You know the exact moment that the person you once knew disappeared. Something happened to you. Perhaps it was rape, perhaps it was a phone call saying someone you love died, or perhaps it was a near death experience. Whatever it was, that was the moment that you lost sight of that spark you had inside of you.

That fire that burned so brightly inside your heart, that one that had you dancing under the moon to the music in your soul, it went out in a split second. It had a wet blanket thrown over it and all that was left was smoke and a few embers. You walked around in a daze, for weeks, perhaps even months, feeling like you were walking in someone else’s shoes.

Even though life has gone back to normal, you still feel…off. You feel disconnected. You can talk about what happened without getting choked up anymore. You can look at the clothes you were wearing that night and not want to throw up anymore, but you still feel… off. Those around you that saw you suffer for that immediate period after, think you are back to normal because you are back to your old ways and habits. You know differently though, only you can feel the disconnection.

You miss those nights when you were dancing in the fields under the colours shooting across the sky, laughing because you couldn’t believe that this was your life as you shared the moment with your best friend over the phone. Your heart was exploding with so much joy that all you could do was spin circles and cry happy tears. You miss those mornings where you opened your eyes, and spent your first waking thoughts thinking about how grateful you are that this is your life before you started your day of kick-assery. You miss you. That spark. That laugh that shook your entire core. That full emotion behind everything you do. You would give anything to feel like that person you were the morning before it all changed.

It’s not that you haven’t felt happy since, it’s just… you haven’t FELT it to the extreme magnitude that you did before the night that the fire went out. There are moments that the smouldering embers are stoked, and they flare up, giving you hope that you are more in touch with that person you were before the wet blanket. Then the flames fade back out to embers, and you wonder when the fuck you are going to feel normal again.

We all have a processing time, a healing time, and a forgiving time. No healing journey is the same and you cannot compare your length of being in a “what the fuck” stage to anybody else’s.

Each day that passes, the flames that flare up from the embers stand tall a little longer. Something someone says stirs them yet again. You hear a song that speaks to you in a way it never did before. You catch yourself staring at the moon the way you used to. The flames begin to ignite a little more frequently.

You just have to keep dancing, even when you feel disconnected, just keep dancing. You just have to keep laughing, even when you feel your soul is a little empty behind it, just keep laughing. You have to do that which is normal, even though you know it feels forced, even though you know you don’t feel yourself right now, you just have to keep doing it.

Be gentle with yourself. Be okay with admitting that you aren’t fully yourself right now and don’t be pressuring yourself to quicken the process. There will be a day that the embers ignite to a full flame and it will stay that way. It may not be today or tomorrow, it may not be next month, but it will come.

The person you once knew will come back. Although, she will be a different version. She will be stronger. She will be wiser. She will be more resilient.

You will never be the person you once were, you will be better. And one day, that fire will burn much brighter.

Be patient, my friend.

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