In light of this week’s American tradition, I have been reflecting on the things I am thankful for. There are the obvious: my job, my family, my friends, my great hair. But some days I like to think outside of the box, and be thankful for those blessings-in-disguise that sneak up on me. Today is one of those days, and I am oh-so-thankful. -Originally published on The Well Written Woman.  

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Dear Heartbreak,

I have to admit; I never really expected you. Are you always so abrupt? You kind of took the wind out of me. Like that time I was eight and I begged my dad to let me go down the big metal slide at the park, only to fall on my face and stop breathing for two full minutes. Yeah, abrupt like that.

The first time I met you, I thought I was literally going to die. You have this ridiculous ability to scrape away at my soul with what feels like a sheath knife, without even being something physical I can grasp onto. I wish I could grasp onto you and choke the life out of you. Instead, you kind of did that to me. I cried in new ways and I spoke in new terms. I don’t know when I stopped functioning normally, but I know it was sometime during our first encounter. You took part of me that I’m not sure I will ever get back. People call you difficult. It was not difficult to meet you; it was unbearable.

The subsequent times we were able to meet always surprised me. Maybe I’m naïve, but I never knew you were coming to pay me a visit and then BAM! There we were, curled up on the couch watching reruns of When Harry Met Sally all over again. You disguised your visits as coffee dates or midnight walks. You weave yourself in and out of clichés and horrible looking tears. You were there when my friends let me down, or when my family went through hardships. You always show up. You're faithful like that.

The only thing worse than your presence is your absence. You walk away, and you leave this void of “what am I going to do now?”

I remember meeting you at an airport in the middle of nowhere. As I sat in a chair waiting for my flight, I wept into a napkin and repeatedly asked anyone who was listening, “What am I going to do now?” Then a girl stepped off the terminal and was carrying a bag that had a quote on it, and I felt like someone was talking to me. It said “Bloom where you are planted.”

I used to scream at you and wish you dead. But today as I survey your presence in and out of my life over the last several years, the only phrase that comes to mind is this: Thank you.

Thank you for your lessons; they have shaped my character. Thank you for your pain; it reminds me I am alive. Thank you for your stories; I have used them to touch the lives of countless other women you interact with. And thank you for teaching me that I can survive you; I have a bright future ahead of me. So, for now, we must part ways. I don’t want to see you again ever, though I know that is inevitable. But next time I will be stronger, next time I will be more hopeful. Next time, I plan on kicking your ass.

Sincerely,

Rachel