I went to a wedding this weekend for someone quite dear to me. I was honored to be invited, despite my own apprehensions about going. There are a lot of things I want to say about the weekend but first I keep thinking about a song.
During the ceremony, my friend’s niece sang a song, one of the lyrics was, “bless the broken road that led me to you.” More than 24 hours later, this is the part which keeps ringing in my head. The broken road…
My parents were married young. Probably too young. Mom was 18 and Dad was 22. I idolized them as a kid. They were always touching each other affectionately; there was a lot of love in our house. Even when it was rough, they still showed an amount of affection I could only ever dream of one day having. I used to wish that I might meet my life partner young like they were because then I’d have my whole life to spend with him.
And then I got old.
Every break up a bit more discouraged. A bit more jaded about life and love and then one day I gave up. My whole world seemed to crash around me on a variety of levels and I decided that maybe love just wasn’t for me. Maybe if I accepted right then and there, I’d just be an old cat lady, then I’d be better for it. Life would get a bit kinder and I could be happy. That was five years ago.
I didn’t date anyone for four years. I didn’t even want to. Because if I dated then I was setting myself up for failure and another broken heart and I’d had too many already. My heart felt hardly on the mend. How could I put it through another meat grinder? I didn’t think I could survive it. Looking back, I think my soul was broken. I didn’t know how to be happy with me. Let alone have the ability to be happy with another person.
It feels sudden as I look back but I suppose it had been a long time coming. I didn’t want to be an old cat lady. I didn’t want to be alone. So one day, literally just one random day, I decided I’d change.
I started to really look at my issues. I started to address my baggage and my past. I wanted to let go of the hurt I’d been carrying and mend the wounds I was still licking. I wanted to be happy. I wanted to love myself and I don’t think I had really ever done that. Six months into this journey I met someone. I didn’t set out to meet anyone and it didn’t last. I fell quickly, like I’d been making up for lost time. I saw someone who shared a lot of the qualities I had. We were probably too much alike. He didn’t love himself either. He was afraid of sharing real emotions the same way I was. Only, I wasn’t so afraid anymore. I’d really been working on myself. He turned out to be decent friendship material but a lousy anything else. Now we’re not friends at all. It’s hard to salvage a friendship when the lies won’t stop. I thought to myself, why did I do this? Why would I put myself through this again? To be lied to and treated poorly.
Instead of giving up, I kept working on me. I read every book I could get my hands on that would help me let go of the past. Any book that would show me how to love myself. And guess what… it took a long time, but I think I figured it out. The loving myself part. Being comfortable in my own skin. Knowing I’m good enough. Not just saying it, but knowing at the pit of my stomach, I’m good enough.
A year ago, on a day like today, my anxiety would have gotten the better of me. She would have told me I deserved every lousy thing that has ever happened to me. She would tell me that all of my darkest thoughts were true and that I was not worthy of much. She still says all of these things, only I don’t believe her anymore. Her voice is much smaller, much meeker. I know she’s lying. Instead, today I practiced self-love. I took my sister out to breakfast and a spa. I took a long way home because I could. I was tired so I took a nap. And now, I’m writing my thoughts out instead of drowning in them. Instead of letting her win. Because I’m worthy.
My life has been a broken road. Filled with hard lessons. I would not have been able to meet someone young and have a prosperous relationship I wanted. A year has passed since that failed one and I can see now, it made me a stronger person. From that experience, I learned what I want out of a relationship. The kind of partner I need in life. The kind of partner I deserve. Through every broken heart, down every broken road, I feel like the universe is pushing me along a path to be the best version of myself.
I don’t know what the world has in store for me. But I can say this, I’m ready to take it on. I’m ready for whatever it wants to throw my way. A lot of really beautiful things were said on the topic of love at this wedding. Mostly about how flawed it is. How someone can’t complete you but they can be there for you. About how partnerships won’t always be easy but with the right person, it will always be worth it. I’m no expert on love or relationships. Most of mine have failed. But something about this broken road rang true for me. I’ve got my hiking boots at the ready. I’m gonna keep on walking.