[BUTTERFLY SYMBOLISM: powerful transformation, metamorphosis in ones life or personality; moving through different life cycles; rebirth; elevation from earthly matters, turning into emotional or spiritual] The human experience is tricky. We find ourselves in the worst situations and sometimes the best situations. Sometimes our relatives are our worst enemies. Sometimes our best friends have hidden agendas. Sometimes you meet your soulmate at the age of eight years old and spend the next 50 years with them living happily ever after. Some people never experience any type of trauma. Others experience the death of pets, friends, and family members. It is the way of life yet when the tragedy hits us unexpectedly, we are never prepared for how we feel. I've experienced nearly 22 years of a thunderous life. My journey has not been easy. I know people who have it so easy and sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have it that simple. Comparing journeys is not the best idea, but sometimes I look around and wonder what it would be like to have someone else's life. Opportunities fall into their hands. Relationships blossom gracefully. They have the best life with little to no effort. It's quite amazing how we lead such opposing lives. Last year has brought a significant shift in my consciousness. My eyes have been opened to multiple fresh perspectives. I've outgrown nearly everyone in my life (except my beautiful dog, of course). I've seen people's true colors. The blind fold has been ripped off of my naïve eyes. Yet the blindfold was never truly on. I chose to ignore the signs. I chose to ignore the truth. I kept hoping there would be a change in the negativity that surrounded me. It took me years to understand that there was never going to be a positive change in people. The positive change would be me who would choose to leave relationships and situations that hurt me deeply behind. It's quite terrifying to take the step to end friendships and heal from trauma, but if I can do it, anyone can. When I love, I love hard. I'm all in or not in at all. I see the best in people. I see their potential and that causes me to stay in dangerous territory. People pleasing and being an emotional punching bag has turned me into a strong, independent, and even more empathetic being. I am grateful for everyone who has come into my life because they have awakened in me who I want to be. They reminded me of my own true colors. Though there were times when I was the victim, there were also times where I was the one hurting others. Through this mutual pain, I have found the light. All of my mistakes and all of my experiences have led to be this person now, so full of love. Instead of being full of grief, guilt, self-doubt, extremely low self-esteem, depressed, and full of suicidal thoughts, I am now full of self-love, confidence, compassion, and gratitude. A question that frequently pops into my mind is, “How much pain can I possibly handle?” The answer surprises me to this day. The only issue is once you've experienced trauma, you worry that it'll happen again. Once you've healed, there are still scars. The experiences never evaporate as if they never happened. They are deep within our souls. We carry them forever. There are happy moments, of course, but sometimes the pain creeps in through the light. The light is then attracted to the darkness. The issue is, the darkness takes over the light with minimal effort. The real difficult part is remembering the light inside. It takes a lot to balance the darkness and the light. And that is my journey now. The damage is done. The lessons are learned. Now to mend the light and the dark is the next level. To anyone who's reading this that relates to any of my words – you are worthy of the best life you can imagine for yourself. Always stand up for yourself and never back down. Express yourself freely. If there's any negative relationships in your life (even if they're family members) release them. Take the lessons you learned and move on with your life. It is the most freeing and peaceful feeling you'll ever experience. It's scary to leave your comfort zone, but once you do, you'll seldom crave it. Life is composed of both good and evil and humans are composed of both good and evil. One cannot exist without the other. Light attracts dark and dark attracts light. All that matters is that you learn from your mistakes. Keep on keeping on. The human experience is tough, but you are tougher.