I hate to admit to being that girl who lost herself to a relationship. But, especially when things got rocky, I allowed my ex’s happiness dictate my happiness.
We did everything he wanted to do. He didn’t like running, so I put my 5Ks on the back burner. Slowly I started letting go of a lot of my dreams, goals, and hobbies and replacing them with his.
So when our relationship suddenly ended, I was pretty lost. There was an emptiness that my ex left behind that I didn’t know how to fill. I was given advice by one of my cousins; she told me not to date too soon to give myself time to heal. Of course I didn’t listen. Three very short months after the breakup, I was set up by a friend.
The guy was great. Smart, funny, ambitious, hard working, I could go on describing this great man. We only dated for six weeks. Why? Sure, there were a lot of different factors, but one main thing I realized through it all was I wasn’t ready to date.
Whenever I would go out with this man, I wasn’t myself. I was reserved, stand offish, and timid. I was afraid to be vulnerable, and I was on the defensive. Was this what ended our short “relationship”? I don’t know, but what I do know is that I didn’t give myself enough time to heal.
I thought that I could easily ignore my broken and shattered heart by moving on to someone else, but I was wrong. I realized I needed to stop trying to fill the void left by my boyfriend with another man and to focus instead on my healing.
I remember confiding in a friend that I was struggling to let go of my heartbreak. I couldn’t forgive my ex for hurting me. I couldn’t forgive myself for losing myself while trying to save the relationship.
He told me that the best way to heal was through talking about it. He said that keeping my feelings tucked away inside for no one to see or hear would not allow healing to happen. Ignoring my feelings of hurt, disappointment, and anger would not make them go away. I had to face my fear and let go of those feelings. A few weeks later I was given this opportunity to become a storyteller for I Believe in Love.
Sharing my story was scary at first. I was afraid to let people in to see my brokenness. I was afraid to look weak. But I Believe in Love gave me courage I didn’t realize I had: to face the reality of how shattered I truly was. It helped me seek counseling as an aide for my healing.
Slowly I started to find myself again. I had always wanted to try boxing, so I joined a boxing gym. I started doing 5Ks again. I’m not at my fastest time just yet, but I’m working on meeting or besting my best time. I’m going back to school, something I put on hold because I was focused on my ex’s career goals and pushing him to succeed.
One of my dreams was to travel, and so I did. I finally visited the Texas Wine Country and did my first wine tasting with my best friend and her husband. I got to see my Green Bay Packers defeat the Dallas Cowboys in Cowboy country.
I finally did my first solo trip out of the state of Texas. I visited one of my closes friends in Atlanta, and Atlanta stole a little piece of my heart. My trip to Atlanta is what vacations are meant to be. I remember sitting in the airplane and reflecting how far I’ve come. I thanked God for the strength I found in him and in sharing my story.
I’m thankful for the opportunity to tell my story. I hope it help others realize that even when you hit rock bottom you can dust yourself off and rise again. Even when life throws us a curve ball, we can step up to the plate and bat. Even if we strike out, telling our story is important. You never know what someone can learn from your experience. You can give others hope that they too can overcome.
Now two years after my breakup, I feel confident enough in myself to truly open my heart to another man. I think I’m ready to date again. My healing journey has taught me that facing my fears is probably one of the most empowering things I could do. In sharing my story, I found healing, my dreams, my goals, and most importantly—I found myself.