I have been thinking a lot about how we evolve. How each moment is a brick on the road to our fate. Over the last 13 months, the road leading to my destiny was full of landmines and false floors. During each explosion, I wondered how I would make it to solid ground. When I made it to what I believed to be terra firma the first couple of times it gave way leaving me skittish. In those moments of emotional upheaval, we decide how to navigate our emotional and physical being. How to decrease damage. How to eliminate being infected with bitterness. How to hold on to our sense of self and ultimately self-worth.

I said last week I did not want to hear another pretty made for TV testimony. The wound and the vulnerability that exists there is where healing begins and what could give life to someone else. My wound. Yep let’s take that leap! On June 18th, 2016 I received a letter stating that my fiancée was cheating on me with the author’s girlfriend. The author of this letter didn’t mail the letter instead hand delivered it to my home. Take a moment to let that sink in. It felt like violation upon violation. He denied it. I wanted to believe in his goodness and honesty. Then on July 11th, 2016 his side-piece started texting me the details of their relationship.  The pain was unlike anything I ever experienced. I approached that relationship believing love cannot grow without vulnerability. I opened my heart and life to him. So, to say the least, I was hurt. I was devastated. I continued on that dark road trying desperately to find refuge. Honestly, I would have loved just to be able to catch my breath. I felt like every time I tried to take in air water would wash over me. I closed my FB account. I told a few people that the wedding was off. I tried to be as normal as possible. Though every day I struggled to get out of bed. I lost 10 pounds. I lost my center because I allowed the person who hurt me to try to break me down. The words hurt.

On August 17, 2016, I learned my mother had cancer. Holy shit are you kidding me!? My mom cannot be sick. That is not in the plan. Selfishly, for about 60 seconds, I thought how the hell am I suppose to do this when I can barely get through the day!!?? It didn’t matter that my life was in shambles I went to battle on my mom’s behalf. Since diagnosis eight months of chemo, a complicated surgery, three hospital stays, and tough home days. She is physically at war with this thing, and I am fighting every day to make her comfortable and make sure the doctors are doing everything they can to help her win the war.

On January 24, 2017, I was 1 of 700 who were a eliminated in a workforce reduction at a large IT company. The funny thing about the layoff was I felt like I was getting back into a groove after my mom’s hospitalization. I was devastated.  In the midst of caring for my mom, I no longer had a job. A paycheck. I was lost.

It has been one hell of a ride. Why am I sharing this with you? I realized that when you hide your wound, you fail to offer an emotional hand to some who may be going through similar struggles. A friend that I recently shared my story with said: “I had no clue all that was going on because when I see you-you are smiling, pleasant, and looking good.” That statement caused me to think about how we never know where someone is on their journey. The person in front of you may be two seconds from breaking down so why not offer kindness or a smile. Trust me an act of kindness means so much when you feel like the universe is not conspiring on your behalf.

I am sharing this because I needed to say it out loud. I needed to reveal how despite an awesomely crazy year I am whole and happy. I am not ashamed of the darkness I traveled to get here! I made it!! I survived, and I know that God gave me the exact tool set I needed to make it through the darkness. I had a counselor because I was in premarital counseling.  I had beautiful people in my life who showed up and showed out at the exact moment I needed them.

The tools were essential. My therapist. Man! She was patient and kind but real. I am blessed by and grateful for her wisdom. She walked me through my stuff. It isn’t easy looking at your mistakes and owning your contribution to your reality. She helped me to rebuild me. She helped me to believe in things I would have preferred to pack-up and toss. I suggest counseling to everyone. Even in good times, it is wise to be able to understand who we are and to take steps to be a better you.

Rising Strong by Brene Brown allowed me to be real about this journey.  To not be ashamed of the experience. To understand that my wound does not define me and neither does my scar. What defines me is how I navigate through it and rise!!

My friends!! I have a tiny circle of friends. Each of them blessed me on this journey. My everyday chicas that listened to me for countless hours. My friends that pop out of nowhere with love and support. Friends who used their love and kindness as a salve to my wound. Words aren’t enough to describe their awesomeness.  There were multiple instances when one of them helped me to travel through this crazy experience or listened to me cry or gave me life by just saying “You are enough.”. I won’t bore you with a million stories but know one of my angel friends showed up in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve to help get my mom home from the hospital. Seriously folks!!!

I hope that anyone who reads this sees two things: first, that kindness is what we all need to practice, and second that you are stronger than you ever imagined. The process may take you to depths you never imagined and at times leave you on the floor in tears but get up knowing that God fortified you with the strength you need to get back up!! Push! Fight! Survive!! Thrive!! I am rooting for you!!