BY ANNEKE VANDERHORST 

 

Something I heard recently: you actually do not have to be exactly where you are now. You know that quote “you’re exactly where you need to be”- I’m sure you have. Sometimes it may be applicable, and sometimes it really isn’t. If there’s a place in life that feels unhappy, uncomfortable, uninspiring, robbing of joy… you do not have to be there! The beauty behind it is that you were there to recognize that there’s a better place for you, not to stay there and be miserable. You have the choice to rise to the standard you hold yourself to. To be bold and create the environment you want to be in!

Here’s a snippet of the opportunity I had to change where I was.

Nobody deserves an unhealthy relationship. But they tend to happen regardless, and they hurt. Bad. Sometimes it’s a friendship, a romantic relationship, a familial relationship. Unfortunately I’ve encountered most of these either personally or by observation. But if you can guess it, I’ll tell you about the one I had.

December 31st, 2019

11:15 pm

There I was, sitting in my car in the parking lot at the campus bottle liquor store. Crying and sitting in my own self-pity, my own sorrow, and my heart feeling the most broken and gloomy it ever had before. The first time I truly felt spiteful and angry towards the entire dragged out, extensive, and broken 9 month-long situation with a boy I thought I would eventually marry but instead felt completely broken down by. It felt like my heart had not only been broken but crushed and smashed into a puddle of sappy, lost memories that only I could remember.

New Year’s Eve 2019. The end of a (literal) decade, the end of a year, one of the longest and in my eyes, most terrible, years of my life. What made this evening especially terrible is that I became forced to celebrate the holiday alone. Quite literally my biggest fear. Celebrating by myself, and feeling abandoned by all other potential plans that I attempted with friends. Thanks, enneagram 7 (we’ll get to that later).

There I was- sitting in the car, a few shooters (that I had bought for celebration) and sour patch kids in my lap, sobbing to “What about us” by Pink. How pathetic that sounds in writing.

3.5 years ago I started dating someone that would eventually alter my life. But not in the way you would think.

WELP, let me just tell you now before you get the wrong idea: it’s not pathetic to feel. And to feel anything you want to, regardless of how stupid or small it may look to someone else- to you if means something, and its bold to feel what you need to.

3.5 years ago I started dating someone that would eventually alter my life. But not in the way you would think.

It didn’t end in happiness, it ended in the realization of both parties involved (at different times) that it was a toxic, manipulative relationship that would leave one or both of us unhappy.

He had underlying issues that I wouldn’t be able to touch with a 10 ft pole, and I had really tried to. I noticed 5-6 months in that there were underlying issues that he needed to figure out, and I really wanted to help because I knew somewhere in my head that they were going to affect our relationship, and I REALLY didn’t want that to happen.

When 7-8 months came around, I could feel the manipulation happening. But I didn’t do anything about it because I loved him and, in my mind, if I loved him I would stick around and try to make it better- because that’s what good girlfriends do, right??

Well, that’s what a girlfriend does who can’t recognize that she’s allowing more control and more hurt to continue to infiltrate a life that could have been so much more full of life and so much more joyful. And it took me a while to realize that he wasn’t going to change while I was with him, but eventually I did.

You don’t need all the silly details, how we met, who it was, or how it all went down, but you DO need to know how to recognize the point of no more. The point of separating yourself, the point of retreat, and the point of creating strong boundaries and understanding that you deserve more.

That is what it means to rise, and make the choices that force yourself to be honest with what matters most to who you are.

– Anneke Vanderhorst, BeWilder Studio  @bewilderstudio 

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