Letting go.

Dear world,

I shouldn’t care. I should be over it. I’m better off. I traveled the world for a year. I’m a Director of Marketing before the age of 30. His loss. At least he did it when he did it…before we married…before we bought a house…before we had kids. I shouldn’t waste another second thinking about him or the life we had, or the life we planned. God has better plans for me. I know all of this. Of course I do.

But when a man tells you he can’t marry you because he no longer believes in marriage [[AFTER he voluntarily asks for your hand in marriage]] and then proceeds to, yet again, propose marriage…to someone else…well, that just stirs up a few feelings that contradict all that I knew. All that I thought I knew. Add to that, that I’m pretty certain he used the same ring. My ring. The ring that I left on his nighstand the night he told me to put marriage to bed. He gave that ring to someone else….[[WHY do men think that’s decent?! It’s not, guys. Take note. It’s tasteless to both your former and your future]].

So now, I finally have a reason to be mad.

I always wished for something to be mad about, actually…I know that sounds a little bit weird and a lotta crazy. But I thought it’d be easier to have that peg to stand on rather than the arbitrary confusion I felt for so long. I wanted him to have cheated on me. Or realized he was gay. Or have told me I was the worst human ever. Those things would have given me a rational pathway to follow. Instead, I got ‘I’m sorry. I love you. I just don’t believe in marriage anymore.’ I believed him. Maybe he was telling the truth at the time, fair. Regardless…Boom. There’s the lie I longed for. There’s the peg. A peg that hits you like a ton of bricks.

And do I feel better? Umm, not really. Having to rewrite history in my mind is a stupid, worthless task. Trying to re-package a box I thought I burned with some new diamond-covered wrapping paper is psychotic. Being angry is a part of the process, I know. Respecting the grieving process is hard but right…

And in my fit of hurt and anger and betrayal last week, I thought ‘I know. I’ll do what I do best. I’ll write him a letter. I’ll tell him how I feel. Air my hurt. Get it out of my body and off my chest. To let it go.’ I’ve done it before…to another ex…and to a woman who messed everything up. And it was all the kinds of therapeutic to write out unadulterated feelings to adulterers. So I thought I’d do that again. And then I thought, ‘nah, don’t ruffle feathers—don’t make him feel crappy over his decisions. He might be happy. Let him be happy.’ But I still deserve to get this off my chest. So instead, I’m writing this letter to the world. Without naming names. Without expectation or fear. This is my therapy. So I’m letting myself do it.

So. I’ve written my letter. I gave myself permission to be angry and then to be brutally honest. And now that it’s off my chest, I’m letting myself really, truly, permanently let it go. Let him go. Let all of it go.

I’ve stumbled through all of the emotions of the roller coaster now. It seems that I’ve come full circle on the horrible and confusing ride. And now, it’s time to get off the ride. It’s actually time to leave the theme park all together and go sit by the water instead. Back to me. Back to balance.

Letting.go.

For my faith and hope in what’s to come.

For my family and friends.

For me.

Forever.

Love,

A girl who is still growing. And who is forever thankful for the grace.

 

 

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Wish you were here, from Hoi An

The pretty little blue eyed blonde waved me over to the seat she saved for me at the Dulles Town Center food court. I stripped my winter jacket, but kept my hat on—reluctant to reveal my nearly bald and pretty pudgy, sick gnome-ish self.

I don’t remember exactly what we talked about that afternoon, but I do remember the card she handed me at the end of our visit. Well wishes from my All Girl crew covered the spread, but the one signature that really stood out was Vals.

‘Can’t wait to live together next semester!’ it read. That tiny sentence made me cry all the way home in my tiny little cabrio convertible. But for once, it was not because I felt like a wad of cancer, but rather because I knew without a doubt, that I would make up for lost time with Valerie Voorhies.

We spent the next three years doing just that…We drove our matching Cabrios to the beach for hand stand contests and tan-soakin. We hosted family dinners with our sisters from other misters and brothers from other mothers. We poured diet V8 and rum into our bubba kegs and set up shop at the pool for hours on end. We went to Chicago to visit boys we met on spring break. We line-danced our boots off at the Bull most Thursday nights. We drove to Key West and bought matching seashell rings. She picked me up from my check-ups at Moffitt Cancer Center and I drove her drunk ass home from Tias. Yes, for all of that and more, Val helped me make up for a cancer-ridden-lost-semester, tenfold.

While Val and I haven’t shared an apartment number, let alone a zip code, in years, our friendship continues to stand the test of time and distance. As I type this, it’s still yesterday in Richmond, Virginia and Val is literally on the other side of the world. But today, I longed for Val to be here with me in Hoi An, Vietnam.

Hoi An is full of life and color and easy livin—just like Val Val. There’s a beautiful beach up the road where cabanas and drinks flow abundantly. There are lanterns draped across every street that light up the night in a soft glow, just like the lanterns have on every balcony Val’s ever furnished. And there are tailors that will hand create any piece of clothing you can dream up.

Today, I dreamed up a pretty special piece of clothing and that, more than anything else, is why I longed for Val today. This morning, while I stood in the little tailor shop getting measured, sifting through hundreds of fabric swatches and sketching a Pinterest-mock-up with the designer, it sunk in… we’re not in college anymore and my little ValVal is growing up and getting married.

Val’s probably sleeping right now. But if I could genie up any dream today, it would be to bang down her door, throw her pillows on the floor and push her out of bed [[as she did to me on many-a-night when she needed a wingman at the hottest baseball party]] and I’d make that girl be right here by my side today…

We’d have rented bicycles, grabbed a token iced coffee to-go and pedaled over to Violet where–my fave tailor in town–where we’d design that special dress together. We’d have celebrated toes in the water, ass in the sand-style with a tequila sunrise in hand, [[because celebrating Val is the only reason on the planet that I would voluntarily drink tequila]]. I’d have laughed at her vomit-esque reaction to the slaughtered pigs hanging from bamboo at the corner shop. We’d have showered off the sand and thrown on dresses that show off our tan lines and found a sweet little café that overlooks the lantern-lit riverwalk.

We’d spend the evening reminiscing on our true loves and our losers who taught us what true love is not; on the Corey Smith concerts [[in both a real venue and our kitchen]]; on T-Flatts addictions and the time she threw my sandwich out the sun roof on I75.

So many memories from yesterday, so many dreams for tomorrow all wrapped up in one little dress in a little World Heritage protected town on the Vietnam coast.

One little dress that I’ll wear on the special night that my pretty little blue-eyed blonde friend again waves me over to the seat she saved for me at her table.

Raising a tequila sunrise to you tonight, ValVal, and so wishing you were here. I’ll save you a seat.

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