A year ago, I shared a very private revelation in a very public forum. For someone who lives by the open book theory, and spends much of their time writing on a blog and always looking for ways to share my creative outlet with the world, that may not sound like such a stretch. But for me, the private matter needed to be said out loud as to get it out and move on with life.
A year ago today, I made the conscious choice to end my relationship with my then-boyfriend and move on. As heartbroken as I was about the decision I made, it was the decision I needed to make. I needed the space and ability to live my life without holding someone else back from what they wanted in a relationship. The inability to reach common ground was ultimately making the relationship toxic, and in its wake, I was finding myself retreating. On a public level, I was finding it harder and harder to be in a relationship around others. I’m very social and love to talk, and my partner was the antitheses of this. With him, I was beginning to decline socially when he was present. Without him, I felt lonely, but was able to socialize. I was coming to an impasse in my life – I didn’t have the motivation to do a heck of alot, I was unhappy most of the time, and the crying and arguing were taking their toll on me emotionally. I hated writing and was beginning to rethink my hobby. I know that sounds hard to believe, but it was something I felt aimless about, much like everything else in my life at that time.
By the time my relationship was at its end, I was emotionally drained, I was bottling up, and when I finally would open up, it was not in the most productive way. I wasn’t who I wanted to be, and I wasn’t allowing myself to find the happiness I wanted. By making such a decision, I knew I could refocus my life and rebuild. I wanted to be alone. I wanted to smile again, laugh, find purpose, and reinvent myself, while still being me. I just wanted to be a new and improved version. New and improved, and with less “fat.”
So, a year ago today, I arrived at my decision. I won’t say it was the easiest decision I’ve made (it’s one in a line of difficult decisions I’ve made that I felt would have a profound effect on my life), but it turned out to be the biggest weight off my shoulders. I found solace and comfort in people who cared about me and wanted the best for me. I connected with friends, enjoyed time with my family, celebrated special occasions (the birth of my niece, Madison Grace, the beginning of a new relationship – more on that later), mourned my grandmother’s death (the next day, no less – talk about a bad week!), began to write with more frequency, and plan. I planned activities for myself – day trips, a vacation, a concert, and a huge birthday day trip that made my 33rd birthday in October so amazing. I cut my bob-length hair back to pixie length, continued towards my weight loss goal, and restyled my wardrobe. I went to the movies, read alot of books, and even changed my blog over to WordPress. I responded to a nostalgia website that was looking for writers (and have been writing for them for over six months now!), and wrote two articles for another site I had major ambitions to write for. I love life.
Six months after I began this journey, I met a guy who, on a chance encounter (and with the helping of mutual friends), became a friend. And as luck would have it, being in the best place for both of us, we decided a relationship was the only logical level. I’ve found in James what made an already happy and full life so much fuller.
You know something, I thank my ex for all of this. I thank him for showing me that there was much more to my life than what I was feeling. There was no need to be numb and sad all the time. I found that it was ok to look forward to what’s to come, to plan ahead, and to pay attention to what matters right now. No looking back, just forward. Looking back is ok when you’re reflecting on something that profoundly shaped your life, good or bad, but then it’s time to look forward to what will happen next. I’m excited about that.
I have much to look forward to this year – in May, myself and my friend Melanie will be travelling to Grand Rapids to visit James for a week (something we’d been planning since November, but made official last week), James will be moving here this summer so we can continue to grow our relationship and lives together, I’ll plan a few days trips, and we’ll be attending the very convention we met at, exactly one year after we met there in person, and three years after Melanie and I met and became friends. The three of us will be there together, a crazy trifecta of sorts. These two are part of why I enjoy my life, and why I have fun. If I’m smiling, it’s because they made me laugh.
A year ago today, if you had asked me if I knew what my life would be like exactly a year later, I would have told you to try again the following week. Of course, we buried my grandma that week, so I would have told you, “come back next week and ask me.” At that point, I wouldn’t have known, but life has the most amazing way of surprising you.
It can only get better from here. 🙂