From Pain We Learn

From Pain We Learn

I’ve wanted to write for a while now but writing about what I’m truly passionate about has taken a backseat, what with deadlines and life just getting a bit busy. I don’t want to get random words down just for the sake of it – what I write and post and share are things that I truly believe and want to convey in a way that helps others, or at least something that resonates with other.

Recent events have sparked this need for having to share something that’s close to home for me, so despite all odds, I’ve found the time to sit down and try to just put my thoughts on paper (well, theoretically typed). It might be a bit rambly at times, but these thoughts are as raw as they come.

I have had to save this as a draft for a while, just so that I could revisit this with a more level head – my intention isn’t to attack, but simply to share. And I feel I have reached a point where I am calm about things now.

I was really inspired to write about my current situation and thoughts because of Ariana’s new song ‘thank u, next’ – not because it’s about her previous relationships, but because the message she conveyed really moved me (and brought me to tears lol) – the message that no matter what a relationship may be like (friendships included!!), they taught you something. No matter what the pain, it allowed you to grow. It can allow you to rediscover your worth and inner strength. And with that prelude, let’s just jump right in.

I usually like to start with a question, to get your thoughts on the same wavelength that I’m on, but this time, I want to start with a bit more backstory.

My whole childhood was spent walking on eggshells because of my alcoholic father, where you didn’t know what mood he was going to be in – would it be a good or bad day? Where you were expected to go to sleep and forget about the shouting tournament the night before. Where I had to grow up quickly and care for my parents – staying up late waiting for my father to stumble drunk through the door wasn’t uncommon. I spent years living like this, so when I suddenly decided that I had had enough, I refused to ever have to do any of those things again.

I’ve had bad relationships that had some of the same characteristics – and although I’m still working through trauma from this, I am a heck of a lot stronger than I was before then. But the thing is, it’s never just romantic relationships that can be like this– friendships and acquaintances can also cause walking on eggshells, expectations to just forget and move on, and the assumption that you’re there to care for others.

Throughout my time at university, I’ve had terrible experiences with living arrangements. I’ve had a few good flatmates (I’m looking at you Harry and Lucy!) but overall, they’ve been pretty crappy. I’ve had to move once, I left early another year, and this year is no different.

I’ve experienced very one sided friendships, where I have felt that I have given but not received any of the emotional support in return. I went in this year with high hopes, yet I was met constantly with comments about weight loss, ‘bad’ food, detailed accounts of suicide attempts and comments about my size (eg: saying I was 2 sizes bigger than I am, which massively triggered my ED for daysssssss, and has led to significant unintentional weight loss). Any mention of being tired, stressed or overwhelmed was met with comments about them having it worse – this belittling of my own issues, and a narrative that is harmful to someone in recovery from an ED (honestly, I’m still fighting these thoughts that were triggered). Yet despite that, I continued to try to make the effort, attempted to move past it, understanding that everyone has different needs and trying to be supportive of them.

University is hard enough already, so this really took a toll on me, which was then further amplified…

Things happened, true colours were revealed and how insignificant I was seen as was highlighted  – I suppose some individuals are so caught up in their own bubble, they forget that a world outside of it exists – but it’s also helped me realise something. My worth.

So often, we try to brush these things under the carpet – whether that be a partner that comments on whether you’ve put on a couple of pounds, your ‘friend’ that constantly dismisses your own struggles, your parent that expects you to carry their responsibilities – but why do we do that? Why do we see this as an acceptable thing?

It’s easy to lose ourselves when trying to help others, but the thing is, we don’t need to do that. It’s possible to be a good friend, partner, colleague, etc, without losing sight of what you should expect in return. If this same level of effort is reciprocated, then it’s a balanced relationship – heck, it doesn’t always have to be balanced, as sometimes people go through hard times and require a bit more support, but that balance is restored when you yourself need someone to lean on.

You’re worthy of the same treatment. You’re worthy of the same respect, empathy, kindness, care, sensitivity and respect. You’re worth is important. Always.

So yes, I felt deeply hurt and cheated, because bridges were been burned very quickly, but that pain also developed into anger. Is that a helpful emotion? Not always, but it’s allowed me to channel my energy to look past the hurt and see things for how they are. It’s fuelled me to reflect on the past few months and realise that I’m worthy of so much more than that.

I’m lucky enough to have some absolutely wonderful friends that have shown me what I can expect from someone (hi Amy!). A standard was set, one which all friendship should reach, and now I expect this level of respect and kindness from anyone that claims to be my friend (good level of bants is also crucial ofc.). My best friend saw me struggling on social media, so she just drops me a message to check up on me; she knows I’m having a hard time so books tickets for us to see Fantastic Beasts. Another friend offers to just spend time together and have some dinner (she offered me aubergines, and I bloody love aubergines) just to get me away from this environment. And another simply puts the kettle on ready for me to pop round. And the best thing? I would do the exact same for them. That’s how friendships should be – balanced. When you realise your worth – in every context, every relationship, every situation, then you realise what you should expect from others and what you’re able to reciprocate.

I’m worth more than my struggles being dismissed. I’m worth more than being expected to forget about mistreatment. I’m worth more than having to walk on eggshells. I’m worth more than being expected to constantly be the bigger person. I’m worth more than having to care for others without even being an afterthought for them. I’m worth more than putting up with one-sided friendships.

I’m not saying I’ve been a saint throughout this, I’ve done my fair share of petty things, but I was plagued by so much sadness, hurt and in a massive depressive phase, that it was a reflection on how I was feeling. Yet this was still skewed to fit their own narrative, bringing themselves back into the spotlight.

What is it with people thinking they’re the centre of the universe, eh????

Don’t get me wrong, realising your worth is a journey. Sometimes I forget it, which is why this painful experience has aided me in some ways. Sometimes you just need a little reminder of what you should expect from others and the world. Why? (You know the answer to this by now hahaha) – YOU’RE WORTHY OF BALANCED RELATIONSHIPS.

So, to those people – friends, family, ex’s-, I say THANK U, NEXT.

Ladybugs, sometimes you need something painful (or any other heightened emotion, even happiness!) to make you realise your worth. Because my goodness, you’re worth the bloody world.

PS: I am not at peace with everything that’s happened over the past couple of years (only really my dad I still have issues processing), and I really am beyond feeling anything towards these people, but it just goes to show that emotions do have a motive – you just have to channel them and ride the intense feelings out. Feel them, sit with them, and then let go.

PPS: these are just a few photos of some true friends, and my best friend: my mum x

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