For 2015 I had kept a journal. On New Years Eve I had managed to finish the journal and look back through it all. This past year was my year of recovery. While I had been long out of my abusive relationship, it took some time for me to realize the extent of its impact on my life. By the beginning of the year, I had broken down. The high that I felt immediately after the break had worn off. The energy I had gained from the freedom waned. Everything slowed down and I started to see things within myself that I was otherwise distracted from by all external possibilities. My Fall 2014 semester at NYU was my worst semester by far. I had so many things interfering with my newfound zeal for life that I gained that previous spring. Worsening illness and family problems put me in a state of chronic stress that led to my crash at the end of the semester. Once that semester ended, I felt so numb and empty. The zeal I had before had no stable foundation to latch onto. Hopelessness and aggravated depression filled its place. I made a bed in that dark hole I was in and I cried for day. I felt robbed.
This summer has been a very important one for me. When it started I was physically and mentally exhausted from the just ending semester. I was also emotionally on end from coming to terms with my previous long-term relationship that ended in December of 2013. As a result, when I arrived in Egypt to spend the summer with my family, I was a mess. I wanted to sleep all day and when I wasn’t sleeping I was full of frustration and anger. I’ve been angry – angry since my break up and angry even way before then. But, I had to suppress my anger to the best of my ability for the sake of my studies. With all the free time in the world, I was bursting at my seams.
The relationship I had with my ex was not a normal one. To keep it short and sweet – it was abusive – and I was so young and naive that I was foolish enough to stay with him. I don’t really want to get into it – but to any girl or woman out there in any form of an abusive relationship – be it emotional, mental, physical or sexual – DON’T be afraid to get out. Gather support, call his bluffs and get out. Your abuser is only as powerful as you allow him to be. You deserve to be happy.
Out of respect for myself, I have decided by the end of the summer I will let go of all my anger.
This anger that is contained in my heart sometimes consumes me. The anger is alive and it transforms. I go into this state where all I can think about are the times I was wronged and I get angry at my wrongdoer. Then my anger transforms and it turns on myself. I ask myself how I could let these things happen? How could I be so stupid? And it cycles. Over and over again. Until I’m sick of listening to myself go back and forth in my head. Then I’ll may be cry a little and then suck it up and try and move on with my day. But, never with the same energy I had before the cycle.
Between you and me, I can’t go on living this way. I cannot move on to the bright future I see for myself if I allow all of these negative emotions to fester inside of me. I must coax them to the surface and set it all free.
Right now I sit by the Mediterranean Sea on a beach in Egypt. It’s 5 AM – the beach is empty and dark, lit up by the spectacularly scattered stars in the sky. The waves, coming in strong, roll in and out of the shore. Its rumbling resonates with something inside of me. Something about the sea at night is so dark and lonely. At the same time it’s powerful and unforgiving. It makes me want to cry. I feel as if it’s great that I’m here early… The night waves are helping me with the coaxing part of my mission. Why am I here though?
About four years ago, I was going through a really hard time. I wasn’t able to let go of people I loved very dearly. The pain,resentment and sadness lingered in my heart for months on end. Those strong feelings that were contained in my heart made me so unstable. I was caught in a cycle. The same kind of cycle I seek to break by the end of this summer. So, as like most summer breaks I was spending time with family in Egypt. On one of the days of our family trip to the north shore, a few of us decided to go to the beach right before the sunrise and watch it. Let me just say, after months of frustration and heartache, I was finally able to feel uplifted as the first few rays of light started to peak over the horizon. It was like a swelling in my heart that grew and grew as the sun rose more and more into the morning sky. Its rays gracefully streaked across the sky as if to embrace the new day – new beginnings – welcoming me, urging me to join in. And my heart surely did. I ran across the shore, prancing around in warm, golden light. I was filled with so much joy and hope. I felt cleansed of the past and of all the hindrances that came with it.
That’s why I’m here. I seek the same cathartic experience I had those four years ago.
(Note: Right now I just saw a really cute hermit crab scuttering across the sand.)
I must face everything. Every suppressed feeling, every memory I decided to black out and sweep under the carpet. I cannot allow myself to be defined as a victim. I am not a victim, but I am a survivor – no – a conqueror.
Everything I have gone through – every trial and every joy – I have conquered. I’ve made it my own. Everything gained from those experiences have become part of my very being.
And I will continue to conquer. I will gain from every painful experience, every life-shattering truth, every single trauma. I will take what I’ve learned and make sure not to repeat history. I will come out smarter, stronger and more independent. I will take this anger and transform it into something meaningful. I will take this negative energy that I have been turning inwards onto myself and use it as a drive to do greater things for the greater good. This anger will not win. He will not win.
I will gain and conquer and embrace all that comes my way just as the sun embraces a new day – burning bright as ever.