0400 am, August 9, 2014. I am driving down the road in Charlotte, North Carolina. And that’s what I told myself. I told myself repeatedly, I am never going to get through this. How am I ever going to get through this?

As the pain set in my flesh and bones from the incident that occurred just 12 hours prior, I was completely pessimistic. I just assumed at that time that my heart nor my spirit was ever going to cope.

How will I ever get through this?

Listening to ‘Drive’ by Miley Cyrus from her album Bangerz (which ironically enough that album helped me so much) I just kept looking forward. As I could see the sun rise in the sky and my heart sank as the sun got higher. The reality of this nightmare was sinking in and the brighter the day got the worse I felt. I just had to keep pushing through, yet I kept saying to myself, I am never going to get through this. Never.

Sometimes negativity is all we feel in these moments. How the fuck am I possibly supposed to get through this? How am I supposed to trust again? Love again? How am I supposed to get through this when all I feel like is shit piled on the bottom of my fucking shoe?

On the inside I was screaming and boiling and so fucking angry I was surprised I could see straight. But I was determined to get back to Colorado. I was determined to get as far away from him as possible. I just simply had to remind myself that the further away I was, the safer I was. So I kept the Bangerz album on repeat and I just kept driving. In the moments I felt so weak and about to burst into tears I called my rotating numbers between two people who knew what I needed. And I thank god for them. Whether we still speak or not, I am thankful.

I kept driving. I honestly do not remember stopping for anything to eat. I am positive I only stopped for gas and hadn’t eaten in about 24 hours.

I arrived in St. Louis, Missouri. And I felt relieved seeing a familiar face. My now ex best friends mother was there greeting me at her front door step. Speaking with my father on the phone. I dropped my bag off and I just melted. Her mother called me into her room to ask me what happened and I lost it. I cried in her lap. I just cried. I finally released some of that pain. I cried so hard.

We went to get Chinese food, but it was so chaotic outside as it was a few hours after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown (shot and killed by a white police officer and sparked protest, etc). So we went back to the house and I laid rest in my now ex best friends bed (she was away at college). And I laid there thinking to myself yet again…. how in the fuck am I ever going to get through this? My chest was hot and I was so upset and I was so sad and I felt so alone. I just kept saying that I was never going to survive this?

I got up at the same time the next day. 0400 am. And I began the same routine, drive by Miley Cyrus… I stopped at a gas station just outside of the city and I grabbed some Red Bull’s and I got in the car. Before I got in the car this man stopped me and says “you are beautiful… idk what you are going through… but remember that”. And I got in my car and I drove away. The sunrise made my soul drop. And the road ahead of me seemed so far away.. driving through Kansas was hell. For obvious reasons. It was just so damn boring and all I could think about was…. every single thing.

I made it through the Colorado state border and my heart seemed to blossom slightly as I knew I was only hours away from my safety net that I never wanted to leave again… my dad. As I was driving through Colorado to get back to Westminster I notified everyone I needed to notify. And I just tried to hold myself together. Like regular scotch tape trying to hold together a shattered vase. Clearly it wasn’t strong enough.

I finally make it home and the first thing my father says to me is… “if you’re going to cry.. do it downstairs”. And my heart broke. I needed a hug. I needed a big “it’s going to be okay.” I needed to feel.. safe. Instead I unpacked my car and I sat outside with my family as they were playing volleyball. And I watched my phone ring… over and over and over and over and over and over again. And it was him. I heard from him 24 hours before that asking me where I was and I didn’t respond.

This time he was calling me repeatedly. Shocked that I had yet to return. And I told myself again….. you’re never going to get through this.

My male best friend arrived and I went outside and all I could do was cry on his shoulder. Since I wasn’t able to display my fear in my house. He just let me cry.

I found myself after that forcing myself to focus on school and work. 2 days after I got home I was working again and I was going back to school a few weeks later. I was a fast track to what I thought was recovery. But… it was not.

I just buried my pain deep down because I couldn’t show my pain. So I chose not to feel my pain.

Until I had to get surgery on my nose. I was forced to deal with the pain. A 2 year emotional delay and all of my walls came crashing down. And that same question reappeared. How the fuck am I supposed to get through this?

I will never get over this.

But instead of pushing it deeper I decided to let it out. I was going through another emotionally abusive relationship and I needed to get grips on my life. And grips on the pain….

…pain, damn sure demanded to be FELT.

So I stopped holding it in. And I told everyone how I felt.

Especially my father. I had to let him know how I felt. I was hurt. He was the #1 thing that I needed upon my return from hell and he didn’t want to hear it. Hindsight, no father wants to be continuously reminded that he couldn’t save his little girl from pain… again. So I get it now. But back then… I just couldn’t understand. I just wanted to cry in his arms and I couldn’t. But I understand.

4 years later and I finally am clearing the smoke of it all. Still dealing with physical issues. Still dealing with embarrassing PTSD with my boyfriend. But… I got through it.

Looking back down that road of pain and misery. I wouldn’t do it any other way. It taught me how strong I was. I finished college, which was the hardest of all. I was working full time. Commuting back and forth every single day. 6 days a week. I simply didn’t have time to feel. I graduated with my bachelors in Criminal Justice and I started my career. But…. pain still demanded to be felt.

So I felt it.

Hindsight… it’s okay to not be okay. It’s also okay to not be able to mentally, physically, or emotionally deal with something right away. Sometimes it takes time for things to settle in. But it’s okay, to simply not be okay. And if I never allowed myself to be a mess after all of those years I wouldn’t be in this place that I am in right now.

Pain demands to be felt. Whether it’s 3 days. Or whether it’s 3 years. It demands to be felt. And we have to look that ugly bastard in the face and say “I will fucking get through this”.

And that’s what I’m choosing to do. Every day. My warrior date passed this last August and I never thought I would feel as amazing as I did. I never thought I would get to that point. But I made it! I fucking got through it! And I am a hell of a lot stronger because of it!

I may not have chosen my path. I may not have chosen how or when. But I know one damn thing, I wouldn’t change it. I wouldn’t be,

Nia Renee without it. πŸ’œ

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