Nieszczur: Becoming a stronger woman

Alexis Nieszczur, IC Columnist

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Life as you know it: Gone. Vanished. Changed. The girl with every second of her life planned out is now sitting with a blank slate facing her.  It is an ominous, vulnerable and terrifying feeling.  How can she trust again? How can she pick herself up? Who will be there for her? Who will understand?

These are all the thoughts that have been haunting my mind for the past few months.

Life suddenly changed and stopped me in my tracks.  No longer did I have my perfectly planned out life sitting in front of me.  Instead, I was faced with uncertainty, doubt and guilt.

First, it was disbelief.  I refused to accept my situation.  I convinced myself that it wasn’t real, that it was a phase and that it too would pass. Then it hit me like a brick in the face. The reality of my situation set in.

I was alone for the first time since I was 14. What would my life be like without a significant other?  Who even was I without him?  How would anyone view me without being attached to him?  Who was I even, really?  I was devastated and depressed.

I am the eternal optimist, but I found myself loathing and wallowing in my situation.  I tried to avoid help from those who cared.  I shut myself out from situations that would involve me giving explanations.  In all honesty, it was the darkest time of my life.

Thankfully, in my case, I found acceptance.  I know that it is all too easy to get stuck in the rut of disbelief and depression.  However, I came out a stronger woman.  I picked myself up, brushed myself off and decided that I would choose happiness. I wouldn’t have any regrets, and I wouldn’t cover myself in hatred anymore.

Life is all about living and learning, picking yourself up and making for better days. I moved on because I had to and because it was what the all-too-long hushed strong woman inside of me was yelling at me to do.

I decided I would no longer let this unfortunate life event determine my mental state. Through this experience, I found a whole new degree of self-love that I had never previously experienced.

I saw myself as a strong, independent woman who knew her own worth.  I didn’t feel the need for attention or sympathy.  I found myself and focused on her for the first time in much too long.

They often say that it takes a difficult situation like mine to truly make you appreciate the support system that has been around you the whole time. This was true for me.  People stepped up when they needed to.  My friends and family checked in to make sure I was doing well.  I was offered places to stay and was given plenty of comfort, food and girls’ nights. My relationships with those around me grew stronger, and I grew more thankful for those who took the time to care about me.

The unsure road ahead no longer seemed as ominous.  Rather, it looked like a clean slate: It is a time to live, experiment, have fun and fall more in love with myself.

For the past six years, I had only known myself as a package deal with my significant other. I had never given myself the chance to truly get to know me and embrace who I was really meant to be.  Today, however, I am loving who I am. My self-confidence, which was eternally low, has found a new reason to rise. No longer did my happiness depend on the opinions of others; I found it within myself and in my own strength.

I became my own hero, and I sought endlessly to better develop myself.  It was truly refreshing to not know what the next day, month, year or several years looked like. I put my situation in God’s hands and trusted that he would take care of me — and he has.

I’m using my painful experience to encourage you that life cannot always be planned and may not always turn out the way we expect. You truly cannot “put all your eggs in one basket” and know what your future will look like five years down the line.  Life happens, and we must be willing to adjust to the changing times.

Live in the moment, and don’t let your happiness be tied to anyone but yourself because you are stronger than the battles that are before you.  You will come out of the hardest situations stronger than you ever imagined.  See the beauty in the chances of a fresh start.

Love yourself and embrace the strong woman within you, for she is in every one of us, just waiting to be discovered.

Alexis Nieszczur is a third-year PharmD student in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

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Nieszczur: Becoming a stronger woman