One year ago today, I was crying so hard I felt I would never be able to stop.
The man I had spent 5 years of my life with, who I had helped support financially while he pursued his dreams and who had been introducing me to people as his "fiancee” told me he did not love me anymore. I had confronted him about suspicious behavior and it devolved into a long talk in which he told me he was through with our relationship, but denied any wrong doing. He was gone within a week, leaving behind a pile of unpaid bills and a lot of unanswered questions.
Of course, you know what happens next. I found out that he had been seeing someone else. That I had been right to be suspicious. Finding out he did not love me any longer was devastating. Finding out that he was not the man I had believed him to be was, honestly, a great deal worse. It made me feel those five years were wasted. It robbed me of a lot of my self-confidence and faith in my own judgement. It was painful just to breathe, to get out of bed in the morning. I felt as if my world had collapsed and, in many ways, it had.
It's been one year. So much has changed.
I found a place of my own in another part of town. I dropped several dress sizes. I got involved in the local theater community. I traveled to New York and to Scotland. I started dating again. I learned a lot about who my real friends were and the value of maintaining connections. I went from having one close local friend (so many of my friends live elsewhere) to having a large network of local friends. I became closer to my family. I learned to be myself again.
After a few months, I had started telling people I was alright - like you do (If you aren’t actually HAPPY, then at least you can convince the rest of the world that your life is faaaab-u-lous. Living well is the best revenge and all that.) I made jokes about it. I told friends it didn’t bother me anymore. Then one day the ex told me he missed me and it didn’t knock the wind out of me. I started laughing. I was surprised by the joy of knowing that I really WAS free of those emotional ties. I wasn’t just saying - mantra like - that I was happy and better off. I actually was happy and far better off.
In the midst of my healing, I met (or re-met) The Guy. The icing on the cake. My perspective on relationships and what I want from life has altered. If you described my life now to the woman I was a year ago, she would have told you these things were impossible. Being cast in plays, traveling to another country, seriously discussing marriage with a wonderful man and - most shocking of all - having a child in my life. Highly improbable.
The Guy and I just returned from a weekend away. Just the two of us. We stayed at a family member's vacation house situated on the side of a lake. We went antique shopping and drove down country roads singing loudly to favorite songs and played cards on the back porch while the sun went down and ate olives from the jar and drank wine and talked about the future and slept in late and took afternoon naps. It was glorious.
When you have lost hope, when your world feels broken, it is so important to remember what a tremendous difference a year can make. Anything is possible. Sometimes the universe surprises you.