Saturday, May 10, 2014

No More, No Less

For months I have not been able to write. I tried, but when I sat down to do so, the words just would not come out.  My frustration and annoyance grew so much I just stopped attempting. Obviously, whatever I was trying to say didn't want to be said. Thing is, I don't write only for the love of it,  I write because I NEED to; it's a part of who I am.  When I write, my mood improves, and  the jumbled, sometimes over whelming thoughts in this ADD brain of mine become clear and organized. When I don't write I feel a bit lost, incomplete and out of sorts. So even if it's just an email to a friend, I write.  But for some reason, a person who normally has so much to say was silenced.

There are many things I could blame this on; writer's block, lack of inspiration.  But, that wasn't it.  I had ventured to Iceland, been renovating a house; I had plenty to talk about.  It wasn't until a few nights ago, when I was in bed that I allowed my mind to go where ever it wanted to go that I knew exactly why I hadn't written.

A few months ago I had a dream that involved my ex in a non-confrontational way. He and I were at the same lake.  I was with my best friend, he was with his friends.  A big wave hit and everyone had to leave the area.  As my friend and I were standing by my car ,  my ex came up and began talking to us.  There was no awkwardness, no anger, we were just talking as if nothing had happened.  Somehow he ended up in my car and I drove him home.  Our conversation in the dream was not very significant; he was telling me about his fiance and another girl, and asking me if I remembered a house he grew up in because that is where he lived.  When we arrived at his house, he showed me around, then we sat down on a bench and talked more.

It's a simple dream, but I awoke with feelings of longing, hurt and sadness; things I had not felt in eons. I spoke only to my best friend about this asking her to not tell a soul.  It was just a dream, and these torturous feelings would soon pass. But they didn't.  For days my heart was constantly aching and my nights were restless as I relived a breakup and wished somehow things could have ended on better terms.  Finally, one night at 1:00 a.m I got out of bed, turned on my computer, cried and wrote about the dream and all the emotions that came along with it.  When I was done, I slept like a baby and woke up with no lingering feelings or one thought of the ex.

I thought about sharing what I had written, but instead I deleted it because I was ashamed. Ashamed of wanting to talk to him, ashamed of thinking of him and ashamed of allowing, even a perception of him into my new home, relationship and life.  I had come so far, achieved so much, conquered what should have hardened my heart.  How could I let people know that for a moment I regressed?  How could I risk being perceived as some lost soul unable to let go? I couldn't. So I didn't.  

Fear, that is what silenced me. No matter what I had to say, no matter what else was going on in my life or the world around me, until I fessed up that sometimes, without any good reason or explanation, old horrid emotions appear that rattle my core, I would remain mute. What I felt is what I felt.  It is not right or wrong, it just is. Yet, I punished myself for feeling, for crying, for being human.

I AM only human. I hold no superpowers that will turn off the memories my heart holds and I have no way to tell when or what will trigger those memories. All I can do is face them as they occur.  If someone thinks I shouldn't feel them, write about them or admit to them,  so be it.  My promise was to always be real when I wrote this blog. And this is real.  Sometimes I don't understand it, sometimes I don't like, but it's me. And that's all I can be is me... No More, No Less.  








Friday, January 24, 2014

I Remember

I remember the sleepless nights, tired and bloodshot eyes and my heart; my God did my heart ache. Sometimes the pain was so excruciating I would collapse to the ground begging for the breath that had been ripped from my body. I remember the questions with no answers, the endless days and the coldness on a face I once adored.  Trust me when I say I remember.  But what I remember the most from those days of uncertainty is not the loss, but the force that instantly encircled me radiating love, friendship and understanding.  Where the walls had crumbled exposing insecurities and vulnerabilities, stood a slew of people that would show me what is to come is far grander than what had left.

Two years and two weeks after the six year relationship ended the miraculous journey continues.
When I look back emotions can overwhelm me and sometimes I do cry.  These tears are not for him, or us, but for those people who made a conscious effort to take time out of their busy lives to enter my chaotic world. Friends, family, coworkers and acquaintances fought on the front lines when I had already surrendered, the days I couldn't take it anymore, someone was there to take it for me. When I thought I was lost, they reminded me of not who I was with him, but of the person I am trying to become.

Without knowing, these people guided me through necessary exercises to help lift the blinders I had been wearing for so many years. By speaking candidly with whomever was asking the questions I never wanted to answer, I revealed embarrassment for what I allowed myself to accept from him, but more so myself.  No matter how shameful I felt, not one of these people ever made me feel less about my actions; not one person ran away in the midst of my attitude or tears.. Not one person walked away when things got tough... when I got too tough.

These people weren't just there to lend an ear, they were there to have fun,, and we did have some FUN. From going out all night,  to causing a bit (maybe more than a bit) of trouble, building ever lasting memories and experiencing things I never would have done with a person in my life who played it much more safe than I was ever meant to play.  Because I could be honest to myself and everyone around me, because the best parts of me could shine, I could accept, let go and move on.

At the time I didn't know that part of all this growing would mean being humbled by the pure goodness in peoples hearts and how much my life would change because of them.  But I've learned that when we surround ourselves with graciousness, we become more grateful, when we fill our lives with people who understand that not one person is perfect, and sometimes it takes a lot of brokenness for people to grow, then we will flourish.

I remember what it was like to feel like I never had a friend around, I remember what it felt like to feel like no one in the room cared, I remember what it felt like to be an outcast.  I remember so I never allow myself to feel  that way again.  I remember so I never repeat.  I remember so I can share.  I remember the goodness.   I remember......













Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2014 Resolution

It's been awhile since I have written. I, like many of you fell victim to the everyday hustle and bustle of life and the chaos of the holidays, that I literally lost track of time. One day I was turning 34 and writing a blog, then it was 2014.  It blows my mind how quickly the days, weeks, months and years just pass by without a care, eventually running out.  It's a harsh reality we all must face in many capacities throughout our life.  Yet, we continue to rush to do whatever is is we do, seldom allowing ourselves to slow down; lingering on the yesterdays that have passed and worrying about the tomorrow that is not guaranteed, while taking the only thing we truly have for granted.. the here-and-now.

In our technology advanced world, we spend our days and nights checking emails and playing online games. Work is no longer left at the office; it goes wherever we go never allowing us to ever really get away.  It is hard to relax when there is so much that needs to be done. But, while we do all those things, our relationships hurt, the things we love gets put aside and we aren't filling our soul with what it needs.

So in this new year, my resolution is to live more in the moment; to put down the phone, submerge myself so deeply in the company of those I cherish, that when they leave, they feel as if they took a piece of me with them.  I want to fall in love with the mundane moments of life, get lost in my own backyard and let "time" be the burning motivation to go after those dreams that I have put off for far too long.  I want those around me to know, that if I was suddenly gone, that I left this earth happy, doing what put a smile on my face.

Make 2014 the year you decide to slow down, cherish every moment and feed your soul with what ever it's calling for.  I'll be here at least once a week,( a resolution I really want to keep because it feeds my soul) to go on this 2014 journey together.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!



 





















Friday, October 18, 2013

Setting Free 33

Yesterday I turned 34 years old.  I'm another year older, maybe a tad bit wiser, and more accepting of the world around me.  This past year showed me more blessings than I  possibly deserve; although I'm not as excited as I was to bid adieu to 32, I must set free 33 with some of the lessons I've learned.

1. Love is Worth the Risk

Love is the reason the world goes round, to get up everyday and put one foot in front of the other.
On it's best days it soothes our soul and gives us a purpose when we feel like we don't have one at all. Even though it may have let you down more than a time or two, even though it can hurt more than the
dickens and convince us to never get close to another human again; it's benefits far exceed the
negatives and is worth putting your heart on the line for.

2. Do Not Judge Your Book by Someone Else's Cover

People only show you what they want you to see. From that view their life may look magnificent, their skin flawless and like they're  There is  not a soul in this world who does not have insecurities, worries or relationship dilemma's.  Do not let the perception of someone else perfection taint you.  It causes unnecessary strife, takes you away from what you should be focusing on..YOU!

3. Friends Stay Mad So You Don't Have To

My friends are amazing and there is not a group of women I would be prouder to have in my life. They stand on the front lines with me, fighting a good fight, giving me strength, hope and reminder of the good that is in this world.  They have vindicated me, and remain angry when I have found peace. If they're not the blood boiling type, they'll look your ex in the eyes and thank him for leaving because of that breakup,she get one of her best friends. (Yes, that really happened)

4. No Matter the Distance, Best Friends Will Always be Best Friends

My best friend moved to Tennessee. There are days when I wish she was here, experiences I want her to be a part of, but life has taken her to another state.  However, when we talk we can talk for hours, when I see her it isn't like anytime has passed.  She get's me in ways, and I get her in ways no one else ever will.  No distance can come in between that.

5. Be Grateful for Pain

Without knowing the feeling of air being sucked out of you as you fall to the ground with the agonizing breaking of the heart; you will never know the profound feeling of picking yourself up.  

6. Admit It Wasn't Always Bad

My ex and I were together for six years; not every day was a horrible day, not everything he did or I did was wrong.  We did fall in love, had some good times, and he helped me with a few things I will be forever thankful for.  I'm not denying everything that has happened, I'm just just saying there are some good memories.  

7. Embrace and Conquer 

If could be the news your ex got engaged, or training for a 1/2 Marathon. Whatever it may be; embrace and conquer!  

8. Own It!

This is your life!  It is a blank canvas to make whatever you want it to be. Do not give anyone else the paint to color your life with.  Own every day; follow your passions and your dreams.  Own your mistakes, be proud of your accomplishments and push yourself harder and further than ever before. That is where change happens.  

33 has been good to me; but I got a feeling I will absolutely adore 34.




Thursday, October 17, 2013

Home

When I was about five, my parents picked me up from school.  When we arrived home, in an upper middle-class neighborhood in Pittsburgh, PA, our landlord, and some people from the neighborhood, mostly children, were carrying our belongings out of the house.  I remember the landlord yelling without a care as to who was around, I remember the look of concern on my dads face, and I remember asking a friend of mine in the neighborhood why they were in my house.  Eventually the commotion ended; we stayed in that location  a few more weeks then moved to Virginia.  This was not the last time I moved, or the last time I heard arguing amongst my parents and landlords;  This is however, when I believe one of my deepest fears began, and when one of my most desired dreams nested in my heart.

Dreams are not something I speak about often.  I believe them to be sacred and do not want people to try to discourage my aspirations.  So when I do share,  I am sharing one of the most vulnerable parts of me because each longing has a story that sometimes isn't filled with the most uplifting plot. In less than 35 years of life, I have moved more than 30 times, never staying in a place longer than three years.   There has never been a place of safety, comfort or security; there has never been a place I could go back to..There has never been a place I could call home.

Four years ago, I wanted to take advantage of the $8000.00 tax credit and buy a place, I spoke with my then boyfriend who told me exactly what I wanted to hear.  "You should wait a year, because I see us doing this together." So I waited. Then a year came and went, his sister had a baby, and I brought "us" up again, he was even more certain that a life with me is what he wanted, and he just asked for another year; and so I gave him that.  This time we even spoke about houses we wanted, looked a little online and then almost two years to the day of our first conversation,we broke up.

When I entrusted him with my longing, he promised me a world of stability, and support. I  became so enamored with his "control" and perceived success, that I convinced myself that his offerings of fancy dinners and European vacations were far better than I ever could give myself.  So I inadvertently relinquished my path and allowed my dream to be dictated by his decision.  What he offered was a lifestyle, not a life. That is something only I could give myself.

On September 25th I closed on my first house.  It took a lot of searching and the amazing support of my boyfriend to make it happen, but I made it happen. The ride was emotional as I thought about my childhood and the what would it be like if  I were doing this with me "ex". But after I was done signing the 800 pages, I knew the greatest adventure of my life had begun.  Tears came to my eyes when my dad told me how proud he was;  when my 13 year old nice came over with seven of her friends to paint, my heart filled with love, as she filled the house with hope.

The house is not the biggest, and is in need of A LOT of work. (I actually don't live there yet due to the work) But it's my house to make a home.




Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September 4th

Two people, born on the same day, 25 years apart, would be two people I loved through turbulent times, forgave when actions were unforgivable, and defended because I knew the good in their heart. On the surface they were completely different, below the surface, their similarities were frightening. Both would leave unexpectedly and teach me the hardest of life's lessons. Today, September 4th, 2013, would have been my mom’s 60th birthday, and today my ex turns 35.

He is not who I wanted to think about this morning, but as I put the locket on that his mom gave me after my mom had died with the words "Remember" engraved on the front, I couldn't help but  think about the correlation between the two birthdays; a connection I found intriguing for many years.  It was the shared birthday, that made me think long ago that maybe, just maybe he was the "one" because he would forever make September 4th a day to smile.  Obviously he is not, but for many years, he was a distraction from a loneliness, I didn't want to feel.. Not mine, but my moms.

My mothers life was not easy, she was no saint and the last few years of her life were spent without the people she loved, in a place I can't even fathom, withering away. When I saw her, which was not often, I would choke back tears because the women in front of me looked much older than the age that she truly was.  When I thought about her life, the darkness and sadness and where it had led her, I would literally become ill. My heart would drop to my stomach and I would do anything to shake it off. And every September, for four years, I could concentrate on my ex and not my mom; I could celebrate someone who was there, I could forget my mom and feel something other than sorry for her.

This is hard to admit, because I love my mom I miss my mom, and today, more than ever in the past six years, I wish she was here, in any capacity to let her know that no matter what; I never really forgot her, that every birthday I spent with my ex, she was there in  my mind. Even though it was hard to be her child, I was still her child.  And there is not a thing in this world that could ever take that away.

The first birthday after she had died; the fifth with my ex, things began to change.  I attempted to make it a special day for him while trying to heal myself.  Instead, we argued a few days before over the time of the BBQ I was planning, and the day of the party, I left to call my grandma to call and let her know I was thinking about her on mom's birthday.  When the call ended, I sat in the car and cried, then went back to the party. My ex never knew.  

I don't hold it against him, he did the best he could.  After that argument about the time of the BBQ, he did send me flowers at work apologizing for being a jerk.  It was HIS birthday too, I couldn't take it away from him forever, just like he couldn't take it away from my mom forever.  I  felt guilty for giving it all to him, and never to my mom and begin a shift.  The last year we were together, he planned his own birthday at a vineyard.  It wasn't that I didn't want to plan something for him, I did, I just didn't want to disappoint him in any way, whether by planning the wrong time or  location, or just not giving him what I know was my all for 5 years.

The first birthday apart, last year was odd; I no longer had another birthday as a distraction, but I was in Tennessee with my best friend, who made it a point to make sure the day was focused on the positive aspects of my mom's life and even bought a cake so we could celebrate.  This year, I had no plan, I knew I wanted to write a blog today, but had no idea that some healing would be a result.

Whether coincidence or some divine reason these two shared the same birthday will probably never be known. Maybe it was to show me pain through life and death, or that Virgos and Libras really are incompatible.  Whatever the reason, I am thankful for both their presences in my life; even with the pain that ensued.  They showed me how to let go in life and death.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Back To Now






Skepticism is not a normal part of my thought process; I do my best to stay positive no matter the circumstances. But every so often I get stuck in my own head and the "optimistic, I can see the bright side of every situation me" gets boggled down with thoughts of the injustices of life.  For a couple of weeks I had been infiltrated with such negativity, that for the first time, in a long time, I cried alone in the dark, praying that the tears would wash away the cynicism radiating in my body. Although the tears helped me sleep, it did not erase some deep seeded anger I so desperately wish I did not feel.  Dwelling on questions with no earthly answers; such as why we love only to say goodbye? and why people die?, sent electrifying currents throughout my body that rejuvenated past wounds. The bruised little girl in me wanted to yell at a whole slew of people who hurt her while the adult me wanted nothing more than to forget everyone and every experience that ever hurt.

I attempted to write to shake the unease, but anything I put down on paper was immediately deemed incompetent.  Not being able to articulate how fed-up I was with my own memories and thoughts sent the storm brewing inside of me into full gear; my attitude was less than desired, I became desolate and felt lost in a maze.  Every corner I turned led me to some thought that made me want to scream. Frustration levels were so high, that jumping out of my skin seemed like the best release.

As the two week tailspin was speeding rapidly into hell, I had to go on a camping trip with John and a group of our friends.  This wasn't some campground we were going to; this was a full fledged camping  in the woods where "everything better be in that canoe you're paddling down the river, because there is nothing around for miles" type of trip.  The outside of me was showing excitement; on the inside I was afraid I may snap.  For more than 24 hours, I would be either on a river, or in the middle of the woods, with a bunch of people, with nowhere to escape to be alone.. and all I wanted was to be alone.

The day we embarked on our sixteen mile adventure down the river in Moorefield, WV, the skies were overcast, temperatures were low for late July, and rain fell intermittently throughout the day. Given the state I had been in, one would think the less than stellar weather would have provoked my mood; oddly enough I felt very peaceful as we rowed,  sang music, drank beer, and took in the scenery around us. When rapids appeared canoes got stuck, kayaks flipped, and a boat (mine and John's) went adrift down the river. It began when John got out to assist his brother with a fishhook that was stuck in his shirt and left me to fend for myself.  I hadn't been in a canoe for over 20 years, and didn't know what to do; so I laughed.... a lot as the canoe went drifting and as John came running down the river, through some rapids chasing after me and the boat.  After yelling "paddle backwards!" I managed to slow down enough for him to catch up and jump in. I was still laughing; once he caught his breath he joined in.

The burden I had placed on myself was nonexistent as the trek to our campsite continued.  I couldn't help but be more than complacent watching nature as it should be; deer drinking at the river bank, fish jumping out of the water, birds singing and flying through the air.  As amazing as all of that was, nothing compared to seeing bald eagles soar high in the sky. It was a majestic experience full of amazement and wonder. This was beauty in the raw, the way it was created, with no cars or buildings impeding the natural flow. I couldn't help but get chills over my body as I watched the national bird perch on a tree.  The moment was simple, yet so spectacular.  

Around 3:00 pm we found our campsite, set up tents, and sat in the rain. At this point, my clothes were soaked, and I probably should  have been aggravated and wishing for dryer conditions; but instead I felt a part of me find "home." Most people have me made out to be some "cosmopolitan" girl who likes luxury hotels and expensive things.. and yes a part of me does. Growing up I didn't have that.  My parents couldn't afford hotels for a week; for us to go on a vacation, we camped. Granted, it was in a campground with a bathroom, but we still slept in a tent.  Canoeing was one of my parents favorite things to do; I hated it because my dad always shook the boat and I felt like I was going to fall out, but it's those memories of me crying, begging my dad to stop, that now puts a smile on my face.  It reminds me of when my mom was happiest. I felt at home, because I felt my mom's presence in a way I hadn't in ages. This was her element, she would have loved to been on the canoe with me and would have been proud of her daughter for taking on this little venture.

As the sun set, we sat around the camp fire, not a person with a phone in hand; telling stories, laughing and talking. Come bedtime, we all took cover in our tents, and during the wee hours of the morning, heard a raccoon raid our food, (some even went to confirm it was a raccoon), and listened to the pouring rain fall. We awoke to a beautiful day with barely a cloud in the sky. After breakfast, and loading our things back into the canoes we continued down the river.  We stopped to fish ( I am proud to say I caught and threw back my first fish with my new pink fishing pole.) enjoyed the sunshine, (funny how much more we appreciate the sun after the rain) and completed the 16 mile adventure that took me back to a place where I found a part of me I didn't even know was missing.

Often it is said "To never look back, because you are not going that way."  For the most part, I agree with this statement.  For two weeks I used that as my very reasoning to ignore the painful truths walloping in my head, and so I dared to forget; only to have the thoughts intensify and cause more strife. Those thoughts, as torrid as they were, wanted to teach me a lesson, and instead of "leaning" into them, I fought them with all my energy.  Living in an idealistic, fast paced world,  it is expected to never look back, and to keep moving, no matter the circumstance.  But when taken out of the everyday, seeing the earth in it's truest form reminded me that we all have a true, unpolluted  form; and sometimes, we have to go back to a time that only we know, to get us back to our "now."





Monday, June 24, 2013

Soul Bleeding Honesty

Earnest Hemingway wrote "It isn't hard to write. You just sit down at a typewriting and let your soul bleed." Over a year ago, for the first time in my life, when my heart literally felt like it was on fire, I allowed my soul to bleed and created Life Diverted. It was a place I could come for a bit of serenity and hope when it was so hard to find any. Life Diverted has become my refuge; here is where my stories are told and where the truth as I know it lives. It may have derived from a broken heart, but is not about a broken heart. It is about life and no matter the road you may go down, it is a journey to be embraced.

Real life isn't always full of rainbows and butterflies, I write about REAL life; good and bad, knowing that anyone from anywhere can see what comes from my inner most soul. At one point it was a risk I was not sure if I was willing to take; but Life Diverted is not for the uninvited guests attracted by certain subject matters, or to find out how much more pain I can endure before I snap. Life Diverted was and is for all the people who have ever been hurt, the people who have fought for love and been let down. The ones who have been lied to, cheated on; it is for those with the biggest hearts and warmest smiles. Life Diverted does not discriminate against your clothing size or the color of your skin. I don't care if you’re gay, straight, skinny, fat, blue or green, Life Diverted is for all of you.

Writing about certain things doesn't make me feel good, I wish certain situations didn't effect me the way they do; but life is raw, people hurt, and tragedy occurs. If I depicted my life with a white picket fence perfect scenario, not only would I be lying, I would be doing myself an injustice. For far too long my voice was silenced in fear of not living up to an undisclosed standard; my feelings discredited. I was caged and didn't even know it until everything in me was broken; except my soul, that was freed. Releasing the shame of who I am and where I came from allowed me to realize that the only thing holding me back was the fear of my own life. And I am done being held back.

Nothing about me is special; just like all of you I have skeletons in my closet and moments I look back on and ask "Why did I do that." I cry alone about things that people would tell me I have no business being upset about and I question the decisions I have made in my life. It isn't easy to be so vulnerable and to barrel through the intimidation of outsiders perception. But any "risk" I take is worth it when I hear from readers who share their struggles in their darkest moments. One reader brought me to tears when she wrote to me telling me she went to the hospital thinking she was going to die. While she was there she read Life Diverted, and thought to herself "If she can do it, so can I." This is why I have done and will continue Life Diverted. If I can inspire one person to just try one more day then I have already fulfilled a greater purpose than I ever could have imagined for my life. And all I had to do was be honest.

Since this blog has started a lot has happened from being humiliated to being humbled. My life is beginning to shift gears and Life Diverted is going along for the ride. I am working on expanding this blog and welcome any feedback or suggestions. Thank you to all my readers for embarking on this journey with me and giving me the courage to share my life with you. I look forward to the
future and where the road will lead. 


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Shocking Predictible News

One day a boy is driving past a bar and sees a girl walk in; he doesn't know this girl but decides to go home, change, and go to the bar to meet friends, and maybe meet that girl.  As the night goes on, boy looks for girl and does not see her until he goes to the bar for a drink.  This night, girl has no desire to talk to any boys. She had had enough of boys and life and just wanted friend time.  Boy seemed to realize this about girl, so he begins talking to girl's friend and naturally girl joins in the conversation in an attempt to get him to go away.  This boy though was persistent and used humor and antics in an attempt to lure the girl in.  He said to girl and girl's friend, "Give me a dollar and I will dance with those girls over there." Girl did not give boy a dollar, but girl's friend did, and he danced with girls he didn't even know in an attempt to impress girl.  She was not impressed, yet boy still managed to get girl's number and as he left girl's friend says "One of us needs to marry that boy."  And for almost six years, I thought I was going to marry that boy.

That boy and girl no longer exist; he and I strangers now, maybe even more so than we were way back then.  I don't know the person he is, and honestly, I don't know if I ever did. However, no matter what transpired, no matter our relationship today, we did spend six years together. There are memories and experiences only he and I know, there are good times and bad times only he and I get.  It's just the way life is. So when my sister calls me to tell me that the boy I met in a bar a lifetime ago, the one I thought I would marry is engaged to the girl that he has been dating for less than a year and a half, the girl who went to Punta Cana with him as only a "friend", the girl who very well could have been the "other" woman; it stung, it shocked but did not surprise.

For months I had been "preparing" myself for this news;  it was a bit predictable given who he is and how everything has unfolded.  However, nothing fully prepares you for the exact time you hear those words "(insert name here) is engaged" and the weirdness that follows.  For a moment I wanted to cry and did shed two tears; one each for that boy and girl in that bar years ago. For a moment longer I questioned the woman I am and who I was; for even longer I got angry for years that some say he stole from me, then I just got sad for how close he and I never really were.  He always had one foot out the door and I was never going to silence the fire in my heart and passion in my soul for anyone; no matter how much I loved them.

Writing this post has not been easy as memories long forgotten have been remembered and a few unexpected tears have fallen.  Due to it's delicate nature I thought maybe I shouldn't put this out there for the world to see. Although human emotions can be frightening, I will not be too scared to face them due to the circumstances surrounding them.  I am a human, I have been hurt and I have hurt others. I don't pretend or put on some show that I can carry on without tears when life gets a little rough.  My honesty is my greatest strength and biggest vulnerability.  But it is not something I will deter from because of the curiosity of others.  I write my truth, and sometimes that truth stings even when I wish it didn't.  But I am not ashamed to admit it, to face it and to let the world know about it.

So yes the news stung, yes I cried a bit, but when all of that passed, relief of the bullet I dodged settled in. Reminders of my blessings were all around me, and true gratefulness filled my heart for my ex.  When he left he empowered me to not be afraid of my voice, to face life's harsh realities with a smile on my face and to step out of the box and truly experience this world.  I realized that love, true love isn't about the whirlwind,  it's about what you have when you take all of that away.  He made room for a man to enter my life and show me complete adoration, someone who puts me first even when I don't deserve it and will stop in the midst of conversation with a group of people just to say "Bless you baby. Are you OK?"  after I sneeze.  With all of this in my life, I don't have to focus on all of "that" because what I have is so much more grand than what was left behind.

To my ex and his fiance: I truly wish you both well and that you are blessed in your lives.  May your dreams come true and your love run so deep, that no obstacle is too big to overcome. Love is fragile and must be treated with care; put pride aside, say I'm sorry and remember that humans make mistakes. Every day, for the rest of your lives remind each other why you fell in love and why you are still in love. Congratulations and good luck. You both will be in my prayers as you move into this new part of your lives.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Running for Hope

When I began training for the Nike Women's Half Marathon a mere 13 weeks ago I was a non-runner in every sense of the word. The thought of running one mile, let alone 13.1 made me cringe. Nothing about the activity thrilled me and other than the Tiffany necklace that would be waiting at the finish line, I had no idea why I decided to embark on this little journey. Those first days of training were soul shattering as I attempted to run just a couple miles and became quickly winded and bored. Self doubt had me questioning my mantra of Defer "Don't Think Just Do" as I thought that maybe, just maybe this 1/2 marathon would be the one thing to defeat me.

My legs were hurting, my ankle constantly sore, and my outfits compromised because I couldn't wear my heels that I adore so much. I know it's shallow, but the miles were hard and were not getting any shorter. I was looking for any excuse when I had no good excuse at all; I was just afraid of failing and letting people down. This wasn't just a half marathon, I was fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society with Team in Training. I had friends, family and coworkers who had donated to the cause so I could run. The anxiety that all of these people knew what I was attempting and the praise I got for running for such a wonderful cause, was so overwhelming, that I would feel a massive amount of guilt anytime I missed a run or wasn't performing at the level I thought I should be performing.

But I kept running, kept going for one simple reason: because I can. This was not about me being at my best; this was about challenging my mind and body in ways it had never been, this was about busting through the barriers and showing life who is boss, of not allowing those little voices in my head to win and not caring if I ran a 9 min mile or a 15 minute mile. This was about a cause, one that didn't mean anything personal to me but became personal when John's aunt was diagnosed with lymphoma just a few weeks before I were to run this race. This was for everyone who couldn't run and for everyone who ever told me that I couldn't do something. This was for them.

The morning of the race I was excited but nervous. I knew what I was about to do, but still couldn't comprehend that I was actually goimg to do it. Standing in the middle of 15000 racers everything seemed so surreal. As loud music was playing, announcements were being made, the energy was electrifying, my heart was beating faster by the second. Then, through all that excitement, the MC asked the crowd for a moment of silence for the Boston Marathon Victims. The hush over the crowd was mesmerizing. And as soon as you could hear a pin drop, the national anthem was sung over the silence. All around me women were wiping tears from their eyes as I took deep breaths to not cry. It was truly a moment that I will never forget, one that brings chills through me when I think about it. The unity, the love, the remorse the understanding; in that moment, we were all winners, we were all a family, we were all in this together, and I had this race.

The gun went off and the pile of people began running over the start line. As I crossed over the line I knew the the journey had just started. I didn't want to run too fast, needed to conserve my energy.The  course was beautiful as we passed Washington landmarks, crossed over bridges and under tunnels. At certain points there were bands playing music to give the runners energy; around every corner and down every street there were spectators cheering, Team in Training coaches from all over the country high fiving us and people holding signs that took my mind off what I was doing just for a moment. One sign was being held by a little boy, wearing purple (Team in Training color) and his sign read "Thank you for running for me." And so I ran and didn't stop not even for water.

It was at mile 10.5 where I saw John and he came out to me to cheer me on, he soon left the course as he realized the zone I was in. At mile 11, I finally went in for a water stop. This is where I felt the pain, this is where I felt tired this where I thought " Is there really 2.1 more miles to go?" They were the longest, most hellish 2.1 miles I had ever faced in my life. Approaching the finish line I hear "Go EMILY!" and saw John. At this point I was done and had to get over the line, and I did with the only thought being "I want to go home."

After I collected my little blue box, my finisher shirt and a nice bottle of water, I read text messages on my phone from my own personal cheering section that had been tracking me thanks to a Nike tracking chip. Reading the messages from my friends made me tear up knowing how much faith these people had in me. Their words of encouragement made the wobbly legs and blood blister on my toe well worth every mile. But I still just wanted to go home.

It took me a few days to comprehend the accomplishment and to feel proud of it. But I am proud that in twelve weeks I transformed myself from a non-runner to a person who could run 13.1 miles. I took something I didn't like so much and turned it into something I really don't mind, and I got to give an imaginary finger to a few people along the way. (Hey it helps for motivation) But more importantly, I was and am a part of greater cause, of finding cures for cancer.

It was refreshing to see the kinder side of the human species and experience the good in this world. This wasn't just a race; this was a run for life, a run for hope. And I was honored that I could be a part of that.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Realization of Feeling Nothing

There is not a person in this world who should make us cower, have us look over our shoulder wherever we go or make us feel bad for who we are.  However, when we get victimized by another human we turn into shameful beings who crawl into a dark hole hoping no one finds us. The embaressment and hurt soon turns into self blame for allowing such a thing to happen in our own lives. And while we get stuck fighting off the awful feelings that are engulfing the good within us, our victimizer moves on without a care in the world.  After we are inflicted with pain it is our right to be bitter, is is our right to be mad; we have every damn right to hurt, cry, stay in our hole and not want to face the world.  It's a process; we all have that right....for awhile.  Eventually we have to stop playing the "hurt" card and move on with our lives.

Yet, so many of us find it easier to hold on to a dysfunctional past than to move forward to the unknown. Allowing people to determine things in our lives simply because at one point they hurt us. I am no less guilty of this; avoiding places simply because I did not want to see my ex or his new girlfriend.  I'm not a fool, I've been in this place for a bit of time now and realize that no matter how much you prepare, no matter how much you think you cleared your system, no matter how good you feel; something can sneak up on you like an ugly spider making your heart jump and having you run for cover. So it's just easier at times to stay away.  Then there are those times you have no choice but to face everything you spent so much time trying to stay away from.

March 29th of this year, the day I got back from Nicaragua was a coworkers office bachelorette party. We had met at a bar near our office.  This area of town happens to be where my ex frequents, and this particular evening I knew my ex would be in the area; his fraternity brother was playing music at a local bar and I had gotten invited. My coworkers and I have a close relationship, they all know the story of what happened and every one of them was there for me in some capacity after the breakup.   I didn't hide the fact that my ex would be around. I just didn't expect them to want to go to "that" bar and expressed to the group that maybe that was not the best decision. Somehow I lost that battle and we went to the one place I knew he would be.

Arriving at the bar I immediately saw people I had not seen in ages.  They were definitely more surprised to see me than I was them and I wasn't phased one bit. The woman they were viewing was the Emily none of them ever got to know. It felt fantastic to be able to be me without judgement; I was not his "girlfriend" anymore, I was not under some microscope, and whether these people viewed me as a lost puppy or not, I was myself, surrounded by friends and I felt untouchable.

Given the circumstances most people would have thought that I would be on the lookout for my ex; honestly, I wasn't.  My coworkers were on alert, I on the other hand didn't really care and was just going about my merry little way.  We all know what happens when we aren't looking for something don't we? As I am standing at the bar I turn my head and see my ex-boyfriend, walking alone through the crowd.  He passes by me and for some reason I felt the need to turn around and yell out his name.

He turns around, no real emotion on his face and says "Hey" and gives me a hug.  I say "You know you don't have to avoid me every-time we are in the same room."  He responds with "I didn't even see you. How have you been?"  We begin talking about my coworkers wedding and where she is getting married. Then he says "You know, I do think about you every now and again. Are you really doing OK?." My reply should have been "Never better!" But I answered with a simple, Yes, I am doing very well."  He goes on to tell me that he saw John over Thanksgiving and I say "I know you did because he told me he saw you." That is when my over protective coworker, who my ex used to get along famously with, came over to me, did not acknowledge him at all and says "John is waiting for you."  My ex looks at me with confusion, shrugs his shoulders, and I tap him on the shoulder and say "Good to see you." and he says the same as we part ways.

The adrenaline was pumping inside of me; I had just faced my ex and I felt good about it.  This was on my terms, not his.  I had passed my own test.  And just when I thought the night couldn't get any better.. I see the new girlfriend, dancing forehead to forehead with my ex in the middle of the bar.

This scenario has played in my head numerous times, I have even dreamt about the day I would finally meet this girl.  What would I say? How would I react?  And here it finally was, the moment everyone had wondered about. A million thoughts were going through my mind.  Should I approach her? Should I not? Then I took a step back and looked at the two them and how weird it was that my heart wasn't aching, that I didn't feel uncomfortable, I didn't feel out of place, I was not mad, or hurt....I felt nothing.  That man dancing with that girl, the guy who I had spoken to, is not the same person I once knew and loved. His eyes had lost their luster, he looked thin and more pale than I remember, his charm has diminished and he just seemed tired. That same evening a mutual friend saw my ex and he said to me "Something isn't right there. He doesn't seem himself, he seems so small."  I am not sure about the rest of the world, but in my world, a person who was once so big, someone I once loved so deeply, was now so small.  For almost seven years I had felt something towards this person: infatuation, lust, love, commitment, hate, hurt, confusion.  For SEVEN years he was a part of my life in some capacity and to not "feel" something for someone I had felt something for for so long was so awkward.

As the night was ending I was in the middle of a conversation with John and another friend when my ex's girlfriend walked within inches of me.  Without a thought I yelled out her name.  Her eyes were like a deer in headlights when I shook her hand and said "Hi (insert name here). I'm Emily.  It's nice to finally meet you.  I want you to know there are no hard feelings."  I don't believe she said anything back. Soon after that encounter John and I left, got in a cab and I cried on his lap; not for my ex-boyfriend but for the stranger he had become and for the feelings I had left behind.

That evening pride was put aside and dignity persevered as I looked into the eyes of my ex without ill feelings and shook the hand of the "other" woman.  No longer am I just a name in a story, or a person in a picture. I let it be known that I do exist, I am not ashamed, and I will not cower when either of them are on my radar.  I did nothing wrong but fall in love with a boy long ago who ended up breaking my heart. This may be why I hold no ill feelings towards this girl. She fell victim to love and I am not one to fault anyone for that; even at the expense of my own heart.  In fact I should thank her for taking the person off my hands who found it easier to lie than to love and sending me on an amazing journey where I have found courage in weakness, strength in darkness, beauty in turmoil and love after devastation.





Monday, April 8, 2013

Nicaragua Take Two



When I ventured to Nicaragua for the first time I wanted nothing more than to disconnect from my disillusioned world and attempt to feel some sense of normalcy.  What happened in those days just over a year ago did so much more than give me a sense of a self I thought I had lost, it opened my eyes to a world I had never seen and my heart to people I could barely communicate with. Giving toys to children who barely had anything, watching their faces light up with pure joy as their ordinary day turned into an extraordinary one, was a very real lesson that my problems weren't really problems.  That trip was the medicine that began rejuvenating a tired mind and body; that place revealed the beautiful lie I had been living.

This year I returned to Nicaragua with a different heart, a more educated mind and eyes that were no longer blurred by false visions and tears. This was not a trip to get away from anything, it was simply a time to be with family, relax and have fun.  I was curious as to how I would see this country, how things would make me feel. Would I love it like I did or find myself wanting to be somewhere else?  Those questions were answered the moment I took a deep breath in the Nicaraguan air and felt the ease and familiarity of a place my heart considers "safe."

Our first day we ventured to the city of Grenada where we exchanged money out the window, which in America would be mistaken for a drug deal; we hopped on a boat in Lake Grenada to visit our favorite monkey Lucy; who seems to take a special liking to me, maybe it's the Coke I gave her, but I like to think she and I share a connection.  We ate, drank a beer or two and had a good ole time.  It was similar to the year before, but very different and something on the inside knew it as it went searching for something that it had lost.

The beach at Pocho Mil, the beauty and serenity of Apoyo Lagoon, the joyfulness of each child we were able to give toys too still touched a place deep within me. The sounds of Managua, the homeless dogs we saw meandering for food,  the cows blocking our car, the hoarses roaming the streets; it was all something I had known, all something I had experienced and loved just the same. Well not the same, no two things are ever the same, no two visits, no two memories, no two relationships, nothing is ever going to be like it was.  Ever.  Was I sad about that?  I didn't think so.

On our last day we went to San Juan Del Sur; last year the energy of this place brought out the party girl inside of me.  The people, the music, the excitement screamed EMILY, and being back here brought back the memory of that liveliness that had been so dormant for so long. Walking this beach was where I felt the most comfortable and coming to San Juan Del Sur was the number one reason I wanted to return to Nicaragua.  I wasn't sure if I would have the same feelings I did when I first came or if it would it mean the same.  The answer to that is no and no.  It still is one of my favorite places on earth, and I will come back again.  But I don't want to feel like I did a year ago, but I never want to forget either.

And then I realized what that feeling inside of me was trying to find; the pain it was so hard trying to heal last time I was here.  It was digging for a reminder of the heart that felt like it was going to implode and wanting the tears to come without warning.  This time in Nicaragua I hadn't one tear, not one song I could not listen to, not one moment when I had to run away.  My strength had quadrupled, my emotions had settled.  Everything I had set out to do a year ago I am doing or beginning to do.  Although this trip was different than the last it played a huge part in this journey called life. I was reminded to not forget where I came from, but to embrace every moment of it.



Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Kiss Is Never Just A Kiss

When I was younger I did not know how much a kiss could tell you; how the touching of lips can awaken the heart to the reality that is. This simple action can single handedly destroy a relationship or help a new one blossom. A kiss speaks to every inch of the body, revealing or rejecting love, igniting or diffusing passion. It cannot lie; it cannot falter, making it one of the most intimate truth telling moments between two people.

A year ago I had only kissed one man for over six years. I remember our first kiss; we had gone out on our second date, I had too much wine to drive home and so I stayed at his house (nothing happened). When I laid down on the floor in front of his T.V,I closed my eyes, he came over, knelt down and kissed my lips so gently. It was something I thought of for years, but more so now, I remember our last kiss. It was March 16th of last year, the first time I had seen him since the breakup. This was the day that all the love and all the pain came to fruition.

Many years ago when my ex told me he loved me for the first time he said something that stuck. ”I knew you loved me because you kissed me differently; when you love someone the kiss changes." For everything he never said, this came out loud and clear. On March 16th, after we left the bar we met at for some drinks, we stood by my car, under his umbrella in the rain when I said to him “It was about six years ago you told me you loved me. Do you remember what you said?" After he responded with a "no" I looked him the eyes and said “When you love someone you kiss them differently." His eyes locked mine, his brain was spinning. Within seconds my ex bent down and kissed me with passion, sincerity and love.

I know when that day unfolded he had a girlfriend and had just got back from some trip with her. I know better than anyone how much my pain intensified after that day due to the sex and my emotions being thrown for a loop.  But for that short while he was mine again, we were us at our best again. His kiss told me he was questioning everything he had done... I was his weakness once more. In the years we had been together that was one of the most sincere and genuine touches I had ever felt from him and it unraveled something within me I wanted to grasp to. Maybe at the time it was hope, but even then I knew he and I were over. I think it was how it felt to be kissed by someone who loved me and someone I missed dearly. After him I had kissed plenty of people. Don't get me wrong, those lustful, passionate kisses are great. They made my heart skip a beat like any other human, but they were lacking something, that at that time I didn't notice or care about because I didn't want a relationship, I didn't want love, and I didn't want to forget what was in that kiss.

If my ex and I had ended with that day, if that was truly our final goodbye and everything else didn't unfold the way it did, I would have been OK; still hurt, but he wouldn't have been so tainted in my eyes. But deceit and lies did unfold, and as much love as that kiss screamed, something was lacking; something that I had no idea existed.

Valentine’s Day of this year was magical. It began with a heart drawn on my car and a single red rose placed on my wind shield. At work, I not only got flowers delivered to me, John hand delivered them. That evening we went to a fabulous dinner where there was a burlesque show while we ate and after that show, I went to John's house where in his room he had 50 candles lit, rose petals scattered around and a red basket with some candy and a card. The card was not one he wrote himself, but it was full of sweetness and cheesiness. At the end of the card it read "I love you, John." As I was processing what the "love" meant, (he and I have never exchanged those words) he came over, looked me in the eyes, and said "I do love you" and kissed me.

I knew a kiss was powerful, but had no idea a kiss could go beyond my heart and seep into my soul; it's tenderness calming my spirit. Behind John's kiss was love, truth and a promise to treat my heart with graciousness. He was risking his heart, giving his all to me, while asking for nothing more than a chance to show me that love can be sacred. Everything in that kiss was everything my ex did not show me on March 16th, 2012 or any day before.

Still, I will hold that last kiss as a moment of goodness in the relationship that was; a moment when I know it wasn't just me he could so easily hurt, and a moment that gave me the knowledge to understand that a kiss should touch your soul, not just your lips.




KJUY5TSKZQ2Y

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Burn Baby Burn!







This weekend, I found myself at a cross roads looking John in the eyes as he says to me "I think you blame me for what your ex did." Wait? What?  I blame you?   Instead of trying to prove him wrong, I shriveled up into my brain to let anger fester.  My thoughts ran askew and found the places I was too afraid to delve in.  In these corners of my brain were the thoughts I had never told a soul through this breakup, in these places were the secrets to myself that if I kept them there and never spoke about them then they wouldn't be true.  But these thoughts were true, these thoughts caused me to leave John's house without a hug or a kiss, these thoughts were breaking me to the point of uncontrollable emotions.  So I called my best friend in Tennessee to cry... a lot.  Not about what John said because he was right; I cried because of me and what I was doing.

John did not come into my life at the "ideal" moment.  I wasn't "healed" from a six year long relationship when we met;  I wasn't "over" it, even though my ex said I should be 3 months out because he already had a girlfriend.  I had anger, I had hurt, I had a heart that was so destroyed I thought for a moment I would be forever tied to a heart break.  Then here walks John, the truest kindest man to ever show interest in me, and instead of being honest with the world that I wasn't sure my feelings for John were real or genuine, I tried to "convince" myself that feelings, after a huge heartbreak were supposed to be muted, that the thoughts I had of my ex were normal, and that everything I was doing was OK.  But as I spoke to my best friend everything I had tried to hide came out in full force.  

Here I was, on the phone, breaking down telling her I didn't know how to be with anyone but my ex, that I wasn't ready for John when we met and that I didn't know how to make the insecurities go away.  The more I spoke, the more I cried and the more I revealed about how I don't know what "normal" is in a relationship.  What is OK for me to want and not want and how I am so scared about my heart handling love again and how maybe it wasn't my ex who destroyed us, maybe it was me.  Whenever she could get a word in she says to me "You're being too hard on yourself, your ex did a number on you. You have to let the baggage go completely."

Didn't I let go?  I understand fully I will never be the same person again. That type of hurt changes people, but I have moved on.  So I don't know how to let go of the baggage that I don't know where it is coming from. Then I told her about a box of things collected over the six plus years I was with my ex, and she says "get that out of your house...." 

For the first time since I moved  9 months ago, I picked up the box, put it in my car and drove to my friends house where I was going to see the new baby and meet up with my other "best" friends.  When I got there I stated I wanted a fire and told them I was getting rid of the baggage and the love affair that was not meant for the books. Before the burning of the past began,  my girlfriends went through the box, reading cards, looking at pictures, and asking questions.  Younger faces emerged a time when maybe two people were in love.  As my friends continued to look at the contents I was remembering the happy moments when I collected the items, or when the pictures were taken; then I remembered the uncontrollable tears when everything was put into this box because the love was broken.

These "things" were nothing more than what could have been, not what should have been. It was a perception of what, at one point I thought to be true, but is no longer.  He was not the love of my life, and this is not the love affair I want my children to one day find and ask questions about. The items within this box were doing nothing more but weighing down on my soul and preventing my heart from moving forward.

With my friends surrounding me I threw the first item into the fire. I thought for a moment I would cringe, second guess my decision, but not once did I ever want to take it back. The more we threw in the more my soul felt free.  At some point we began singing, "Na na na na, na na na, hey hey hey.. GOODBYE" as we watched the frames burn, cards scorch, pictures melt and jumping back as the mardi gras beads popped.  This was a celebration of strength, dignity and perseverance and every person who was there had witnessed my pain, knew my ex and was more than ready to rid me and themselves of the debris he left behind.

The last thing in the box was a single dried rose.  Being that this was my ex I of course had to place the last thing in the fire.  On top of everything I tossed that rose and watched as everything became unrecognizable ....just like my ex.  Water was put on the fire to submerge the flames and I walked away leaving behind nothing but dust and particles of a past that tried to destroy me but gave me more strength than I ever dreamed possible.

The memories of my last relationship did not go up in flames and will forever hold some spot within me.  Even with all the pain, there is not one moment of the last seven years I would take back.  Through the struggle I got a sense of self that I truly believe only those who suffer will ever have the privilege of knowing.

It may have taken a theatrical display, but that night my heart was given permission to love again.  I'm talking the type of love where deep down, you know it can end in heartbreak, but it doesn't matter because what stands before you means so much more than the possibility of what could happen.  When you give yourself time, when you do what you NEED to do, when you LET GO of the could have been, your broken heart will love again.




Monday, February 11, 2013

BullShit

In the mist of an eye opening experience  I came across the below "letter" from my ex.  This, along with a CD of the songs he mentions was given to me to help him explain what he felt about me and us. Over the course of our relationship I had expressed my distress over his lack of communication for his love for me, what he thought about us and a future.  This was his attempt at trying to make things "better."  I believe this was written between 2008 and 2010, but couldn't be sure because my ex dated nothing.

I am not one to share things given to me in a "private" moment, but my last relationship is no longer held in the "sacred" category and I want to call his bullshit.  He was good, he was real good.  He knew how to keep me hoping and holding on for one more day even though he knew his intentions the whole time.  He may have loved me, but his fear of mistakes, of something not being perfect held him back from the most loyal love he will ever know.

The songs which he did not put on the letter and links to hear them are below.

  1. Kenny Chesney: A lot of things Different
  2. Doug Stone: Why didn’t I think of that
  3. Brad Paisley: I’m Still a Guy
  4. Clint Black: Something that We Do
  5. Clint Black: One Emotion
  6. George Strait: Carrying your love with me
  7. Clint Black: Life Gets Away
  8. Kenny Rogers: Buy Me a Rose









































Monday, February 4, 2013

Don't Think Just Do






In 2012 I was pushed to my very limits mentally and emotionally as I fought to not succumb to the dissapointment, pain and distrust I had suffered from the actions of someone that I cared deeply for. Everyday presented a new challenge and multiple choices from "Should I get up? to Should I go out? to "Should I jump off a bridge?" causing my mind to spin in circles.  As the days progressed I realized the more I thought about my "decisions" the more I came down on myself for not being "better" at this whole breakup thing instead concentrating on making myself feel better.  Soon enough, I decided to give myself a break from thinking and analyzing my every move and to just do what I needed and wanted to in the moment.  This did not mean I could hurt anyone or myself; it meant I needed to enjoy life without the guilt and pain of what others would think; I needed to find me and not be who people perceived me to be... I needed to do everything I thought I never could do, or imagined doing.... This is when "Don't think, Just do" became my mantra.

In 2013 I am taking my mantra and making it my way of life by pursuing my dreams, demanding more out of my body, and taking the mental strength I discovered and pushing it further than I ever dreamed.  The wound that once motivated me to change my life is not as fresh, but a scar remains reminding me of a life I once allowed myself to live.  The lessons within that scar make me want to fight harder not just for me, but for others. So I decided to run in the Nike Women's 1/2 Marathon in Washington DC to benefit the lymphoma and leukemia society with Team in Training.

I am not a runner, in fact, I kind of hate the thought of running for long periods of time... or at all.  But something inside of me told me to sign up for this Team in Training so I did.  What that little voice inside of me didn't tell me was that I would keep myself up at night thinking about finishing this race and how I would actually finish, because again, I am not a runner.  If people saw me in the shower, or when I suddenly woke up in the middle of the night telling myself "Emily, you will do this..you are going to do this..you have no choice but to finish." they would all think I was crazy.  And maybe I am;, but this isn't just about me, this is for the people with blood cancers, this is for the people who are donating money so I can run, this is for my family, my friends.... I can let myself down, but these people, I can not let down.

Last year I was one of the most selfish people I knew. Stuck in my own pain and my own world, I could not emphasize with others no matter how deep their struggles.  I read blogs about a baby who would not live to be a month old and another about a woman, who was not even 30 battling breast cancer.... and I felt nothing.  My heart felt so blank. This family is loving and losing a baby, this girl is battling for her life and I am sulking over what?  But I just couldn't put myself in their place. I tried and failed. As soon as I realized I was becoming a bit more of myself again and opening up to the outside world  I wanted to give back because I felt had taken so much. When I started with Team in Training, and began asking for donations, I had no idea the stories I would hear from people I know who had in some way or another struggled with these blood cancers thanking me for working on such a great cause.  I was humbled and more determined than ever to not let these people down.

Being humbled doesn't suddenly give me the endurance it will take to finish this race, it actually makes me more anxious. There will be training, giving up Friday nights, early Saturday mornings and pep talks to myself that could last hours. I know this won't be easy, but strength,  true strength, comes from the struggles we endure.  No matter how hard it gets, no matter how tired I become there is no option to give up. Even when I call my friends telling them I think I got myself in over my head... I will not give up. The only option is to:  DON'T THINK JUST DO!

Learn more about this event and/or support the cause by donating Here.





Monday, January 28, 2013

Innocence





There are few moments in this life without tragedy or heartbreak involved, that we are reminded of the blessings around us. There are those cherished moments when joy is the primary focus, when miracles are witnessed and our breath is taken away; the moments we are reminded of peace and hope.. the moment when a baby is born.

One of my closest friends, the first one who was at my house the night of the breakup,  the one who had me speak at her wedding in the midst of a broken heart, someone who, through the years, has been on the other end of emails and phone calls to get me through, gave birth on January 18th to a beautiful baby girl, Macey Quinn.  Holding this angel, the craziness of the world subsided; this little person is so innocent and fragile.  She is brand new, her heart pure her innocence in tact; she has yet to feel the overwhelming joy of love or the devastation of heartbreak.  In this little 8lb 7oz baby, there is a life just beginning to live and a future waiting to happen.  This little girl has the world at her fingertips, so many people love her and all she had to do was enter this world.

Macey is not the first child to have grasped a piece of my heart that I will never get back. It all started at the age of 12 when my oldest sister had my oldest niece.  Since then my little brother and sister have been adopted, and I have become an aunt to not just my sisters 4 children, but to my friends children. To watch these little people grow, witness their accomplishments and their struggles has been an amazing gift.  They have given me the opportunity to view the world through innocence, an opportunity to experience true honesty, and the chance to be a role model,  not for my actions but for my reactions.

As adults we have to make the hard decisions, but we forget out decisions impact not only us, but the children in our lives.  My best friend has two children, a boy and a girl age 8 and 6.  Their whole lives they remember my ex and I.  The little girl had the biggest crush on him, loved him to pieces, and her brother also had a special bond.  The ex and I were going to be their God parents, but my best friend was waiting for a commitment between us before she moved further.  When the ex suddenly was not around they had questions as to why he wasn't there, what happened and when was he coming back.  Every time I pulled up to the house I could see the slight look of disappointment come over their face when the ex didn't pop out of the car to surprise them.

My ex had no obligation to these children, he was not related to them, nor would a relationship carry on after he and I were over. But that didn't mean they didn't love him or look up to him.  It didn't mean in their minds they didn't think he would be around forever, it didn't mean that our actions as adults didn't hurt these kids.  As easy as it was for my ex to walk away from not only me, but the children who loved him is one thing, but for me, that would never be an option.   I didn't want them to think it was OK for someone to just walk away, but I also didn't want them to think it was OK for me to act in a way detrimental to those around me.  So when they said "We miss (insert name), I said "he misses you too".  When they asked if I was sad?  I told them yes. When they asked why it didn't work, I told them sometimes things don't work out; but never did I speak badly in front of them about a man these children trusted and loved.

As adults, it is not our obligation to tell children how they should feel, it is our obligation to be to them what we would want for ourselves and our own children. I was hurt, I was angry, but that didn't mean they should be too, but it didn't mean they shouldn't be.  It was for them to figure out, and for me and their parents to guide them through.  They got over it by doing what most adults do.... Throwing the reminders away.

So when I hold Macey, a new little love of my life, I know that one day her heart will hurt only because she does not understand the complexity of adult relationships and that she will be looking to not just her parents, but to me and the other people who love her in her life on how to handle her pain. She knows no better or worse than what she witnesses around her, so as an adult I choose to show her trust, honesty  respect and of course love.  But all children who look up to us deserve the respect of an explanation, the sincerity of a goodbye and the words of a truthful I'm sorry.  They're watching  and whether parents or not, they are learning from us.








Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What a Difference a Year Can Make....Coming Out Of Hiding

A year ago I was forced to embark on one of the greatest journeys of hope, love and self discovery that I may ever face.  This road has bought both great pain and glory, and although this was not a path I chose, it was one I had to take to preserve my own well being.  January 9th, 2012 still sits on my heart with a bit of  despair that can only be felt through broken dreams and promises.  Looking back to that day I recall the light snow fall and how calm and beautiful everything seemed.  I had no idea that the man I loved with everything I had for six years was going to walk into my house, and not just break my heart, but shatter it. But he did, and I had no option but to somehow, someway figure out how to keep moving, keep living and keep believing in love, life and happiness.  

That my friends was not easy considering around every corner I turned another hand was waiting to bitch slap me.  First, it was the pictures of him and a girl on a work trip in Punta Cana; then it was the kiss that caused us to do exactly what we shouldn't do...sleep together, and then the news that the girl he told me wasn't his girlfriend was....I just wanted and needed it all to stop!  This world I had known for so long had turned into a foreign land.  Who was he?  What were we? Six years I gave him, SIX YEARS!  I didn't understand how someone who claimed to have loved me was capable of inflicting this much agony, and honestly I still don't.

When I say I loved this man, I mean I loved him within every inch of me. Maybe I loved him too much, I may have fought too hard, I may even have been overly passionate; but it was the only way I knew how to love him.  When he left, all these feelings I had felt for so long suddenly had no place to live. They became poison circulating through my body, piercing my heart, sending shock waves of intense pain through my very core.  The only way I was going to rid my veins of his venom was to begin loving myself with the same density that I had loved him.  So began Life Diverted; my journey through this thing called life.

When this blog began I was a broken hearted women, with a shot ego, feeling like a fool for everything I didn't see.  Although I wanted to write, I didn't want people I knew to see my inner most demons, the pain and moments I'm not so proud of, and I did not want to come off as the vengeful ex-girlfriend.  It was not my intention to hurt anyone.  I just wanted to feel better, move on and do something I loved. So to keep everything under wraps, I used an alias, Ariel Elizabeth.

As  my heart began mending and confidence building, I realized that I had no reason to hide from anyone or anything.  This is MY story;  not a soul can argue with that.  Some people won't like it, some people won't believe it, but I promise you this is as real as I can get. I am NOT ashamed of my life, I am NOT ashamed of my pain and I am NOT ashamed of who I am.  So today, one year to the day of the infamous breakup, I have decided to remove my alias, own my blog and everything it entails without hesitation.

My name is Emily Liberman and I am the sole contributor to Life Diverted.  What began with a broken heart will not end with one.  This is a journey of Life, Love, Learning and Not Letting the Pain Win.






Monday, December 31, 2012

My Hope For You

This holiday season I have been so busy that I have not had the time to sit down and write. Being that today is the last day of 2012, I wanted to share my hopes for all all of you in the new year.

In 2013 my hope for you is:
You shed more tears of joy than sadness.
You find the peace you have been seeking.
Travel to a place you love.
Find forgiveness.
Do something you have never done.
Persue your passion.
Take a risk.
Laugh when you feel like crying.
Love as if you never been hurt.

May your new year be full of the most magical moments.

HAPPY NEW YEAR LIFE DIVERTED READERS! See you in 2013.












Sunday, December 9, 2012

Accept What You Never Received

Recently, I was asked what to do when you don't get an apology you think you deserve? My answer "Move on." Although the words are simple to say, the actions and feelings of moving on our much more difficult to obtain. An apology can do so much for the distraught soul. It offers a bit of comfort knowing that the person who hurt us feels some type of remorse , even if it wasn't avoidable.  But many times that apology is not heard and we are forced to leave a part of our lives behind with no closure or validation.

It was not so long ago I was in that place. My heart was hurting and I thought the only way for it to feel better would be for my ex to acknowledge the pain he had inflicted; for toying with my emotions when he slept with me five days after he got back from Punta Cana with another girl, for lieing about his girlfriend, for not handling this breakup correctly, for being such a coward. I wanted him to look me in the face, see my pain, admit the lies and say I'm sorry. That never happened and I knew it never would. Besides the fact my ex hates admitting wrong doing, he owed me nothing. The day we broke up all responsibility to the other party was severed. The six years we spent together was in the past. We were no longer boyfriend and girlfriend, and as hard as it was to recognize; he owed someone else an explanation more than he owed me.

Eventually he will have to take responsibility for his actions and acknowledge not my pain, but his own. We all do, at different times whether we want to or not. My time was now, not later, so I did the only thing I could; I accepted the apology I never got. By doing so I stopped waiting for someone else to make me feel better, I validated what I felt and tried to understand it rather than blame him. He was not in my life , he couldn't hurt me anymore unless I alone allowed him to. This choice was not liberating, it did not bring closure, it just had to be done; I had to believe he was sorry.

This was not an easy task, but what about any of this has been easy? It was a conscious decision to just let it go, to move on, to not want to look back in vain. It was a human understanding that each and every one of us hurts people, and that guilt can be worse than the pain that was inflicted. When I was 21, I had been living with a guy for almost two years. I was young wild and free, but that relationship didn't make me feel "free." I felt trapped in a place that was too old for who I was. The day we broke up, I told hiim I had had enough and that the relationship was over. Through his eyes I saw a heart break and dreams shatter. It was a heart wrenching experiance but one that had to be done.

What my then boyfriend didn't know is I had cheated on him, with a guy we both worked with. I knew that the sneaking around was wrong, but I did it anyway, because I wanted to. It was a selfish act, one that I didn't regret until the day I watched my ex drive away back to New Jersey where he was from. The guilt of everything that I had done sunk in leaving a gaping hole in my heart. How could I hurt someone I cared about, whether the relationship was right or wrong, how could I do it? It didn't matter how, I still did it, and although he never knew I had cheated on him, I apologized to him for years for everything that had happened between us. I have not cheated on a person since and he is now happily married with a new baby.

I do not excuse the actions of my most recent ex, but if I felt that type of remorse at 21, then somewhere deep down, my ex at 34 feels someting that is leaving a hole in his heart; and if he's not, well then he's not, and everything is exactly where it has alwas been. The past doesn't change, what they did will always be there, the memories, good and bad live in the history that makes our story, but they are just that memories. Now it is time to create your future. and accept the apology you never got. Life becomes easier when you do.















Monday, November 26, 2012

Once in a Lifetime Does Not Imitate

I know I am directionally inept.  I would get lost pulling out of my driveway if it weren't one way and sometimes I confuse my left with my right. Before GPS, I have no idea how I got from point A to point B.  I'd end up in places I had no business being.  It wasn't like I was wasting time, I was making memories, seeing things I had never seen, getting lost but finding the most amazing things along those roads.  Some would say I float through life like a butterfly; drifting from flower to flower not really knowing where I am going to land, but knowing whatever the flower it will be beautiful. So when someone challenged my sense of wonder,  I wanted to roll up in a cocoon and hide.

So I hid by conforming to my exes life and showing people the parts of me he wanted them to see, which translated to them as someone I was not.  Since the breakup people who have gotten to know me outside of my ex have said many things, but the biggest is who they perceived me to be.  One person said I am unrecognizable now, that with the ex I never looked like I was having any fun and now I am dancing and showing a personality that they never knew I had. Another person asked me what it was like to be with someone (John) who allows me to be me because they could tell my ex was a bit "controlling."  When I hear these things, I'm a bit taken aback.  This isn't what I thought we were projecting. What I thought people saw was a couple who had something "special", something you only get once in a life time.

It was just last summer, less than six months before we broke up, we took a trip Las Vegas for our third time.  This was the trip where he took me on top of the Rio to show me the amazing view of the city;  we ventured to Old Vegas where his eyes lit up like a kid on Christmas morning when he finally got to visit the Golden Nugget. We walked the Vegas strip like we had before, going from hotel to hotel vowing to stay at the Bellagio because it was our favorite. We spoke about coming to Vegas once a year because we both enjoyed it and we, as a couple, had great memories; his sister getting engaged and my 30th birthday was celebrated there. Then last year for the holidays, we decorated his house like we had in the past; put up stockings,  decorated the tree,  talked about how in our house, we will have a Palm Tree as a Christmas Tree, at least in one of our rooms.  On Christmas Eve, we began our own tradition, or so he said,  when we went to the National Christmas tree and ate at old Ebbitt Grill.  This was special... wasn't it?

At the time yes, it was special.  To me anyway.  To him, at least from what I can gauge, I was never special and I was always replaceable.  And he did replace me, with a girl who people say looks like me, has a similar job as me, and may even have a birthday around mine.  I came to terms with that.  What kind of hurt is when a friend forwarded me a picture of my exes Christmas decorations this year.  What I saw was exactly what I saw every year the ex and I were together, with the only change being, the stocking that once had my initial now has hers.  I became sad thinking of how I used to fill up the dog stocking I bought, and  once it was filled, the dog would sit there staring up at it wanting to get the treats that were inside.  The nutcracker I got for my ex, just last year on black Friday, was sitting on his mantle where he put it last year.  On his tree I recognized ornaments he and I got together, and wondered if my football team ornaments were removed from the box before he allowed her to see them.  What I saw, was eerily similar to a life I once lived.  It hadn't changed, it wasn't special, it wasn't unique, it was his and only his. It's as if I was a paper doll; he cut me out and put someone else in, beginning right where I left off.

Some would say that the imitation should be flattering; Pink would say it is annoying.  I say it is sad for all parties involved. Love should be one of a kind, each and every time, and when it's not then it's sad because  you should feel like they never loved anyone the way they love you. I'm not a shrink, but if it didn't work before it probably won't work again.  That is why we must not repeat the past, but change our future. Don't try to replace the memories, make new ones.  Most importantly, stay true to who YOU are., not who someone wants you to be.