The Next Chapter
I’ve read a quote a number of times that really resonates: ‘Everything I’ve ever let go of has claw marks on it.’ Nothing could be truer for me.
I’ve spent hours with my therapist, Rachel, saying: ‘But I LIKE him. I think this could work!’ as we’ve had Facetime sessions about some seriously toxic situations that I should have been running away from.
The thought of letting something / someone go, when I might be able to ‘fix it/them’, and the fear of missing out has always been difficult for me. As always, there would be some moment of clarity that meant the relationships would end, but I’d still have moments where guy ‘X’ /’Y’ would pop into my head uninvited whenever I felt lonely.
In recent years, I’ve deployed tactics for disconnection. When I sense a situation isn’t healthy for me, I’m pretty good at going stone cold. The thing is, I can avoid calls/messages/places said person might be and disconnect from their social media accounts without a problem, but I rarely am able to let go of someone or something I care about in my head. This isn’t always ideal. Nor is it always fair to the person on the other end, but it’s a tool that keeps me safe, particularly when I fear I may allow myself to be manipulated back into situations.
So, knowing this to be true and accepting that I now want to live the best life possible, I have come to realise that there is still some stuff to let go of – I mean really let go of. And with love – without fear or an ‘F you’ attitude.
To do this requires acceptance of things as they are and, where I feel wronged, it takes forgiveness. The latter is something I struggle with more. Forgiveness is a big concept. To try to get to the heart of it, and find out how I can make it work for me, I’ve previously googled the definition, prompted by the mother of a young man who had been murdered. I saw her on TV, with such dignity in the face of absolute horror and she offered forgiveness to the killers. I have noticed that in this instance and in others of a similar magnitude, many who are able to offer forgiveness in these painful circumstances are often religious and working to find forgiveness with the understanding that it is for the big man to judge them. Sadly, I am not that person – yet.
At the end of my last big break-up, I was distraught and humiliated. Worst of all, I felt powerless: the adventure that we were going to go on in LA became his solo project overnight. After the rug was pulled from under my feet, I was left with bewilderment – and then anger.
I would lie in bed and imagine him waltzing into the LA sunset with his surfboard under his arm. I fantasised about him being snacked on by sharks while surfing. Then I read that there were bush fires in California, and I hoped his house would burn down. Crazy as it sounds to wish someone so much ill will, I honestly did feel that angry.
After some time, I heard he had moved on and fallen in love with another ‘amazing girl’ (I was always ‘amazing’, too). As I realised that he and others in my past had moved on, I came to see that I was the one sitting there drinking the poison and hoping the other person would suffer.
I had to work hard at letting go in therapy. I had to understand that, although I felt his treatment of me was brutal, he also was acting out what he thought best at the time and that this wasn't connected to my value as a person – that was for me to determine. I had to get this place because it takes a tremendous amount of energy to keep thinking over events and wishing they were different – enough to make you sick.
Today, thanks to time and acceptance, I think rarely of my LA ex.
There may be a scar, but the wound itself has healed and I wouldn’t change what happened, because it was a rough time, but it brought me closer to my authentic self than I had ever been before.
Turn of fate
Last month I was in LA for the first time since I was going to move there with him five years ago. Fate brought me an opportunity to visit at the right time (that’s another story – coming soon) and I took it.
Before I left on this trip, I dug deep on how I felt about perhaps visiting a life I almost had, and wondered, if I saw him, whether I would be able to say ‘hello’. Having thought about it, I can safely say I’d nod (no flying kicks) and that I’m no longer wishing him to be shark bait
So the visions of myself staring wistfully at the Californian sunset, wondering what might have been remained just that – scenarios playing out in my head. Acknowledging and embracing the fears, and yet going on to be in the moment gave me the freedom to explore, and I can say for sure that this wound is healed.
And so, for the next chapter. When I was in LA, on the first leg of these six weeks in which I’m working out what comes next, I found head space thanks to the time zone, and the fact that I was just ‘open’. I started to look at my life and feel lucky.
Positive feelings started to surface. I thought a lot about serendipity and the angels who have appeared during my lowest moments. They always come. I reflected daily on how fortunate I am to be able to take this trip and to be supported by my clients in doing so.
It has taken a long time to get to this place financially and to have the courage to create a life that would be easier for me than the corporate wheel I was stuck on. For as long as I can remember, I suffered with imposter syndrome. No matter how successful I appeared to be in my career, I so often didn’t feel good enough and I exhausted myself in the pursuit of proving to be worthy of the praise that I received. Stepping away from this was liberating, however, ‘going solo’ has also been a scary thing to do, because then there's ‘What if the work dries up?!’, but I am taking it day by day, and enjoying the pace and flexibility, rather than allowing the fear of failure to engulf me.
With lessons acknowledged, and a practice of forgiveness and letting go at the front of my mind today, my heart is more open than I think it has ever been. I know that I am ready to love again, but in a whole new way.
The most important piece of progress I have made here is knowing that as a person, I can now stand like a flower in my own light without craving the light of another to feed me.
I am blossoming on my own.