You watched my descent. How I spiraled down, aflame, to new lows.
The uncomfortable marriage everyone could see was wrong for me. Activity a Band-Aid to cover open wounds. Do more. Don’t stop long enough to think. Keep spiraling, but close eyes tight so I can’t see.
Babies came, but before you could celebrate this upturn, I was in the clerk’s office with a double stroller, shaking hand handing papers over the counter. Spiral increasing in speed. Divorce. A black and white word that’s never black and white.
Job loss. Unexpected, unexplained. Another open wound I don’t have time to stop and heal before the next hit.
New boyfriend, but don’t get too excited. Before I have time to relax into it, the shift begins. You’re a mean person. You’re not even a good mom. You’re SO MUCH better on paper. I liked you when you were just words. You’re nothing. Who could ever love someone like you? Followed by apologies, a half-assed attempt to repair a part of me so broken no glue could fix it. Insult to injury, he took my cash and ghosted.
You’ve watched me break down into pieces. Fall apart. Recover. Fall again. With a curious eye or a judgmental one. Or maybe eating popcorn, my life little more than entertainment to you. My pain, as entertainment.
So, I monetized the pain. Turned my downward spiral into words. Turned my words into stories. Spun words into rent money and new shoes for growing children.
I created life. Channeled characters. Shaped worlds. And I told my story, even the ones that made me look stupid. Even the ones that made me look weak. I shared them. Then, I shared them again. I kept saying the words so that I would understand that I could never go back to being broken.
I said the words until they made me stronger. I said the words until they made me brave. I said the words until my voice split, cracked, dried up, and went away. I rested, and then I said the words again.
I spoke to all the pain and betrayal. I spoke to bright starts and devastating endings. I spoke to love being given and not wanted, love being given and abused. I spoke to neglect and living a life so stark that I disappeared inside its white walls. I paint the walls with my words in the brightest shades. I scream them if speaking isn’t enough. I whisper them so you have to step closer just to hear.
I don’t quit.
You watched my descent, that flaming downward spiral. Again. Then again.
Now watch me rise.
Watch pieces that fell apart fall into place with me at the controls. Watch me spin new words and create new worlds and build a new life and, yes, monetize my pain. Build my joy. Craft a whole life from the wreckage of the one that I thought I wanted but knew in my heart was never the right fit.
Watch a better world emerge. One with more love than I’ve ever imagined. More joy. Bigger and stronger and brighter than I’d ever imagined in the stark life or the hurting half-life after.
Watch me ascend. Flames trailing behind, buoyed by something so much stronger than my pain. Lifted by a lifetime of resourcefulness and courage and loving when I felt like no one else in the whole world loved me back or ever would. Living despite days so dark I wanted them to stop and never come again. Rising despite disappointments, setbacks, fears.
And creating all the time the life I knew in my heart could be mine. Believing, even when there was no reason to believe. Faith in the my own internal compass. Worshipping grit. Praying for courage. Rising in my power.
You watched my descent. Now watch me rise up and never stop. Even if I fall apart again. Just wait. Grab your popcorn, and wait for the ascension.
Crystal is the author of the Heart of Madison series, a contemporary romance series that includes Left on Main & Right on Walton, as well as a poetry collection entitled My Words Are Whiskey. Order your copy today: https://linktr.ee/Crystaljackson