I woke up today and thought it was the 10th anniversary of my wedding day. Obviously, I can’t tell time, it is the 9th. Nine years since I was a bride, nine years since a man said he would be by my side no matter what, nine long years. Some days I wake up and yearn to be a man’s wife, where you lay in bed and share each other’s dreams while wrapped in their arms. Someone to share the first cup of coffee with and that last glass of wine before falling asleep together.
Will I ever have that again? Will I ever be a wife again? I don’t really know.
Honestly, I don’t have a problem attracting men. They tell me that they are attracted to my independence, my courage, my intelligence, and my vulnerability. I stopped playing the game of hiding myself when I’m dating someone a long time ago. But you know, that could be my problem. I don’t hold back – I want them to see me so they know what they are getting into.
I’m not typical, I don’t live an ordinary life. I try every day to live an extraordinary life. Let me tell you, that can be utterly exhausting.
Last year I wrote two pieces on my marriage How to Live Again When Your Dreams Are Shattered Into A 1000 Pieces and Having an Emotional Affair Wasn’t OK. Those were very hard to write, and still very hard to read again. It is through these writings and self-reflections that make me let go of the shame, the pain, the woman who was so broken that she couldn’t remember how to stand on her own two feet.
During those years, I also lost my business, which I just wrote about recently, We Built a Dream 10 years Ago & Catholic Charities Destroyed It. Every day I would wake up and wonder what other awful thing would happen to me. I hit rock bottom – I was miserable, nobody wanted to be around me because I was a hot mess, and the pain inside just kept growing.
Through the past few years of traveling I have let it go. I’ve met amazing people who have turned into dear friends who have helped me to look in the mirror again and be proud of the woman that I am. It has taken me years to be able to feel that I too, deserve someone awesome in my life.
I don’t want the fairytale, I want the reality. A man who is strong enough in his own skin to want a woman who walks a different path in life. A woman with wanderlust in her eyes and compassion in her heart. A woman who will debate him and push him, and love him through the dark times. A man who loves me and isn’t afraid to let others know it.
This is the first year in a very long time that I felt I deserved someone amazing. I have been blessed to date (sorta) three men. All vastly different but share very similar traits that I tend to find in the men I’m attracted to. One was in oil and a combat veteran, another a computer genius, and one a police diver. The diver I met for just a moment, as is typical in the life of a traveler, and we shared so many common traits except I don’t live in his state. He now is dating someone who does. The computer genius I’ve known for years and is strong, talented, and lives a vastly different life than mine. We will be friends for years and is someone who challenged my way of thinking and helped me to grow. The combat veteran… that one treated me in a way I’ve always dreamed of. Loved every part of me and my wandering ways. He has is own demons to slay and wasn’t in a place to continue down a path together.
I still believe in love and marriage and the joy my soul feels when I am with someone I love. I believe one day he will come knocking on the door when I least expect it. I am blessed to be able to connect with people, to see them even when they don’t want to be seen. It is a blessing and a curse really. When you can see someone’s vulnerabilities often times they want to put a wall up to shield themselves. Walking away is easier than facing it.
I’m not married, not currently dating anyone either. And I’m happy. I have caught myself lately turning down dates because I don’t want to date just for the sake of dating anymore. I would rather put that energy inward to being a better person, working on being a better writer, and traveling the world, one country and state at a time.
Yes, I would love to have someone travel with me, no doubt. Thankfully, I’m confident on my own being a solo female traveler and I’m not willing to settle for less than I deserve. Thank you to my friends for helping me to be about to say that last sentence out loud and believe it.
Nine long years ago I was a bride. Nine years later I found my strength again to be ok walking the road less traveled alone. I’m more confident, more secure in who I am, and love the life I’m living.
Taking in the sunrise at Iguana Lodge in Costa Rica, reflecting on how my life is nothing like what I thought it would be.