I remember feeling that 2016 was a horrific year and I couldn’t wait until 2017 rolled around to begin anew. I had high expectations for this year and what it was going to bring. Or rather, I held high expectations of what the year should not bring — I craved a drastic shift from 2016. I expected more gains than losses, I expected a lot of love instead of grief and pain, and I expected much happiness, the type of happiness where I wouldn’t spend a single night falling asleep to tears. It’s true how the saying goes, friends, don’t go into anything with expectations because you’ll only be let down.
The first blow to my expectations was in mid-March when I decided to pick myself up and walk out on my job. I had no back-up plan as I set my keys on my ex-employer’s desk, nor did I have any clue as to where to even begin looking. The only thing I did know was that I could no longer remain in this position. I knew deep in my bones that I had stayed two years too long in a place that did not respect me, appreciate me, or care about me. I had wrestled through those years with the mindset that, “This is just how life goes. I’m not meant to love, or even enjoy, my work. I’m making a paycheck and that’s all that matters.” However, there was a breaking point which I hit with full-force. Following a humiliating display of unkindness from my employer I chose, with the full support of my family and closest friends, to walk out of that horrible environment and never look back.
Not having a paycheck for three weeks when you have the immense pressure of school debt, a car loan, rent, and various bills does something to a girl. Tie those stresses with the feeling of failure for not being able to hold out for a two-weeks notice, and disappointment in the knowledge you’ll never be able to use your four years of work service at that business for a resume in the future, and what do you have? One pretty little package of a hot mess.
Much of March was spent with me sobbing. I didn’t know where to turn. I didn’t know where to begin to job hunt. I felt disconnected, confused, and utterly and completely lost.
But within the madness there was also relief. The poor work environment had caused daily migraines, ultimately causing me to black out twice. Within days of being out of that murky place, my migraines began to decrease. Even with the stresses of an unknown career future, my health was improving. And there was also that knowledge deep in my heart brimming with pride that I had finally made the choice to better my surroundings.
Through the tears, I continued to pray and thank God for His constant blessings. And I slowly made peace with my decision and began working to move forward.
I started to apply for every position that fit even one iota of my qualifications. Luckily I was granted several interviews along the way. However, the true blessing was when a friend had mentioned my name to a mutual friend and I was given an interview. The position in question not only fit my qualifications, but was exactly my passion: event planning. Event planning at a winery actually — so even better! The position was for a manager of the winery’s wine club and coordinator of events.
Within three weeks of quitting, I was hired into a position which matched every aspect of what I wanted to do. I would be remaining in the wine industry. I would be working events. And I would be able to socialize with a wine club of over 750 members.
Blessed doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt.
I have now been working in this position for over four months and couldn’t be happier. Ultimately I learned that, though things seemed almost unbearable during those three weeks of unemployment, the feeling was transitory. I gained wisdom, grace, and knowledge which set a foundation for me to carry the rest of my life. I gained confidence in myself and my ability to choose a hard decision for a better outcome. I also gained assurance in God’s work in my life; I know He works for the best of me even though it may take some time for me to realize exactly what that means. The ends far outweighed the means, and I am grateful for what I had to grow through because I am now a wiser woman due to the circumstance.
The second blow to my shaky 2017 expectation came during my first week of the new job. What should have been an exciting time was overturned when Wilbur decided to break up with me on my third day in the new position.
Though I’ve had enough time to look back and see the various red flags and unhealthy circumstances the relationship was filled with, the breakup with Wilbur was shattering. In an already fragile state, I had little time to shift from worrying about my career future to my romantic future.
In all honesty, I probably knew, deep down, that the relationship was ending for some time. I mean, we had dated for close to two years and Wilbur’s response to me saying, “I love you.” was “Well, I care for you.” Not the mark of a blooming romance, eh? But I was blinded by who I wanted Wilbur to be. I hoisted him on a pedestal. I took every broken promise, no-show-up date, and bad day in stride while hoping I could make things better, make us better. I’m not sure what kept me with him so long — perhaps I liked the chase or I liked to feel like I was needed?
Whatever I tried to tell myself, I was wrong though. Wilbur did not need me. I was a placeholder for whomever he wanted in his future. He kept me around until he found someone he liked better. Short and simple, that was why our relationship ended. He found someone “better.”
I didn’t find the reasoning until a few weeks after our breakup though. Wilbur did not have the audacity to tell me the truth. Instead, he chose to not only break my heart but shatter my self-confidence as well. The breakup was filled with Wilbur telling me all of my wonderful qualities making me an ideal girlfriend, but that I just lacked that Something. And whatever that Something was which I lacked? Well, it made me unlovable.
Now, I understand no breakup is easy, but I have had four months to consider Wilbur’s approach and it still boils my blood. Especially when I was told by multiple sources that he “began” dating a girl the day after he broke up with me. (And proceeded to propose to her six weeks later. And get dumped four weeks after that, but I digress…)
In retrospect, I agree with Wilbur. There was something our relationship lacked that would never have sustained us into a longer future. Our relationship had run its course, pure and simple. That is how Life works sometimes, and that is what dating is all about: you’re looking to find your forever partner. However, the part that ticks me off is how Wilbur chose to end the relationship.
First, he chose to tell me everything I did right in the relationship. Okay, that was up-lifting through the tears. But then he decided to take the rug out from under my feet by stating it was something I lacked which made me unlovable. No, honey, it had nothing to do with me. See, I am a firm believer in two things when it comes to loving another person:
- You cannot love someone else if you don’t first love yourself.
- You cannot invest love when you’re busy wondering if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.
When it came to Wilbur, he failed in both arenas. (Again, why I stayed for so long with this knowledge is still questionable…) His gaslighting of the cause of this failed relationship on me was due to his inability to take credit for his own ineptitude to love someone. If you don’t like yourself, how can you ever believe someone else does? And if you’re busy looking around for someone better, how can you ever appreciate who is in front of you? It was not of my own faults that the relationship failed.
It has taken me several months to figure this out though. At the time of the breakup, Wilbur crushed my self-esteem and I spiraled downward quickly. I questioned if I truly was unlovable, because if he couldn’t love me after all I had done for him then I didn’t know who could. I wondered how I could ever trust someone again after being told he cared me for so long and then ending things in the manner he did. I wallowed in deep hurt, focused on the pain of the situation, and fell into a depression.
In my weakest state, I took to seeing a counselor who prescribed antidepressants to me. I hardly slept. I hardly ate. My usual outgoing, extroverted self clung to indoor solitude.
Thankfully, though, I have surrounded myself with people who did not allow me to fester for too long in my pain. My family and friends were an hourly hammer of encouragement and uplifting. Before too long I began to hit the gym again, went out with friends, and attempted to regain “my being.” I took myself off the medication within a month’s time knowing full-well I would fight and get better. I lifted my head back up and started to look at the breakup and Wilbur’s unkind words for what they were: a poor reflection of him, and having nothing to do with me.
Thus came the day that I realized Wilbur wasn’t worth my care anymore. I realized it wasn’t me who was unlovable to Wilbur, it was himself. And I no longer wanted to have a Wilbur pedestal in my life… so I knocked it down.
I began to date, going out with a few people just to say that I was trying again. And it was fun! That is one of the best parts of dating — you can keep it light and fun without any of the commitment. I didn’t feel the need to place my heart and soul into anyone, especially someone who would never mirror that romantic responsibility. I was able to be myself — quirks and all — and I loved it. I refound my love for myself. There was no need for me to put on a fake persona or act like I was okay with certain things when I wasn’t. I could be me 100%.
As I gained confidence in myself and in the dating world, I also set to groom and grow certain friendships. Queue G. Already a friend, G was someone I had always found solace in speaking with and whom I had a high level of attraction. So, I went for it — even though he’ll say he made the first move. We went on a date and shared such personal stories within that first one-on-one that something simply clicked. We became inseparable.
And Life has been good ever since…
I would be lying if I said there are times the past doesn’t still hit me in the feels though. Emotions of depression, confusion, deep hurt, and rage can rear their heads from time to time. Unfortunately, even choosing to be happy is a constant battle when you have healing wounds. I’ve failed a time or two. I’ve had a scratch come across my heart when new information is voluntarily shared and I’ve seen red. But I am able to admit my failures and I’ve asked for forgiveness from those affected.
And most importantly, I have repented to God and forgiven myself for those mistakes and moved forward.
The biggest lesson learned from Wilbur’s breakup (and the relationship as a whole) was figuring out what I deserve in a relationship. With even the short amount of time dating G, I realize how much I was giving to the past relationship with no effort being provided by my partner. In vast contrast, sometimes I wonder if I am giving enough to G because he is so good to me. There is this overwhelming connection and comradery between the two of us. I honestly don’t know how I considered any relationships prior to this to be satisfactory — which I think is a beautiful thing: finding the relationship you deserve and investing your all into it.
This breakup also forced me to change my behavior. In my helplessness I learned to take care of my own needs and to rely on those true to me for assistance. I recognized my worth once I accepted how used I was in the past. And I came to acceptance of the fact that no one has control of my Life except for God, not even myself. It took surrendering my control to God to finally find peace in what happened, what hurt, and where I am heading.
The final lesson I learned in regards to Wilbur is this: I may have the right to rage, rant, and hate someone due to their actions towards me, but I also have the right to choose to be at peace with that person. To forgive a hurtful person is to choose the other side of resentment — wisdom. Finding wisdom in pain is not an easy ordeal. I have failed, and I know I will fail again. I’m only human. However, I have chosen to acknowledge the pain Wilbur caused me and channel it into loving those closest to me instead. I no longer want to allow that resentment to remain stagnate in my life.
I choose to move forward for the better.
This decision to move forward has opened my eyes. Over the past few weeks I have started to look at the relationships in my life and see who I want to invest my love. It is amazing that the opposite of pain is love and appreciation. Sometimes brightness enters us through the wound and results in change.
This new outlook on life has led me to analyze my current relationships. Where I once would have hesitated in a new relationship due to trust issues, I have fully embraced my blossoming romance with G. As someone who I knew beforehand and knew his nature, it came as no surprise to me that he would show love and respect for someone he truly cared about. And his love for me, even in the few months we’ve been dating, shines through every single day we spend together. I have never been treated so well by a man, and never been loved so deeply. With my new perception in life, it has been my goal to mirror his actions in all manners possible, and our relationship is absolutely beautiful.
I also have been working to build my relationship with my parents and closest friends. I look at who has been there for me throughout the years, truly and honestly there for me — unselfishly, undoubtedly, and with so much love — and I want to mirror those actions as well.
Unfortunately, that meant some friendships had to take a back seat as I groom my Tribe. Those friendships which were not supportive of me, not healthy, and no longer unselfish. I chose to focus on those friends who made a priority to be my friend, and the others I set on the back burner. Not with the intention of cutting off ties completely, but rather to fully engage myself in the worthiest relationships I foresee right now. It’s almost as if I’m starting with a new foundation and I am choosing to build my life around the steadiest rocks available.
This decision did not come without fatalities though which resulted in the final blow to any and all expectations I held for 2017.
Two weeks ago M moved out. She told me it was due to financial issues, but I have not spoken to her since she moved. The people who are able to hurt us the deepest are the ones we love the most. For someone I viewed as my sister, her departure from my life has left a jagged scar across my heart.
I am not sure what more to say on this front as I am still having difficulty processing this heartbreak. It will just take some time; it is definitely the heaviest lost I’ve ever felt.
However, if this year has taught me anything, there are a lot of lessons sure to come my way. I relish the opportunity, and look forward to coming to peace with this situation as well.
I want to leave you, my friend, with this thought: truly coming to peace with anything is being able to be thankful for the experience of the situation. To fully move on from anything, you must be able to recognize what purpose it served and how it made you better. The purpose may not always appear quickly, but it will in time. Be patient, be resilient, and continue to push yourself to the best you possible.
That is all we can do in this life, after all.