Re Post-“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”-Khalil Gibran

Recently, I have been struggling with my idea of religion and faith and my relationships with people I thought i knew and care for. As a kid, my mother always told me God loves everyone and teaches compassion and respect, especially in times of personal paralysis. While my mother and I didn’t see eye to eye on many issues, her advice on faith and God taught me the most important trait I believe a person can have, empathy.

Throughout my adolescences and early adult life (18-25), I have dealt with 2 rapes, losing a baby fromm domestic abuse, repressing my sexual orientation, and trying to gain approval from my mother, who ironically, gave me the advice in the first place. With all my painful experiences and abuse, I learned to forgive each person and to put myself in their shoes because at the end of the day, life is short and God teaches kindness and compassion, or so I thought.

In the summer of 2016, I was in an abusive relationship which was long and traumatic. I didn’t tell anyone about it and the abuse got worse and worse, as his drug problem got worse and worse. I randomly reached out to a person on Instagram with a shared love of Women’s basketball. (she ran a fan page for a player we both admired) I expected two things, which she doesn’t know, one, I thought she’d be significantly older, a mother figure if you will, and two, I didn’t think she would respond. I told her about my predicament, as I had just lost the baby, he wanted to leave the relationship when he found out I was pregnant, and basketball came up as well. I remember getting a response rather quickly and a conversation ensued and then I had to go deal with an appointment and left it there and forgot about it. The next day, I got a message from this girl, still thinking she was much older, asking if I was okay and safe, exhibiting the two traits my mother told me were valuable, compassion and empathy. I remember thinking, “ this is a complete stranger and she is being the most caring person in my life” I responded and told her that I was scared and I left him and left Los Angeles, where we lived, to go home to Houston.

As our conversations grew more frequent, my ex boyfriend  grew more aggressive and threatened to come to Houston on several occasions. When I told my mother what had been going on and that the girl I was talking to, having learned she was younger than me and a college student,  told me to leave the guy and I listened to the girl. My mother first made a snide comment that I’ll refrain from sharing and was upset I confided in a stranger rather than her. I laughed and told my mother that this girl who I’ve known for about a week has shown more compassion towards me than she has in my entire life, I slammed the door and went out partying with friends I had not seen.

The entire time, I couldn’t stop thinking about the girl and how comfortable our conversations were. I was talking to her while I was out with my friends, who were asking me how I could be smiling with all that was going on ( I had finally told them). I smiled and said nothing, but my smile was soon interrupted by a blonde haired, blue eyed guy, who asked me if he could buy me a drink. I nonchalantly said yes but couldn’t take my eyes off the phone. He looked at me and said  are you talking to your boyfriend, poignant to the phone, and I said no, I don’t have a boyfriend, I Just got out of a relationship. He smiled and said well whoever got your attention is lucky, and said to enjoy the drink and wished me a good night. I left the bar feeling conflicted because here I was talking to a girl in Canada who I enjoyed talking to, and yet, I couldn’t get the blond haired guy out of my head. I put my phone away in my purse, and went back into the bar and found the guy and asked him to dance, he looked down at me and said what about your “friend”, pointing to the phone. I laughed and said, I told you, I am single. After we danced, we talked for about 2 hours and found out that my best friend, dated his brother, and he knew her well a long time ago. I told him about my ex and everything that was going on with my life, and told him that the girl I was messaging, lived in Canada and was a 21 year old college student who I actually didn’t know her name. He laughed and said well at least you got someone to talk to with all you were going through. He told me he was in a change of career, still in investment banking, but wanted to open his own firm, and is taking a break.

As I kept talking to both Eric, the guy, and the girl in Canada, I realized I had feelings for both of them, but my ex wouldn’t stop harassing me, and even threatened to come to Texas. The police were unhelpful and I was starting to fear for my life. I talked to Eric, we had grown really close, and he suggested I leave the country for two weeks and take a vacation and clear my head, my mother agreed. I was still talking to the girl in Canada who I did learn her name, but omitted that I one, liked her and two, my ex was threatening me.

As Eric and I grew closer and closer, my ex kept getting more hostile and I knew I had to leave the country for what I thought would be a very short vacation. I also knew my friends knew my ex and told two people i was leaving and asked a close friend to watch my social media accounts, and to message Eric if anything bad happened like my ex asking questions. I decided to ask Eric to come with me as well, as we have grown close. Now to make a long story shorter, I neglected to tell the Canadian girl I was leaving and neglected to tell the friend that I was talking to a girl in Canada or anyone for that matter, and it ended up blowing up into a series of unfortunate events. I initially thought I’d be gone or two weeks but as the end of September turned into October and November, the election happened and I one freaked out, two, I assumed everything was going good because my friend said everything was fine in our every 3 week check ins. I did come home for 2 days in December and still thought everything was fine because I had no phone and was off social media.

In early February, around the 13th, I get a phone call from my friend watching my accounts, saying I had to come home immediately because something terrible had happened. I asked calmly what was going on and I knew it was serious when she said, you need to get home now, I cant explain it over the phone. I hung up and told Eric it was time to go home, and was actually planning on returning home soon anyways. I get home and find that my friend has entered into an online relationship with the girl in Canada as me, and the girl figured it out and wont talk to her anymore. I at first thought it was a joke and burst out laughing, but she showed me the texts and messages and emails. I sat there trying to figure out how to remedy a chaotic situation, that to be honest, was entirely my fault. I decided to forgive my friend because people make mistakes and everyone deserves a second chance. I knew I had to make things right with the girl who was incensed with me. In an attempt to contact her, I had to resort to email as she had blocked me on everything else imaginable and had her friend do the talking for her, who wasn’t fond of me either. After days of emailing her trying to get closure and explaining myself, I get a very interesting email response that basically said she regretted everything including our conversations in July and wasn’t listening to God and that she shouldn’t have shown me compassion. I remember my entire body froze and I broke down into tears. I was at lunch with my friend and I had to excuse myself from the table and I threw up in the bathroom. Now, to be clear, I am not blaming her for being furious or upset, she had every right to be angry. I called Eric, who I had started dating casually, and told him everything and how I was feeling confused. See, my God teaches compassion and empathy, and I didn’t understand how someone else’s God could teach anger and resentment. To me, her compassion saved my life because i probably would’ve stayed with the guy or tried to talk to him instead of realizing he was abusive and an ass. However, to her, it was a mistake and actions she wish she never participated in.

Since she sent that email in early March, which I never replied too, I have wrestling with my idea of faith and purpose. I have delved myself into medical school and art, and even walked into a Church for the first time in years. I even called my mom and told her what had happened and after making her usual snide comment, she said I should write this down, as it could be rather cathartic.

As angry as she is with me, and how maybe our lives are unfortunately going in different directions at this time, I do not regret reaching out to her for one second. To end this very long blog post, I ask anyone who is having trouble in life, in an abusive relationship, or just needing a shoulder to cry on, to please talk to me and don’t ever let anyone tell you what you did was wrong.

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