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It’s taken almost 7 years, after my ex and I split, to open myself up again, and move on, though I honestly thought it might never happen.
I felt stuck in a constant cycle of imagining how my life would be if we were still together; all times we laughed so much and connected deeper than I ever had with anyone else; what our children might look like, and how I would miss all the little things like how he would play the guitar for me while I cooked dinner. Old feelings would frequently resurface and consume any momentary happiness that managed to creep through the web of pain.
It was relentless.
I was in a dark hole and it seemed like I had no escape and honestly, most of the time not even light.
I remember thinking that it was like getting into a horrific accident and waking up with scarred knees and my body ruined. When I moved, the scars would open and the pain would persist because they never really had a chance to heal.
But then one day, I woke up, and I was okay.
Maybe this is what happens when you move on?
Permanent scars remained where the wounds had been — they would never be gone, but the pain they carried had faded.
If I let it creep in, I can still feel the pain. But now it feels like a choice.
The journey of healing was not a fun one; I didn’t know I had moved on until it happened.
I wanted to let go of the memories of my ex so badly, but nothing and no one was ever good enough, because each person I met was not him. No one measured up. It was exhausting, horrible and panicky for me, and unfair to whoever I was with. Some of them noticed, but many didn’t. This reminded me even more of my ex — it was one of the reasons I loved him so much: he listened, he watched, he noticed things.
Eager to move on, I took self-help courses, distracted myself, slept with a lot of people, drank a lot, and stacked on weight — then I exercised and focused on my body to lose it all. I travelled the world and started learning a new language; I learned new skills, got promoted, and practised opening myself up even when it was scary and uncomfortable. I didn’t know if all these things would help, but I had to do something, so I just kept going.
Little by little, day by day, I just kept going.
It wasn’t one thing, but the culmination of little efforts that helped navigate through the weeds. It was the journey: the failures, the wins, the struggle, learning how to be with myself, how to protect my energy, discovering who would be a right fit for me, and what kind of a person I wanted to be. Some qualities in each of the partners I experienced contributed to a vision of the partner I ultimately wanted to be with. But I had to wonder if that person really existed.
Not 10 minutes ago, on this very night, something shifted for me. That’s what prompted me to write this.
I was at the stove making grilled cheese, and I realized that it was going to be okay. That I would meet someone. That I would open myself up again. The realization was so clear, I didn't just think it, I knew it with every fibre of my being.
Maybe it wouldn’t look like what I thought it would. But at that moment, I knew that I would ultimately be okay.
Is it true? Who knows. 🤷
But it was a comforting thought? Heck yes!
When you move on you get to reinvent yourself: to evolve, too share and explore, and to take back control of your life.
It’s scary, but trusting yourself is an awesome feeling. It demands practice. It took time to build enough self-awareness that I could open myself up again and see things for what they really were without attaching a meaning to them that wasn’t real.
Let me explain.
Prior to this realization, I encountered a concept that states: nothing has meaning except for the meaning we attach to it.
For example, if I was walking down the street and tripped, that’s what happened: I was walking down the street, then I tripped. That’s what actually happened. I could make that mean that I am clumsy, but that’s not what happened: I was walking, then I tripped.
Tonight, when something clicked, I encountered the truth to this concept. I stopped making what happened with my ex mean that I wasn’t enough. What happened was: we were together, and then we weren’t. It sucked, but it didn’t necessarily mean that I was insufficient in the ways I concluded I was.
I have noticed that often people make judgements (or draw conclusions) from their situation that don't regard the complexity and vastness of their circumstance. I can only speak for myself but it was SUPER painful when I did that, it created pain out of thin air, and it hindered the journey to opening myself up again and finally moving on.