Reflections

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It’s been a constant thing this past year and a bit: Me looking in the mirror, staring at the person in it and not remotely recognising him.

It happened shortly after R’s suicide. When I lost a great part of myself. I would catch a glimpse of this person in the mirror and feel the chills run down my spine. I didn’t know who this person was anymore – and this was scarier than hell.

So, it’s safe to assume that I avoided a mirror as best I could wherever I would go. I was not up for the reminder that I was not the same person anymore.

Needless to say, my style and appearance fell a bit down a hill and soon I had to overcome this fear and stare into a mirror again. The same stranger was staring back at me, but at least his hair looked kept and his beard was trimmed neatly.

This continued. I had an understanding with this stranger in the mirror. I wouldn’t stare to long and avoided the dead eyes, while I would do my thing and go about my day.

Time passed by and soon I became comfortable with this stranger. But soon, he wasn’t a stranger anymore. I recognised him as the person who now was – not the one I remembered and wouldn’t be.

It’s been quite some time, but yesterday I woke up, walked to the bathroom and stared at this person in the mirror.

For the first time I didn’t avoid the eyes and I stared deeply into them. Somewhere far in them, a flicker of fire was burning. Small. But it was there. It was the first time in a while that I stared at this person and saw something that I had in common with him. We both might be so damaged inside, but there’ll always be a fire burning inside us that can’t be extinguished. I did the most impossible thing I didn’t think I would do next: I introduced myself to this person staring back at me in the mirror.

Through these past weeks I’ve faced a heartbreak, reliving ghosts of a loved one that has passed, demons inside my head and the terror of the dark side of this world. But, there was still a fire burning deep inside me.

The honest truth is: I will never be the same. Holding onto a hope that some version of the old me would return is now buried. I’m a new me – this is a rebirth of sorts. By taking all this pain I’ve endured, I’m just going to become a better version of myself.

I’ve only wanted one thing for this year. Only one resolution: To fall in love with myself again. I might have lost sight of it and took a detour, but this detour brought me to a point where I’m so much stronger now. And I’m finally opening my heart to the one person that really deserves it: Me.

Should you find yourself at a point in life where you’re at a low, shut out the world, reflect inwards and listen to your inner voice. Open your heart to yourself and be kind to that person trying to reach out. Always love yourself and always have your own back.

This in it’s own is enough to give you strength to face what ever troubles you need to face.

In the words made famous by The Help: You is kind. You is smart. You is important.

Love yourself.

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Resurgence

“And I won’t wait any longer
When you left me down, I got stronger
If you want to wait for lightning
I’m on the horizon
Well, I’m coming back with the thunder
Well, I’m coming back with the thunder
Well, I’m coming back with the thunder…”

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The most mesmerizing thing about a caterpillar is that it lives with a potential inside of it. This potential is ridiculed and laughed off – how can a worm become something more. It’s not until they become a cocoon that these laughs are silenced and it’s not until they morph into a beautiful butterfly that the non-believers cover their mouths and start wishing they could do the same.

But, as you all might gather… I’m not talking about a butterfly here. And at the least am I talking about a physical transformation that leaves people stunned.

You see, I’m talking here about a metamorphosis on a spiritual, emotional and mental level that brings out a light in one that can only but inspire people.

So, here goes my 01:00 mind boggling and word changing musings:

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I’m scared

You see, my fellow bloggers, the thing is that from since what I can remember, I’ve always been afraid of myself. If this statement raises your brow, please calm down. This is not a case of me fearing a split personality wanting to kill of people.

I’ve always been afraid of really being me.

I think this is a true curse that comes from being different. In this case my difference is my sexuality – but let’s face it, society has dictated that it’s a difference and not me. I think this has from an early age crippled me beyond a point where I spent so many years of my adolescence trying to be someone who I am not. Disassociating with the different feelings was maybe some form of survival, just as a butterfly needs to be a cocoon or caterpillar to survive. If it was not the bullies, it was from the haters out there who wanted to break me and make me conform.

Let me tell you, for a young gay child, the worst is being told to one thing when deep inside you, you die a little each day not being who you really want to be. This is a torture and hardship not many people won’t ever understand. On it’s own, this fear is mostly out of someone realising who you really are and breaking you down again or the people who love you rejecting that what you truly are.

Even after R’s suicide, I was robbed of a lot of who I was at that stage. He left, taking a huge part of me and who I was with him. This on its own has created a fear within me. I lost a lot of who I was in one untimely demise… Years of trying to become a person who can stand in the light and not be afraid…

After this, I had/have had a huge battle with trying to overcome that fear. I didn’t want to build up myself again, to just have it all be robbed from me in an unguarded moment.

Fear crippled me. I was stuck in my cocoon. I didn’t want to come out.

The tiring fight

It was not until recently that I stopped fighting the fear, everyone, society and life. 

Inside me, I became so tired of trying to walk down a road that was becoming more self destructive to what was left of me. I had not yet really stepped up to the game after R’s passing and I was still afraid of life. This was clearly evident and I think a lot of people dealing with me saw this. I don’t apologise for this at all and I’m actually thankful for this limbo I was stuck in. It gave me the appropriate time to heal and become stronger – more importantly it served as a wake up call as to the pending questions that were really left in my life: Who am I? What are my plans/goals? Where to now?

I think it was during this period of reflection that I grew tired of the cocoon. I had wings and I wanted to test them out – I was too tired of being afraid and I was too tired to really care what others think.

Life lesson: At the end of the day it is what you think of yourself that really makes the difference. You can’t expect the world to hang on every word you say if you don’t even love yourself or remotely believe in yourself.

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Resurgence 

So, here goes. I’m done with the cocoon. Even though I’m scared shitless, have a million questions and emotions rushing through my head and I don’t have a clear plan in mind as to how and where to go forward from here, I do know that I’m ready to throw open my wings and do what I know I can do best. Fly.

I’ve done enough hiding, surviving and barely breathing to get sick of just barely living life. The bumps, bruises and aches are all a part of life. Will I get hurt again? Yes. But this time I’ll be able to fight back and do something I now know I’m well equipped to do with everything inside me.

The main goal in life shouldn’t be to just survive. It should be to fight back, stand tall and be an unstoppable force. Me being classified different by society is whats exactly going to make me, me and the world throwing punches my way with loss, grief and heartache is tests to see if I’m still the brave fighter I’ve always been.

Life. As scary as it is, it’s a beauty on its own and deserves to be lived.

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Ruin

As a young boy I loved delving into our bookshelves at home. My parents didn’t love me rummaging through our prized set of encyclopedias, but I didn’t care for much of it.

I remember how one particular day, a typical Cape Town-storm brewing outside, I was hunched in a nest of blankets and pillows in my room pouring over the pyramids of Egypt. For hours I stared at the pictures, trying to imagine how these behemoth structures were erected and ’till this day stand tall, peering over Egypt’s deserts and cloaking the tourists in their shadows or bathing them in sunlight.

One piece from the caption an illustration still stays with me today: “These ruins stand preserved as beautiful structures, being one of the most enigmatic, yet breathtaking modern wonders of this world.”

So, my fellow bloggers, ruin… How can ruin be beautiful?

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The realisation

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You’ll remember a few posts ago how I was telling you about the new person I met. The person who was able to restore my broken heart after the superstorm of R who took his own life and left me to deal with the aftermath of it all.

J… The one to put a flicker in my dying heart.

As the story goes, J and I both had a huge falling out and things just continued to spiral out of control. It was something ugly – tearing our hearts apart. Neither one of us meant it, but neither one of us really knew how to really deal with this.

So, this past weekend, J came to Cape Town again. After I pleaded one last time for him to fight for me, he hopped onto a plane to come fight for me.

Seeing him again, felt good. It felt like I was back home, in a safe space. Like I was where I needed to be. Where I was meant to be.

This all didn’t last.

As later the evening, during a Halloween party, I got a little bit drunk and saw him talking to someone else. A jealous rage swept over me like a red mist and before my tongue could stop itself, I was lashing out towards him. Blaming him for the mistakes of R’s infidelity (a story I will get to another time). It was irrational. He saw it, sat me down and tried to break through the walls I had built around myself these past months. After telling me how hard it was being around me when I was closed off, shutting people out and hurting people by being a stone wall slowly crumbling under the pressure of everyone’s troubles on my shoulders and more importantly my own troubles that I reflect inwards… I realised how bad it really was.

It wasn’t ’till he told me how R’s cloud had followed us from Day 1 and that he couldn’t compete with a dead man anymore, that I lost it. A little something inside me died and I got up. Luckily, my two friends Ancomien and Mienke, were at hand to intervene. Mienke stayed behind to talk to J and Ancomien swept a frantic, panicked me away.

Guys, I don’t remember much. All I know is that I had what could best be described as a meltdown. Soon, my friends also started telling me how they were tired of me not relying on them and slowly fading away in front of their eyes… I on the other hand, kept crying hysterically, feeling every emotion in me slipping away.

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The next 24 hours was spent with loved ones intervening.

On Sunday evening, J and I made a mutual decision to not force anything now, and that it would be best if I went to heal myself and that I stay away from him, to stop hurting him on the jagged edges of my heart. This on its own hurt me beyond words and broke the last broken pieces of my heart into dust.

Ultimately, as I laid in bed that evening, I realised that I was never okay. I was not over everything. I had never accepted what had happened to me. And I was losing a lot more than my life… My friends were ready to call quits on me (even though they love me too much to say that me).


And now?

I’ve been on pretty strong tranquilizers since Sunday.

The emotions are all gone from me for now. I think they symbolically left with my tears and washed away. I really do feel empty, for the first time in a while, I really am scared of how empty I feel.

It was one huge mistake. Me, taking everything that happened, the unresolved issues, emotions, pain, hurt, sorrow and plastering them up behind the walls in my head. The biggest lie I have told myself to thus far hasn’t been that R might still be alive, but it was that I was okay with everything and over it all. I was so desperate to be okay again, to be someone who I once remember in passing or even remotely a version of something that I could be okay with. In plastering all those stuff up behind a wall in my head, I did the greatest injustice to myself.

After my friends and people who love me walked in with sledgehammers, looking for that one wall where everything was hidden behind, I’m literally left in ruin now. I needed to be saved from myself. Guys, the worst thing is having being saved from yourself by friends.

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Ruin

Hi everyone, I’m David. And my life is in ruin.

The first step to me getting better and healing is for me to admit this.

Right now, like those pyramids in Egypt, I’m in ruin, but still standing. I’m a beautiful mess. And the great thing about a beautiful mess is that you can either choose to gather your mistakes and carry on forward and be who you are now or you can wipe the entire slate clean and start a new.

As I mentioned, my blog is going to go onto a new course. And I still stick to that promise. From here on out, no more bars hold. I’m opening the doors of my life wide – it’s time for a major spring cleaning and I’d like to invite all of you to walk with me.

For the one thing that ties all of us together is that we all feel pain. We’ve all been through hardships, broken hearts, loss and grief. And we’ve all stood up from ruin to either rebuild our lives.

Let this serve as a reminder to us all – never, EVER, convince yourself you’re okay and then try to bury non-resolved feelings and emotions. Face your demons, fight them and move on to the next battle.

And this time – I won’t lie to anyone again. I refuse to be the Boy Who Cried Wolf. I’m not okay and I’m okay with that. Because I know I have amazing people in my life and supportive readers who will see me through this hardship.

Upwards and onward.

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Something better

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A gaping hole. That’s what it was. And when something came along, she used that to fill the hole. Everything was complete. The puzzle was complete. Or was it?

Unbeknownst to her, it was a temporary fix. Her heart got broken, the puzzle piece fell out and she felt empty again. She scrambled to the people in her life for help. They stood by, wiped off the tears and offered kind and caring words of comfort. They wrapped her tightly in cotton wool, protecting her against the inevitable risk of a Big Bad Wolf.

This cycle continued. Viciously.

Each time she’d find something new and forgot about the ones who protected her, built her up and made her feel loved. She’d found her above all-end all. Her alpha, her omega. The promises that she would focus on herself and her friends from there on out, was as left behind as the dreams she once had as a child.

Her friends, protectors and confidants waited in the shadows each time to catch her, when she fell. Again.

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Ladies and gentleman. It irks me that I have to resort to imagery and metaphors to explain how hurt I am at the moment. I so wish this safe space I have created for myself could become one where I could voice the harsh situation in my life at the moment, but being a skilled writer, I’ll mask it.

You see: I’ve just cut ties with a dear friend. She doesn’t know it yet, but I need her to see this for herself.

For once, I’m done being that friend who stands by someone when their heart is broken, but when they find someone new, I’m nothing less than a blank piece of paper. A zero. I’ve done it too much, and I’ve decided that it’s finally time my self-worth becomes something that needs to be more important than wasting time on a selfish, wavering and insecure little girl.

I am thankful for the times, memories and help this friend has offered me, but she’s finally just sent me over the edge. While beckoning with me that I’m the one who shuts her out, never shares anything with her or involve her in my life (all illogical conclusions by the way…), she does the exact same to me, without batting a lash. I kid you not…  #ohtheshame

I pride myself on friends and have always had a vast group of people who I have surrounded myself with. It’s been the one thing I kept dear and close to me. But, with me getting my life on track, being a little more selfish and standing back more, I’ve noticed this circle shrink down a lot. And I’m okay with that.

You see, just as she has seeked out something better, I too am seeking out something better. The only difference is that she’s seeked out something temporary and shallow, while I’m seeking out something more substantial and permanent.

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I do not wish her bad or any hurt. No sharp edged daggers in her back. Zero bad luck. I only wish her the best.

The only thing is that when her heart crashes to the ground this time, I won’t be there to help her pick up the pieces. If this makes me an asshole, so be it. If I’m in the wrong here. Then I’ll be. But, somewhere along the line you need to remove yourself from situations in life where some people only take and take too much, than they ever give you in return.

If you could throw me away so easily, I can walk away just as easily.

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I’m sorry

I’m sorry.

With these two words, dear fellow bloggers, I’d like to apologise for my silence these past couple of weeks. In short: life got the upper hand this time. And my head’s been a mess – a mess I can’t afford to be capable of creating posts for this site.

To catch you up…

I met someone new.

After R’s death last year, I didn’t think I would ever fall in love with someone again, nor be capable of trying to pursue something romantic at the least. But it was like a semi-drunk, fully hungover student trying to write a test: magical.

J walked into my life around February this year. He was the perfect gentleman, well spoken, someone with a soft heart and the most delightful manners – a complete 180 degrees from the most guys I’ve dated before.

It all started out with a simple comment on my one photo on Instagram, which later led to an inbox message and subsequently us exchanging numbers and started to chat on Whatsapp. A wonderful friendship formed, where we could literally speak for hours on end about anything and everything.

After a few months we finally met – it was at the KKNK in Oudtshoorn in April where we had a quick lunch for an hour. The conversation flowed and it was like we have known each other for ages. Something sparked when we said goodbye to each other – to this day I don’t really know if this was when I realised I had a crush on him or if it was when I knew that he had crept into my heart within a short amount of time.

Naturally this scared the living daylights out of me. Me, falling for someone again? (queue Jaws-esque music playing in the background).

But, as life has it, you never really get to control your emotions and what path destiny has set out for you. I had no control over the next visit from him in Cape Town (he’s from Gauteng), no control over me feeling a bit more whole with him, no control over the butterflies that erupted in my tummy after our first kiss. I had no control: and I loved it. For a control freak like myself it was absolute chaos, but for the first time in my life I stood back and just left life do what needed to be done.

What also happened during this time was J’s ability to walk in at moments of chaos in my head, calm the storm and make me realise that I was strong enough to deal with everything and that I was an amazing person. Never before had I dated someone who would uplift me like this – it was a good feeling to finally have a partner in crime who could lift you on their shoulders and make you feel like what you were worth.

Finally I was able to run past the dark tunnel I had been trotting along with after R’s death. J brought the light to the end of the tunnel into perspective, made the view possible and equipped me with strength to stand atop the hill and see the dawn of a new day.

He saved me. An unlikely Prince Charming.

Although he claims I saved myself, I know he reached down and pulled me from the dark, cold waters of self-destruction I was heading down. He was like a breath of fresh air.

But, this fairy tale does not have a happy ending.

I wish it had though. Some of you must be reading this, thinking: Can the universe cut him a break, already?! To which I respond: Maybe the universe isn’t ready to give me that break yet, guys…

J and I had a bit of tumultuous falling out – things were said, realisations were said aloud and reality broke past our bubble we had been basking in.

He couldn’t give me more than I wanted.

I wanted more, but was still too guarded and closed off from R’s death.

For weeks we tried to circumnavigate this territory of going back to being friends, leaving the ideal and hope of relationship behind and straying away from being strangers. It was not the easiest time – hence the silence.

If you all really knew what’s been walking through my mind these past months, you’d hit unfollow or try to have me institutionalised.

For now, I’m breaking the silence and saying sorry. Sorry to you all, but mostly sorry to myself.

I’m sorry I disappointed myself again. I’m sorry I let the last pieces of my broken heart, get broken even more. I’m sorry I didn’t love myself enough to save myself. I’m sorry I didn’t love myself.

A very profound quote that has stuck with me in these past days is one by my favourite author, Liz Gilbert. “Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the path to transformation.”

Smile like you mean it: Eat,Pray,Love

At this point where my heart is virtually severed, my head more confused than ever, and the battle with who I am and need to be still raging on, I recognise this as ruin.

You see, the beautiful thing of my life being in ruin, is that I can now start from scratch again. Build something spectacular. This time, I will do it on my own. No saviours. No Prince Charmings.

I’d like to invite you all to join me on this new journey. I will be blogging about every step along the way and every new twist and turn – ’cause for the first time in my life, it will be just me, myself and I.

It’s a daunting thought – I’ve always been between love interests or heartbreaks, but never really with myself. I’ve never really had my own back or even trusted myself. I’ve never really been confident to speak up when asked who I am really. Never have I ever really loved myself.

For now, let’s together divulge in the single life. Let’s see what the world has to offer. Let’s create an unstoppable force. Let me create someone who everybody wishes to be with.

Some of you who’ve been following me for a while now, might be thinking: We’ve been here before. What’s new. This is old hat. Why do you keep repeating history?

I can only tell you: Stick with me. This adventure is going to be one for the books.

I’m kind of a big deal

Before the heading of this post makes you vomit, please keep on reading.

After various interventions, a change in my mindset has finally occurred.

You see, the thing is: I don’t really ever make myself off as being important, always raising others above me and making some people and their needs more important than mine. It’s not something intentional, but just the way I have been wired. Helping and supporting others makes me happy and I feel more on top of the world when I’m able to sit down and help a friend in need.

Having always had a superhero complex, this is the only reason why I do what I do. Not for seeking attention or making myself off to be a martyr or a philanthropist of sorts. I do it ’cause it’s what makes me happy and my life worth living.

Unfortunately, as human beings are, this has been taking advantage of countless times by many people. Sometimes, I willingly sat back out of intense love for this person, other times I didn’t know what was happening and I was being blindsided.

But, the thing is just, when you give too much to the world and everyone else, you seldom spare a thought to yourself.

After a recent discussion this weekend with my two of my best friends (Mienke & Ancomien) and my best friend’s mother, who is like a second mother to me, I have had the cogs and gears in my head grinding overtime and re-evaluating this. The first thing for them was that I needed to stop sparing thoughts for others while skipping myself, secondly I needed to stop defending people who were robbing me dry of my good warmheartedness and thirdly I needed to start valuing myself MUCH more.

With a shocked expression, I sat back and didn’t reply at first. I then continued to tell them that this is in my DNA and that I really don’t see myself changing it. I will always help people and never spare a second thought to myself. But, I was reprimanded that I could achieve a well enough balance between the two. Valuing myself enough and caring for others.

Recently, a lot of teen suicides and 20-somethings giving up on life have graced the front pages of our local newspapers here in South Africa. I suspect this is not just a local occurrence and that it’s like this throughout the world at the moment. Suicide, being a thing close to me, is something I have come to condone, judge and understand all at once.

Looking at the overall moral among youngsters, we have all seemingly succumbed to the demons of this world in some way or another. With their fingers lingering up our spines and whispering sweet nothings into our ears, there is a general stigma these days that we are worthless and at most nothing special. The world has broken most of us, while some survivors barely cling on and other just make the final decision that their lives aren’t something special at all.

Two weeks ago, I met with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while, for a drink or two. Halfway into the discussion I had to hear that he was recently in a clinic after trying to commit suicide. It was a shock to me. Anger welled up and I was soon interrogating him to try and find out what made him do and why he would try and hurt so much people around him.

It was soon clear that he believed he had no value here at all and that he felt like he couldn’t help anyone anymore, if he couldn’t even help himself.

Nonetheless, we continued talking about everything. As I divulged about how hectic my life was and that I also felt like I was letting a lot of people down, and maybe most importantly myself, he lost his cool. “Pot calling the kettle black, much? You preach to me that I need to value myself more, but you don’t even remotely do the same? Really now – you of all people who has so much going and a lot of people at your feet, and people who would give the world to you should raise you self worth a lot.”

All in all… After much deliberation and thinking, I’ve decided to sit back and up my own ante. It’s time that I need to take things up a notch and start knowing that I am kind of a big deal – without becoming egotistical and a douche bag.

And I think it’s time that this becomes a movement I can reciprocate to others out there who are in doubt about their worth.

Just know, that even if it doesn’t seem that way, you are worth a lot more than you’re making yourself off to be. Your value is what drives you and you just hanging in there makes you a superstar in your own way.

Serve as a waking inspiration and inspire others by being a big deal and never stop fighting against the world.

Just always remember: You’re kind of a big deal. So roll with it.

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*365 days later*

Denial. Bargaining. Anger. Depression.

The four friends I have come to known in the span of year’s time. Sucking the life out of me at times, infuriating me beyond compare, driving me beyond the edge of sanity and letting me dwell in the darkness…

It was the four friends I have now come to say goodbye to. I no longer need their company. They have become strangers – isolated from my life.

These “friends” are also four of the five stages of Grief.

Elizabeth Kübler-Ross created a model for grief years ago. We all know the story – she was surrounded by patients in a hospice who were terminally ill and she noticed how everyone had these four “friends” by their side. These stages were also noted in people touched by death.

Now, a few hours shy of the anniversary or my former boyfriend’s suicide, I have come to terms with four of the five stages of grief. After a troublesome, tumultuous and sorrow ridden year, I am now at a space in time where calamity seems to be surrounding me more and more.

If you ask me if I knew this day would arrive… I will blankly stare at you and say: Nope. I gave up on that hope the day I stood beside his casket.

Life has since passed and time has not stood still for me. Time seems to be the only constant that has moved on with me for now – other things are still to come. Change is on the horizon. Peace is knocking at my door. A new me is dawning and acceptance seems to be introducing himself to me.

Confession: I have been afraid of this day for some time now.

Would I be ready? Would I be equipped to face acceptance and feel strong enough to pursue it? Was it worth all the tears, pain and broken pieces of my heart to come to this point and not leave this chapter of my life satisfied?

Well. Guess what. Not ready. Far from ready.

I still hate him with a fiery passion. People seldom try to understand it all, but they rarely understand why I am so quick to hate him while all his other loved ones still scrape together love for him.

I hate him for calling quits on his life, friends, future, loved ones, family, soul mate and…me. No one ever expected anything from him, but only to live and share his sorrow with other’s. He never did. He kept it hidden, like many other secret lives he led. The secrets upon secrets that tore him apart has tore me apart. And not just me… Everyone else who gave a damn about him.

I’ve fallen out of love with him and this hatred has grown to become an overpowering emotion to help me through each day.

Where I thought it wouldn’t be possible to even remotely survive, hatred has powered me through a day with the constant reminded that I can’t give up hope or call it quits, even if I wanted to. I wanted to prove to him that it’s possible to go above and beyond pain, without giving up.

You might stop me in my tracks and reprimand me that I’m far from acceptance. Right so. I won’t fight you on that.

I am however going to challenge you on the points that I am ready to step into the dawn of a new light.

As this sullen day passes, I’m no more the boy who’s boyfriend killed himself. I’m no more the widow. I’m no more the grieving son, the friend with a bag of sorrow on his shoulders. I am a new person to take on the world by storm. A new dawn is waiting for me and as far as I’m concerned, I’m ready to embrace that.

I might not have come to terms with most of R’s death, but I have come to terms that we are not longer an “us”. It’s only me now.

Me.

Only I can move on now and make my world a fantastic place to live in. In this lies the acceptance I speak of. I have accepted the pieces of my broken heart, the lies that tore me apart, the hole and huge gap left in my life with R’s passing and the sadness that has taught me how to live closer to my own fractured pieces of my heart.

Acceptance. It comes in different forms and as grief has different stages, I’m ready to close this chapter in my life.

Stepping into the light of this new dawn, I’m ready to say goodbye to him and hopefully, soon enough, drop the hatred and keep him in a special place within my heart.

Actually came out decent