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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Word vomit from a Spanish villa

I don’t know if it’s because I’m a million miles away from real life and the ‘talkin over the white picket fence’ thing. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve kind of spilled my guts on this little blog or because everyone knows I’ve had my heart completely shattered and feel empathy deeper than I know what to do with. I don’t know what it is…and it doesn’t really matter….but people have shared with me in this last year, like never before. People from all nooks of the world, all with a different story, have poured their hearts out to me. All looking for encouragement, or understanding or at the VERY least, acknowledgement of their reality. And no, I’m not going to spill those stories…But there ARE some things sitting hard on my heart from this pretty little Spanish villa today, and so without an ounce of expertise on any of this, I’m just gonna word vomit for a few:

NO, you do NOT have to work at a job that you hate. You don’t even have to stay at a job that you ‘tolerate.’ WHY on earth should you? Life is short. Love how you spend your 9-5.

NO, you do NOT have to work more than a 9-5. Get this. You do not even have to work any hours at all. Life is short. Honor your personal time. Spend it watching sunsets and doing yoga and cheering on the Hawks and hiking and drinking wine. Don’t look back in 50 years or in 5 days and think “gosh, all I did was work.” Always, always respect play time.

NO, you do NOT have to stay in a relationship that doesn’t overflow your love cup. Being in love shouldn’t be hard work. Effort? Sure. Compromise? You bet. But why would God, who IS love, create relationship, if it wasn’t intended to look like, feel like, sound like easy, flowin, God-like love? Life is short. Love shouldn’t be THAT hard. And if it is, then maybe you’re not following the best advice I ever got: ‘don’t love the potential of a man….love the man himself.’

NO, you do NOT need to be rich to travel. I know everyone wonders how I’m financing this trip. Only some of you ask, but I know you all secretly wonder 🙂 And so I’ll write a post all about that, but for now, just know, that if you really want to travel, then you can just do it. Life is short. The world is beautiful. Go see it. You will make time and money for things that you truly want to make time and money for.

NO, your life is not over if you wreck your car or get a divorce or lose your job or get your phone stolen in Cambodia [[or church]]. It doesn’t have to be anyway. And nope, I haven’t always felt this way…I thought getting cancer was IT [[not cause I was afraid of dying, I just thought life.was.over. as a baldie 18 year old]]. Then I thought my family falling apart was IT [[it’s different now, yes, but I do indeed still have a family]]. Then I thought yup, that heartbreak was IT [[but I suppose had said heartbreak not have happened, I wouldn’t be going paragliding in southern Spain tomorrow]].

And NO, yall, none of this is as hard as you’re probably convincing yourself that it is. I’m no expert, but I am sure as hell walking, living proof of all of these things.

Just flippin believe in yourself and trust God and lean on your people and jump. Life is short. Jumping is usually worth it.

Cause sometimes when you jump, you find a view like this:

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5 reasons why every broken-hearted gal should visit Bali

So I’m standing at the edge of a Titanic shaped dock at dusk, looking out over cascading rice paddy meets tropical forest, the smell of coffee beans roasting wafts through the air, when I actually catch myself mutter the words:

‘Maybe this is why it all happened…so I could be in Bali today.’

Bali

Me. The girl who wrote this.

The girl who, not three days ago, cried herself to sleep because of all she misses.

Me. A young, broken-hearted American gal, for a moment in time, felt dots connecting, worlds colliding, God healing, smile cementing, soul affirming. And it’s all because of Bali…

Every time I tell my dad, ‘oh, I love this place’ or ‘this might be my new favorite’ or ‘you have to add this to your bucket list’ he asks me ‘Why?’ ‘What makes it so special?’ Usually, I have some non-specific, but sensible answer.

When he asks me about Bali, I will have five answers, that all add up to one big answer.

So here we go, the easiest post I’ve yet to write…here are the top 5 reasons that every broken-hearted gal must visit Bali:

  1. It will let you eat your heart out. Let’s face it. I love food even when my heart is intact. But there’s some unwritten law in the book of heartbreak that states that food = necessary, couch-devouring guilty pleasure. We’ve all been there. And it usually sucks because nine times out of ten it’s a gallon of cheap grocery store ice cream and a tub of empty calories. Not in Bali. In Bali, you can eat to your little heart’s desire and not feel one ounce of guilt or stomach rot. The food is so real, so pure, so raw and organic, you can very literally taste the difference. From Kafe to Taco Casa, there are a million fresh food and juice options to blow a health-nut’s [[or broken heart’s]] mind. Never have I seen so many menus I want to devour. Raw cheesecakes, honey-roasted beet salads, almond-cacao-coconut smoothie galore. It’s foodie #InstaHeaven, yall. If a happy belly were ever to happy a heart, then Bali’s it.
  2. It will help you pamper yourself silly. As if it weren’t compelling enough to know that Balinese hands give the best massage I’ve ever known [[I swear, they get down so deep, they massage your heart and soul]]– a 60 minute massage here in Ubud will set you back less than a machine chair massage at the Airport. Maybe a slight exaggeration, but not by much. For 250,000 Indonesian Rupia [[approximately $20 U.S. Dollars]], I bought myself a ‘welcome to the Spa shower,’ a 60 minute Balinese massage [[this ain’t no Massage Envy massage either—though I love that place—this is a get-on-top-of-the-table-to-really-get-in-there / no-place-for-bashful-butt-and-chest-kneeding / scalp-gripping-hair-yanking kind of 60 minute sesh]], and the longest, most detailed pedicure of my life. Note to all broken hearts: when someone wants to send you to an overpriced-over-stuffy spa to help you feel good, kindly request that they reallocate that spend for a one-way-ticket to Bali + under-priced-stuffy-doesn’t-translate-Balinese spa [[it’s probably a wallet wash, anyway]]. Indulging never felt so good. Spoiling yourself never felt so guilt-free. In fact, I think I’ll opt in again today. Probably tomorrow too. When in Bali, right?
  3. It’ll turn you into a proper yogi. Now, I’ve said it before, yoga is good for me. I love yoga and weird as it may sound, yoga loves me too. It makes me feel good and think good. Though I’m certainly no Antonella, I try. And I grow. And it is a physical reminder [[demand, rather]] to give myself grace. Bali is the yoga capital of the world. And for good reason. Yoga Barn. I don’t even know how to describe it. I think Yoga Barn is the kind of place that could convert a linebacker into a downward-facing-dogger. At the end of a small [[slightly chlaustrophobic, even]] alley tucked into the heart of Ubud, you’ll find the quaint little Yoga Barn welcome desk. The beautiful Balinese gals will invite you in and show you the way. You’ll wind through a palm-tree-draped stair case, cut through a sweet little café [[serving mouth-watering-things found on point 1, above]] where yogis are lounging out on the big day-bed-looking benches, and then down one more flight of earthy stairs. Then you will subconsciously let out an audible ‘ommmm’ [[mygosh]] as the quaint opens up into a vast and proper yoga retreat. There is a huge, cabana-covered deck. And bungalows off to the side, where yoga teachers in training can hang their bolsters for weeks on end. And there is the yoga barn. A big barn looking structure with a dual staircase that leads up to the most awe-inspiring studio I’ve ever stepped foot in. The dark wooded beams and soft lights and British gal invite a room full of travelers to practice. To mediate and find yin. I cannot say enough things about yoga here, so I’ll just beg you broken-hearted gals to come treat your soul to yoga in Bali.
  4. It’ll make you wanna straddle a Balinese boy. No, no, no, not like that. But I’ve maybe never felt so grounded but free; so wreckless but solid; so wild but beautiful, as I did on the back of Jo’s motorbike. Kara and Paul warned me how utterly wonderful it feels to ride helmet-less through foreign streets with a foreigner [[who, if you pick a good one, will become a friend in no time]]. They were right. We found Jo at the Mini Mart on the main Ubud drag, rented a motorbike for the two pros and then rented Jo for me. I hopped on the back of that bike, with a Balinese boy between my legs, and felt every pent up inhibition melt away with each spin of the tire. As we tore through town [[only to be stopped by a funeral procession in which the entire village escorts the casket, in full traditional Hindu garb down the streets…sad as it was, it was absolutely beautiful]], throttled through the rice fields bordered by palm trees and pointed at every temple [[and every stunning home, so pretty it could have been a temple]], I felt myself smiling the hardest I’ve smiled in so, so long. I physically felt God touch my heart on the back of that motorbike. I smiled so hard, in fact, that a lone happy-tear fell on my cheek. Broken-hearted gals, straddle a Balinese boy and letter-rip. Just leave enough room for God.
  5. It’ll fill the crevices of your broken heart with relationship. In the absence of your relationship, you will find the new and treasure it forever. If you come alone [[which you can totally do. Lots of gals traveled here alone]], you will find relationship with the handsome British boy sitting in the café next to you [[hellooooo, Harry]]. Or you’ll find relationship with your Jo. Or sweet Pia and her sister Mar, and Mar’s boyfriend. You’ll meet people like Pia and Mar in a hotel and bond over breakfast and then send ‘see you later’s to later find out you’ll see them later that same afternoon in the middle of a rice paddy. I didn’t come to Bali alone, though. Yesterday afternoon, after a motorbike ride for the books, a rice paddy hike and a coffee farm tour that I will savour for life, Paul and Kara and I defined relationship. Not by words, but by our actions. We ate food together and drank two pitchers of margaritas together. We listened to Paul strum his guitar [[live, acoustic guitar, by the way, is without a doubt, the most broken-heart-steadying thing you can do. I know this because of Robbie]]. We played cards and talked about drugs and religion. We sat in our wall-less private villa family room [[when you come here, stay at Michael’s Modern Eco Villa. It makes me swoon]], watching the fish swim laps in our moat [[there is literally a moat]]. Three friends became family last night. Relationship, no matter what form it takes, will find you in Bali.Family

Put simply, Bali is the place where, for the first time since my heartbreak, I longed for absolutely nothingRice Paddies

 

Second thoughts on water…

I still love water. I’ve seen and submerged in a lot of it during our stay in Cairns, and it’s utterly beautiful. But I’ve been consumed with thinking ‘how can something so beautiful and so natural cause such pain and chaos?’

Crock warning signs everywhere, vinegar on every beach corner and stinger-suits galore…as beautiful as this Australian ocean is, it’s absolutely a poisonous devil’s playground.

Then there was Will. And now there’s Travis. And I’m just agonizing over the dichotomies of life right now….

  • Water is beautiful and calming and so peaceful, but those tides can churn, waters can become rough and perilous, and yesterday’s glassy blanket of blue can close chapters long before the story should be over….before it barely even began.
  • Wine can fill my soul, but it can shred my body when my overindulgence wins out.
  • Trust is good and right. It’s the easy path for me, choosing to give the benefit of the doubt, but sometimes that can bite you in the ass too. Sometimes it bites you in the ass that now has no shorts, cause your favorite pair’s been swiped by a fellow backpacker. A petty example, but an example nonetheless.
  • Love is beautiful too. I believe in it. I see it around me, I feel it. But it broke me. It broke me so hard, that I’m not quite sure that I’ll ever be able to buff out as radiant a shine as there once was.
  • How can growth and grace, two words that feel like they should sing in constant harmony, require and cause so much chaos? How can the balance feel so hard at times? How can two beautiful things work against each other, but need each other at the same time?

These dichotomies consume me…Is it a ‘too much of a good thing isn’t always a good thing’ scenario? Is it God’s way of telling us to settle, trust Him, wait for Him to figuratively turn water into wine in our lives and always, always love him? I don’t know what it is. I don’t think anyone does. It’s impossible to work out how such good things can cause such bad things…how bad things happen to such good people.

I can’t quiet this internal dialogue. Not today and probably not tomorrow either, so I suppose in the meantime I’ll just send so much love, all the love I can muster, to those good people who loved Will and Travis. And trust that when we sip on a glass of wine with our toes dangling off the dock in the cool water, we’ll feel the love coming right back to us.