Disappointment has stages, you realize.

First, there’s shock. How could that have just happened? No way that just happened. But it did, and you know because you’re a living breathing person whose mind is based in reality. You register the words said to you and understand, intrinsically, the outcome before the meaning of those words are even perceived. You know, in your gut, what the outcome is because you’re a “smart cookie” whose intuition is spot on. Sure, you overanalyze the situation, which might seem like you’re overthinking. But really you’re carefully looking at each variable attempting to prepare yourself if things go south. In your mind, when everything adds up to goodness, you begin to wonder what will happen if it isn’t what you expected. Prepare for the worst, you’ve been told. Set your expectations low. And you should have listened to their words because despite all preparation and careful analysis, something did go wrong and the outcome turned out to be something you hadn’t fully prepared for. So shock overtakes and lasts until you’re ready to move on.

When the shock wears off, confusion takes its place. Questions race through your mind, coming at you from every direction it seems, because you can’t stop trying to connect the dots. Each variable has to line up, you tell yourself. There has to be a reason for what’s happening, and there’s a part of you that needs to find it. Not knowing isn’t good enough, you think. So what could it be? And your mind searches and searches and searches, grasping onto any tangible idea that might make itself work logically. Maybe you brought this disappointment on yourself. Or maybe what happened was completely up to chance, fate. Maybe it was neither of those things and some other force entirely, you’re never too certain.

It only takes one step, one leap of faith, to cross over to that other side where your world is bound to be brighter and better than what it once was.

Instead of confusion (because not every disappointment in life is ambiguous), maybe its numbness you feel. Or, if you’re really fucked up, maybe its both at different times or both at the same time. Pick your poison, they’re both terrible.

With questions answered as best they can be and nothing left in the air, you begin to process. Processing requires numbing yourself to the emotion. You start by feeling that emotion so wholeheartedly that your body doesn’t know what to do with itself so it lays there or sits there, just exists really, for one complete moment. Eventually the feeling part goes away because it’s impossible to feel the pain or heartache or confusion or shock anymore. There’s nothing to feel because it is what it is and you know you can’t change what’s been done so you simply exist in this body that’s yours and only yours because it’s the only thing you know how to do, the only consistent thing you’ve managed to do all these years you’ve been on this earth. You sigh, deeply, and feel it in your whole being.

Your existence doesn’t come to an end, not yet and maybe not ever, but your numbness does. You feel rejuvenated after this turbulent period of being feelingless. The world doesn’t seem so against you anymore. Even if the sliver is small, there is a sliver of hope that things will start getting better. Slivers manifest themselves all around you, in the friendly words of a neighbor, the wet lick on the face from a furry pup, and the empowerment of knowing that you’ll be okay.

And you will. Be okay.

You know this.

But it’s hard for you to accept because right now in this moment it seems like everything is against you. But you inch toward those slivers every day, getting closer and closer until slivers become gaps and gaps becoming openings and one day those openings become spaces as far and wide as the sea. You can fit your whole body through them, and it only takes one step, one leap of faith, to cross over to that other side where your world is bound to be brighter and better than what it once was.

All those slivers that you know exist give you hope that one day you will reach the spaces as far and wide as the sea. You realize in this moment of rejuvenation that your whole world is full of those spaces. So every effort from here on out, you say to yourself, will be focused on finding them.

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