Valentine’s Day is a few days away and for the first time in seven years I am not celebrating with a significant other. And I am totally and completely okay with it.
I spent six and a half years in an emotionally and verbally abusive relationship, that in my gut, I knew was wrong. I knew it wouldn’t work out. I knew he wasn’t the right guy for me. But I stayed anyways. I stayed because I wanted to prove everyone wrong. I stayed because “he’s really not a bad guy and he really does love me”. I stayed because I didn’t want to to be alone. But mostly I stayed because I was led to believe that I was worthless and no one else could ever love me.
I stayed until things got so bad that I couldn’t take it anymore. It didn’t matter if I ended up alone and scared; I left and it was the best decision of my life.
Sure, walking away was hard…for about a week (if that). Then I was incredibly happy. Of course, I missed my dog, my hometown, and the $5,000 that my still ex owes me, but I was happy. Like deliriously happy.
The freedom I experienced was exhilarating.
As selfish as it may sound, I love the fact that I no longer have to compromise. I no longer have to ask permission. I don’t have to tell anyone where I am going or when I’ll be home. My schedule does not depend on another person. I literally can do anything I want and it’s awesome.
Since being on my own, I have done more things in the the past six months than I did througout the last seven years. I’ve become a “yes” person, gladly accepting most invites because why the hell not?
Impromptu happy hour with the girls? Sure. Concert down in Richmond? I’m down. Paddleboarding on the Shenandoah? Absolutely! Bar Crawl in Arlington? No problem.
There is nothing holding me back and that is a beauty thing.
Rediscovering myself was amazing.
I lost who I was when I was in that relationship and I didn’t realize it until I got out. I had become an empty shell who stayed at home channel surfing yet dreamed a more exciting life. Once I was on my own, I realized that I could create the life I dreamed of.
As much as I like good Netflix binge (highly recommend Santa Clarita Diet), I’ve realized that I’d much rather be outside no matter what the season is. I enjoy hiking, snowboarding, paddleboarding, etc. and would really love challenge myself with three day backpacking trip.
I’ve caught a travel bug. I just spent the weekend in Snowshoe, WV where I snowboarder all day and listened to a raggae band at night. I have a trip planned to Reno, NV and San Francisco, CA. While Northern Virginia will always be home to me, I can’t wait to discover what else is out there. Heck, I’ve even contemplating making a move out West, because when the mountains call, we must answer.
The strength I realized I had within myself was empowering.
Walking away from an abusive relationship and being alone made me realize how strong I truly am.
Soon after settling in to my new digs, I began working on a post-relationship bucket list. I planned on doing everything that he refused/unsuccessfully promised to do – even if it meant venturing out alone. The first time I went snowboarding by myself, I cried. I cried tears of joy because I felt so liberated and so empowered that I got over my fear of being alone.
In the past had I ended up in the hospital (i.e. my stroke in November), I would have called my significant other right away seeking comfort and coddling. Despite the fact that I was casually dating someone at the time of my stroke, I didn’t reach out. Would I have liked him to be there? Sure. Did I need him there? Nope. I had my amazing family and rad friends by my side and that was all I wanted.
Speaking of friends, I lost many due to my break up and that’s okay. The friendships I have forged since then – making new ones and reconnecting with those long lost – has made up for it ten fold.
For the first time in a long time, I’m completely happy.
I have no clue what the future holds for me and I’m okay with that. I’m just taking it day by day, living by the words of the late, great David Bowie…
I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.