I have a clear picture in my head of when it happened.

The moment that the man I was supposed to marry, changed his mind.

We were in my apartment.

I had taken a break from doing laundry to have a conversation with him.

I felt hurt and betrayed and broken.

He…. He looked like nothing was out of the ordinary. Like we were just hanging out.

And now? All of my future plans look different And feel different.

Because, in way, his decision made everything different.

Psychologists say that this type of memory is called a “ flashbulb memory”.

A flashbulb memory is a highly detailed, exceptionally vivid ‘snapshot’ of the moment and circumstances in which a piece of surprising and consequential (or emotionally arousing) news was heard.

So, this begs the question of which emotions this moment aroused in me.

  • Fear
  • Betrayal
  • Hurt
  • Unworthiness
  • Sad
  • Anxiety
  • And, eventually, anger

In that moment, all I could do was get him away from me and start sobbing. Because I didn’t want him to see how he had broken me. I didn’t want him to see me in a vulnerable moment.

When I started to breathe again, I called people. And I cried on the phone. And I cried on the bus. And I cried with people. And I cried alone.

It truly felt like he had broken me into a million pieces.

Like he had left me as an empty, unworthy person.

Because he “loved me”. Because he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. Because I had let my walls down and trusted.

A couple days after, I met with my therapist. Despite wanting to hide and talk to nobody until I felt like I had it together more. Until my walls were back up.

She looked at me and said: don’t let this stop you from trusting people. He doesn’t get to take that from you.

Slowly, friends started saying similar things.

  • That I had built my life for myself
  • That I’m worthy as an individual
  • That he didn’t break me because I’m whole without him
  • That him not being able to see my worthiness doesn’t take it away
  • That I’m going to be okay

Because, he hurt me. But it’ll scar. And it’ll still be there and be tender to the touch for a while. And eventually, hopefully, it’ll just be a faint reminder that I survived.

That I picked the pieces back up.

That I let others love me until I could love myself again.

That I’m here.

I’m alive.

And he doesn’t get to take anything from me.

I believe that my higher power is transforming my brokenness and gently carrying me from darkness into light. I believe in gentleness. Lord, I believe in light.

I am my own higher power. I will carry myself out. — Sierra Demulder

Eating Disorder Recovery. Adventure Seeker. Live Well, Travel Often.

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