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Let me tell you.

Last year, I cried a lot.

So this is how it feels, I told myself.

If you really know me you’d know I am one tough cookie. I don’t fall easily. Really. I can have gazillion crushes but I am picky, I reserve my heart for somebody very very special.

I thought that’s how it goes. That when you save yourself and keep away from flings and one-night stands you will be blessed big time and will be spared of heartaches.

Not.

Holy goat. I was in my last year of my 20s and it was only then that I learned this lesson that teenagers have mastered a long long time ago.

Blame it on my upbringing, blame it on my religion, blame it on the books I’ve read, blame it on the movies I’ve watched, blame it on the company I keep. I was not living in the real world.

At the end of it all it boils down to one thing. I was hallucinating. I was operating in a world which I thought exists. It does not. Reality check.

So after the first heart break I almost lost my mind. I was composed on the outside but crumbling on the inside. How can it happen? I was a good person. I am a good person. I do not deserve this. The pleas of an ignoramus.

I need God’s counsel. He has a lot to answer. I went on confession. What the priest told me rung again and again.

I was too strict to myself. Who told me to behave like this? Loosen up. Let go. Enjoy life. The priest said.

So I moved on and heeded his advice.

Crap. That was painful (again).

I cried rivers.

I thought I can’t get over it. But the age old wisdom of people when they say that everything will be alright really is true.

Everything will really be alright.

Everything is alright.

In hindsight, I realized that at that moment when I was wallowing in pain I inadvertently made my world so small, minuscule, tiny. I harbored that sadness and brokenness that I forgot that there was a bigger, prettier wholeness surrounding me.

What I saw was just the current act. I failed to see and understand the whole play.

But you cannot argue with a person with a broken heart. As what one book I recently read says,

“Pain–emotional pain–is a curious thing. It takes place on an invisible level, yet it has the potential to actually shape the real stuff of a person’s future. It can numb and destroy your passion in life, but it can refine and bless as well. When you’re hurting, no amount of logic or rational thought will make it go away. It’s almost impossible to make pain a mental exercise. And willing the pain to be gone–we’ve all tried that. I will not feel this way. It doesn’t work too well, does it?” — Strong Women Soft Hearts

So true. Despite willing the heart to shape up and get a grip, it cannot. It needs its natural time of healing. It cannot be forced.

But that time will come. Eventually it will come.

And you can just look back and say that was funny.

The pain will still be there, I believe. It will never go away. But it is not that searing pain felt from the initial lashing. It is more of a dulled pain, like a scar, like a memory that is slowly fading. You know it happened. You have the scar to prove it. You have the photo framed. It is just that you can’t remember the details anymore.

One book I read said that one sign that you have forgiven is when you remember the incident but have forgotten the particulars.

The journey of learning. The journey of being an adult. The journey of being human.

It is just so amazing.

So going back to my question, how do you know if you have moved on?

I want to believe there is really no complete moving on. You cannot really go back to the old self before the pain happened. You will never be the same again.

And that is not ugly. In fact it is beautiful. It shows the resilience and power of the human soul.

To quote a snippet from the same book I listed above,

“… you know you’re an adult when you start to realize that some sorrows in life will never go away. You learn to carry them with you in ways that enrich rather than debilitate your life, in ways that make you wise. But the dark and knubby places in the fabric, the tapestry of your life, remain.” — Strong Women Strong Hearts

You have moved on when you learn to carry the pain with you in ways that enrich rather than debilitate your life, in ways that make you wise.

I think I have finally become an adult.

And I am smiling now.

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