“One of the hardest decisions you’ll ever face in life is choosing whether to walk away or try harder.”
Right now I don’t know if it’s worth holding onto. A marriage so broken, so shattered, putting the pieces back together seem nearly impossible. My mind flashes back to when I was younger and I would hear my parents fighting in the room right across from mine. Money, sibling rivalries, lies, and deceit. I remember taking my favorite pink pillow from my bed and bringing it with me into my closet, where I’d bury my head in it and cry. I’d cry for hours, sometimes until I fell asleep. Most times my mother would find me and cradle me in her arms. She’d kiss my forehead and tell me everyone would be alright. She gave me a glimmer of hope I’d grasp onto.
But 15 years later, the same fights, the same arguments, the same screaming, and tears. The difference now is that I understand the full story behind these fights, and instead of being the little girl who hid in her closet crying, I became the one stepping in to stop the fighting with tears streaming down face, but this time without the comfort of my closet walls or my favorite pillow.
My parents are the most amazing parents, and I have been truly blessed in that way. They’ve always provided the best they’ve could for, been there to support me, and have given me more love than I could ever ask for. Their unhappy marriage has definitely taken a toll on me, however, their ability to be great parents and role models has never been compromised.
Growing up, I watched in awe as the heroes swooned the heroines with smooth lines and smiles framing their dimples. And I imagined that one day I would find my true love just like all the heroines did in my favorite Bollywood movies. As I entered my freshman year of high school, I buried my nose into novels by Nicholas Sparks and Nora Roberts. Each one left me with a longing, a longing to find the one. My soul mate, who I’d be able to spend the rest of my life happily with, who’d love me till death do us part. Looking back, I was a die-hard romantic, but recently that hasn’t been the case. Part of me thinks that I am not meant for love, for marriage, for a soul mate. It’s much easier to imagine a future of just me in it than one with someone else. Up until recently, I was so ready to fall in love. So ready to find my person and settle down. But now I’m not so sure.
Over the years, I’ve seen that falling in love is the easy part. Abiding by that love, that’s the real test. Truthfully I’m scared of being hurt, of being let down and left behind. There’s no guarantee that the person I end up marrying will live by the promises made, and that we will still be just in love as we were when we were first started things. The scariest possibility is realizing that despite loving each other, we are no longer in love with each other. And that fear alone seems to be enough to make me want to build a future alone. The only reason people end up hurting each other or letting the person close enough to hurt them is that they put themselves in such a situation. If it were avoided in the first place, then there would be no hurt. But then I wonder if it is better to have loved than never at all… There are so many questions flooding through my brain, that sometimes it’s easier to say “forget it,” than to face the demons that they come with.
Flipping through my journal, I come across a page dated April 4th,
“My face is always lit up, a smile spread across my face and I can’t stop my insides from jumping. The smile has become part of my face, growing and blossoming at the smallest of things. I can’t explain this feeling. Nothing wonderful has happened, but yet I wake up feeling as if something has. There’s an extra pep in my step. I don’t know how long this will last, it seems just too good to be true. I’ve never felt so elated over nothing. Is this what happiness feels like? Are my days of pretending over? Can I breathe easy, hoping that the worst is finally over…? For the first time in a long time, I feel carefree… I feel happy!”
I want so desperately to feel that again, to know that my happiness should never have to depend on another. For the longest time, I’ve always thought that true happiness would come from the experience of sharing my life with someone else. But as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized how wrong I am. My happiness has and should always come from unapologetically being myself. It has stemmed from within and it’s the best kind of happiness out there. It’s the kind that doesn’t need anyone. It’s the kind that makes you smile and laugh at the smallest things. Sometimes even nothing at all. It pushes all the good memories you have to your forefront and shows you that the only people who matter in your life, are those who contribute to your happiness, never taking away from it. To be truly happy, you must fall in love with every part of you. Right now I may not believe in love in the romantic sense, but I still do believe in love in every other sense. And most importantly, in the kind of love that stems from within, created from a journey of soul searching. And for that journey, I need nothing but some confidence and myself.
My parents’ crumbling marriage may have discouraged me from believing in the kind of love that lasts forever, but it’s made me appreciate and understand that the most beautiful and fulfilling relationship I’ll have right now, is the one with myself. It’s taught me to truly fall in love myself, in every sense. To love the world I come from, to embrace the pain and joy that it’s given me, and to appreciate every experience that has made me who I am today. Life has a funny way of teaching us things, and each lesson gives us the opportunity to grow. Whether that growth is positive or negative, it’s ultimately up to us to decide. This yearning for happiness I have has nothing to do with someone else, and everything to do with me.
Featured image via Artem Beliaikin on Pexels