274. You are not defined by your tragedy.

To you, the broken soul who might need this too:

“Life will send tragedy hurtling into your orbit. It always does. And how you react to that tragedy, how you learn and shift and grow and the resilience you exhibit — all of these things are indicators of who you are. Your tragedy does not have to be your calling card. You can define yourself as a survivor, of course, because to survive something harrowing is to do exactly what life asked you to do. That is a badge of honor in and of itself, and you should be proud of that. But to be a survivor is different from the act itself, whatever that act may be. A miscarriage, cheating, job loss, a house fire, illness, an accident — whatever it is that impacts your life is, by definition, going to be hard to deal with. And though it might change your life, it does not have to be your entire life.

So you work through your tragedy. It won’t be easy, but you grieve and cope and vent and rage and adapt. You learn about life on the other side. And people will be sympathetic, and they will try to help, and there will be a fair share of pity. There always is; it’s inevitable. But you also model how other people ought to treat you, and so if you feed off of this pity, you’re bound to get more of it. If you shut people out, they will stop helping, and you will have to mend your wounds on your own. But if you show them that somewhere in you exists the same kernel of the person they loved before and can continue to love afterwards, maybe they can help you make it through the afterwards.

There might be limitations, and there might be new demons, but those can be weathered and navigated and managed. You can continue to live if you want to. After a certain point, your tragedy becomes a fixture that exists solidly in your past. You’ll catch glimpses of it every now and again, like some perverse rear-view window but slowly, you learn how to not look back anymore. Slowly, you tear your eyes away from the wreck in the background. You learn how to refocus on the road ahead of you, no matter how many times your attention is pulled back. But you can only look back as you’re moving ahead. Tragedy may be inevitable, but moving on is too — it just depends what you choose to take with you.”

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Lots of love,
Atikah Amalina

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