Out of choice.
And looking here now, my life and myself for that matter, couldn't be any more different to how it was, how I was back then. I didn't not feel myself then, but the person I am now, is me. And more than anything that I've learnt is that, actually I'm not so bad.
I'm doing alright.
The last year hasn't been easy, and I've not once sat there and pretended it was. Like the rest of the world, the other people who suffer heartache and change, it's hard and it takes time. There is never a right or wrong time to heal and move on, because we all do things differently and we all approach it in the best way possible that we can. My approach? I think I found myself a little in denial to begin with. There were doubters when my relationship ended, and people thinking I'd be regretting my decision and that I was throwing away too much - but I find myself thanking the doubters, because having to tell people that everything will be OK in the end made me start to believe it myself. I had nobody telling me it would all be OK, because quite honestly, they didn't think it would. I was this timid person, who couldn't even use a washing machine herself, who wouldn't stand up for herself and who couldn't get by a day in her life without asking her mum what to do.
Of course people would doubt me.
That person was leaving a relationship that from the outside, appeared blissfully happy, appeared normal and set for the future. But those doubters, those people, they weren't in the relationship. They weren't living the life that we were. And it wasn't their happiness on the line.
And I think, that, that's what stuck to me.
My brother told me that the moment I made my decision on what I wanted, that's when I couldn't let anyone change my mind. And he was right. I wanted to be happy, I wanted my ex to be happy. And we stuck to that. And we proved everyone wrong. And we taught ourselves at the same time, that happiness is the most important thing in life. The one thing we CAN control.
Happiness didn't happen over night. But I pushed myself into a new challenge, and I took each day as it came. To begin with, I felt all the emotions, all at the same time. I never even knew it was possible to feel happy yet sad, scared yet excited and heartbroken yet healed all together. Some days I felt like I had the world in my hands, and other days, I felt like the world was caving in on me. I took time for myself, and I surrounded myself with friends. I kept myself busy, because not only did I want to, but I felt that I had to. I didn't want to stop.
Because, stopping made me think. And I didn't want to think.
I guess I was afraid. Afraid of reality.
And reality hit me that November. When the final part of the house sale came. It was always there, lurking about, waiting to happen. And I prepared myself for it. But I suppose, however much you do, you can never quite be fully prepared for that huge change. The closure.
November was a dark month. November was a lonely month. It was hard, and out of all of the months, I struggled the most. I felt like nobody quite understood, and by opening up to my friends, they'd only think of me as a burden. The one person who saw me everyday, my work colleague, wasn't around to see how I wasn't quite right, and I kept myself hidden away a lot so people couldn't see me. From the outside I appeared fine, but behind closed doors I found myself unsure on the future. Only my mama could see how I was, but she wouldn't push me, because she knew, she knew me better than myself that I was trying to hold it together. I'd spent the past eight months telling people how happy I was, because I was, so I didn't want to seem almost like a let down. Like I'd gone full circle. Couldn't handle this on my own.
Like I'd failed already.
Not for one moment did I ever regret what happened that year or think we'd made a bad decision.
I just honestly, felt lost.
The break up had well and truly hit me.
I spent most of it worrying, worrying about my ex and how he was. And that was the hardest thing to deal with, worrying if he was happy, how he was coping and whether he or his family disliked me for our decision. I didn't worry about myself, I worried about him. And worrying about him, only made me not care for me. But I couldn't see that at the time.
And I didn't see that, until the middle of December.
Something just clicked inside of me. I couldn't do it to myself anymore. In our lives, the most important person to us, is us. And if we don't care for ourselves, then who will?
And that's when it all changed. When I became myself again.
I spent a lot of time thinking, I took time out with myself and thought about the person I am and what I wanted out of life. I sat back and thought about the things I'd managed to do over the year - and learnt the most important thing about myself..
I'm a lot stronger than I ever realised.
I realised that with a little bit of determination, and courage and going with your instinct without others telling you what to do, you can achieve things and be just you. To some, it may be achieving a goal, or reaching a career point - for me, it was about myself. About my self worth and who I am. I felt proud of the person I'd become, of the challenges I'd faced myself, which to others are nothing, but to me, were huge milestones. That really grew me as an individual. Turned me into the person I am right this moment.
All those tears, all those doubts, all those worries, all those questions and debates, all those mistakes and all those learning curves are what has made me, me, today.
I went from being this young woman, who relied so much on her then boyfriend, to care for her, to love her and look after her, someone who wanted praise constantly and was told that they were doing OK, but someone who never quite understood herself, to someone who could live independently, who could make her own decisions and hold her own ground (OK, so I'm still working a little on that one...) and who knew what she wanted out of life. To be happy. And the only way I could be happy, was by just being. Doing things I wanted to do, when I wanted to do them. Accepting myself for who I am, and just taking life with a casual approach. To make yourself happy, you need to just be happy. And so I did.
I never quite thought I'd ever live alone, and I won't lie and say it's easy, but if there's one main thing that I appreciate, it's having that opportunity. Being able to be in my own company and be in charge of my house. I've become independent, almost so independent that I won't ever ask for help (I'm working on that one too...) but I am actually proud of that. Because it's far from who I was before. I lost my way, I relied on too many people - and now, I don't ever want to go back to that. Of course saying that, there's a time and a place when we need people, people to hold our hands, remind us of a good job we're doing and reassuring us at those right moments, but I've learnt that it's all simply about balance.
Life is about balance.
I believe to this day, that we have this path. It is set out for us, and what happens to us is all part of that path. It's there for us. And the things we get faced with daily, weekly, monthly or annually, they're meant to happen. They are there - to test us, praise us, teach us, and mostly grow us.
And even when we're doubting the path we've been put on, there's a reason for that. And that reason may take a little longer to get us to there, but it'll come. Sometimes just with patience and love.
And right now? I'm incredibly content with this path I'm on.
"Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back
everything is different..."