How to learn to love yourself by January 2018. Part One: Girl, it’s time to WAKE UP!

Okay. Today is that day. Today is the day I really take a step back and say to myself: “Girl, you have got to change EVERYTHING — whether you are ready or not.”

So, my change is coming like lightning bolt; a sharp kick in the ass, instead of the slow and nurturing hand that I had always imagined. But that’s fine. I always have responded better to pressure anyway.

On Wednesday, my boyfriend of three years dumped me. After a really awkward weekend trip, that seemed more like an audition than a vacation, looking back on it now. Guess it’s safe to say I didn’t get a callback (see what I did there?). It was only after I cornered him into talking, did he tell me the worst thing a girlfriend wants to hear: ”I don’t love you anymore, and I think we should go our separate ways.”

Daaaaaaaaaaamn. Here I was, thinking I was being all progressive and forward thinking, asking my boyfriend if the reason for his distance lately, was because he’d been having sex with the same girl (me) for three years and wanted to try on something else for size. Nope! Instead got a big, old fat rejection. The “we should talk” line. And let me tell you. It hurt. Bad. Like a punch in the gut, the heart, the head, the knees, everywhere. Part of me actually never thought this day would come, and yet, here it was, staring right in front of me, demanding to be dealt with.

It’s unsettling to look into someone’s eyes who used to love you, and see that light is dimmed. You can’t see the twinkle anymore. I kept staring deeper into them, but the candle had finally burned out; all I could see was thin smoke lingering up into the ceiling until it disappeared.

You start trying to remember good things in the past, but now they seem far away. Did they even happen? How did I get in your living room? Was I asleep the past three years? Now when we talk about each other it will be with the pre-fix “ex” attached and we will use the past tense. It’s scary, ya’ll.

I’m not going to lie to you and say I wasn’t devastated. EVERYTHING was about to change and I was NOT ready for it. Did I mention, I was living with him, all my stuff is at his place, I happened to have the biggest audition of my life in a mere three days, I was leaving for an acting gig in a week, AND we bought Hamilton tickets for his birthday in November? So I suddenly have a lot on my plate. Usually, when I get stressed out and have a lot to deal with, I just don’t do anything at all and watch Netflix. But not this time…!! This time, I will walk headfirst into the shit.

Now, you’re probably wondering, well… why did ya’ll break up? Did he really just wake up one day and decide you weren’t the one? The short answer is “no.” The long, more fucked up and embarrassing answer is that we broke up because our relationship was abusive. Both physically and emotionally, and I had become dependent on it. In an extremely unhealthy way. I think he became dependent too, but was finally putting his foot down and walking away.

It was like knowing you have a problem and hating it, but not doing anything to change it because it’s comfortable and easier than tearing down the foundation you’ve built for so long. I became one of those girls you see on Oprah or Maury and scream at the TV: “Girrrrrrrrl, why didn’t you just leave him??!!!” Now I know why they didn’t. Because change is hard, and emotional abuse and dependency is real, and it can be debilitating.

Now, I’m going to tell you something no one close to me knows: We actually broke up a year ago. I had finally reached my breaking point, decided I needed to move on with my life, be a big girl, and be happy. I moved out, got my own apartment. And then 2 weeks later, the fear kicked in. All of my friendships in Chicago were attached to him. He was a pillar of financial stability. He was my best friend. Now all of those things were gone. How the fuck was I supposed to go on??? I was like a cat who’s so eager to go outside and once they do, realizes its way harder than they anticipated, and comes crawling back to the house, pawing on the door, begging to be let in, promising to never leave ever again. Well, after a month of generally degrading myself, and begging this person to let me back into their life, it worked.

I felt I had WON. I learned my lesson, EVERYTHING WOULD BE GREAT NOW BECAUSE I WAS BACK IN MY COMFORT ZONE. Except for the fact that we had an abusive relationship. And for whatever reason, always will. And sure enough, a few months in, we were back at it.

I felt like a shell of myself. I felt secretive. I felt embarrassed. I felt weak. I didn’t tell ANYONE that we had gotten back together. Pretended I was still single and going through life when people asked how I was. Didn’t want to post anything on Facebook or Instagram. Because I knew what I was doing was wrong, and it was fucked up and it was holding me back. I didn’t want to see the looks on my closest friends’ faces when I told them I was back with the person who would consistently bring out the absolute worst in me and vice versa. Who I would be arguing in the streets with, hitting each other, hurling the most awful insults you can imagine at. But of course, as nothing is ever black and white, it wasn’t all like that. There were moments we had a blast, and I couldn’t imagine spending my time with anyone else. And there were times where I literally had no idea how I ended up in a room with someone I despised so much.

I just told myself, well its only until I get on my feet, once I make new friends, once I get this acting gig, once I lose weight, once I get my finances straight, I can go on my own, and never look back. WRONG. This went on for exactly another year.

What’s crazy is that we never talked about it. I knew he felt this wasn’t right, but, being a Midwestern straight white male, he didn’t talk about his feelings. He would express his unhappiness in arguments, and then apologize, citing stress as the reason for his truthful outbursts, and not that he actually had some deep seeded issues with our relationship, but wanted to avoid conflict at all costs. I wasn’t much better. I knew the fit was wrong, disappointed that I had wasted so much time trying to get back together, and I was stubborn to acknowledge it. I ignored it, hoping it would go away, because I sure as hell knew he wouldn’t bring it up.

So now, here I am. 3 days into a break up that should have stayed broken up a year ago, and I FINALLY am really sitting down and being honest with myself (and whomever decides to read this) about how to move forward. Not just from being single, but to critically take a look at myself and my emotional damage, and insecurities, and really find a way to CHANGE MY LIFE. CHANGE MY WAY OF THINKING. CHANGE HOW I VIEW MYSELF AND MY WORTH. DISCOVER HOW A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP IS SUPPOSED TO GO.

I used to be an avid writer and reader, and this is the first time I’ve written anything in over a year. Coincidence? Nah. So I am using this as a way to hold myself accountable. To be realistic. To document my progress, because its going to be a long road. I dunno if that “half” rule is true about a breakup — “it takes you half as long as the relationship’s length was the get over the realtionship.” Sooooo, right now I’m looking at Jan 2018. Not cute.

Hopefully, it won’t take that long, but in order to come out of this a healthier, happier, emotionally strong person, I’m willing to take all the time that I need. There a lot of things that scare me right now — I’m broke, I’m leaving town for a job, I no longer have a place to live, and I have never really been a fan of asking for help, but that’s something I will add to the list of things I need to change. I am making a list of a few things over the next 18 months (and beyond) that I will be focusing on. Things that I believe kept me in the relationship for longer than I was supposed to. Things that if I can master, will allow me to attract the kind of life I want. And help me stop destructive behavior.

CHANGES I WANT TO MAKE IN MYSELF

1. Self Confidence/Self Esteem — how to gain it. How to feel good about myself without approval from someone else.

2. Build new relationships — being more open again, allowing a strong core group of friends to enter my life.

3. Living an artistically fulfilling life — not dimming my creative side, but embracing my artistic sensibilities. Writing more.

4. Stop caring about what other people think about me — learning to ask for help.

5. Financial Stability — I want to be a boss ass bitch who pays for everything on her own, yes girl.

So, let’s do this. Next post will be on actually implementing those things into my life. But first, I gotta figure out how. Till next time.

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