It started quickly. On our second date we told each other that we loved one another, as if we had been doing it our entire lives.
I remember when we first met. Man, was he beautiful. He walked into my office as if he owned the place, with a smile on his face that you couldn't help but return in kind. He had this joy about him—you know: the kind that’s contagious. And when he laughed, it was like nothing bad could ever happen.
For months we danced around one another, coming up with every excuse to see each other, even if it was just for a moment. I even took up running, which I secretly hated, just to be with him.
One day, he asked for my phone. As he handed it back to me, a song began to play. Without a word, I knew right then and there that he loved me.
We were on top of the world. Everything we wanted to do, we did: skydiving, traveling, running marathons—we even started our own company together. We were the definition of a team: completely unstoppable. He was my forever.
About a year into our relationship, he fell into a very deep depression. Suddenly I was looking into the eyes of a stranger. My best friend was gone. He became cruel, shutting me out and breaking apart everything that we once built. I would catch myself just staring at him, wondering if the man I loved was still somewhere in there.
I tried everything I could think of to bring him back to life. Soon, I could feel my own self breaking. I was losing my mind, questioning my own reality: Did I make him up? Was our love never real? Was it all in my mind? Who is this person I thought I knew?
Then it happened: in the same place that we first met, he ended it. He told me I deserved to be loved by a complete heart, and his was numb. Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe—it felt as if the walls were melting around me, and then everything just went dark.
Without my even getting a say, it was over. I became a prisoner of my own mind, replaying every moment with him, questioning what I could have done differently. How could I have helped him? Days passed without me leaving my bed. Soon, everything began to crumble. At one point I remember looking in the mirror and not even recognizing the person staring back at me. She was so beautifully pathetic. Broken. I couldn't even recall the last time I felt genuinely happy.
Then it hit me. That fire. I couldn’t just stop loving him, but I was ready to redirect it towards someone who was willing to receive it: myself.
In an unexpected moment, I decided to climb a mountain—eight miles up at 5:00 in the morning. Now, let me remind you again: I’m not athletic, so I regretted this decision immediately. But as I climbed, I made my way up through the clouds, and the mist hitting my face washed away everything that was. It wiped away all the tears and sadness that bogged down my body, stripped away all the feelings of unworthiness and doubt.
Then, as I was hustling up the mountain, it happened: that beautiful sunrise. Tears filled my eyes. I knew in that moment that I was going to be okay.
As soon I reached the top, I stretched myself out on the ground. I could feel her: that person I had forgotten, that beautiful soul who fought so hard for everyone else but neglected her own dreams. It was time to make a change. I ran down the mountain like my feet were on fire.
Because of our breakup, I now had full ownership of a studio that I only half-knew how to run. Now that I knew I was going to be okay, it was time to get to work. For four days straight I sat at my computer, teaching myself everything that I needed to know in order to take charge of the whole machine. His work was good, but today, my work is better.
For the first time, I was living for myself. Completely unstoppable. I was my forever.
It’s in our most painful moments that we are forced to re-build and grow. He loved me enough to let me go, and I loved me enough to keep walking.