One of the most difficult things I’ve had to overcome in life is letting go of toxic friendships/relationships. As I’ve reflected over the years I am impressed by the amount of love and compassion I’ve had for people. It has allowed me to grow, let go, and move on without missing out on the lesson.
I’ve decided to write a series on LadyLaura.co that will highlight specific moments in my life; some are life-changing, some are hilarious, some are heart-wrenching, but no matter how tough life gets I’ve always found a way to pick up the pieces and choose love first.
[bctt tweet=”The truth is I wanted revenge but God gave me peace.” username=”ladylauraco”]
It has helped me navigate through some of the most tumultuous relationships and some of my hardest times.
Looking back on my childhood I know it started there. My mother and I had a tough relationship. My father was absent for reasons that were in and many reasons that were out of his control. I was full of guilt and anxiety and had a strong desire to be loved and wanted. My mother’s mixed messages left me on edge.
I took those same feelings into my relationship with my high school sweetheart. [bctt tweet=”I remember the first time I saw him walk by in the hallways of my high school.” username=”ladylauraco”] My sophomore eyes grew wide as I saw his red hair glisten under our dismal school lights. He had such a unique look. He stood out amongst all of the other teenage boys who officially started growing beards and sliding deep voices. His lips were pink, his face was freckled, he was tall and stood like a tree compared to others in his class. For some reason, I just knew he would be my boyfriend. I felt it in my heart at that very moment.
He was shy. Very quiet. Probably the quietest person I have met to date but I was so persistent in my pursuit. For years, I tried to earn his affection. He’d stay on the phone all night long and quietly listened to me ramble about my day. Just listening. I’d ask him questions I know nobody had ever asked him. What’s your favorite animal? Do you believe in heaven and hell? He was probably the first person who listened to me so intently and although in those moments I felt like he didn’t care I was building his entire world, and he was teaching me how to love myself.
I became fruitful, fertile, and afraid that Fall. Words can’t describe my physical, emotional, and mental distress when I found myself expecting in those early September days. I had committed my life to the Lord just a year before and here I was, only concerned with the deep embarrassment it would cause my mother. Those feelings alone brought me to my knees with gnawing pain and nausea. When I told my mother, she knew my moral beliefs wouldn’t allow me to rid myself, and yet she suggested it very loudly on a ranting call to one of her friends. For the first time in my life, and many times after I was willing to betray my own body and moral compass to protect and relieve someone else’s aching discomfort.
It burned. I don’t really remember much in the days that followed. Just feelings. I’ve never felt more isolated. I felt ashamed of myself, and nobody came because no one knew.
I remember meeting him at the airport the morning he was scheduled to move to West Virginia. After high school, I decided to move to Maryland where I had spent many holidays visiting my father. We were bonded from our experiences in a way that distance could never destroy I thought. Our goodbyes were hardly easy. I knew he was in search of a better version of himself. I loved him so much that aside from my burning desires to stay by his side I knew what was best for him. We kissed and waved. I cried and listened to Fantasia all the way home.
It wasn’t the first time I had to say goodbye to a person close to me. Later on, I realized that life is driven by a series of goodbyes. It is what creates movement in our lives. It takes us to the next level or sets us back. We say goodbye to people, places, and things whether tangible or intangible. They haven’t always been easy to overcome, and some of them still haunt me to this day.
Lesson #1: Life is driven by a series of goodbyes.