“I was desperate. I was alone. My girlfriend of three years finally left me. After all the hurt and pain I had caused her, she finally walked out the door one day, vowing to never return. I knew this time she wasn’t coming back. I knew I had lost her forever. At 19, you think you have it all figured out. You think love is fighting through the pain and letting go of the hurt you caused one another. You think love is everlasting, and no matter what, it can, and it will prevail. We were in this constant circle of hurting one another. I wanted her to forgive me for things I had done but not change. I was a terrible person in those days. I caused a lot of hurt.
There’s a long list of hurt in the pages of my book. My body tells a story of pain. The scars and the tattoos were a constant reminder of the suffering that seemed endless. I suffered for years in silence. My pleas for help fell upon deaf ears. They thought I just wanted attention, but I was fighting to be heard and loved. I was constantly searching to find my place in this life, this life that seemed to only bring me hurt and disappointment from those who I love. In my youth, I could say things were out of my hands, but as an adult, I had to hold myself accountable for my actions. I had to realize she left because of me. The weight of my actions was overwhelming. Guilt consumed me. I decided I couldn’t do it anymore. I decided I couldn’t live.
I jumped in my car and sped down to Walmart. I needed a gun. I needed a quick way out. I filled out the paperwork, and they came back saying I wouldn’t be able to buy the shotgun I so desperately wanted at this time. You see a couple of years before this, I was 17 and living with my friend Tyler. I worked an overnight shift at my local grocery store down the road. Sometimes, I would come home and sometimes I wouldn’t. Despite just being friends, he was possessive of me. We fought a lot about where and who I was with. We drank an obscene amount of alcohol. When you grow up in a college town, there’s always some party to go to.
Since I was 14, I had been drinking my life away. We both had a lot of issues and been abandoned by our families. We both had a lot of pain and anger bottled up. It was extremely unhealthy, but at that time, we had each other. One night, and I can’t remember why, we got into a physical altercation. We were both drunk, and what started as verbal turned physical quick. I can’t remember too much about that night. All I really remember is him calling the cops and me going to sit outside on the steps to wait for them. That night I was arrested and went to jail for assault and family violence. So, basically, my arrest from two years ago sent up a little red flag and prevented me from buying this gun.
My brain went back to panic mode. What do I do? What do I do? What do I do? I got in my car and just started driving. I had a friend who lived out in the country. The road he lived on was curvy and winding and full of trees. I’ll drive there I thought. I’ll just crash the car. I drove up and down and back and forth. Tears were streaming down my face. I drove fast. My heart was pounding. My phone rang, and it was a sheriff. My ex had called the cops. I think I had left a brief suicide letter in the restroom at our apartment. He tries to talk me down. He begs me to tell him where I’m at. I’m adamant. I don’t want help. I just want to die. I hang up the phone, and after 20 minutes or so, I was ready. I decided it was time.
There was a tree line up ahead. I knew with the way the road curved, I would end up hitting one at least. I closed my eyes and let go of the steering wheel. It was so brief, but it felt like minutes. I felt the car go off the road. It got bumpy. I felt the impact. I hit something. I felt the car flipping. And then, all the noise ceased. I could hear my car hissing. I could hear people running and screaming. I opened my eyes. I was still alive. It didn’t work. I remember the first thing I thought about was no longer having a car. It’s silly, I know. Somehow, someway, I was ejected from the vehicle. When the car hit the tree, it began flipping down the fence line and struck a telephone pole, causing it to swing around and flip over the fence and land on a smaller tree. It landed facing the road, and I was in a pile of cactus lying next to the passenger side door.
I didn’t believe in God in those days. I felt he had left during a time I needed him most. This experience changed my life. God was there now more than ever. I remember lying in the hospital bed, telling my mom how it all happened. How I felt no pain. How when my car was flipping over and over, it didn’t feel like I was being tossed around. It felt like I was gently tumbling. I told her I knew I was no longer in the car because, despite having my eyes closed, things got brighter. I felt like someone had grabbed me from under my armpits and gently placed me on the ground. I walked away from this accident with a tiny little scratch. One scratch. It didn’t make any sense. As I laid there, the state trooper came in to write me a ticket for not wearing my seatbelt and finish up some paperwork. He was so confused by how I ended up out of the vehicle. I don’t even think science could have explained what happened. I just remember telling him if you don’t believe me, ask the witnesses who showed up to help. (It was around 2 p.m. when my accident happened in broad daylight.)
When my ex didn’t show up to see me in the hospital, I knew I had to let go. People don’t define our lives. We choose the direction we want and need to go in. We choose to live life for us and not someone else. We think love is this magical thing you only find once in a lifetime. Its been ingrained in us that when you find ‘the one’ to not let them go because you’ll never have it again. If only someone had told me then that this is a lie. You do find love again, and sometimes, it’s even better than before. Heartbreak is brutal, and it feels endless. There is hope. You can rebuild yourself to be a better, stronger you. You can choose to live and actually start living.
My hope is this reaches someone who is struggling. This reaches someone who feels like their world will never be the same after that one person leaves. You can and you will love again.
I’m fortunate to be here. I’m fortunate to have had another chance at life. That day my old life ended, and my new life started.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Vanessa Spires. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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