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I was scrolling through Reddit.

"What's one thing you wish you'd never gone through?"  Ahh, AskReddit, the deeply philosophical subreddit.  One of my favorites.

I paused before I wrote.  "I was a victim of domestic violence from sixteen to eighteen," I began.  "It's made me a better therapy student," I admitted, "but I could do without the lingering anxiety and PTSD."

For the first time in therapy a few weeks ago, I had acknowledged that I wasn't sorry the abuse had happened.  I wouldn't wish it on anyone - ever - but for myself, I have learned things about myself and my world and my God that I would never have known otherwise.

Later that night, after watching my comment blaze past 25 upvotes, then 50, and then 200, I got up.  I had a chord progression in my head and it wouldn't leave.  It was a sad one - if you know music theory, it's I-vi-IV-V.  If you don't . . . I'll just say it's one that frequently hits me in the feels.  It's a blend of happy and sad, kind of like my life.

As I played the progression, I looked up at my bedroom walls.  There, situated on a shelf, was a tiara my parents had bought me when I was a child.  Memories flashed as I remembered the events leading up to the purchase of this tiara.  I'd had one given to me by my aunt, but one night in a fight before bed, it was broken.  I remembered the shame I felt as I realized that one of my prized possessions was broken beyond repair.  If only I had never fought with my dad . . . He promised to buy me a new one, and he did.  But I still remember the shame.

I thought of other things I felt shame about.  Next to the tiara was a German-made teacup and saucer set I'd bought at an antique mall with my boyfriend and his mom.  My boyfriend was my abuser, the perpetrator of the domestic violence.  

This December 31st will mark two years since we broke up.

I remember knowing I'd never continue without him.

Two months after we broke up, I auditioned at my dream music conservatory and got in.  Five months after we broke up, I quit my retail job and started working at a clinic with autistic children.  In the fall, I started school at the conservatory.  I began teaching piano lessons, soon getting all of the referrals for children with disabilities.  I made a new friend at my conservatory, and I consider her one of my best friends now.  Another friend, who was at another music school and in her senior year, is now also one of my best friends.  I found out I have ADHD.  I finished the year with flying colors as a double major, studying music therapy and psychology.

This year I have survived a COVID-19 pandemic for nine months, including my own mother coming down with it.  I've done school at home.  I started an on-campus job (which, ironically, has been almost completely off-campus).  I've attended two music therapy conferences.  I've read books.  I even dated a boy for a couple of weeks before he broke things off for an unrelated reason.  I'm writing a research prospectus so I can complete a research thesis my senior year.  I've attended two music therapy conferences, virtually.  I've been diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety.  I've been to fourteen sessions of therapy.  I've written about my experiences with PTSD, anxiety, and ADHD.  I've suffered with PCOS, too.  

I'm still listening to the chord progression, which I recorded.  It's still, C, A minor, F, G. The A minor chord still sticks out because it's sad.  But I think what I hear now is the shift from the A minor to the F - sad to happy, broken to healing.  

I know things are not always easy.  I know because two hours ago I was sobbing.  But look at all the changes two years brings.  I can do this.  We can do this.  

Like the poet says, "I hear the real, though far-off hymn that hails a new creation."

Come, new creation -- come.


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