I’ve read a couple of Colleen’s books before. I knew I was in for another treat when I picked “It Ends With Us” after reading a couple of positive reviews by fellow bloggers. In this book, the author’s personal perspective makes the story stand out among others. In her own words, “This was not entertainment for me. It was the most grueling thing I have ever written.” The despair is apparent in her characters – their anguish, suffering, and hopelessness. There were tears shed, not going to lie. It’s impossible not to. If you have ever lost a loved one, you would be able to relate to the agonizing emotions expressed so articulately in the book by Colleen. It Ends With Us is filled with introspective, profound quotes about life, love, and everything in between. Sharing a few of my favorites here.
All humans make mistakes. What determines a person’s character aren’t the mistakes we make. It’s how we take those mistakes and turn them into lessons rather than excuses.
Life is a funny thing. We only get so many years to live it, so we have to do everything we can to make sure those years are as full as they can be. We shouldn’t waste time on things that might happen someday, or maybe even never.
Maybe love isn’t something that comes full circle. It just ebbs and flows, in and out, just like the people in our lives.
Imagine all the people you meet in your life. There are so many. They come in like waves, trickling in and out with the tide. Some waves are much bigger and make more of an impact than others. Sometimes the waves bring with them things from deep in the bottom of the sea and they leave those things tossed onto the shore. Imprints against the grains of sand that prove the waves had once been there, long after the tide recedes.
Sometimes even grown women need their mother’s comfort so we can just take a break from having to be strong all the time.
I think that’s one of the biggest signs a person has matured—knowing how to appreciate things that matter to others, even if they don’t matter very much to you.
Just because someone hurts you doesn’t mean you can simply stop loving them. It’s not a person’s actions that hurt the most. It’s the love. If there was no love attached to the action, the pain would be a little easier to bear.
If I had to compare this feeling (of separation) to something, I would compare it to death. Not just the death of anyone. The death of the one. The person who is closer to you than anyone else in the whole world. The one who, when you simply imagine their death, it makes your eyes tear up. It’s an astronomical amount of grief. An enormous amount of pain. It’s a sense that I’ve lost my best friend, my lover, my husband, my lifeline. But the difference between this feeling and death is the presence of another emotion that doesn’t necessarily follow in the event of an actual death. Hatred.
I feel like everyone fakes who they really are, when deep down we’re all equal amounts of screwed up. Some of us are just better at hiding it than others.
I don’t think being a little guarded is a negative thing. Naked truths aren’t always pretty.
Sometimes you can’t control where your mind goes. You just have to train it not to go there anymore.
Sometimes the things that matter to you most are also the things that hurt you the most. And in order to get over that hurt, you have to sever all the extensions that keep you tethered to that pain.
Cycles exist because they are excruciating to break. It takes an astronomical amount of pain and courage to disrupt a familiar pattern. Sometimes it seems easier to just keep running in the same familiar circles, rather than facing the fear of jumping and possibly not landing on your feet.
Misery spanning the entire morning and half of afternoon,
No breakfast, no lunch; hunger killed by words as sharp as a knife,
Hunger killed by heart-numbing brashness.
Soul crushing, sky falling, world burning,
It feels like death – this beginning of the end.
Death of a person still very much alive,
Death of a marriage,
Death of love.
I push myself up, wiping away tears,
I head outdoors,
I walk aimlessly, like a lost soul,
And I spot a small café.
“I should eat something.“
An order placed with gloom. Face full of despair.
Eyes down. Gaze lowered. No strength to face anyone,
No strength to smile.
“A cup of coffee and a sandwich.“
The order arrives,
I lift my gaze, and I smile,
The coffee has a heart on top.
A beautiful little heart.
Intrigued, I look at other cups around me,
No, this one is just for me.
In a sea of pain, it felt like a wave of comfort,
A compassionate message,
A comforting hug.
I look around for the waiter,
I spot him in a corner,
Working but eyes fixed on me.
He smiles compassionately,
I smile back,
A sign that the world is not so bad after all,
A sign that I’ll be okay – even if it’s the beginning of the end.
Context: The magic of kindness.A stranger I’ve never met before provided me hope on the most hopeless of days. I never met him after that. The incident happened years ago, but I still think of it fondly. I feel a cocktail of emotions whenever I remember that moment in the café. It still makes me smile.
I am in my late 30s, and I might never get married.
Initially, I wanted to. I terribly did. When I was in my teens, I never pictured myself as an unmarried woman with no children. In my dreams, I had a dashing husband, the cutest of kids, and all the usual, regular mush coated with a sugary sweetness that had the full potential to make anyone diabetic.
Then life happened.
Life happens for everyone of course, but for me, my journey took a complete U-turn from what I expected.
I did not get a dreamy husband.
I was not a dreamy wife.
I did not get any dreamy children.
My fairy tale turned out to be a horror story in disguise.. and I got divorced.
I thought my life was going to end. How is a woman in her late 20s going to live without a husband? It used to hurt initially. The thought that life would be so unfair, blessing others with the good things in life while I was left with nothing but despair, was too much for me to fathom. A desolate soul in search of a deeper meaning in the form of marital status – that was me.
In hindsight, I never enjoyed my marital life – if you take away the husband part of it as well. The regular chores, and the responsibilities, made me think, “Is this what I am going to do the rest of my life?” I had no time for hobbies, things that mattered to me, my work, or anything that kept me alive, active, and fulfilled. Marital life is indeed a busy world, and you should not step into it unless you are ready to take on the responsibilities, compromises, and adjustments that come with cohabitation.
I was never ready for it.
Within a few years of my divorced life, I realized how much I was adjusting and compromising in my married life. When I left the relationship, it was as if a chain was broken, and I finally attained wings to fly. This freedom felt like finally finding water in a desert. My thirst, however, did not get quenched. Instead, I found it ever-increasing. The thirst to enjoy the things I want, the thirst to not be answerable to anyone for the first time in my life, the thirst to just be. It was liberating, it was extraordinary, and it felt like love. I never knew love in the form of freedom. I thought love could only be found in people. It took a break from one kind of love for me to discover another. The type of love that I had never experienced before because all through my life I was told: “marriage is important.”
I never realized a woman could live without getting married. I have seen others living a content life without tying the knot, but I used to look at them with compassion. The thought that marriage is mandatory and the only thing that can make a woman happy was so ingrained and indoctrinated in me that any other way of living was callously dismissed.
Why did it take a divorce for me to find freedom? The answer might be that the people in my vicinity finally stopped pressurizing me to get into something I was not comfortable with i.e., marriage.
Note the usage of the word “unmarried” instead of “single.” A good relationship is like a cherry on the cake. It is a bonus—a plus. But I feel if a relationship is what makes you feel “complete,” then it would mean that you are lacking otherwise. This is far from the truth. We should celebrate individuality as much as coupledom, if not more. In the end, it all boils down to choice. There is never really one single right path. But you should have the complete freedom to choose the path you desire.
My dream is no longer marriage. It feels like I have seen the other side, and now I choose the other side – the path less taken. My dream is now to selfishly enjoy my freedom till the end of life. To those wondering how the path is – it is not easy. It is definitely not easy. You always have this big FOMO because everyone around you is following a path entirely different from yours – they find someone they love, they marry, and they live happily(?) ever after.
What happens when you don’t marry? For a reclusive person like me, it is a journey of self-discovery, freedom, and fulfillment. For another, it might be that of melancholy. It truly is subjective. But it is a life that is definitely worthy, liveable, and sustainable.
To end this with the ever-famous lines by Robert Frost:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.