Occasionally, I look back at the years via blog posts of past. It’s an amazing way to reflect on and re-enjoy the tiny details of my days. When I look back through the past several hundred blog posts, I think about the meal I enjoyed at the café I visited one year ago today, the number of miles I ran on this day two years ago, and pretty soon [September!], I’ll be able to see what book I was reading three years ago, too.
Today I did this. Today I was filling my Buffer App with links to old posts in order to share content that I think my newer followers, who haven’t been through the archives, may enjoy reading for one reason or another. Today I thought, “I wonder what I posted last year on this day.” And back in the July 2011 archives I went.
I did a little dance of happy when I realized that I had forgotten what tomorrow is – is this the true measure of being over someone? Forgetting the dates that were at one point a specific importance to your story together? Tomorrow is the day I became unengaged. A change in relationship status in which I am forever grateful. It lead me to a whole lot of self-discovery, a true love of who I am and the story I have to tell, and, excuse the gushing – it lead me to a man I’m absolutely crazy about and so blessed to have in my life. In turn, I suppose it, that is the brokenness that I felt after my engagement ended, lead me to love.
As I write this, I am trying very hard not to use the backspace button. I’m trying very hard just to let the words flow. I want to share my heart with you, friends who have supported and encouraged me over the years, in as much raw honesty I can muster. It might be cowardly, but as I type this, I’m wondering to myself if I will share it with the masses, at all. Even as I type this sentence, I wonder if this post will sit in draft form forever.
I’ve been publicly criticized for writing about my past relationships and not “getting over” break ups or moving on as fast as others deem fit. That’s hard, sometimes, you know. Putting your heart out there, trying to keep it real, and allowing yourself to open up to the world in hopes that the process may heal a still broken part of your soul – and then to see some strangers [or at least, who I assume are strangers] rip you apart and say your pathetic for not moving at the speed of their own heart healing time table. It’s kept me from sharing, truthfully. I’ve silenced lots of relationship talk and heart talk out of fear. I am sensitive and emotional and I take things like this to heart. I’m working on it – developing a thicker skin and accepting that not everyone will love me, not everyone will see things from my point of view, and that, yes, it’s true – the world does not revolve around me.
But my world does. I don’t have anyone else’s eyes to view my days with but my own. I don’t have any story to share but my own. I don’t have any life to live but my own. And these truths lead me here – to a place where I stumble into the sharing place – words pouring from my fingers as the keyboards clicks and taps fill the otherwise silent air around me.
But back to the little dance of happy in realizing that I didn’t remember until today that the anniversary of the end of my engagement and the beginning of my new life was upon us. I thought about tweeting a message of “hooray! This means good things for the healing in my heart” or emailing a girlfriend or two to share the joyus news. [After all- these girlfriends were there through the healing themselves, as supporters and crutches and wisdom bearers and ice cream sharers] Instead I took a moment just to sit and think about it all – how much has changed in my life and where I am now in comparison to then; it was a moment for some “before and after” reflection in the quiet of my desk.
Nick officially moved all of his things from storage into our apartment this week. We’ve been living together for months at this point, but it sure does make things seem even more official now. What was once my bookshelf is now hosting a collection of Nick’s books, too. Souvenirs from memories made in my 29 years are being pushed an inch to the left in order to fit his mementos of vacations enjoyed and events celebrated over time. We’re selling my bed because Nick’s is so much better [I feel like I’m sleeping on a CLOUD!], realizing we have two of several CDs, the list could go on and on. We are progressing and our story continues. And my story continues, and Nick’s story continues, and I hope that we are one another’s story-mates for the rest of time.
When I was thinking about the rest of time, I remembered that I once heard a rumor that my former fiancé was going to be married this month. Actually, this is not the first time I’ve remembered that rumor. It’s crossed my mind a time or two this summer. Today, it more than crossed my mind. It sat in my mind. Until I did that thing we all do even though some us pretend like we don’t do it and I turned to the internet to get my Nancy Drew on. I typed his name into the Google search bar, along with his bride’s name, and pressed search.
Ah! Wedding registries. I toyed with the idea of ordering something off their registry to send in congratulations. Or in “Thanks for freeing me!” Or in just the teeny tiny bit of bitterness. [I may be over him but I’m still not over the fact that I let myself lose myself in an attempt to be the person I thought he wanted me to be for so many years. I make choices for myself, and sometimes they aren’t the smartest or the healthiest – sometimes they are simply mistakes. Turns out I am, indeed, human.] Then I got over myself and moved on – their wedding is NOT about me- not in the least. How rude of me to even entertain the idea of making it about me, even in the slightest.*
As soon as I made up my mind to get my act together and get myself out of this mind tornado…as soon as I moved my cursor up to that little X in the right corner…I saw the “event date” for their wedding. Which happens to be tomorrow. Which happens to be the three year anniversary of the day the groom’s first engagement ended. It’s times like this I start to really feel like my life is just some whacked out version of the Truman Show. The Universe and all its poeticness.
I wanted to act in this; to make a broad statement about the coincidence. It’s kind of hilarious. It’s kind of Woody Allen ridiculous. It’s kind of exactly how my life would pan out, because I am one for the details, and this detail is one that makes me question if I’m the only girl in the world who hangs so firmly on the importance of date and time and nostalgic momentum.
What I really wanted, though, was a girlfriend to turn to in the form of a text message – demanding drinks tonight or dinner tomorrow. I wanted someone who would allow me to be bitter for a moment. Someone to say, “Really!? The 13th?? That is kind of weird!” I wanted a friend to pour wine into my glass as we sat on the back porch and she suddenly said, “WAIT. They are getting married on Friday the 13th, to boot!?!” with a giggle. I wanted to drink to that – to give a big ole “CHEERS!” to the fact that I didn’t marry the wrong guy and that things are different, oh so different, today than they were three years ago.
Then I felt convicted. And judge-y. And gross. I felt ashamed of feeling these things, and thinking these things, and desiring such a situation to take place. I want someone to sit next to me and point out I’m good and he’s not so good!?!? I wanted to drink to that!?!? That, surely, is not kind. I recently read a quotation I declared to live out in real life: “my heart is my strongest muscle.” I want to act in love always, but instead I react the opposite. For whatever the reason, I desired to be told I was right and he was wrong – even though we’re both neither in this situation.
We just are – both of us, my ex and me- we are. We are following our own paths, nurturing our own relationships, living our own lives, and writing our own stories.
Tomorrow I’m going to work at the office, and run some miles, and spend some time laughing with my boyfriend and snuggling with my kitten.
Tomorrow he will be feeling all sorts of emotions, celebrating with friends and family, and praying to his God, and falling even more in love with his beautiful bride as she walks toward him down the aisle.
And that… well, I’m not so ashamed to say that I WILL drink to that.
To me July 13th is no longer “break up day.” It’s moving forward day. It’s an anniversary of another kind. A time to rejoice in the fact that relationships with the wrong people don’t have to last forever. We move forward, we find the right one, we make our way to our own happily ever afters, and we learn how to fight through the brokenness to a place of our own healing, repairing a little bit at a time along the way.
I get emails from freshly broken hearted women, and even a few men, on the regular. Since I first started sharing a look into my own healing I’ve been the source of many “broken engagement” google searches which lead to a handful of emails each month from others who are going through their own moving forwards. To those of you who have found THS because of your broken heart, I want to encourage you with this: it takes time. It takes YOUR time. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, but don’t allow yourself to sit in your sadness for too long, either. Make your own happily ever after. It gets better. Trust that and feel the freedom that comes from believing in yourself and your story. Take the simplest advice around: put one foot in front of the other. Make one choice at a time. Simply move forward. You’ve got this.
*I do want to say this: though their relationship, wedding, and marriage are not about me in the slightest, this blog IS about me. It’s Then Heather Said – and I will continue to talk about my emotions, experiences, development, challenges, growth, beliefs, goals, victories, mistakes, feelings and anything else that helps me share my story with the world.