I’ve had this quote on my facebook page for years.
I think maybe elegance and honesty are synonyms. You know? If you’re perfectly honest then you tend to be very elegant. It’s better to find your inner elegance and not watch outside and see what you think others are doing that are elegant- you can’t do that, you can’t compare yourself to anyone else. You know, you are elegant. God made you elegant. It’s up to you to uncover that elegance. –Isaac Mizrahi
The past few weeks, I’ve been taking steps towards being more honest, and I suppose with that comes a step towards being more elegant.
There are things I’ve been keeping a secret out of a fear of disappointing others.
There are things I’ve been hiding in pride and fear of embarrassment and humility.
There are things I’ve kept buried because I don’t want to hurt other people, no matter how much pain the secret keeping has been causing me.
And, of course, there are things I have been keeping under wraps because it is easier that way.
I’m done with the easy way.
Let me tell you a secret that I struggle to remember from time to time. Honesty is the best policy. The relief I’ve experienced during and after the conversations of sharing truth with loved ones has been so freeing. If there is something you have been avoiding telling someone in your life out of fear of one kind or another, I encourage you to stare yourself in the mirror. If you look deep into your eyes far enough, you will see it. The strength. The strength that lies deep down inside of each of us to do the right thing, to move forward, and to do what is next. Sitting stagnant in anxiety is not a healthy place to be sitting.
The tag line of THS is make one healthy decision; then make another. Earlier this week, I made one healthy decision, to talk to my mom about a bunch of stuff I had dug a deep, deep hole to hide. I spoke to her on the phone a few times, and shared my heart with her. I didn’t hide behind a fear of disappointing her. I didn’t hide behind a desire to come off as stronger than I am. I told her my struggles, and I cried to her in honesty and weakness. And she reminded me that in my weakness, I am strong. She reminded me that I can’t get rid of her, and that she will always love me. She told me I was stuck with her. I told her that there was no one else in the entire world that I would ever want to be stuck with. The truth is if life was exactly how I wanted it right now, I would be living in their house in Denton, because there is no one I would rather eat dinner with each day of the week, no one I would rather see every morning, no one I would rather have be apart of my day. I love my family intensely.
I am so thankful for my parents. I know this is something that many, many people say. I know that many, many people believe their parents are amazing, and that they don’t deserve all the love and support they receive from them. This doesn’t make it any less true. For others, or for me.
A few years ago, if you would have asked me if I was close to my family I would have said no. It’s not that I ever felt far from my family, but in comparison to the women who speak to their parents on the phone at least once a day, I was no where near being what society, or Hollywood directors (how I often compare my life), may view as “close.” There have been periods of my life where I have gone months with out speaking to my parents or siblings – and never because we were fighting or upset with one another. It was never with purpose. It was also, however, never a priority. This is not a complaint, and shouldn’t be read with even a hint of negativity. I am so thankful for the years that we didn’t talk all of the time because they helped me to grow intensely. And the time I did spend with my family, whether face to face or through technology, was so special to me because it wasn’t as frequent. It had nothing to do with my parents’ wishes, because I am well aware they both made several phone calls that went unreturned for weeks and weeks at a time. The truth is I was selfish and didn’t even realize how much I needed them. I constantly put them on back burner, and moved along with out a second thought. I was independent and thought I was taking care of myself successfully.
I was recently thinking about how much of my previous relationships I never shared with my family. I never was one to share many details about the guys I was dating with them. I never shared stories about crushes with my sister. I slightly remember having boyfriends that my parents didn’t really know about, or meet. And although my family knew that I was dating my former fiancé the years leading up to the engagement, I can’t recall very many conversations with them about the relationship. My love life was something I kept pretty much under cover, until I had a ring on my finger and moved across the country to plan a wedding and start preparing for marriage. I think I hid my crushes and relationships a secret from my family because I was always somewhat ashamed. The truth is up until a little less than a year ago, I didn’t think I deserved romantic love and especially not a happy, healthy relationship. These are issues I’ve been working through slowly over the course of the last eleven months or so, and I know they stem from a lot of different areas in my life. My self image was so warped that I was desperate to hold onto any one who supposedly loved me, out of a fear that there would never be anyone else to do so. This is how I found myself in an ugly place; six weeks prior to walking down the aisle to marry a man I never should have been engaged to in the first place. It’s not a regret, in any regard, because I am better off now than I ever was before thanks to what has taken place this last year. I am thankful for the lessons I have learned and the pain I have faced; it has made me stronger than I ever imagined I could be.
Last night, I put my strength to use when I confronted the former fiancé and told him that I can’t be friends with him any longer.
OKAY – Before I go any further, I need to address a few things, because this is my blog, and my life, and I have every right to do so.
My parents read my blog. So do my grandparents, my siblings, perhaps a few aunts and uncles and definitely some cousins. People who I graduated high school with, and haven’t actually spoken to in person since then read this blog. People who I went to college with, and who were my residents read my blog. So do my former students who I spent several nights a week teaching and leading and giving advice to. Teachers and Pastors I’ve had occasionally read my blog. People I’ve worked with and for read my blog. Some of my former fiancé’s family reads my blog, and people who met me through him read it, too. People who believed in us as a couple and people who never thought we would last.
Also, people who I have never met in person read this blog. Some people read my blog
because we are blends and they support what I am doing here. Some people may read this blog because they are entertained by it. Some people read THS out of curiosity. Maybe some people read this blog because they actually get something out of it. Maybe not. But I know that some people stumble upon this blog because they Google things like “broken engagement” and “next step after cancelled wedding” and “healing from broken relationship.” And then there are some people that read my blog because they have to know the dirt. They hear I’ve posted something about my previous relationship, and they coming running to get the gossip. Then, perhaps, they go back to their friends to speak poorly of me, and my life.
The truth is, there are many reasons people might read my blog. There are also many reasons why I blog what the way I do.
I don’t share my stories for you to lurk and feel better about yourself when you read that I am overweight.
I don’t mention struggles and hard times in order to gain sympathy.
I do so for the people that read because they need to read. People that come here through a Google search because they feel alone. I do so for the people who are facing similar struggles and need someone to relate to.
I also share these posts for the people that I want to stay in touch with and who are interested in keeping up with me. Friends who work opposite shifts than me, and we can never find time to chat. Relatives who I only see or speak to a few times a year. People who want to know how I’m doing because they care about me striving, not failing.
I do so for myself too, because I’m selfish and vain, and want to document what I’m learning. I’m not ashamed of the mistakes I’ve made, the friendships I’ve let fall to the wayside, the irresponsibility I’ve partaken in. I’m not ashamed of the “bad things” I’ve done in my life time. I’m not ashamed of the lessons I’ve learned and the steps I’ve taken towards the healthiest version of myself – and no I don’t just mean weight loss.
The truth is you have a right to read this blog for whatever reason your heart desires. Just as I have a right to share for whatever reasons I have. Even if you don’t understand them, it’s still my right.
I know that it’s sometimes difficult for people to understand why I would want to share my opinions and struggles so freely with the world wide web – and that’s okay. I know that it sometimes shocks people how transparent I am with my heart and my fears – and that’s okay, too. The truth is if you don’t like what you are reading, you are free to stop.
That being said, last night I had a heart to heart with the man who once asked me to marry him. If you aren’t familiar, the short story is we moved across the country, to a town I didn’t know a soul, just a few weeks after we were engaged. Then we planned a wedding. Then we cancelled a wedding. There was pain and there was forgiveness. Neither have stopped. The truth is there is no secret formula for the healing that must take place to restore a broken heart. There is a learning curve, and, also, a healing curve. I truly believe that although I have no romantic desire for him any longer, I will be healing from this break up, and the relationship, for a long time. Oddly, it’s kind of exciting – knowing that I’m in the middle of this process. I’m learning and growing and changing, and chasing after the best version of myself I can be. I am searching through the past seven years of my life and facing a lot of the pain and confusion and uncertainty that I buried for multiple reasons. I’m facing those reasons, too.
I was flipping through last year’s June issue of Self today. In it, Jillian Michael’s says something about how the word selfish isn’t a bad word. This has been a lesson I’ve had to remind myself of a lot lately. Sometimes the best thing for all parties involved is to put yourself first.
When it comes to any sort of friendship I’ve had with my former fiancé, I’ve often put myself in the back seat. I also am well aware that it was through putting myself in the backseat that I found myself in that ugly place I’ve mentioned before. I’m not exactly sure when I realized I needed to just get out of the car – I’m quite certain it was sometime that I was in Madison, with Julie and Ashley, who helped me to realize, on more than one occasion, how much I am worth and what I deserve. I’m not saying that through his and my friendship the last several months that I was being mistreated or not being valued by him. But perhaps I was mistreating myself, and stealing value from myself too.
The truth is I can not heal completely by having a friendship with him. For several reasons, most of which I probably haven’t even discovered yet, but mostly because I find myself protecting him still, to others and to myself. The truth is we are not married, and I do not need to defend him. I shouldn’t care about his reaction to things I may share, on the internet or otherwise. I don’t need to be concerned with how my healing process is affecting him, but rather how it is affecting me. The truth is there are more than two sides to every story, and I have just as much of a right to explore my emotions and share my discoveries as he does.
I’ve found myself ignoring things I need healing from because he was my friend. I’ve found myself taking bits of information and placing them in the box of “later” and hiding it under my bed. I’ve found myself wanting to talk to my family about things, and work through pain and confusion with loved ones, yet feeling I couldn’t because I still cared about how that would make him feel. It is not my place to take care of him. It is my place to take care of me. I need to stop avoiding things and start moving through them; the pain, the confusion, the growth and the healing.
I shared a lot of this truth with him last night. I shared that it was the best for both of us. And for anyone who we may be with in the future. The truth is I remember what it was like to compete with ex-girlfriends in his life. I don’t want to be that for someone else. Now or later. I don’t want to make someone special in my life feel like he has to compete, either.
The truth is I’ve held on to his friendship, much too selfishly, for the past eleven months. I haven’t made a permanent break up until now, even when I’ve felt it necessary before, because I didn’t want to be considered alone. I know other people here, but he and I have known each other for years, and deep down, I feared that if I made this sever that I would lose some sort of security. But, the truth is, I don’t need him and he doesn’t need me. If I end up at the hospital for any reason, there are other people in my life who I can call on. If I find myself in a tough situation, there are other people I can call. If I am sc
ared, I can rely on many other people to pray, or advise, or speak wisdom into my life. I don’t need him. He doesn’t need me.
The truth is the person you need most in the world, isn’t family, or spouse, or best friend. It isn’t a wise teacher, or confidant, or accountability partner. The person you need most in the world isn’t the person who you share everything with, or who you’ve known forever, or who you can call on during any emergency. The person you need most in the world is yourself. When you come to terms with that truth, you will uncover elegance in abundance. Even if you don’t quite know it yet.