Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Let Your Heart Be Light

The holidays always make me reflective. New Years is all about a new start, leaving behind the past, thinking about what you want to change. Christmas has you thinking about who you care about and why and how much. In the past few months, I've asked myself all of these questions over and over, and made decisions, found opportunities, that have changed me in so many ways. In a span of months, I feel like a completely different person, with new improvements and new issues. Whenever I talk to my psychologist, I tell her how weird it feels to have confidence, how weird it feels to stand up for myself, and she always tells me that it's new, but that it's a "new normal." That these moments aren't moments, but rather I've changed, and that's something I'm trying to grow into and realize.

At the end of August, I ended a relationship that consumed my life because I let it. I've never been an extremely confident person. I often seek reassurance from others, and never was able to deal with my problems on my own. If I didn't have an outlet for my pain I internalized it and became bitter to those around me. This relationship exacerbated those things. I was with someone who was a nice guy. We had a lot of things in common and I could tell him mostly anything. And he told me he loved me. But I was always wrong. Whenever I did anything that upset him, it became an issue to talk about. If he did something that bothered me, it was my fault for being upset. This became normal. I stood with him for four years, grew more bitter, more needy, less confident. Then, our four year anniversary was drawing upon us and I panicked. We spent a week apart and I decided I needed to leave the relationship that was my primary outlet for everything in my life. Yes, I doubted myself and took back my decision, but ultimately, I realized that I needed to be alone, needed to grow, and needed to find a relationship that let me flourish instead of shrivel into someone I hate. That was the first time in a long time that I was really proud of myself.

Since then, there have been arguments where I've heard things like, "how often in our relationship did you know you to be right and me to be wrong?" and "I know for certain no one's going to love you like I do." And somehow, I've gotten past it, found enough worth in myself to know he's wrong, that I'm doing the right thing. That someone who loves you doesn't say and do those things. That I can be strong on my own.

Since then, I've been so much happier. Of course I cry over being lonely, over the hurtful things that have been said on both of our parts. I think everyone does. But I feel so much lighter. I'm learning to be confident in who I am as a single entity, as completely myself. I'm less bitter. I know how to talk myself out of sadness that used to cripple me and shut me down. I can turn myself around on my own. I definitely still struggle with this, but what used to be constant problem in my life is now scarce.

This weekend, I met the girlfriend of someone I developed a crush on. There was this moment of nausea, or wanting to leave and go home, to run into the bathroom and cry, to shut down. I didn't do any of those things. I talked to her, I talked to other people, I was happy and it was genuine. At the end of the night, I had another one of those moments of wondering who this person was, that I'd become. If you really knew me, the way my family and ex-boyfriend do, you would know that this isn't something I was capable of five months ago. The littlest setbacks shut me down, made me miserable, and I absolutely needed someone to comfort and reassure me. Now, I was able to talk to myself and say, "you met her, and that's okay. Now it'll be easier to move on from this, and that's really what you need to do. Just be happy and confident. That's the best thing you can do. Maybe she'll even be a little jealous."

These are small victories that I'm sure most people don't have to deal with, but for me, their giant walls that I never expected to be able to scale. Every day holds some new little challenge, but I'm learning that my progress is sturdy - it's not going anywhere, no matter how many setbacks I have, tantrums I throw, sobbing fits I have (because I still have them.) It's still such a strange thing to say, but I'm so proud of myself. I feel kind of haughty saying that honestly. But, I know that it's true, that I have things to be proud of and that I need to acknowledge that.

I don't know that I have any advice. I'm no expert on anything. I handled this break up in quite a messy way. But you ladies reading this, I know that you're all wonderful. That you deserve great things. It took me too long to realize it, but fears are often unfounded, and life is too short to be involved in something that makes you unhappy to any extent. Whether it just bums you out, or really breaks you down. You're worth far too much to be unhappy.

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Until tomorrow,


  1. thank you so much for your post! i've been in a similar situation before. being in a relationship where i lost myself to the other person until i no longer recognized who i was. i've been so much happier since i've given up that feeling that i was worthless enough to deserve that treatment. it's crazy how much a person can take the life out of you. now i'm more confident in my eccentric quirkiness, and i feel that i have learned to love myself to not let it happen again. kudos to you lovely lady, you rock!!!

  2. 1) Your hair is GLORIOUS. It suits you and your new confidence.
    2) Anyone who says "No one is going to love you like me" actually means, "I'm never going to find anyone who loves me like you did." Trust me. I was in a situation almost identical to yours.

  3. your post is so insightful and brilliant. i've been viewing your blog when you were still with your boyfriend, and to see how strong and courageous you are now without him shows! not saying he was a bad guy, but just not the right guy at the right time. you've definitely grown into a strong and independent woman, and sometimes a girl just needs that - a time to be alone, clear your head and recalculate what exactly is going on. i'm glad you didn't lose yourself in that relationship because from what i see and read on your blog, you are such a lovely lady that should not be washed away. you are a great inspiration to women everywhere and stay strong dear! i can't wait to read more from you!

  4. This deserves nothing less than really loud applause. This was a wonderful post, Nicole!

  5. I love your honesty here.
    I'm afraid of saying too much because I don't really know the situation, but I'm proud of you for being on your own and being a strong woman. No one should even try to take that way from you. You'll find someone who will encourage you to be strong and independent and still love you for you. Cheers to a new start and a Merry Christmas!

  6. Beautiful post! I'm so happy to hear not only that you feel like you're growing but also that you want to keep going forward. :D

  7. Nicole, it made me smile to read about you learning to open up and find more moments to be joyful in your life. Also, you deserve hearty congratulations for finding the strength in yourself to recognize that you needed to live differently and make changes.

    I know there are times that I question whether I am defective or doing something wrong because I still have never had a relationship nor have I been for real asked out on a date. But regardless of what does or does not happen in my life, I have to focus on my own happiness and fulfillment as a person first--if that means I'll become a crazy cat lady, by golly I'll be one happy crazy cat lady. (Just one who happens to wonder what the other side of the tracks would have been like.)

  8. Ah my dear, I feel like we are on the same journey! I connect with you so much on this because not only did we have our break ups around the same time but they sound so similar. I know I've told you a bit about my break up before but it was really refreshing to hear your side of things because it put my break up into perspective. I almost feel like I was reading about my relationship in your post today! I honestly can't believe how messy and heart breaking relationships are, I truly had no idea. I also can't believe how much we will put up with just because we are afraid of the unknown. Like you, my fears and anxieties almost cripple me. I found these got in the way with my relationship. He also always had to be right, I would often end up in tears over something silly. I always thought it was me. Now that I've had 5 months to reflect, I think, wait a minute, it wasn't just me! He painted me as this dramatic, needy, bitter and angry person which perhaps I was in the relationship. Now I realize I was that way because I wasn't in the RIGHT relationship. Now, all alone, I never encounter that kind of drama and misery. I am oddly happy!

    While I too have my moments and break down/ cry, they are just aspects of grief. We can't easily get over someone we spent 4 yrs of our life with. I am lonely and sad often but I too can pull myself out of it. I believe that the things I have learned in this break up will transfer to so many other situations because I have made myself so much stronger. I love that we are growing and learning all by ourselves!

    I am so happy you are using this break up to be about changing yourself for the better. I too am trying so hard! I connect with you on so many levels with the bit about how you have small victories. It really can only happen one step at a time! I have pushed myself further and further since the break up and while I don't feel like I've made enormous changes (that will come in my move to England), I feel like a different person. I'm so glad that we are both using our break ups to change ourselves for the better and are thinking positively! We need it, we deserve it. We deserve to be happy and we will be because we aren't relying on others for our happiness but creating it for ourselves:)

    Loved this post <3

  9. Before we started dating my Boyfriend was dating one of my best friends. I love them separately but together they were toxic together. This is such a wonderful heartfelt post. I obviously didn't know your ex but it's very clear that you are a kind, fun loving person. Some people just aren't meant to be together. I'm sure a much greater happiness waits around the corner for you. It does take some time, but I think you need to learn to be happy alone before you can really be happy with another person.

  10. aw nicole. i really love this post. :) it makes me so happy and proud to know what an amazing lady you've become and are becoming! i really look up to you, because i know many of the things you've just stated are apparent in my life as well... i'm not sure when i'll reach the point of confidence and self awareness that you've reached...but you give me hope!

  11. Nicole,
    as someone who has gone through all of this and still is, let me tell you, that you are a great, beautiful person: inside and outside!
    And always remember, when there are moments that bring you down and let you doubt the way that you're going: remember what goals you've already reached and that the way you're going isn't an easy, but - in the long view - a deep, rich, contenting one.

  12. Oh Nicole, I'm so happy you're finally moving on, finding your space in the world, finding the real you and beginning to be confident and happy. You deserve this, you're such a beautiful person.
    Life is a romantic poem

  13. i love love love how we've grown closer and how much you've grown. it's amazing really. i'm super proud of you, like beyond proud of you. and gosh girl. i'm just so happy for you.


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