I told myself one year ago today, “I don’t know how, but one day I will look back at what just happened as a blessing in disguise.”
I didn’t see it coming.
It hurt like hell.
And at times it felt like I’d never stop crying, but losing a relationship I’d spent nearly five years pouring my heart and soul into was one of the best things to ever happened to me.
I’m not saying this because I saw a quote about it on Pinterest.
I’m not saying this because it sounds good.
I’m saying it because it’s true.
I was completely unprepared for what metaphorically hit me over the head, and I think it was the ensuing adrenaline that got me through the following weeks and months that encouraged me to take risks I might not have taken otherwise.
I have learned so much about myself and others in the last 365 days, and I couldn’t have done any of it if my life had continued in the direction it was going.
The first post I wrote after this all went down was 5 Things I Learned From a Breakup. Initially, I didn’t know how to process what happened. It was a lot of “fake it until you make it” moments, and it’s hard to re-read some of the posts I wrote last year, because I can still feel the immense sadness and confusion that consumed me right after it all happened.
It was the breakup that prompted me to share this blog with my friends and family; previous to that, I hadn’t because he didn’t think it was a good idea. It felt like a dirty little secret for so many years, but in sharing my struggles, I connected with so many people who’ve gone through and some are still going through, struggles of their own.
2LWithIt has always been a platform to celebrate strength in the face of adversity. I hope in the years to come that it will continue to grow as a place of positivity and inspiration, whether it be a good book recommendation, or commiseration about undiagnosable health issues and the toll that can take on yourself and others close to you.
Last year, I described the breakup in I Thought I’d Run Out of Tears, as “a moment of pressure that made him let me go. Everyone in my life has told me this isn’t the end all, be all of my life’s romances, but it sure feels like a bottomless pit of self-pity and would’a could’a shoulda’s.”
I’m not going to lie – it took a lot of time to get back to a semblance of normalcy. The devastation of the breakup shattered my confidence in ways I couldn’t have anticipated. I hadn’t planned on a future without him, and because of that, I didn’t have a backup plan of what I’d do if I found myself in that situation. I’ve never had backup plans in the event of a breakup, because I think if you’re capable of realistically doing that, you can’t fully commit to someone, because you already have one foot out the door.
There were the days where I’d have bouts of incessant crying without provocation. Then there was moving back in with my parents and having to re-learn how to date after half a decade of thinking I wouldn’t have to embrace that realm of awkward small talk ever again.
It was a lot to happen all at once. I still don’t know how I got through that last semester in law school, not to mention applying to (and studying for) the bar exam, plus two graduations that were in different states one week apart. I mean, I do know how I got through it: one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time, surrounded by an incredible support system of friends and family.
A year later, that support system now includes a new man who met me on the heels of this breakup. When I met him, I remember one of the first things I told him was, “I don’t know how to date. I haven’t done this in a really long time. I have more baggage than an airport.”
But for whatever reason, he didn’t get up and leave. He’d later joke about me joining him on a business trip across the country, and much to his surprise I did and that was our second date.
Right before I met this new guy, I wrote You Should Date an Illiterate Girl, which was a reprisal of a piece I had found a few years prior. It’s a post that hits close to home because words have always been how I process the world around me. In the post, I wrote:
“Today, and every day forward I will always be the girl who writes.
The girl who pours her heart out into words because they’re all I have. In the heat of the moment they may come out jumbled and full of daggers, but my heart is good, I promise. I only want the best for those who make an appearance in my life, and more so for those that stay a while.
Even though I’m immensely hurt right now, I’m grateful that I was able to experience a love so great, so great that it hurts like something died inside of me.
I know that I’m going to be okay, because re-reading some of my posts, I couldn’t recall names of guys I’d been with because my life’s story has changed characters so many times.
I’m going to be okay because the human heart is a resilient organ that keeps on beating, even though every cadence is a reminder that our lives have gone in two separate directions.
This is for anyone reading this post who is struggling with something. If you give it enough time and patience, you will make it out stronger than ever before. I’ve lost myself ten times over, but each time, as overwhelming as the devastation feels at the beginning, it does get better. I do laugh or smile at things that once made me cry until my eyes ran out of tears.
Today I’m not okay, and I’m re-learning to be okay with that.”
Oh what a resilient girl she was, because a little over two months later, I wrote You Should Date a Thoughtful Man. In the post, I talk about a lot of things, but of note, I mention qualities I’d wanted to find in the next man I dated.
I wrote this as a companion piece to “You Should Date an Illiterate Girl.” If I’m recalling correctly, this was the first post I wrote about the new guy I’d just started dating, and how much he inspired me to become a better person for myself.
“Date a thoughtful man because we all need to be reminded that we’re worthy of a connection with someone that’s unlike anything we’ve come across before. Don’t look for perfection. It doesn’t exist…Someone who reminds you to be a little (or a lot kinder), even on your most difficult of days. Someone who reassures you that it’s okay to fall apart sometimes, because that’s how you get stronger.
More than anything, date a thoughtful man because you’ll find yourself again and celebrate the things you love about yourself, even if others before him didn’t.
He’ll never ask you to change. He’ll never tell you you’re not enough, or too smart, or too outgoing, or too ambitious. He’ll always be there as long as you’re always there for him…and you should be, because he’s like one of those serendipitous finds you only find a few times in a lifetime (if ever)…and if/when you find that man, hold on tight and don’t let go.”
It’s crazy to sit here and think how much has changed in the last year. There was certainly a fair share of difficult moments, but like my dad always tells me, “it’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” By that, the quote means it’s better to move forward and focus on the positive aspects of a situation instead of getting fixated on the negative ones.
I could sit here a year later and tell you all things I wish were different…but at the end of the day, I wouldn’t change a single thing. In a way, the breakup set the tone for the year. I hit hit rock bottom pretty hard (see Hospitals Put Things in Perspective), but instead of letting that be an excuse to ruminate in what could have been, I used it as fuel to put myself out there.
If you’ve been following along since last year, thanks for tagging along as I’ve figured this all out. Lately I’ve been telling my friends and family, “I’m still a work in progress.” I don’t think we’ll all ever have it all figured out, but instead of wishing situations turned out differently, we can work on the way we react to them.
Looking back at it all, 2018 was the year that taught me gratitude. I don’t know what 2019 will hold, but I know I’m going to go into this year with much more patience and strength than I’ve ever had before.
All my love,