Keep Going: It’s Supposed to Be This Way

” As painful as this all is, I know that in the end things will work out how they’re supposed to, and I’ll keep going.”

Lotusgirl80, November 25, 2014

I still remember when I wrote those words. At the time, I’m not sure I whole-heartedly believed them to be true. My heartbreak was fresh, I was taking it day by day, trying to stay positive, but losing interest in those life sustaining activities, like sleeping and eating. My days went by in slow motion, and life seemed to be a chore. I had lost a piece of myself, or at least that’s how it felt. It took time, a long time, to truly believe that things would work out, and that I’d keep going.

It was the time and distance from my heartbreak that gave me a new perspective, and made me realize that all the pieces were already inside me. The love we had was beautiful, but it wasn’t perfect. We both had our faults, and I kept making excuses for him and trying to change who I was. I couldn’t see that when I was with him, and it took me a long time to realize that after we broke up. Now that I have distance, I can admit to myself that he was not the one that got away — it just wasn’t meant to be. Still, he’ll always hold a place in my heart, and the beauty of his faith and integrity will never escape me. He taught me to always be grateful, and to ask for more — not to settle.

And as I keep going, it is with gratefulness and a desire for something more. And this is reflected in all aspects of my life, not just my dating life. (I know my stories here have morphed into a dating blog recently, but there’s been a lot more going on behind the scenes.) In January, I started a post-graduate program, and after many all-nighters and internal questioning, I completed what I had started, and am now looking into new possibilities. In May, I quit a job that filled my need for productivity and belonging to the daily grind, but was ultimately no longer serving me, filling me with confusion and resentment. In June, I began following a dream that stemmed from my elementary school days, a dream to run long distances. After an intense 16-week training program, I ran my first half marathon in October, and now I have plans to run a marathon….eventually. To be honest, I’ve had my doubts along the way, but I have moved through these changes, thankful for the support of others, and my own internal drive that has kept asking for more of myself.

And love. I’ve had my doubts. For a long time, I didn’t believe it was out there and was so reluctant to make another connection, especially an online one. However, I did get back in the game, even created an online dating profile (hovering over ‘delete’ the whole time) before settling for that good-on-paper guy who totally didn’t get me. That didn’t last long, because my inner voice kept speaking out and I decided to listen. And I am so glad I did listen because I was shutting myself off to a real connection.

The real connection. I’ve met someone who gets me. I’ve met someone who makes me believe in love again. I’ve met someone who’s not afraid to share what’s on his mind, and I feel comfortable reciprocating. I’ve met someone who uses the word ‘love’ freely to talk about what matters to him, and  notices how guarded I am with that same word. I’ve met someone who makes me laugh to the point of tears. I’ve met someone who appreciates my randomness, or peculiarities, as he calls them. I’ve met someone who wants to explore the world and all the possibilities it holds. I’ve met someone who has woken me up to the possibility of an ‘us’.  And if you must know, we met on that feminist app, Bumble.

So, I’m glad I didn’t give up on online dating, and that I kept going, asking for more in all aspects of my life. I truly believe I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Before I die, I want to fall in love again....
Before I die, I want to fall in love again….

 

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Dating Lessons: Trust that Voice Inside

For all of you following my dating life, this is the long overdue update.  The adventures are over, and now I’ve relearned a valuable lesson. It’s one of those lessons that we’re taught at a young age, and revisit through various stages of our lives. It sounds like this….listen to your gut, follow your intuition, trust that voice inside. Spoiler: I don’t always trust that voice inside.

The last time I sat before these keys I was reminiscing about crushes and those butterflies that make new relationships so much fun. Truth be told, I was hoping that those feelings would stir in me again as I was about to embark on a third date. The third date made me think about the possibilities, but then I kept bumping into a wall, the voice inside.

On the second date, I held my introvert card tightly, but on the third date I loosened my grip. I took control of the conversation, talked about my work, my passions, my writing, and we met half way, both sharing and getting to know each other a bit more.  As we took in the art show, admiring and analyzing the paintings, I let my guard down, spoke my mind, and discovered that his ex-wife and I have something in common — we blog about him. I told him about my blog, he asked what I wrote about, and then that was it. I’m not sure I would have shared the URL with him, but he didn’t even ask. As we hugged goodbye, I missed that someone who cared about my writing.

I hushed that voice, we spent a week apart, I rationalized the little stuff, and we met again for a concert in the park.  The swing music was good, but he was more interested in showing me pictures of his new house, and I didn’t mind that. After the concert, we went for ice cream and reclined in the field next to the petting zoo. As he twirled the blades of grass between his fingers, he asked me, “Where is this going? Do you always take things this slow?” The questions caught me off guard. Was I taking things slow? Why am I still uncertain? I managed, “I’m still getting to know you. I would like to see you again.” Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, that date was sealed with a kiss and a few dancing butterflies.

That was the turning point. We started dating without such long intervals in between. I guess it was unfolding into what could become a relationship, but I still was harbouring some ambivalence. And the butterflies were beginning to clash with the voice inside. Maybe I don’t know how to date anymore? I wonder what he’s doing; is he thinking of me? Why are we still playing “who texted who first” ? We really are different. Maybe I’m not ready to date again. He is the opposite of that someone, and that is……a good thing? You don’t have to agree on everything. We can balance each other out. He’s all about efficiency, I’m about taking my time. He likes numbers, I like words. He  wants kids, I don’t. He wants to find his “missing piece” and start that family.

Then that voice inside could no longer be hushed. I’m not that “missing piece.” I’m not going to complete his puzzle, and he’s not going to complete mine.  I knew this after our first coffee date in June, but I didn’t trust my voice inside. I let this go on into August.  That morning I knew I had to stop fighting with the voice inside, I told the butterflies to settle down, and put my lipstick courage on. I gave myself a hard stare in the bathroom mirror. I remembered being here before. That was when my heart was aching, and mascara was running down my face. That was when I was trying to get over that someone, but just couldn’t. This time was different; my heart wasn’t aching, it wasn’t feeling anything. My voice inside was speaking up. This just isn’t right. I’d rather be alone than with someone that doesn’t get me. I was going to ask the hard questions this time.

“What are we doing? What do you really want? ” His reply was blurry, and I told him this isn’t working. It wasn’t fair to either one of us; we were closing ourselves off to real connections, and someone was going to get hurt. He started half-heartedly back pedaling, making excuses for us to continue dating, but I stopped him. The voice inside had had enough and wasn’t going to be ignored again. This wasn’t what I wanted.  That was the bottom line.

*****

It’s been a couple weeks since I trusted that voice inside, and I’m so glad that I did. I’m still single, but that’s okay. I want those butterflies and someone who gets me. I want someone who is a work in progress, just like me. I’m not going to settle for a guy who looks good on paper, or online. I don’t want to play it safe anymore. I’m going to trust that voice inside.

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NaBloPoMo day 25: Work it out

Maybe I don’t give such realistic breakup advice. On NaBloPoMo day 17, I suggested that sweating it out is better than crying it out. That’s not always true, especially if you haven’t been sleeping or eating right. I know this from first-hand experience. Tonight as I was running up and down on my step in SWEAT class (yes, it is all in caps), I lost my balance and fell backwards. I didn’t land gracefully, but I managed to pick myself up and keep going. I even managed to fight off my spontaneous tears that have been making regular appearances lately.

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Sometimes you need to just work it out, and keep going. That is what I am learning day by day. I’m not sure if it is getting any easier, but I’m grateful for each new day that comes. And I have moments where I’m actually able to see the humour in all of this. I imagine it was a comical sight watching me fall on my bum in the middle of class tonight. And then there was hot pot and Google translate with my student. I still feel a bit guilty for driving her to smoke a cigarette. Only a little guilty. And I’ve been sporting a Gothic look these days, as I refuse to wear waterproof mascara. Sometimes I am able to laugh at myself. As painful as this all is, I know that in the end things will work out how they’re supposed to, and I’ll keep going.

NaBloPoMo day 19: Love & Lang Leav

I’m throwing in the towel tonight, and introducing you to the Undefinabletyper at Broken But Fixable, and Lang Leav. Both have left me inspired, helping me realize that I’m not alone, and that I will get through these tears and heartbreak. Without further ado, here is the main attraction for the night.

This is Probably the Saddest Post Ever  (It’s not really the saddest post…..go ahead and click the link!)

Lang Leav

 

NaBloPoMo day 17: Realistic breakup advice

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of all these ‘uplifting’ articles listing ways to get over a breakup and move on with your life. They paint such a simple picture. They don’t look at the day after. They don’t address fresh breakups. I’m no expert, but here is my realistic breakup advice.

  1. Wear black mascara, the kind that’s not waterproof. It will remind you to stop weeping in public. When you come home, cry it off and forget your makeup remover.
  2. Ask your friends about heartbreak. Their stories are probably worse than yours. Perhaps, they already had the wedding dress.
  3. Ask questions about anything but love, and listen to the answers. Get absorbed in someone else’s life.
  4. Smile even though you are crying inside. It’ll make you feel better…..temporarily.
  5. Stop worrying about what others think of you, and dare to cry a little bit in public…. then avoid eye contact.
  6. Be prepared for some sympathetic looks from strangers. They might not know what to make of your puffy, red eyes.
  7. Eat some chocolate, and indulge in comfort food.
  8. Get some exercise. Worry about sweat getting in your eyes, and not tears falling from them.
  9. Get outside. Open your eyes to the world around you. It doesn’t stop.
  10. Put those yoga classes to the test, and practice some deep breathing.
  11. Get a beauty makeover.
  12. Remember that everything is temporary. The pain that you are feeling won’t last forever.

I’m no expert, but these are some tricks I’ve put to the test. Getting over someone you love is never easy. Moving on is never easy. After a fresh breakup you might be in a mental fog, but with this realistic advice, you might feel a little better, and still feel the sunshine through the clouds.

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