Last night, as I drove home from CrossFit (get used to hearing that), I had a moment. Not a bad moment. Not a homesick moment. Possibly an endorphin filled moment. I was driving down a dark back road, listening to Miranda Lambert with the windows down, and all I could think was, "my heart is completely unbroken." I was so thankful in that moment, so grateful and proud, that I couldn't help but tear up.
When you go through the things I went through last year, when you really, truly struggle and lose yourself, it roots itself inside of you. A vine of broken winds itself through you and there's no way around it. It tightens the grip and chokes you, stifling out the good. No matter how much I fought it, it was stronger. So finally, I gave in, and I let life be bad. I did all of those things you do when you're suffocating. I hid and I blamed and I let the vine win.
Then, after awhile, I felt the vine loosen up, like she was saying, "well, you've been a very good hostess, but I miss the sun so maybe I will let you have some room in here, too." So I started going through the motions. Get up, reach out, do something. Anything. And slowly, very, very slowly...things got a bit better. Mostly when I wasn't paying attention. My heart was still broken, but it no longer belonged to him.
I dated, and although I wouldn't say I consistently made GREAT choices, I was at least trying. And although I made those few guys lives hell because of my still broken heart, you could tell I was healing. I lived and worked and spent time with the people who love me.
And then I chose to go. I chose sabbatical. I chose it over staying with my friends, I chose it over moving to the city, I chose it over everything. I sought advice from the people I trust the most, and I made the best choice for me.
Leading up to leaving, I had to say a lot of goodbyes and walk away from a lot of things and people that I love, but I could feel that vine of negativity leaving, too. It's like it was saying, "there's not enough sadness here, I can't keep my grip." But, that was the thing. As much as I had grown to love my life in Illinois, there WAS too much sadness, and I needed a rest from it all. I had gotten through it all, but now I needed to get over it.
I've been brave here. I knew bravery was the only way to begin to get over it. Be brave, especially when I don't want to. As someone who struggles with anxiety every single day, I'm proud of my decisions here. I consistently walk into a room FULL of people I don't know to work out. That's huge for me. I'm trying new things. I'm listening to the quiet nudges so that they don't have to become ridiculously loud and hurtful pushes. But I'm also giving myself the space to feel that fear and anxiety, to see what is justified and what's just me being a baby brat; and when it's too much, I know it's okay to walk away and take the time I need.
And then, all of a sudden, last night...I wasn't just through it. I was over it.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm sitting here waiting for the other shoe to drop...because that's all I know. I'm waiting for all of the feelings to come back, for that vine to tighten the grip around me and say, "good, you're broken again," because how can I possibly be over it that fast? But I'm working my hardest to not let that happen. I can't guarantee I won't get a fleeting moment of "what if," but I'm genuinely over it. Over him. Over my 2014 struggles.
So, here I sit. Writing to all of you with an unbroken but not whole heart. My heart can never be whole. Because I've loved. I loved a guy with every single bit of myself, and he gets to keep a bit of that...and I want him to. Because even if it didn't work out, I know I made life better for him sometimes, and him for me.
I've loved about eight zillion little kiddos in my teaching, nannying, etc. days and I would gladly let them keep those pieces of my heart, because the joy they've brought my life is unparalleled. I have a family, especially little sisters, who can take as much of my heart as they want, because they are two of the reasons I fought so hard to get through last year. I have amazing, ridiculously, gloriously wonderful friends, both old and new, in my life who love me unconditionally and make me better. Take your part of my heart. It's yours.
I have my closest people. My flock, my couple other best girls, my best fella and a couple other guys who are always, always there. The ones who saw it all happen last year (or most of it), and never once flinched. Some of them even took me on as theirs in the midst of it, and I owe them more of my heart than they'd ever take. The ones who knew how much more there was to me than my wound up, suffocated self.
These are the reasons that vine let go of the vice grip and instead wove itself around and through my heart to make it unbroken. These are the reasons I will never be whole, and I am so unbelievably grateful for that. And as I sit here, reflecting on how incredibly lucky I am, and how far I've come, I can genuinely say I'm excited for what will happen next. I'm glad to give more of my heart away, and I'm just as glad to keep parts of my heart just for me, for now. And I wish the same for you.
PS: You all have pieces of my heart, too. And I'm so happy to give them to you. xo!
PS, you can totally enter your email address below to get an email from me EVERY TIME I write a new post! I promise I won't send you any spam/weirdo fetish stuff! (No judgment, yo!) Also, don't forget to like Not The Fastest Girl In Town on Facebook!