My heart has been broken twice. Once when I was 17, and then again when I was 18. At the time I thought my world was over, that I'd never survive, and that life had no meaning. Now that I'm older I realize how truly wrong I was. You only have one life on this planet, why would you not want to feel everything, the highest of highs and the lowest of lows? The best stories involve pain, the most beautiful songs are full of longing. Heart break is so incredibly personal and at the same time so universally understood. To touch such rawness within yourself is powerful. Opening your soul to someone else, regardless of the outcome is powerful. Getting through it and smiling at the memories is powerful. Finding yourself and realizing that is enough, means you are powerful and beautiful.

Before my first breakup I never thought anyone could hurt me in such a big way. I put my trust and hope into another person and I was left with nothing in return. Like so many people do, I blamed myself. I wasn't there for them in the right ways, I didn't say the rights things, I was too much of this and too little of that. I kept playing this terrible head game with myself until one day I stopped. I realized I wasn't too clingy or too unavailable, too closed off or too open. I was just plain me. It's not that I wasn't right, but the relationship was wrong. I was growing into myself and my ex was becoming himself. We just didn't work, and that's no one's's just life.

Crying into my pillow and thinking no one experienced pain as terrible as mine is one of my favorite things about heartbreak. Love makes you feel so big and then heartbreak makes you realize how small you truly are. Heartbreak takes your days of light and happy love and turns it into something dark and cold. It shows you how fleeting your life is and how quickly things change. These are the highs and lows I have been lucky enough to feel and live through. And isn't that crazy? You live through it. I don't think you "realize how strong you really are" when going through a breakup; I think you go into the heartbreak phase of life weak and scared and come out with a new strength. This is a beautiful strength that is unique to you, and a strength unknown to those who never experience this moment in life.

These last two years of my life have been filled with some of my greatest periods of self-growth and self-awareness. When your world is turned and flipped into something you no longer recognize it takes time to get it back together. The pieces and lessons you pick up along the way of putting yourself back together again are amazing. I still don't know exactly who I am or what I want, but I am starting to know what I don't want. I'm starting to mold my own beliefs and ideas and become my own person. My own person separate from anyone else. I willingly and happily choose to be alone because I like solely depending on myself. I have to trust and believe in myself to make the right choices for me, no one else. You realize your life is meant to be lived for yourself and not others. Embrace the highs of love and appreciate the lows of pain. It's all continuous, all encompassing, and all yours.