Pain: A sculptor of character

Abbey Whittington, Columnist

Reflecting on my summer as I shift into the new school year, I am thankful for the much-needed months of the open, honest and reflective conversation with myself as I was going through some rough times.

The last year of my life has been a messy and unhealthy time for me mentally and emotionally.

On top of the hard year, I had my heart broken four months ago. All of the broken promises, sweet nothings and memories of an old lover had piled on top of my already cluttered emotional baggage.

In the beginning, it was hard to face these things head on. It felt like my world was slowly crumbling around me, and it was harder to process when my physical health was taking the same bumpy ride as my mentality.

I had no idea how to move forward from where I was left. I spent too long looking for answers on a blank page instead of writing my own solutions.

In other words, I was lost. When you are abruptly removed from what you thought was happiness and comfort, how do you rebuild that familiarity?

Analyzing how I dealt with getting out of a three and a half year relationship, I realized I was very much an optimistic nihilist, both during and for a little while after I was with this partner.

I began to write those solutions on that blank page but it was without construct or direction because at the time, everything was without meaning.

I was sprinting down a path with a newly found numbness, without a plan. Ultimately, this hurt me even more because I did not prepare for the hurdles or cliffs ahead of me.

That is when the scrapes on my knees and the hole in my heart told me to look back on those messy pages of solution and to read between the lines.

Maybe I was not dealing with my pain in our constructed versions of “healthy” coping mechanisms, but I found liberation in the mess before me because I realized I was the writer of my own fate.

I could let myself sulk and dwell in a dark hole of self-pity, or I could turn my negativity into positivity.

Instead of being a nihilistic kook, I began to turn con lists into pros. Maybe I had my heart broken, but that pain was the building blocks to something greater in my life.

I think that is one of the few beautiful things about our humanity. We are creatures that run on many things, but emotions are what set us apart.

We are capable of feelings that I would argue are beyond our own comprehension, and the way we let these emotions shape us is entirely in the palm of our own hands.

As soon as I had this conversation with myself, I could see this emotional pain not as a destroyer, but as a molder into a new and (hopefully) improved self.

Abbey Whittington is a junior journalism major and can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].