What does it take to forgive? To forget? To finally be okay? It’s the same question we face, young or old, as a year comes to a close and another begins, and we start a new chapter of our lives.
You think you know yourself until you experience your first real heartbreak—not the petty high school one, or the rejection from your crush, or breaking up a monthlong summer affair. It’s the kind of heartache that tests your strength and your character, the kind that makes you think hard about what you really want for yourself.
I experienced mine before 2012 ended, and I had never been so excited about the coming of the new year. Probably because I knew that I have nothing of my old self left, and I was so eager to redefine and surprise myself, or even the world.
I am not very proud of how I handled my heartbreak. And I am sure that a lot of people who have experienced the same thing weren’t very proud of themselves at that time either. It’s difficult to be the strong, independent, open-minded and principled “you” when you are hurt, because your primal instinct is either to attack or isolate yourself, and I think I did a bit of both. I morphed into the worst kind of individual I could have known and if I just saw myself clearly at that time, I wouldn’t be more disgusted.
One thing that people don’t realize is that heartbreak is actually an opportunity for you to get to know yourself better. You will never know who you actually are until you’ve been stripped of everything you thought defined you, and you have no choice but to be with yourself, alone, grow new things in you, and replace the ones you have lost.
Waking up, falling asleep, the in-betweens when your mind has lost the energy to squeeze in thought, become your enemy. The pain somehow just manages to seep into those thin spaces, or sometimes it creates holes, or you yourself just yank away your own barriers to let that desperate pain in and consume you. You think there will be no end, but you know what? Moving on comes as a surprise. For now, just allow yourself to feel the pain, understand that it is part of the process, that it is part of life, that everyone has to feel hurt at one time, and one day you’d be surprised to feel something different, a slightly foreign feeling, and you’ll smile, because for a time you never thought you’d feel it again, that you’d be happy again.
Breaking down the breakdown. Picking up the pieces of yourself you want back, and leaving behind those you think are not anymore part of who you are. Be excited at the thought of being alone, of independence! It is now you against the world! Be your own best friend, love yourself, improve yourself, be selfish, be free—there are countless possibilities. Explore the “maybes,” hop into the “what could have beens” and you’ll realize that love is in yourself all along.
What does it take to forgive? To forget? To finally be okay? It takes only yourself. You have to want it so bad that even if it hurts, you’ll still go for it. As for me, I think I’ll be okay.
Gabriella G. Pontejos, 22, is a freshman at the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law.