Who’s Standing Beside You When It All Falls Apart?

Who’s Standing Beside You When It All Falls Apart?
📷: Daniel Drewniak

These past two weeks have been weeks of personal growth. And it all started when I went to visit my long distance boyfriend in Florida (a place where cuddling, sipping drinks on the Cocoa Beach Pier, and laughing with him and his son were at the forefront of my mind…not character development).

But when you accidentally leave your entire purse (including all credit/debit cards, cash, ID, coupons, insurance cards, loose change, phone chargers, etc.) on the inbound flight, you quickly learn who you are, how you handle stress, and who’s there when sh*t hits the fan.

For me, that weekend was an eye-opener. I’ve always been someone who’s tried to handle everything on her own. I hate being a burden. I hate asking for help. I hate feeling like I’m letting other people down, or inconveniencing them in any way.

But when you lose (literally) everything you need to (basically) survive, you’re sort of forced to lean on other people to get you through.

And this is something I’m still working on—letting people in, letting people help me, letting go of the idea that I have to be perfect and have my entire life figured out all the time.

I wrote about this on my Instagram account:

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This weekend has been perfectly imperfect – and what I mean by that is that it's been equally beautiful as it was tough. This weekend I flew out to Florida with my boyfriend's son so we could visit his dad. I left my wallet/purse/credit/debit cards/all cash/phone chargers on the plane. I didn't have any means of buying a new charger (my phone was dying of course) let alone food. My boyfriend was at work all day. The airplane left (without finding my stuff) for another airport. It was a hot mess. But I cancelled my cards, changed my attitude, tried to be thankful and realized I couldn't control anything but my next breath. But then, round two last night: running late, long check-in lines an extended no-ID screening made us miss our return flight back. Another moment of tears, stress, and having to depend on everyone around me. I've realized, this weekend, that I struggle with letting go. That it's so hard for me to let other people take care of me. That I have this exterior of toughness, and when it 'breaks' or gets shattered for a moment, I hate letting people see me weak. I break down. I lose the strength I normally carry. This weekend has taught me that sh*t happens. But most importantly, it's okay to ask for help. It's okay to be human. It's okay to let things go, and rely on someone who loves you. It's okay to be imperfect. And at the end of the day, what's important? Not the missed flight, not the gas spent driving to and from the airport, not the $150 cash that's inevitably lost from my purse, not the cancelled cards or tears or moments of stress — what really matters is health, love, safety, relationships, forgiveness, kisses, hugs, laughter, and living in the now. I share this – not because I want pity or prayers but because sometimes life sucks and I think we all need to accept the humanness in that, and yet realize the beauty even amidst the mess. Things didn't go my way (at all) this weekend. But I shared so many wonderful moments, had so much laughter and joy, and learned to let someone else help me. There's beauty in that. And I'm working on seeing it. For anyone else fighting through a mess, this is for you. ❤

A post shared by Marisa Donnelly (@_marisadonnelly) on

Humility, for me, is tough. One of my goals for this year was to be transparent. But sometimes that’s harder than it seems. It’s one thing to talk about the parts that aren’t so bad or to put on a good face for social media. It’s another to acknowledge that you royally messed up…and now need to rely on everyone else to carry you.

What I learned in the crazy experience, though, was this—it’s okay to need people.

I articulated this in a post I shared on Thought Catalog, “Remember Who’s Standing Next To You When It All Falls Apart”:

“Life will hand you obstacles, it will hand you challenges, it will hand you pain. There will be days when even though you try your hardest to have everything together, you’ll still lose your way. There will be nights where you cry yourself to sleep, where you’re so deeply lost, when you’re caught in a web of negative thinking. There will be mornings where you don’t know who you are, or whether you’ll have the strength to begin again.

And it’s in this lowest moments where you must look to see who’s around you, reach out to them, and let them help you back to your feet.

There are people who will stay. There are people who will go to battle. There are people who, despite the circumstances of their personal lives, will be there for you, no questions asked.

There are people who mean their promises, who say forever and mean it. There are people who won’t run at the first sign of trouble, but stand next to you, armored and ready to fight.

Remember those people. The ones who are selfless. The ones who aren’t afraid to take on your problems as their own. The ones who don’t make you feel like you’re a burden, who don’t blame you for shortcomings because they know they’re just as imperfect.

Remember the people who stand by your side when you’re not yourself, when you’ve stumbled or fallen, when you’re not sure who you are. Remember the people who treated you with compassion, with kindness, with care. The ones who didn’t make you feel guilty for being human, but took you under their wing and welcomed you in.”

Watching the way my boyfriend treated me, seeing how he was compassionate, even when my mistakes were an inconvenience to him—he showed me what real love is all about. About being selfless. About putting others first sometimes. About learning to forgive. About accepting mistakes and humanness because we’re human. About lifting your person when they’re down.

That weekend wasn’t supposed to be about learning—but I learned so much. I saw my relationship on an entirely new level, and one that made me more vulnerable, unconsciously. And this is a good thing.

Would I go back and change things? Well, for one, I wish I still had the $150 I stupidly brought in my wallet. But change what I learned? Change the way I relied on my boyfriend instead of always trying to carry, to fix, to be so much more than I need to? Change the closeness that’s now built between us? Honestly, no.

Sometimes situations like these humble us.
And I was humbled.

But honestly, I’m learning to be okay with that.