Who We Are


“I am here still waiting, though I still have my doubts. I am damaged at best, like you’ve already figured out.”

You know those days that stick with you? The ones you try to erase from your memory, or the ones you wish you could take back, or maybe even the ones that were so great you’d love to replay them? I have a few, one of which was February 4, 2011—the day this song played over and over.

“Inside of my eyes that are looking for purpose, they’re still looking for life. I’m falling apart, I’m barely breathing.”

The repeat button was my friend that day. The lyrics carried so much weight; it was as though the song was written just for me, just for that moment in time, for my pain and heartache.

My first serious relationship had fallen apart, and I had fallen apart with it. Over the course of three and a half years, I had come to know myself only as I was with a boyfriend. I had grown to love the comfort and security. I liked the plan I had in my head for how our lives were going to unfold. And that day I truly felt like I had the carpet pulled from under my feet.

“Who am I without him? Given everything we’ve experienced, how could he do this to me? Who else will ever love me? Why am I here? Why aren’t I good enough?” The cycle of self-defeat ensued, and I replayed every moment, every memory. I was falling apart, and I had no clue how to pull myself together, or even who could help me do so.

But my mom had always told me that no matter how many times you fall down, all that matters is that you get back up. And I share this song with you now because I was able to, and fully believe you can too.

“I’m hanging on to the words you say. You said that I will be OK.”

That day, while it was one of the worst I have experienced, is a day I appreciate in hindsight. I tell and encourage those around me to get the help they deserve and ask them to trust me when I say it does get better. Whether you have or are currently struggling with a break-up, self-injury, addiction, abuse, physical illness, depression, the death of a family member or friend, feeling misunderstood and alone, rejection from college … anything. While it may be hard to believe now, please know it will be alright, and you will be OK. I cannot tell you when or how you will get there, but one day, you will look back on what you are going through and realize how much stronger and happier you are because of it.

That is where I am today. That day changed my life in so many ways, and as sad and heartbroken as I was, I am glad it happened. Don’t get me wrong, the journey to healing was long, and it was and still is at times incredibly hard. I am so blessed to have the amazing support system I have: my family, friends, my counselor, the people who refused to give up on me even though I had given up on myself, the people who taught me how to “dance in the rain” and are by my side in good times and bad. While I chose to continue my story, they helped me every step of the way. I attribute my current health and happiness, the adventures I have been on, the places I have seen, and the things I can’t wait to accomplish to the people who continued to love me and all my broken pieces. A gift I will be forever grateful for.

And as I thank them, I thank myself. I thank the “me” from two years ago who listened to these lyrics and the people around her—and held on; held on to the hope she had lost and the love she could not feel but knew was there. While your story or the cause of your pain may look different than mine, please keep fighting. You deserve to see the beauty this world has to offer, to know the kindness and compassion of the people who are in it, and to one day recognize you are so much greater than your pain.

“In the pain, there is healing … So I’m holding on.”