What a difference a year makes…

It’s a year today.

One year since the fighting and shouting and door-slamming stopped. One year since I sat in a bus station in Estonia, my possessions spilling out from a collection of tattered bags at my feet. One year since I blindly climbed on to the night bus to Latvia with my heart broken and my plans in tatters and my Eeyore clutched tightly to me. One year since I cursed myself for ever loving or trusting.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the pain, and I’m troubled by just how long it took for it to start to ease, but of course everyone was right. I knew they were, it just didn’t console me much. Time is always a healer… and in the meantime, you just have to hurt and hope.

A wise woman left a comment on that first heartbroken post, saying: It’s hard to keep going when things look dark, but you never really know what will be around the next corner – keep moving, keep looking, keep experiencing and in a years time you could end up looking back and thinking this was the best thing that ever happened you….

I remember exactly where I was when I read it. I remember the isolation and fear and rejection and loneliness I was feeling. And I remember thinking, oh God, I hope so. I hope so. I didn’t think it possible that I could ever feel good about it… I could only hope. And now, after that year has passed?

It was the best thing that ever happened to me.

I wouldn’t wish to go through the heartache again for anything, but I’m glad I did, because it has made me stronger. (Bitter, too, for a while, but I think that’s mostly gone!) I am independent now, and I don’t need the approval of someone who’s never going to give it  in order to feel confident. I’ve gone from being a struggling writer with major self-esteem issues and no sense of self-worth, to being a teacher on the other side of the world, seeing the effects of my hard work and seeing just how many people like being with me when I like myself enough to let them.

I am happy. I still think of Riho, and I still occasionally feel sad or angry or even bitter, but those moments are now few and far between. It’s in the past. I’m free, I’m happy, I’m more confident, I’m even wiser, in some ways! I mingle, I have a wide circle of friends and acquaintances. And although I will admit that I’m very reluctant to let anyone come too close (having decided, if you recall, that I wanted to be a rock and an island), one or two of them have somehow managed to sneak past the protective walls and start to really matter to me. It makes me a little nervous… but it’s also nice.

So Mr. Happy was right, as we all knew he would be. It was only for a time, and I had to feel it before I could leave it behind me. It was horrible, and it was painful, and I couldn’t see the end of it, but here I am today in a pretty damn fantastic place that I would never have reached, with people I would never have met, experiencing things I would never have done, if things had not gone the way they did… one year ago today.

You must learn that it is OK to be sad. The Sad is not to be ashamed of. The Sad is a part of life. But it is to be a ladder to greater things, not a stone that is thrown at you and makes you fall. You must take The Sad and let it grow you. You must climb up. You must let pain make you stronger and wiser. The Sad is not your enemy unless you let it attach to you and choke you, and pull you down. You must feel The Sad before you can leave it behind you. Everything happens for a reason, it is true. But that does not mean you cannot have The Sad, for a time.   

– Mr. Happy.

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5 thoughts on “What a difference a year makes…

  1. McBouncy says:

    What a difference this year has made. ;-)
    I too remember where I was one year ago today when you phoned me. I knew it couldnt be good when you were phoning and I can still remember how useless I felt sitting there when I knew what you really needed was a hug.
    Reading your blog every day, I have seen a dramatic change over the months. Happy Hayley seems like such a different person! And I cant begin to tell you how pleased I am that you have found your place in life. Enjoy this time – you deserve it. XX

  2. It’s true what they say, time really is a healer. I feel privileged to have been able to share in your journey (virtually) this past year. It’s great to read about you enjoying yourself. And I still think Mr Happy is a true inspiration.

  3. You made me cry (again), but in a good way! I can easily believe it’s been a year, surely longer with the amount you’ve managed to pack into it??

    I can’t believe the change in you – both mental & physical (I can see the weight you’ve lost in your photos) that I’ve seen via the blog and I can’t wait to see you again in person – on my side of the world or yours!

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