"My worst nightmare is that you are going to meet a 28 year old with a career and a house, and leave me for a real man."
That was one of the last things my erratic ex said to me before our 5 year relationship ship crashed and burned to it's own death.
When we met, I was 19 and he was just turning 18. We were both in community college and hit it off right away as good friends.
He was timid, shy, quiet, and did not have his life figured out yet.
I was 19 with a toddler, a strong single mom in college who was a part of SEVERAL organizations on campus, took full time classes and did an internship. I was a loud, social powerhouse.
Opposites attract, but in the long run only couples who work together will stay together.
We worked out plenty of obstacles, saw each other often in school or after, and went on dates. I felt he was a gentleman because he treated me like I was a human. He was patient, calm, and had a slow paced life. No clubbing, no drugs, no wild streak.
His family was religious and that meant to me that he grew up with a solid foundation and standards to live by.
Unlike my broken home with addicted, mentally ill parents whom were abusive and ultimately did not raise me at all.
I had trusted in one guy before this one, my h.s. relationship that was volatile and ended with me moving to a relative's house pregnant with nothing to my name. And single.
That guy had cheated, lied, manipulated, abandoned, manipulated some more and then completely annihilated the relationship as well as his responsibilities as a parent.
So committing to this man was new, exciting, happy even for a time.
But there were so many signs I did not pick up on.
He had been "better than the rest" and let me be the powerhouse I wanted to be.
Over time, when he would be private or weird about his life decisions or constantly complain that his parents misunderstood and nagged him I would be sympathetic. I figured he was just a young guy figuring out life and that it was not my place to insert my opinions. Just to be supportive.
So I had my own life, my education, my child, and my successes separately.
Like a spectator, he would come and go visiting in my life. When I moved into my new campus apartment at the University I got into after attending community college with this guy ---> things shifted big time.
He began to get shaky with his dreams. Unsure of what he wanted. Unsure of his faith. Even unsure of me.
Then came his deep desire to dive into his religion and his parents desires of him. Though i continued focusing on college and my own life, I became supportive of his spiritual journey and even tried out his church.
I ended up loving it and joined for a while in my own branch location by my school.
He dove even further into it, deciding to ditch college all together and sign up for a church missionary trip which ended up sending him away to Africa.
I stayed supportive and hopeful.
I was after all used to being independent. And I wanted to continue to honor my promises in being with him while we figured out our own dreams.
So I vowed to write to him. To stay faithful and involved in our relationship. To support this shift in our life.
He returned after less than 2 weeks.
I got a phone call one night from LONDON, his loud rambling waking me up as he announced he would be coming home to me. To be with me. To take big strides in our relationship and to never leave again.
He said it was the biggest mistake of his life.
When the dust settled and he was home again, his family was a bit disappointed but supported him [I guess] in his return.
At first, his life plans were all "figured out".
He would be with me.
College did not work. Church did not work. His jobs did not work. But we would.
I would because i was the only thing solid in his life.
Looking back at this, I have to laugh.
I was an option. And not the first. Or the second.
The option with me soon felt lackluster as well.
He got weird. Distant. Would ghost me. And then show up like nothing was wrong or happened.
He began to make me feel crazy and needy for wanting to know if he was ok.
Then we had a big blow out one night when he came by to see me. He was edgy when he showed up. It took us over an hour to try and pick a movie to see. He was moody. And then he said it was me.
It had been "me" for weeks. He said "I liked to pick fights". He said "I was always asking questions". He said "I was ruining us". And I felt that HARD. I had been crying over it all since he had returned home.
He then started fighting with me about my life and goals. He said I should not bother doing my Masters Degree after finishing at the University. He said I should not be doing my major, that studying womens rights made no sense and was useless.
So I told him to get the fuck out.
At that point, in spring 2014, I decided to shake up my own life. I cut my long dark hair to my shoulders in a platinum Bob. I got a nose ring.
I started partying with my friends and focusing on self care at home. Bubble baths. Journaling. Candle lighting. Painting.
I did these things I had not done for myself in years. Because I'd focused on work and classes + being a mom at home for my little girl for so long that I had not given myself time to just be a young girl.
I decided to embrace being in my 20's, free from my abusive family and free from anyone controlling me or weighing me down.
I even went out on some dates and met new people.
Just to feel alive.
It was an amazing few months until the end of summer, when my ex had begged and pleaded to have me back.
He apologized and made promises. He addressed his behavior and said he supported my dreams.
So I took him back.
I told him to do boyfriend things.
This reminds me of when Pam took Roy back [the office] after calling off their wedding. When he sobered up and tried turning his life around.
I was a total idiot, as I now know with full confidence.
So I committed for another 4 dreadful months to a man that grew apart from me intentionally and never really actually cared for me.
In fact, I'd always been the one to start every conversation, to plan any dates, to be the one to listen to HIS needs or feelings. Or to beg for him to speak when he fell silent during our arguements, which would bring me to tears.
I was never able to do the hobbies and activities he wanted. Like surfing and going out to the bar.
I was a single mother with a small child, whom I raised without his help or involvement because I wanted boundaries.
But he had never tried to be more than that.
And the few times within those years that my kid got in his car or went to his parents house, I felt like I owed him so much for just tolerating it.
When we got back together those last 4 months, he went from super sweet to super gone. Ghosting me. Not being intimate or wanting to be close to me. He would be short with me and then just say it was stress trying to find a job since he had dropped out.
Then he brought me out one night to his volunteer fire dept house where he volunteered for years. Where I'd attended his fancy events and gotten a baby sitter several times.
And when I walked in, one of the guys asked if I was still his girlfriend. Another joked and said he wasnt sure because my ex had so many.
I laughed awkwardly then because I had no clue.
That Christmas he did not see me and made up some lie that his family accidentally exposed. Meanwhile, I'd saved up pennies to afford a present I knew he wanted really badly.
Instead, I was gifted a week of ghosting followed by a text that said he had met someone.
One if the last things he had said before ghosting me was that his biggest fear was that id fall in love with some older guy who ACTUALLY HAD HIS SHIT TOGETHER, and that I would not need him anymore.
I never believed in the ability to manifest nor did I understand energies or wishes.
I barely ever believed in praying.
My entire romantic life had been handcrafted with paper mache shit.
And I never believed wishing on a star would land me a good partner.
After healing from the tragic death of the time I wasted on my ex, I wrote out a list. A long, 4 page list of desired traits and examples of things I wanted in a partner.
I wrote it as I cried my eyes out.
During a class.
While not doing my assignment.
I remember very clearly leaving that class in a rage, tears blinding me as my mascara ran.
I said FUCK YOU to all the pain and the frustration of being an independent person but so lonely.
After weeks of focusing again on school and work, a friend convinced me to get back on the horse and try a dating app. She said It would be a nice distraction. A way to move forward.
So again i said fuck it and i signed up. At first i was timid to write anything about myself. But something in me also said FUCK IT AND BE VULNERABLE.
So I wrote a long and heartfelt biography about myself.
I also wrote what I was looking for in a partner. And what i was absolutely not looking for, nor would tolerate.
Valentine's day came rolling in and I actually messaged someone who intrigued me for his lengthy profile with very specific and similar desires to my own.
That man is now my husband. We have been together for almost 5 years. And I am so grateful that I found him.
Ivan was in fact an older guy, with his shit together. And a connection to me that I never had before.
He showed me respect and actually did support me in my goals + dreams + desires.
He did not bullshit. He said what he felt bluntly. And he was not in it to play games.
What I learned from my time with my ex were the things that fueled my 4 page list.
Ivan has met just about all of them.
But love is NOT about manifesting perfection.
Love is not about meeting each others requirements per say.
This love I have now came about because we both felt it and devoted ourselves to it.
In the nearly 5 years with this man, we have done everything together. We have supported each others dreams and helped to make them happen. We have parented and become parents together, caring for all 3 kids in our blended family. We simply just commit and nurture our relationship constantly.
He knows I would follow him to the ends of the earth, live in a box if it meant being by his side. I know he would do the same.
What I did not know with my ex or any other partner before him was that love is not bought or begged for. Love is not bargained with. Love is not worth crying over.
And that love holds no space for insecurities, lies, doubts, fears, or betrayals.
Whatever it is, that is not love.
And looking back, having seen the girl my ex found and learning she was into the same shit as him, I feel relieved.
I would have never married him or had kids with him. I would have never had my dream career while being with him. I would never have gotten to embrace who I truly am.
Who I am was not the right match for him AT ALL.
We out grew each other.
I could have done without the stress. I could have done without the pain. I wish being cheated on or lied to never hurt so badly.
But I am okay and I am better because of it happening.
My long list and tear streaked face proved helpful because I finally woke up to my own needs in winter 2015.
And that led me straight to the love of my life.
When we experience pain from toxic relationships it is so easy to CLOSE UP.
It becomes EASY to give up and not allow love in.
Whenever someone has hurt me or betrayed me, it has been a blessing in disguise.
Both in the release of something toxic from my life and the awareness it would bring me in my life.
I am thankful for his doubts and fears too.
My ex was not right for me.
And somewhere out there, a better person WAS waiting for me.
The stars aligned, or whatever, and BAM.
So do yourself a favor.
When someone breaks your fucking heart, take your feelings out on paper.
Set intentions. And set yourself free from the pain.
Writing is power. And doing something with your life is empowerment.
Love yourself through it all.
The rest will fall into place.
I am 5 foot even and 162lbs.
Fuck it. I SAID THAT SHIT.
And it feels humiliating to me. No, no, no. Not the number.
A number is a fucking number.
And I truly think all bodies are beautiful. Just not my own.
What?! A hypocrite?! Get the fuck out.
Yes. Me. [Raises hand timid, looking around]
Hello. I am talking about a lot of us.
12 years and change ago, I was a double fucking zero pants. A skinny teenager.
And then, I had a baby.
For years after, my weight shifted around in my body like a jelly squeeze toy.
Some here, some there. Into the thighs, and back out into the back. Had a tiny butt, lost it, gained it back. Then adopted some cellulite and some fat in pockets all over the place. Fluff. Curves. Lumps.
I had 2 more babies at 25 and 27. And discovered after having both and breastfeeding that my metabolism is not that same at almost 29. Whoops.
I've been all sorts of pants sizes in the last 5 years alone and went through 5 different bra sizes.
It can get emotionally exhausting when you are running a marathon called motherhood and have pit stops to work, only glancing once in a while into the mirror as I pass by.
Nearly tripping over myself as I look in and scream "who the fuck is that?!"
My husband has loved me in a size 4. And in a size 14.
Should we applaud him?
And sit down to the one fucker in the back who clapped.
It is just a body. A meat coat. I should not care, right?
Well last time I checked, I had a pulse and a social media platform showing me pinterest couches with circle glow eye twinkling, makeup divas in a size 2. Also, in a size 8. And 10. And 18.
Because we are in a time where beautiful is just beautiful. Where any size dress and any style of woman is fucking beautiful.
I just don't believe I am.
Because I am still healing.
Healing from the Facebook ads, the Pinterest boards, the cover girl commercials, the bathing suit rack at target, the Ipsy glam-diva postcard, the FAB-FIT-FUN beauty mama in only a silk robe and heels all sprawled out with products on her marble counter top bragging about how great 8 products in cardboard are for her laugh lines.
I am still healing from heavy doses of bullshit and morning supplements of "30 days til perfect".
I am tired. I am busy.
It has taken a lot to love me.
Through thick, thin, curvy, top heavy, top empty, torn crotch leggings and rib pain sports bras that promise to hide shit and never work.
I am finally peeling back the layers.
I am finally asking myself to just be healthy. And then somewhere in between find "happy".
I invite all women to stop worrying about their "number".
Whether it is the scale, the calories in your latte, the followers on your Instagram, or the damn exact amount of cookies left in the cupboard you so desperately want to dip in milk tonight when the kids go to bed.
I got so bad for a while, I wanted to curse at oreos every time I passed them in the grocery store.
But the only problem I have is me. And healthy is the only solution.
Healthy body, sure.
Healthy newsfeed, you betcha.
Healthy self image, working on it.
But healthy mind is the plateau.
And I'm going to say I love you every step of the way until I get there.
How often do you look back on old photos of yourself and think oh Gosh,
"I was so skinny"
"I was so fit"
"I was so happy"
"I was so put together"
If this is you, I know how you have been feeling. Because some days I feel it too.
I have a painted picture of my youth, of my flat stomach, and unblemished skin. My healthier hair, and much more sanity. My fast metabolism. And easier lifestyle.
And it makes me feel really down.
Pictures of a thin waist and figure, are because at that time I barely had food. In fact, I was going to the local food pantry in the late evenings after work and having one meal a day.
I was dressed up fancy to go to a campus event, but I had not gone out in a while and was actually really depressed.
My boyfriend had not come to that, as he never went to anything of importance to me. I have no idea where he even was. Because he ghosted me a lot. And he was cheating.
I put on some makeup and did my hair, as the first night out after crippling depression that caused me to miss classes and work for a few days. I had just slept on my couch after putting my little girl on the campus bus to her elementary school. I would literally go in pj's and a jacket, hair in a messy bun, to her bus stop. And then get back into my little apartment, throw my jacket to the floor, and crawl with a blanket onto my couch to sleep for hours.
My apartment was a mess, because I did not have the money to do my laundry and lacked the interest in cleaning up anything.
And I did not want to tell my few friends on campus what was happening, because they all "seemed so put together" that I was ashamed.
My earlier years were hard.
My childhood was EXTREMELY HARD.
I would never go back to being any age under 21. It all was horrible then.
My twenties were as good as they could be, and boy do I have great memories from college.
But I also have many bad ones.
Many times I struggled and fought my way just to make it to where I am now.
So how could "me" now not feel satisfied enough?
It is because I need to heal. I need to learn to live in the moment. I need to build up gratitude, patience, and satisfaction with who I am in the moment.
Of course I can list out what I am grateful for. But that is not enough.
I need to STOP. NOW.
And take baby steps.
In order to appreciate what is around me and what I am thankful for, I need to feel grounded. I need to acknowledge my safety.
I need to hug and kiss the people I have. And embrace my partner. I need to acknowledge this beautiful life right now. For what it is.
My future self needs to look back on the woman I am now, how far she came and the journey it took to get there.
So my responsibility now is to just be.
Time will fly.
People will come and go.
My body will change in many ways.
My circumstances will change too.
But my mindset needs that inner work. My rational senses need to meet my emotions half way, to understand that each place I am at are all part of a bigger picture.
And that picture is going to be so beautiful.
Jealousy is a weird concept, am I right?
Jealousy comes from an entirely internal source and it is a completely irrational thought process.
The idea that you are insignificant, due to the existence of someone or something else in your path.... it can be paralyzing.
In the trauma realm, jealousy is habitual.
Both trauma survivors and healers experience this emotion equally, as we are all human and this is a human emotional process we get throughout our whole lives.
Jealousy, as a feeling, has many layers.
Jealousy, when put into action, can set fires to our own personal progress as well as someone else's simultaneously.
Those of you that have experienced abusive relationships, toxic family members and abusive behaviors in your life like deceit, cheating, manipulation, gas lighting etc. You may have seen jealousy used in combination with these techniques abusers have in their tool belt of ways to hurt someone else and have power over them.
Jealousy, after all, gives someone the delusion that they are under attack. Instead of fight or flight mode, jealousy triggers a person to just attack purely out of their own narrative.
I see healers and coaches act based on jealousy too. This is human, but often indicates there is still room for them to self reflect and grow.
Our deepest insecurities and fears surface when we show up most. This is due to contrasting ideologies and approaches floating all around the internet. And although it is not the only option we have, some people choose to start comparing themselves to their peers to evaluate their own path.
As healers and coaches, you all KNOW there will be a million variations of work and courses, books and materials.
No one is original, but that does not take away from the gift of a personal approach.
Again, as humans, we all learn and gather resources. Our natural instincts tell us to question everything, to sniff for errors, and to work on overdrive to find solutions.
So when we see someone has come up with a solution we may have also landed on, we feel frustrated and impulsive. We feel violated and like someone has robbed us.
But knowledge is both free and everywhere, like oxygen.
And every new sculpture of truth gets derived from an original source, to help each generation grow and prosper.
When you feel like your own personal work is under attack, but there is no actual evidence or rational truth, you need to take a step out of the ring and evaluate your mindset.
When you feel like someone else is stomping on you or bullying you, bull dozing you, or showing aggression towards your work ----> know it is the same exact thing happening.
It is a form of jealousy, but it stems from inner frustration OR a lack of knowledge. That knowledge might be resources or it may be an internal, soul knowledge that allows a person to mature.
Maybe, they are simply not there yet and do not understand themselves well enough to see what their insecurity is. But it is their job to figure it out. As it is yours for yourself.
When I feel a rush of jealousy or opposition towards someone or their work, the first thing I do is take a step out of the ring and try to understand myself.
I want to do that inner work to see what pieces of me feel attacked, lacking or depleted. I try to figure out what it is they "have" or "present" that threatens me.
How can I do the work to fulfill my own desires.
How can I better myself to provide what I feel I am missing or having trouble with.
As I get older and wiser, I humbly know that the grass is never greener.
As I step into my flaws, like an animal hide, I embrace the warmth and rawness of an imperfect being.
And I allow myself to accept that there are rationally no features, concepts, or feelings about me that are original.
More that I am a concoction of my favorite things, that I am a generational recipe that will be tweaked and change measurements, flavors, consistency over the years.
I accept that I am malleable, that I have much to learn still, and that most of my learning will come from the things my intuition naturally opposes me to draw close to.
Because rough edges need to be polished.
And if I am too busy clinking together rough edges, I am more likely to get scratched instead of buffed into my own version of perfection.
Who says you can't feel that way?
Who says you can't have those things?
Who says you are not enough?
Who says you will never get there?
Take a look. A HARD TRUTHFUL LOOK.
Look at those people.
What do they have? What do they feel? Who are they within their own lives?
A person who says never, no, not gonna happen is just a person who does not believe in themselves.
When someone does not believe in them-self, the entire world and all things moving seem impossible, doomed, and immobile.
When they project those feelings on to you, it might make you feel so hurt.
So fucking angry.
You might hate them for it.
You might also believe them.
I will never do it.
I will never achieve x, y, z.
Do what your immediate gut feeling does not say. Reject what you were taught. Reject your instinct to be angry and hurt.
Instead, find love.
Find it within your soul.
Close your eyes, travel deep within yourself, through all your veins and up into your mind. Tell yourself, "love."
When someone else flings poop at you for your ideas or your efforts, remember love.
You deserve love.
You will achieve ANYTHING YOU SET YOUR SIGHT ON, but it will require love.
And those judgemental no, not, never's ... those people who find a fault, flaw, or foundational error in everything.
They need love most.
Because they are stuck in the no and the never. So they are miserable.
LISTEN TO ME NOW. AND TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY.
In fact, tattoo this to your freaking hand if need be.
"Love moves mountains."
It may not be your responsibility to show love to someone hateful or doubtful.
Maybe it is not. Maybe you cannot literally change them in this moment. Maybe they are not even ready.
Maybe all you can do when they say no, never is say "I trust myself. I know I will." Or "I will find a way."
One time I asked a bully what was wrong. I literally asked them mid insult toward me what was wrong. And they actually started to cry. It was in high school in the girls bathroom. She cried and she told me what was wrong.
She never said a word to me again after that day. But she felt heard.
"It is not your personal job to fix people". We hear this all the time. And maybe for some people, it IS TOO GREAT of a task.
But I take the gamble.
Do not rely on the words and intentions of someone who is hurting or unhealthy.
And do not make their life even worse by humoring their bad opinions, or even worse stopping your own life because of them.
Instead, choose love in your own intentions, words and expression.
So that you never become someone else's "no, never".
So you inspire those around you to follow suit.
To the woman who is hiding her pain in plain sight. I see you.
Trust me with the most certainty that after experiencing many different types of abuse and toxic situations in my 28 years, that I know the pain in the silence of your presence. I know you are being abused.
And it pains me to say this, but I cannot help you.
Not until you decide that you are ready to be helped.
From childhood until my twenties, I was physically, emotionally, and sexually abused by the people closest to me. The people I trusted and learned from. These traumatic experiences have impacted me as a woman, partner, and parent.
I know what it is like to go on enduring the pain without telling anyone. It's a lonely road.
But the longer you wait to do something about it, the worse it will be for you.
I know it is hard to hear the truth, especially when you love the person who is abusing you.
Even more, I know you already know the truth.
And though you may not think you show it, I can just FEEL it. You want to be rescued.
There were multiple times in my life that I knew staying with someone who was toxic was wrong. But I wanted to hold onto my promises, my commitment to the relationship, or just stay frozen with fear rather than see what could happen if I tried to run.
When my own mother was the abuser, I was just a child. For years though I played with the boundary line. I got more outspoken over time against her.
And I planned out how I could escape through the window with my sheet or wait until she was passed out to run out the back door. But I knew that side gate lock would jingle in the night. I knew the back screen creaked. I knew even running behind the garage would present me with a tall gate to climb into a neighbors backyard.
Eventually, when I got brave in my teen years I just decided to walk down stairs and leave out the damn front door. But I still ran once my feet hit the side walk. I ran once 2 towns away to stay with a friend, during the middle of the night when I had school the next day.
I still have nightmares even a decade later about being stuck in my room or the basement, with many obstacles between myself and the door.
Later, they reversed the mirror causing me to take on their behaviors like a chameleon just adapting to my surroundings. Then they would accuse me of being what I saw wrong with them. Whether it was "mood swings", "anger", "paranoia", "negativity", or "shame". What they usually felt or acted out like was now how I behaved. And I could not deny being that way. I had become someone I did not recognize. So I wilted and I hid.
I hid when I was out around familiar faces. I pushed away from hobbies and activities I once loved. I stopped being myself.
And when the people I had called friends or the family remaining that I had pointed it out, I denied it all.
DAMN well knowing I had changed.
When they pointed out my partner being abusive, I denied it.
DAMN well knowing they were right.
I defended my abuser.
OR WORSE, I lied for them. I covered the tracks of the people who hurt me all in the name of love.
I also felt such shame and self hatred that I did not want to face what would happen if I took a step forward. If I actually called out my abuser. Or if I said I wanted out of the relationship.
Who would love me? I was broken and bad. I was emotionally scarred. I was damaged goods.
It took me so long to come clean with myself and then with other people. To get help and then get out of those relationships. Often, it took until the people who abused me got tired and left to find another play thing.
That makes me feel the most shame. Even though I cannot go back and change anything. I wish I had made the choice earlier to leave. And I wish I had the wisdom I know now, to tell my younger self what troubling effects would happen if I stayed. And how much I would regret the things I did while loving people who treated me like I was unlovable.
It is time.
I have been sensing your inner phoenix and I know you want out. I do not take it personally when you make excuses. And I am hear for the long haul. I know you will KEEP making excuses and covering for whatever is hurting you.
But you cannot be silent forever.
I wish, truly, that I could liberate all the suffering people of the world who are caught up in a toxic situation and desperately want to break free.
I am empathetic, but like a shelter dog I also still wince when someone comes too close.
So I can only feel sad for so long until I seriously want to shout at you to RUN.
I need you to know that it may fool so many people when you smirk and "pass" as fine.
And you are genuinely just trying to keep your shit all together, tucked in a neat little bow. Because once that ribbon gets undone, you will unravel completely.
All will feel lost when shit hits the fan and the dominoes roll.
But that is just your trauma brain lying to you.
You are experiencing a normal, unfortunately potent symptom of abuse. And your lack of trust in everyone keeps you distant from the people you love so that you will not slip one day and flash a clue. A cry for help.
As I dedicate myself to this healing journey of mine and I advocate for survivors of trauma, I also vow to actively space myself from anything that will hurt me. And that includes people who absolutely do not want to help themselves.
What I do commit to is providing resources.
An extended hand.
I once wanted to be a clinical social worker and was set to get my Masters Degree so I could help people and advocate for the same sufferers of what I had gone through.
I now realize that being surrounded by triggers all the time and trying hard to "rescue" people that are mostly not ready or in a place to act on the advice I give would have been detrimental to my own health and well being.
In order for me to grow, boundaries have to be set in place. And I cannot be willing to break them for anyone.
You are going to come to that cross road too.
Chances are, it is right up ahead for you.
And once you decide you are no longer willing to entertain pain, you will NEVER again have a reason to remain silent.
An open letter to the best friend I shed to become stronger.
Breaking up with a best friend has to be one of the most painful of losses, especially when your heart tells you it's for the best.
As I write this, I am choked up and sincerely second guessing publishing this post. Not because I am afraid of any judgement or replies, but because I now know this break up is permanent.
All the women who are reading this can validate how amazing it feels once you have time and space away from a toxic relationship.
You feel such a release once the tears dry and some sense comes back into your dull cheeks. You are lighter, free, and happy without the heaviness of a bad relationship on your heart or using up your time any longer.
But when you lose a best friend, the pain of the breakup lingers for a long time after. Even if the friendship is severed by a really CATASTROPHIC event.
No one forgets the love they had for their very best friend.
A hard realization I had to make recently, even as an adult that is almost 30, is that not all friendships are forever. And the "Best Friend" kind is not any different.
Friendships end for all sorts of reasons. But what happens when a friendship ends because two people are the same as they always have been, and one finally realizes they need to change.
I had a best friend for almost 20 years. We had many ups and downs in our personal lives, from traumatic childhoods to rough teen years + abusive parents. We both had our first baby in our late teens and each got married with more kids following. But then our twenties came and things started to improve. With personal growth, business opportunities and a lot of aspirations, we each had the chance to grow.
Time and time again we stayed in touch and our friendship remained in tact, like a swaying river through the rapids.
So I never expected that one week without warning, I would be the one to feel the need to cut the bond loose.
I realized this year at 28 that I had been depressed and had anxiety for so many years after breaking free of my abusers and toxic situations. I decided I wanted to actively work on healing myself, now that I had the time this year while finally working from home (with my kids) to put in self-care and attention on my own health.
To be honest, I needed to prioritize my mental health and healing for far too long. But all of a sudden in May, leading up to my 12th year away from my first abusers in my life (my parents), I felt within my gut that I needed to change.
So many things in my life needed a makeover.
Most important was my self-care and health. Following suit, my relationships.
I began to analyze what things in my life were not working for me, triggering my stress, or not productive in helping to achieve my goals.
One of these things was my first blog, a project I started before Jaded Savior but after several months was not feeling too into. I outgrew the concept and felt stuck when trying to come up with content. So every time my gut warned me to stop, I trusted my intuition and took a break.
I had followed all the rules and steps in creating a perfectly attractive + attracting blog in a popular niche and had built all the right marketing platforms for it. But it just did not resonate with "me".
One day the feelings I had about it boiled up and I let my husband/business partner know I was ready to make a big change and ditch my 7 month long project.
I felt so scared leading up to that conversation because I had already dedicated so much into it, but I knew it was the best for me to switch gears. And I no longer wanted to be held back by something that did not serve me.
Within that same week, I felt an ache in my heart that gave me the same inner turmoil.
Stress. Negativity. Overwhelm.
Then I had a conversation with my bestie that QUICKLY turned into an unexpected argument. The next few days after that just completely sucked. I no longer felt like I was able to reason what was going on, and I decided to speak my mind. I let her know that whatever had prompted the argument, it just did not feel like "us" or what we had ever experienced in our friendship.
She had accused me of something that was completely not me to do, which she usually knew, and honestly everything just felt off. I took some time to analyze it all and realized though the argument was petty, the bigger message wasn't.
The same things had been bothering her for a while, about her own life obstacles and relationships. But it seemed like we just circled around negativity and problems all the time.
Friends are supposed to be an ear, a shoulder, and a life line. But there has to be a line.
That day I finally drew it in permanent marker.
I decided though I loved her very much, I was no longer willing to play a role in the friendship. I did not say those words lightly and I drafted them for hours before finally sending them.
I was not going to be in an argument or a dynamic that revolved around any sort of bullshit.
For two days of silence from her, I mulled over those tiny details of the situation that had occurred. And then it hit me that I had been transparent and honest always with this person. But even when I explained that over again, she was not actually willing to hear it.
I left one last message explaining how much I cared for her and how I hoped some day in the future we could grow down the same path, but that it just did not feel the same at the moment between us. That I would never do anything to hurt her. And that I did not exactly understand what she was going through to act in a way she never had before with me.
It honestly felt like she was pushing me away on purpose.
Days later, I would receive an email with an explanation that still did not go over everything in her mind and some apologies that I do think she meant, though I don't think she really understood why I severed ties.
Then I was deleted from everything, including shared projects.
I knew she was cutting any last strings.
The truth was, I had always felt similar struggles and sadness about my own life that she had felt in hers. But I was tired of it and ready to LEAP into something new.
Even if that LEAP meant I had to jump alone.
To the girl who seemed to always understand me, relate to me, know how to comfort me, or make me laugh. To the best friend that no matter how far they lived or how much we went through or how much time passed between our talks.
I will always be grateful for my first best friend.
A person who showed me how to hold my own head up when times got rough. Who wanted to cheer lead for me and let me cheer her on too.
To the girl who took part in most of my happy memories and knows most of the untold stories of trauma I lived and survived...
I love you.
And I know the pain I felt after letting you go helped propel me into who I am now.
I am moving faster and farther in such a short time.
I am waking up and doing things I thought were impossible before.
I have a clarity and purpose, with a passion now causing me to SHINE.
And even though I was always scared, just like you, that I would never make REAL friends. Even though I hated always being hurt by the same toxic kind of person. And I cried as much as you when I got stood up by women who claimed to have interest in getting to know me. I decided to follow my own advice when you wouldn't.
I now show up as the woman I want to be. And I remove BULLSHIT from my life immediately.
I will not humor or hold space for anything that does not work for me.
I just never expected that person to be you.
My heart foresees so much growth and beauty in your future. Though I am sad, I am not angry.
In fact, my love for you was greatly due to the potential I saw within you.
Beyond your own trauma and pain, is an amazing woman wanting to break free.
I always thought listening to you and advising you when you needed it was the way to encourage you to grow. I thought that agreeing with you about the TOXIC people in your life would wake you up.
And I damn well wanted to validate your pain.
But now I look back and I see that I wore the pin of your hand and enabler, probably way longer than I should have.
I sincerely hope your healing journey has either arrived finally or that you are just around the corner from its' starting point.
And some day if we meet again, it will be something new and more beautiful than before.
𝕀 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕒 𝕡𝕣𝕖𝕕𝕚𝕔𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟.
I predict in my near future that I am going to be a BOMB of success and happiness.
I think I am going to set off fireworks around myself, as I release all the pent up pain, anxiety, fears, nerves, and timidness I have been weighed down by in my life.
I am willing to bet on ME that I am going to knock it out of the park with all the projects I am creating, the course I am writing, the podcast I am preparing and the mother f**king beautiful blog that I launched out of pure intuition last month.
My hair, my skin, my body are literally going to radiate with energy and health from all the holistic remedies I am currently undertaking in order to take care of my wilted freaking petals.
All the knowledge and vibes I have been absorbing from the inspirational people around me, that means you [YEAH YOU], are going to spark the entire field like land mines as I walk across the grass I am finally, properly caring for.
And all the F**king failed friendships, partners, familial leeches, and turd-nuggets that ever abused, hurt, or neglected me are ... who the F cares?
Because it is my time to be great.
Greatness comes from a long rocky road, filled with lots of obstacles and "lost signals".
I am so sure I am going to reach this because as I look one last time behind me, all that drama is left in the past.
And it's only forward from here on, fourth.
Happy 4th of July --
And Happy Independence day to all you people currently feeling DONE with the bullshit, tired of bad reception in your path, exhausted by leeches and monsters in your rear view mirror.
Take this day, take this message, to know YOU have no more space and no more time for whatever came yesterday and the day before that.
Want to know what makes today, Independence day, YOUR DAY to break free of TOXICITY?
Today is the day because you waited THIS long already.
And one more day might actually rob you of your passion, your self-esteem, your trust, your safety.. maybe even your life.
Meet me in the future of greatness by owning that first step today.
Jean Soto, mother of 3 and wife, is a writer + artist in the Hudson Valley, NY community.