How did you get to this point in your life? Ever think about all the decisions you’ve made to arrive where you are right now? I do, but not in a regretful way. It just amazes me that some of the most tough roads I’ve traveled have been the ones I had to take in order to meet the love of my life, get married, and start a family.

Six Years of Heartbreak

I always wonder why I stayed in a relationship for so long when I was so unhappy. Not every day was bad, but the bad days heavily outweighed the good ones. From nineteen to twenty five years of age, I experienced disappointment, anxiety, low self-esteem, panic and sheer loneliness.

Those years were the ones I was supposed to be getting to know myself. Instead, I believed that I was worthless. That I didn’t deserve better than what I settled for. For six years I swallowed my pride, remained passive (expect for a few times when I hit my limit and exploded with rage, only to be swindled into staying), let someone walk all over me, and never stood up for myself.

Looking for the “Exit” Sign

Most girls get giddy when the topic of marriage comes up. I was looking for a bright red “Exit” sign that I could escape to. When the conversation came up, it hit me. This was the next step. Where else was a long-term relationship heading to? And in my gut, I could feel what little life my spirit had left, kicking me, screaming at me: Get out! Get out now! So I hit the gas pedal, leaving dark black tire marks behind me, branding the road that I was parting from – for good.

I Don’t Regret a Single Day

I don’t look back on those days and wonder what would have happened had I stayed. Instead, I wonder what would have happened had I left sooner. Would the new road I traveled still lead to the man I’m so in love with today? I’m not sure. And I’m not willing to risk it. So I’d suffer through all the bullshit all over again if it meant staying on the path that leads to Andrew.

There’s Opportunity on Every Road

If I hadn’t been in a bad relationship for six years, I’d have A LOT less poems, short stories, journal entries, and writing practice. I’d have half the life experience to share with other women who could use some friendly advice from someone who’s been through it. And I wouldn’t be able to be that person who won’t judge another woman for staying in a bad relationship. Because although I can’t fully explain why I did, I can understand how hard it is to straighten your spine, open the door and walk through it, after being hunched over and defeated for so long.

Yes, I’d walk that road again. I’d even do it barefoot on broken glass the whole way. If that road promises to lead to this moment right here, then move out of my way.

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