She wonders some time, how her life would have been had she lived her life differently. Would she have been more successful in life, like the others whom she knows. A better career, a better relationship, perhaps a more comfortable living. She knows it is not envy, but a transient wistfulness of what life could have been. If only she did stand up when it was needed the most, if only she had been a little more self-preserving, if only she had stopped hoping things will get better with time, if only she chose not to placate the ones who tore her mind away from her, if only she did not let their words eat away her soul, if only she did not let them shatter her dream, if only she had the courage to break free of the abuse years earlier. If only she could rewind her life.
At times like that, she reminds herself, exactly how far she has come. Her lost years of abuse, had left her in complete hopelessness with a wrecked self-belief and it is from there that she had to first find herself and then build her life with little help from anyone else. Her trepidation at the first job interview, her first independent bank account, her first appreciation note, her first promotion. She did not have anyone to either celebrate her small successes with nor a comforting shoulder when the going got tough. At every little milestone, she hesitantly observed others shinning miles ahead as she lagged a decade behind. But most importantly, in that journey, she found her self-worth rising. She did not shy away from the mirror nor of speaking up, anymore. She rediscovered her wits and her confidence and finally found peace. For all of the successes, this was the most precious of all. She is her own personal phoenix. So she smiles a secret smile and invisibly pats herself on the back promising to celebrate her every private victory, every single day.