, what the hell was she doing teaching a class that she didn’t believe in the subject matter? Granted, many teachers teach subjects they may not like, but they don’t intentionally skew other students’ points of view.
Upon reflection of people around me, including myself, have lost. Yet, conversely, I find myself reminded of what I’ve gained. Knowledge, wisdom, sarcasm, wit, determination, grit, stubbornness, and a steely disposition are all components of things I’ve acquired over the years. As a result, my self-confidence improved, and I quit blaming everyone and everything else for the losses in my life. Our lives may not be simple, but we are given obstacles for reasons. Sometimes those reasons are straightforward while others are not. No matter what happens in our lives, it’s up to us to change how we approach those obstacles.
Think of what you lose as a minor setback. We have until we die to keep growing and learning. Then, we can choose to wallow in self-pity or forge forward with gusto. I hope for each of you to find things in your life to find the positive reinforcements in because you need to stay focused as much as possible. I didn’t deal with my emotions for a long time, and when I finally did, my life became a train wreck. I still have days I struggle, and if it wasn’t for some close friends who are allowing me to cry when I need it and vent when I need to, I think I would lose my mind.
We have one life in this world unless you are one of the lucky ones who have died and come back. Use the time to grow and learn. Don’t worry about what everyone else does. Take care of yourself and deal with the losses so that you can see what you gain. After all, one day, you will find that you’ve come through storms stronger and more resilient. In the meantime, take one day at a time, and keep going. You have the power to change the negatives into positives. Have a great day, everyone.