By Brooke Cockrell
There I was standing across the man I was in love with, the man who I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with - hearing him say that he didn’t love me anymore.
With those words, the world around me became cloudy, unclear, and completely turned upside down.
Let me backtrack to about my 7th grade year when I first remember feeling insecure as a result of verbal abuse. I was endlessly bullied for my weight and race and even managed to get a hate MySpace page created about me. Those years of abuse quickly turned into self-harming and a long battle with an eating and body disorder.
Years of struggling with my body image and never feeling like I measured up
Using whatever I could get my hands on to help give me some sense of wanting
I so desperately desired to be desired
That was my reality. Using temporary means to heal a very real and deep wound.
Then came love.
A very real love.
One that heard my story, my struggles and said “I love you, I’m here for you”
This was it - this is what would finally fix me.
This is what would heal that wound.
As a very young and immature 18-year-old dating an older guy telling me the promises of marriage and future together I became consumed.
I looked to him for validation
I looked to him to fill me - to complete me, because that's what I was always told, love is when other person completes you.
I lived in the lens of tunnel vision
All I saw was the end - the day he would propose, we would get married, and then we would start a life together
I didn't see the fighting
I didn’t see how I was pulling him down
I didn’t see how our intimacy was hurting not helping us
The end was a crash and burn type
No chance of working through it
I was just cut off from this man who was my everything
And faced with the reality that this man who said he would be there for me till the end was walking away from me
The days, months, and years, following my breakup was so dark - so filled with insecurity, depression, fears, and heartbreak
But time went on and so did life. And I remember driving my car one day and thinking “Brooke, either you can end this right now or you can continue driving. You may not know how long it will take to get to your destination or the detours you will have to take along the way, but you know that eventually you will make it.”
So I continued driving.
Driving towards a life that
became the journey of rebuilding myself.
Other than a select few, I separated myself from the people I had known for years
I spent time trying to find healthy escapes rather than resorting to hurting myself
I spent a lot of days alone
I spent a lot of days with my nose in a book or with hand cramps from journaling
And eventually I became myself - the Brooke I was created to be
I became strong
Not afraid to be alone
And the guts to say no to disrespect
This journey to finding myself has been a long one - 965 days to be exact and honestly it will be a journey I’ll be one until I take my last breath
Everyday I strive to learn something new about myself
What makes my heart quicken
What irks me
What fuels inspiration
To learn from my mistakes but never dwell in them
To move forward even if it’s just one step
How to love myself better
How to love others better
To continually evolve.
I can try and take the credit - but I give it all to my Creator. He was there in my darkness and came to my rescue in my vulnerable, messy, desperate, and helpless state.
And it is in His love that I found my worth.
He showed me what true love is.
That He is the only person who can complete my heart because He is the one who made it
That only He can heal those wounds
That humanly love is not about completing each other, but about complementing each other
But the most important thing my God showed me was
My worthiness of being loved
How precious I am
How important and valuable I am
And no matter how many times I fail, how many breakups I go through, how many mistakes I make, what words people use against me
I was, am, and will always be worth loving
People need to understand the weight of their words - and I mean that in terms of positive and negative use of language. We as humans have this incredible weapon of our tongue that has the power to either build up or destroy the people around us.
That's why Love You, Love People is one of my favorite stances by SWL.
It seems simple, but in reality loving yourself is one of the hardest things in the world, and something I still struggle with. And I’ve learned that you can never love someone with that real genuine life changing love until you learn to love yourself.