Good Grief

“To be alive at all is to have scars.”

John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent

It is a strange and heavy experience to describe for someone who hasn’t been there. Waking up in a room you don’t recognize. In front of a boy you don’t know. Wearing clothes that aren’t your own.

I lost my sense of self on the same morning I lost my virginity.

I was 17.

I blamed myself.

And what I didn’t know at the time, was that I’d spend the next decade of my life carrying around the weight and the consequences of that secret.

It’s an interesting phenomenon, the tangible weight you can create out of intangible things.

Guilt. Disgust. Regret. All weightless things can become heavy burdens to bear if you carry them long enough.

Waking up in that room I didn’t recognize, in front of that boy I didn’t know, wearing clothes that didn’t belong to me, was undeniably the most humiliating and terrifying moment of my life.

And trust me, I am great at getting myself into embarrassing situations.

No. That moment was different.

When he was finished, I got dressed and asked him to bring me home.

He drove me home in his mom’s blue Toyota RAV4.

I didn’t know his name. And I didn’t ask what it was.

Instead, I reluctantly thanked him for the ride and silently hoped I’d never see his face again.

I snuck back into the house the same way I left it the night before. Carefully and quietly through our sliding screen door off the kitchen.

Nobody was awake to notice my absence.

After stopping at my cousin’s apartment later that day to retrieve a plan B pill, I parked my car beside a playground, not far from where Plymouth and Golden Valley collide.

I tipped my seat back, swallowed the pill dry, and shut my eyes.

That was the first time in my life I really wished myself dead. And although I didn’t wish to die, there was a little part of me that did die that day.

From that point on, I did what I had to do to dull the sting of my new reality.

From then, that is, until now.

I recently stumbled upon a post that held the last shred of light I needed to reach a point of closure on a few things.

Unironically, it was a post about the process of healing from parental trauma and abuse.

Nothing like a good algorithm moment. Right?

The caption read, “Many of us are only one revelation away from healing. Let’s hold space for that.”

Within that line, I found my revelation.

Within that revelation, I found peace.

Peace and a sense of belonging.

I think healing is a deeply personal, but universally fascinating thing.

You may be wondering what any of this has to do with your grandmother’s favorite idiom, “Good grief.”

Well, I’m getting there.

It took me a little over ten years to grieve the loss of my own innocence. And to stop punishing myself for waking up the way I did that morning.

It took me ten months and 13 days to grieve my last break up.

And it took me until now to forgive myself for all the wrong turns I made leading up to it.

Over the years I’ve learned the best way to build trust with oneself and those around you is by way of keeping promises.

Not secrets.

And so, I decided on a few promises that could bring life back into the dead part of my heart.

“Why is it so hard for you to believe there could be someone out there who wants to love you long enough to understand you?”


It took me one year and some change to arrive at an answer to that million-dollar question. And tonight, I’m happy to report it is beginning to feel a little less hard to believe.

“The love you deserve will clap for the parts of yourself you use to hide. The love you deserve will support you and help you believe in the person you are becoming. It will see gardens within you where you see cemeteries and it will be proud of you—not just when you are a shining example of success, but also when you are not.”

Bianca Sparacino

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