Sometimes you are more than willing to turn an ex loose. You snap the weight of that relationship from around you like you snap that constricting bra off at the end of the day. You’re giddy, joyful like a slave who has just received her freedom papers and a one-way train ticket North.
Then, there are the relationships that leave you curled up in the fetal position, watching The Notebook on replay, ugly-crying Kim Kardashian style into the same three balled up tissues you’ve been using for the past four hours. Nothing matters in the world. Not food. Not your job. Not even your hygiene. You’ve drank ONE glass of OJ all day, called out of work and haven’t shaved your legs. You simply can’t rest for wondering, crying, hoping and praying over the desperate, pitiful remains of your love, feelings and broken emotions.
Yeah, it’s that intense sometimes.
I’ve experienced the former and the latter. While the latter is obviously the most difficult to push through, it’s also the most rewarding to push through. I cried my fair share of tears but at the end of the day, I had to get tough with myself. I fixed my face (and LORD, did that take some fixing), took a shower, shaved my legs, hid The Notebook DVD and laid out some serious honesty for myself. My ex had not changed. In over six years of on-again-off-again contact with him, he had not changed. At 26 he is the same game-playing, insecure, lazy little boy that he was at 18. Am I bashing him? Absolutely not. I can attest to his good qualities as well. The only trouble is that while he may be a good-hearted person, all the ‘good-heartedness’ in the world just AIN’T ENOUGH.
I took inventory. Had I grown? If the answer was ‘Yes’ (which it unequivocally was) then the choice to completely and wholeheartedly walk away from him would be clear, yes? Yes. It should be easy, yes? No.
Sometimes women, as the more nurturing of the two sexes, feel the need to coax, coddle and coerce boys into being men. Wrong. All wrong. If he is not engaging his own free will to become better, there is little you can do or say to persuade him to. I had to stop and realize that my support is and will only EVER be supplemental to my ex’s determination to mature. If he lacked that determination, all the support in the world would do him no good and would drain me in the process.
I looked in the mirror one fateful day and true to the form of any endearing chick flick, gave myself the illest, most girl power-esque pep talk possible: “Girl, you have come too far. You have learned too much. You know what you deserve and it’s not him. You did all you could do to show him how much you loved him. He didn’t get it and that’s not your problem anymore. Something so much better is in store for you.”
I fed myself smaller gems in the same vein as that pep talk whenever I felt weak or lonely. I got busy working, getting involved in the women’s empowerment ventures I had become so passionate about, mentoring young ladies, writing, traveling, spending more time with friends and family. Things were happening. Life was drawing back its curtain and showing to me all the glorious inner workings of its full production. I was falling in love with living, instead of existing. And sure enough a week, a month, a year and a half sauntered on past me. I looked up and thought about him for the first time in ages and felt ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
When I got busy working on ME, that’s when the real healing process started happening. It was like a chemical reaction. Getting to the crux of who I am, what I enjoy, what I’m passionate about is what made all the difference for me. I had no time to bemoan the ruins of a failed relationship when I was out exploring, meeting, seeing, doing, loving and living. But I had all the time in the world for growing.
While I wish him well, I have slowly but surely moved forward by knowing and fully UNDERSTANDING my immense worth. You’ll never get what you deserve if you never understand and fully believe in who you are. People can tell you until they are blue in the face but until it all penetrates your brain matter, it will just be words and you’ll still settle for less than everything you’re worth.
I may have held the blue ribbon for “World’s Ugliest Ugly Crier” back then but please believe holding the title of “The One That Got Away” feels so freakin’ fabulous now.
La Truly is a late-blooming Aries whose writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. Armed with the ability to purposefully poke fun at herself and a passion for young women’s empowerment, La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change. Her blog: www.hersoulinc.com and her Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.