Artwork created and provided by Lottie Ellis Art.

It’s said that pain changes people. It’s true. Although none of us want to feel alone on our journeys, to an extent, we are just that. Sure, there are people who can relate to this part or commiserate with that part, but no one ever really gets to experience all of those things that we do in exactly the same way.

Yes, we’re alone.

We are alone in what we see. We are alone in what we feel. We cry alone. We eat alone. We sleep alone.

No matter what, there are those instances throughout each day, and in our lives, that we go through alone. No one else understands them. No one else will understand them – no matter how well we articulate or try to share anything that we feel as we feel it.

What I have experienced, and what I continue to experience, I go through alone.

I have found comfort in my being alone. It’s the space I’ve needed. It’s the space where I’ve grown. It’s the only space that I’ve ever had where I have been able to find myself. Change is what brought me here. Change, in the glorious, fantastic, unpredictable mess that it is, has landed to me to this present moment.

I still doubt myself. I doubt my ability, my strength, my hope and my mind. In saying so, I know too that I am the only one that can make sense of the world that surrounds me. I learn from others. I take in all that I can throughout the day – each and every day. I search, I seek, I pray…and I still hope. Most days hope is the only thing that gets me through to the next. Most days hope is all I have.

And every day, I do it alone.

Of course, I worry. I worry constantly and about everything. I won’t even attempt to list anything because everything in its entirety would be too long of a list. Everything is a lot. It’s the sum of all of it. It’s an infinite number that goes on in infinite directions. And this worry is all self-contained, right here inside of me. It’s not wrapped up in some great package. I’m full of flaws and faults just the same as anyone. I can put myself down faster than my biggest enemy, and his words often echo in my ear. No matter what I do or how hard I try, his words haunt me. He took away the best parts of me. At least that’s how I feel on most days.

Most days I just try not to think about anything except for what’s in front of me.

I don’t want many things for myself. Peace and contentment, the only two things I consider to be requirements, are those things that will only ever come from me and my Maker. Wanting things, material things, is something I lost along the way. I don’t buy nice things. I don’t own nice things. I don’t want nice things. Maybe I don’t feel deserving of them. Maybe that’s normal. When you lose so much there’s not much left to desire. Stuff gets taken away and things are replaceable. It’s just the way the world works.

Even in my saying so, and even in my knowing so, I know that there are good days ahead of me. I know that there are better moments to be had. I know that there are good parts of me left. But I know too that there are good parts of me that weren’t here before. Experiences that leave us broken also come with a double-edged sword: We learn from them.

We learn to be more cautious in our giving. We even learn to be more careful in our taking. We appreciate simplicity. We appreciate everything. After so much gets sucked out of us, it’s hard to let any more of ourselves get taken away. We don’t want the opportunity for the taking of any part of ourselves by anyone. There are those parts of ourselves, both old and new, that we hang on to so tightly that our hands are aching from the grip we now have on them.

There are those parts that we don’t ever want to lose once we have them because we’ve known what it feels like to have  lost.

I don’t have many answers for anything. I’m still evolving into who I am. I’m aware that this too is a process that won’t ever stop – at least for my sake I hope that it doesn’t. I hope for many things. I find hope in nearly every thought that I have.

I know that life comes with no guarantee. I know what it feels like to be twisted and shaped into who I’ve become. Change is painful. Growth isn’t easy. But through it all we come to a point in our lives where we accept that it was necessary. It’s always been a necessary part. Without the hurt, change is impossible. And all of those difficult times we believe we’ll never get through, we find that we do.

When we make it through there then comes a point when we understand why those things happened. Maybe not all of them. Maybe just some of them. And maybe some people don’t care to understand them. But I do.

Even though I can see how far I’ve come, I have hated every painstaking and eternal second that’s passed. I still hate them. They feel as infinite as that unwritten list of things that I worry about. Every damned second drags by with my complete awareness of each one’s existence. It’s not easy; or at least it’s not always easy. Some moments are harder than others. But in the same instance, some moments are easier than others.

It’s so strange, isn’t it? No matter how you look at life or experience it, that’s the part that never changes. It’s the only part that stays the same – uncertainty.