Christina's story

Expressing my thoughts on paper is usually fairly easy for me, but it has taken me weeks to figure out what to write. It seemed more difficult to gather my thoughts, because I was still in the midst of my pain. In fact, I hadn't blogged in months because I couldn't grasp how I kept going. There have been moments of acceptance, peace, and happiness, but they have been fleeting. I don't feel like I have completely overcome. I wish I could say that I understand why I've had such despair cloud my life for the last year. I wish I could say that I've learned and grown and become the best version of myself that I have ever been. I wish I could say that my story has a happily ever after. But I'm just not there yet. I anticipate that sometime in the near future there will be a part two to this. Hopefully then, I will be able to express my gratitude for the heartache and adversity I currently face and make sense of how this season of testing was a pivotal part of my journey. Honestly, I think there are some trials that will be a constant battle for the rest of my life. But even during unrelenting strife come glimmers of hope. And I do know that eventually pain will end, suffering will cease, and hearts will heal.

About a year and a half ago, I broke off an engagement less than two weeks before I was to be married. It was the hardest choice I have ever made. I was about to have the one thing I have spent my entire life dreaming of. A marriage to someone who genuinely loved me unconditionally and wanted to spend forever with me. The prospect of starting my own family and becoming a mother was in sight. I was finally going to start my happily ever after. And then all of a sudden, that image was shattered. I was heartbroken, and I remember feeling like I wanted to disappear. During that period, I felt like I lost myself. I didn't know who I was without my fiancé. My optimism for the future faded. My love turned cold. All I could see was darkness. On my blog, I wrote, "I started giving into things I never thought I'd give into, and I started giving up on everything and everybody. Because nothing was helping or motivating me to be strong anymore. And there was no hope, not even a flicker. So I just kept asking myself, what's the point? I ended up cutting almost everything and everyone out of my life. I couldn't handle anything or anybody. I felt anger and bitterness, but I couldn't really pinpoint why. And it became impossible to love anyone including myself. I wanted things that I never ever wanted before, and most everything I [had] ever desired, I no longer cared about. The things that made me happy before, no longer brought joy. And I felt like my whole life started to go in a very different direction than I ever pictured or wanted. Meanwhile, I still knew deep down who I really wanted to be and where I really wanted to go. I just didn't know how to get back on that path. I didn't know how to let go of the anger that haunted me every day. I felt like I was completely alone and there was nothing anybody could say or do that would help or give me that hope that I so desperately needed. And even though I knew otherwise, I felt completely undeserving of anything or anyone. Almost a year from when we had called off our wedding, my ex-fiancé was married. I cried that day. But it wasn't because I missed him. I had moved on, and I finally realized I was okay without him. I wept because I wanted what he had - happiness. I longed for companionship too, but I knew if I could just be happy again, marriage would naturally follow.

It is miraculous to me that we, as humans, can heal from devastating pain and hurt. When we are in the thick of difficulties, it is easy to believe that things will never get better. But that is merely a lie because they always do and they always will. Indeed, it is a miracle that pieces of my heart have been made whole again.

Preparing to take a photo which shows emotion that I usually don't want to remember or capture was a very unique experience. During the shoot, I kept thinking about how much I hope that some day I will be able to look back on the hurt I felt and realize how much I grew and what I became because of that pain. I also thought about what I initially felt when I called off my wedding. In trying to remember what I felt, I realized in some ways I have healed. And in other ways, I still have more healing to do. At the end of the shoot, I thought about how hard it is sometimes for us to accept ourselves in a broken state. I have been frustrated and impatient with myself because I have felt that I should be whole again by now. But what I have come to learn is to accept where I am and who I am, no matter how broken or whole I feel. Once I can accept myself as broken, I can finally begin to heal. I still have worth despite my pain. And in the end, all of that hurt makes me stronger and more beautiful.