I took this photo last August.
It quite possibly was the hardest month of my life.
Three major things happened, all within a week or so of each other.
There was change, betrayal and heartache in EVERY corner of my life.
EVERY foundation felt shattered.
It felt like the the ground had been ripped out from underneath me.
I've heard that term a lot, but I never understood it until then.
I normally wouldn't remember the month of which a photo like this was taken.
But I remember this one.
Because I remember how I felt when I took it.
I remember the walk I took.
I was so exhausted with feeling so empty and sad that I was actively looking for reasons to be happy.
I was desperately trying to notice all the beauty around me, to appreciate the fresh air I was breathing, the birds I was hearing and the colours in the sky.
I like the sky.
There's something so magic about it.
The way the clouds move, and the sun shines, the way birds soar, or rain falls and lighting strikes, the way stars shine and the moon beams.
I often find myself staring up at it in wonder.
I was trying so hard to distract myself, to do fun things so I would feel something, anything other than what I was. .
And I remember feeling worse when I couldn't find any 'fun' in those fun things.
When even admiring that beautiful sky brought me little joy.
I just felt so lost. I couldn't describe it any other way than lost.
Every path I tried to take home just led me further away.
And I was scared.
Scared that I would never be found again or that I would never be happy again.
Scared that this was just me now.
That this was just life now.
One thing I found during this time was accepting my pain for what it was.
I kept minimising it.
I kept telling other people I was fine.
I kept telling myself other people had it worse.
I kept thinking of all the things that could happen that were worse than the things that did happen, and trying to be grateful that what happened wasn't them.
But I still felt lost and I still felt empty.
Acknowledging that things could be worse can make us grateful.
It can put things into perspective.
But it doesn't always help.
"Telling someone they can't be sad because other people have it worse is like telling someone they can't be happy because other people have it better."
If you've been reading my pieces you would've noticed by now that I like to reflect.
It helps me to process things properly in my mind; to understand situations, or emotions, to learn and to grow.
It's almost like I make little handbook or manual in my mind for what to do in the future.
I guess that's why I write too.
I don't think I had processed this time in my life.
Coming across this photo reminded me of how sad I was, and made me realise how happy I am now.
It shocked me.
When did the sadness go away?
How did I get through it?
I guess it is such a gradual process, you don't wake up one morning and go "okay I am better now. I am happy. That stage is over".
It's the natural progression of time, other life changes that preoccupy your mind, the beautiful things that you find along the way... and of course, the positive people you are surrounded by.
Your bucket fills ever so slowly that you don't even notice it filling.
Obviously, you carry important lessons with you.
And maybe still some underlying hurt, some broken trust that takes longer to build.
But you are stronger now, and you have learnt a lot.
That's the purpose of hard times.
As much as I wish I could, I have realised I cannot build a handbook or manual for everything in life.
Sometimes we find ourselves in a new world of emotions that no past experiences can help us navigate.
But, I have learnt one thing.
Everything will be okay.
Even when it feels like it never will.
Things don't have to go back to the way they were, sometimes they 'go back' better.
And sometimes, it happens without you even noticing.
So hang in there!
Today, I might still be a little lost, but in the best possible way.
And no part of me is empty.
Rather, I am so full.. full of happiness, appreciation, excitement, gratitude and most importantly... full of love.