I used to not care about what people thought, said or did to me. I was used to doing whatever I wanted despite the response that I would receive. I loved and gave unconditionally. Even when people didn’t appreciate my gestures, I continued to love and give to them – especially if they meant a lot to me.

But everything changed this past year.

It all started with my feeling stupid and used after an ongoing on again off again romantic interest. At the same time that was going on, numerous changes occurred at work and I was left with only one remaining coworker. My manager was fired and the rest of my coworkers either graduated high school and were moving on to college or had just graduated college and were moving on to full time positions at other jobs.

It felt like everyone around me was leaving. Especially because during that four month time period four people that I knew passed away – 1 suicide, 1 overdose, 1 of old age, and the final death was of an asthma attack. It was rough few months but by the end of fall semester I had begun to feel like I handle on life again.

In the winter I took a winter theater class with a friend and over time I began to feel our friendship evolve and develop. It felt like my spring semester would be much better than the previous semester and I was ready to head back to school. I was feeling confident and much more like myself.

Two weeks into my spring semester and I found out the sudden, heart shattering news – my grandfather had unexpectedly passed away in the morning.

All of sudden my entire world came crashing down and I had no idea how to deal with this tragedy. He passed away on a Wednesday. I had quizzes and papers due on Friday. I had exams and projects due throughout the next two weeks. My mother had gone overseas to be with her own mother, and I was left with four siblings to care for (with the help of my dad of course)!

I was feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious. I had to be strong for my siblings and therefore, they didn’t know about any of my anxiety. They didn’t know about the nightmares that occurred each night for a week following the news of his death. They didn’t know about the can’t breathe feeling that followed me around for two weeks.

But all of that began to subside as I talked with my friend. Every week, twice a week I would talk to the same friend; and he was so supportive and a great listener. And slowly I began to get better.

After three months, by the end of my spring semester, I finally began feeling like myself again. But I know that I’m not 100% there yet. I am not back to being the girl who forgave everyone, who always made excuses for others, who put up with being underappreciated.

I am trying to go back to the way I was because I was much happier than, but I find it difficult. It’s almost like my grandfather’s passing brought with it years of sorrow and untended emotions. I had to face things I was hiding away. And although I’ve become stronger because of it, I wish I could find a way to go back.

I know that I will never be the way I was before. I don’t want to put up with being underappreciated, but I do want to go back to loving and giving endlessly- even if the favor isn’t returned.

Maybe I just need more time. Maybe I need to step back and reevaluate what is truly important to me. And maybe I just need to start being more honest with myself and those around me. Maybe then I’ll truly find my way back to myself; find my way back home.


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