None of us have the right answers. Not one single person ever in the history of time has had the right answer. I think this is important to understand.

When it comes down to it, each of us knows what we know and that’s it. We take from our own experiences and we apply them to life, every day. It takes growth to change. It takes learning to grow. It takes experiences to learn.

The most important things I’ve ever learned were when I got back up after falling. When I landed there, at the bottom of my deepest bottom, is where I found myself. There I was, lying there, alone and scared. Pitiful and quiet. Sobbing. I spent a lot of time there. I gave up. I didn’t care. I succumbed to what I thought I deserved.

It was a cold, dark place. A place where nothingness defined me. A place where nothingness became me. I detached and separated. I barely existed. I was lost.

Until something changed. Somewhere inside of me, I found the smallest piece of hope. I don’t know where it came from, but there it was. It was enough. It was enough to ignite the parts of me that I believed were long gone. Somewhere in my timeline, I had let myself become extinguished. I didn’t even realize it had happened. I had no idea. I was unaware of where I was until I found myself lying there. Abandoned, motionless and empty.

Something happens when you lose yourself. Something changes. Feeling diminished is unbearable. It’s unbearable until you become numb.

The feeling of being overpowered, physically, emotionally, and mentally, is indescribable. It’s a horrible place to be. Wanting to move, to run away, and to just break free are all impossible. Being at the mercy of another person is suffocating and exhausting.

Fighting against it doesn’t change it. Screaming doesn’t matter. Crying doesn’t help. In the moment, you wonder how in the hell it happens. When your child is crying and pleading but it doesn’t stop. As your head hits the ground and the pain takes over. As those words fall onto you and you wonder how a person can hold so much hatred inside of them. When you feel those hands around your neck and each time you wonder if this will be the last time. Knowing the feeling of gasping for air as you grasp at air, is something you never forget – the clawing and the twisting. And every time it happens, time stands still.

The ability of one person to take control of everything – just like that – eats at the core of your being. It eats until it’s satisfied. It’s satisfied when it’s taken all there is to take.

It isn’t until you’ve had your freedom taken away that you truly understand what it means to be free. I’ve had a lot of things taken away. I’ve done a lot of things alone. I’ve sat alone. I’ve cried alone. I’ve hurt alone.

I have lived alone while having so many other people around me. I’ve existed on my own. I’ve had most of everything I have ever owned taken from me, my possessions and my pride. I lost it all when I lost myself.

In losing everything, I am learning what it means to be fulfilled just by living, in just being. I want for nothing outside of just existing in each day as it arrives. I’ve learned that letting go of every plan I’ve ever had is what freedom really is.

I don’t need to have all of my empty spaces filled because time brings me what I need when it belongs here. I know that pain changes people. But no one understands that seemingly simple statement until they have known the complications that come with being hurt.

On the other side of where I’ve been, I’m finding myself. In having been there, I am finding freedom that I never knew existed. I am finding the freedom I never knew that I could have. In rising, I have known how it feels to fall. In suffering, I have learned how to overcome.

I’ve experienced the loss of hope, trust, safety and love. I’ve hurt in places I never knew that I could – both inside and out. From losing all I’ve ever known, I am gaining those things that I never thought I would.

From the confusion, I am finding clarity. From being broken, I am learning how to heal. From once being lost, I am now arriving.

My experiences have taught me that I’m learning how to be free.