I've always been the type of person to get back up when I fall. I always managed to bounce back quickly from anything that came my way. I've always been the kind of person who is a workaholic that never slows down. Unless I have to. And as much as I would never choose to slow down on my own, sometimes life has another agenda. Sometimes our bodies simply just say no, we fall, and the people around us tell us to get back up. Yet sometimes...we can't. Not right away. We are hurt, we are drained, and we are weary. No matter how many times we've won, sometimes we lose. Most of all, sometimes we are just altogether confused and we can't get up because, well, we just don't even know what way is up anymore.
If it makes any sense, I've been experiencing this for quite some time now. I have been in a very odd stage of my life within the last year. There have been times where I have not been quite myself. In many ways, it was scary. Who was normally a very social person, began to isolate. Who was normally a positive person, became more pessimistic than optimistic. Normally very healthy, I began to not take care of myself as much. Usually very academically sharp, my grades started to drift below my usual standard. I found myself always drained, with no motivation. I felt myself maxing out and for the first time, I could feel my personal limits being reached.
I let myself go. I broke my focus. Yes, the girl who is there for everyone and is always "the strong one," fell off the tracks. That is hard to admit. It's hard to say because it is the furthest thing from the way I really am. It also not a place I ever envisioned myself being. But it happened.
One day I found myself sitting in my room, wondering what had happened to me. What was I doing? I attended a blue ribbon high school and always excelled academically. I was always happy & bubbly and talked to everyone. I had always kept my eyes fixed on my personal vision for the future. I was always on my A-game.
But most of all, I was the one that people always came to for advice when life seemed tough. Although I feel a little self-conscious saying it, many people looked to me as "the one who had it all together." I was seen as the "strong one."
But what happened now, that I didn't feel strong at all?
I found myself faced with a really odd dilemma. What was I supposed to do? How could I let people see me like this? What would they say? What would they think of me? What if they didn't understand and criticized me, because I didn't have it all together. I was a mess, and it was embarrassing. I was supposed to be okay. I was supposed to be fine. This sight of Patricia has never existed before. This wasn't like me, and yet, there I was.
And when I thought to myself about how I got there, I only came up with one answer that was simpler than I thought...life. Here's the truth. Anyone who knows me, who truly, deeply knows me, can say that I have been through a lot in the past two years. And I finally got to a point where life beat me, it hit me hard and knocked me down. For quite a while, I didn't feel like I could get up. Yes, I fell off the tracks, and that's hard to admit. But when it's all said and done, it's what got me here, to who I am, today.
Here's the truth. There were many people during this time in my life who did criticize me, who didn't understand. There were many friends that did walk away when I needed them the most. And that made it even harder. But it made me realize why so many of us, me now included, are indeed afraid to let other people see us when we don't "have it all together." Some people do choose to walk away. Sometimes people do leave. It feels like the losses keep adding up. But as individuals, there isn't always anything we can do about that. To be honest, it's in those moments that we realize who we really want by our side. Sometimes it is in the pain that we find the beauty. Beauty we never imagined.
So that is where I'm at now. I have my good days and bad days, like anyone else. I definitely have had my losses that still hurt me occasionally. However, it doesn't compare to what I'm realizing I can gain. Through the close people that are around me, I have learned to find strength. I'm picking myself up, because everything in life is a process. And that's okay. One day when I get where I'm going, it'll all be worth it. More importantly, the people around me continually show me what it means to navigate through life, both the bad and the good. I have people around me who love me and help me through whatever I'm going through. They show me the beauty within the dark. And although I know there will always be more ups and downs. It's okay, because these people are the glimmers of light when I don't know what way is up. And that is all I need.