You Matter to Me

 In Weekly Forum Discussion, Writer in Residence

I was broken in pieces lying on my floor, I couldn’t stop the tears. I sobbed uncontrollably; I felt alone, I was no one anyone cared about. I wasn’t needed or wanted. The words I heard from a man who said he loved me played over and over in my mind, “You are a failure, you’re worthless,” “You suck the life out of people,” “The world would be better off without you,” “Are you stupid?” “You don’t think,” “You’re incompetent” “Why don’t you just lay down and die?” I was truly broken. All I saw was darkness. Why was I still here? I wasn’t any good to anyone. I was a blubbering mess.

In that brokenness I received a message from a friend I had not heard from in 25 years. I responded with a lie. No one wants to hear the truth. I said I was “fine.”
My friend didn’t believe me and lucky for me he is persistent. He messaged me every day. He still didn’t believe I was fine and he decided to call. I am not even sure why I answered. All I did was sob. He couldn’t even understand me.

This friend lives on the other side of the United States. He believed in the spirit of the kind girl he grew up with, the girl I used to be, and deep down the girl I still was. He believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.

He had a friend who helped people going through difficult times. He hoped I would talk to her. Through tears I sobbed, “Okay.”

I had no idea my life was about to change. Her weekly telephone calls changed my life. She pushed me, gave me homework and helped me study healthy relationships. I learned how to study the people around me. I worked hard. I wanted to get better for myself and my family.

Through these beautiful people, who did not give on me, I have turned a corner. I am out of the darkness, dancing into my sunshine. I want to be the type of friend they were to me. I want to reach out and help people. We all go through rough patches. I want to be that light for someone in the darkness, reminding them that someone loves them, cares for them, and needs them.

Each day I heal a little more, each day I am stronger, my journey to this place wasn’t easy, but I wouldn’t change one thing. I have met some amazing people and I have learned a lot. I know I am strong, competent, funny, that I bring life to others, that I am unique and amazing.

Inspired by others, I sent a message to a woman I haven’t seen in 15 years. She went through a divorce many years ago, while her children were still quite young. She branched out from the company where she worked, and started a company with investors. She bought her own home, raised her children, and won leadership awards. I thanked her for being a shining example to others. She took a dark and painful situation and came out stronger.

Like her, I want to be an example of strength, hope, and love.

Written by: Collette Cottingham; Guardian Angels

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