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  • Marya Kazmi

The Burden of Resilience

When something becomes your “super power” and you can’t embody it you feel like a failure and imposter syndrome creeps in to make you freeze. I used to think being resilient was my strength I could draw on to heal all my wounds. This time though, it’s been a burden rather than a tool.

My resiliency has had to be tapped into the most when healing from the heartbreak love has always fed me. It started a month ago with a man I was so sure for the last four years, had cared for me deeply. It was a Sunday afternoon when we were talking and I heard in his words and through his gentle tone how much he cared for me and wanted me to know that he wouldn’t harm or put me down like I had experienced in the past with others. We shared stories like we always did and reflected on time spent together just a few days before when he came by to see me. The call ended and I was confident in his feelings and the depth of his genuine care for me.

Then, the next day he turned around in the middle of a workday and delivered a distant and cold voice memo that I was no longer a part of his life. Only after my request he followed that message up with a phone call. It was no better. He was aloof, unemotional and dismissed what we had created and built between each other over the four years of being in each other's lives into something disposable that he was done with and could cut off without a thought. I was distraught and confused with tears streaming down my face while sitting outside my office on a park bench trying to make sense of what had transpired in the past thirty minutes.

Just like that a friendship, a relationship and a bond I valued and placed my trust in was snatched out of my life and I was left to pull together the pieces of my heart and belief in my intuition of who I allowed myself to let my guard down with. All the while, I was still trying to navigate and show up for a regular workday.

As we spoke tears were streaming down my face while I softly pleaded with him to stop being cold and just be gentle with his tone and words the way I had grown accustomed to him engaging with me even in hard conversations. But he wouldn’t even try to show emotions. So I was trying to make sense of this while sitting outside the building during my lunch break. I felt my reality crumble in a bewildered state. Then within 5 minutes, wiped my eyes, fixed my face and walked back into the building. I was feeling weak in the knees and knew internally it was taking everything in me to stand, let alone perform as the “ever resilient” Marya who takes on emotions and stuffs them away in order to constantly push my pain into power.

This so-called power felt like a two-ton weight suffocating me from truly honoring the reality of everything my mind, heart and soul were experiencing in this shockingly harsh breakup of not just a romantic relationship but most significantly, a valued friendship.

In the hours, days and weeks that followed strength became this mask I put on each morning and ripped off the moment I was finally alone in the silence of my thoughts. My mind was spinning like a tornado of internal confusion. Staying present and engaged with my colleagues, children, friends and sometimes even myself was an active pursuit of healing and daily mental endurance exercise.

I would remind myself all I needed to do was get through that moment, meeting, conversation or interaction and soon I’d be able to be alone and let it all down to allow myself to be broken and a mess. I would be anxious to just be alone in my car or bedroom for the safety to dissolve into a crying blob who could collapse into every ounce of pain I was carrying silently and privately inside.

In many ways being seen as powerful and trying to convince myself that I was strong has made healing and grieving this loss of love and a cherished connection one of the most difficult months in the past four years since I met him.

This is what makes me human but I also hate this part of being human. I loathe my own emotions. To be stuck so deep in them for this long left me in a perpetual state of discomfort and distrust of my own thoughts and heart. Healing hurts and sometimes it sucks but having my humanity and allowing myself to feel the flood or trickle of emotions in the memories, hope or disillusionment with this current reality was necessary to start mending my heart.

I have a long way to go and every step I take forward is difficult, but movement is progress even

if all it entails is a few less moments of sadness each day. Between the random cries and bittersweet memories, day by day I am determined to find my power while also giving myself grace to experience grief in this pain.


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