Eight years ago today I woke up so excited that at 32, I was getting married. I had planned this beautiful fall tropical wedding at the Phoenix Zoo – and everything you would expect at a wedding was thrown out the window. I didn’t want a traditional reception, I wanted a memorable one.
We were married in front of the giraffes during mating season, but thankfully they refrained. Mariachi music was playing throughout the ceremony and I remembered looking at M with love in my eyes and hope in my heart. I was ready for the ever-after fairy tale. I wanted children, the white picket fence, and a love that would make me feel secure and wanted for the rest of my life.
What I didn’t realize, maybe because I was in denial, was that my friends and family were not excited at all that I was marrying M. They were taking bets on how long it would last. They knew I was making a terrible mistake as he was not the man made for me. I didn’t know until months later that my family was not M’s biggest fan club. My best friend and Maid of Honor Lisa, had even said that morning – Let’s jump in my car and just go. I thought she was joking. She wasn’t.
My best friend, Lisa – she is the exact opposite of me, the Ying to my Yang. Love her!
I have now been divorced as long as I was married. I was married for 3.5 years – married on 11/4/06 and divorced on 5/13/10. We were together for a total of 7 years.
Matt is not a bad man, but some of his actions were appalling. Many, and I mean, many days I was told I was stupid, ugly, fat, and that no one would ever love me again. The days when he called me a Bitch and a C&nt still haunt me. I don’t do well with verbal and emotional abuse. He told me daily that he was the best I would ever have, that no man could love my strong personality. He was also the most negative man I had ever known in my life. My positivity soon gave way to negativity and I too, was overly negative. I couldn’t blame people for not wanting to be around me anymore.
With this divorce and the loss of my flower shop I was in financial ruin. I left that marriage with $500 and hope in my heart that one day I would know what it was like to be truly loved by another human being. But first, I had to learn to love myself again. Because honestly, I hated everything about myself.
But damn, my flowers were breathtaking. I sure know how to throw a party btw!
I wrote out a list of every bad quality I had and I have spent the last four years working on myself by conquering that list. I have regained my strength and my adventurous spirit. I am no longer afraid of anything anymore. I am not afraid to live my life for me. I am not afraid of saying no, even though it is still hard. I am not afraid to let my intelligence shine through, even when it intimidates those around me. I will not apologize for being crazy intelligent anymore. And I am not afraid to love again.
I am blessed and cursed with a personality that sees the good in each and every person. I fall in love easily, but hurt deeply when it doesn’t work out. I’m a very passionate person and that level of depth is quite hard for people to handle on a daily basis, which is why I spend a lot of time alone. But now when things don’t work out, I try to see what lesson I learned from that person, and walk on.
I’m an emotional empath and am now careful of who I allow into my inner space. People have always told me – you are who you surround yourself with – so very true. The people in your life are the reflections of your soul.
So this morning I am sad. I am sad that the life I envisioned did not work out in any sense. Everything I wanted in life was taken away from me until I woke up one morning with nothing.
That’s not entirely true, I woke up with my family and friends holding out their hands and saying – here, let us help you up.
I worked through that pain with a lot of counseling and quite a few bottles of wine. I made some seriously bad decisions in my life at that time too. The best thing I did in my 30s was when I packed up the rest of my belongings at 39 and took off on this #GirlOnTheRun journey that has had me traveling for 19 months and has brought me to Alaska.
Last year I healed while traveling around the US. I learned to love myself again and love all the unique attributes I possess. I learned that I am not a quitter in life and just because I quit my marriage didn’t make me a bad person, it just meant that I put myself first.
I had told Lisa on my wedding day that I would rather be 40 and divorced than to say I was 40 and never married. How foolish I was back then. Staying with the wrong man prevented me from possibly finding the right man. Staying with a man that broke me down everyday almost killed my soul.
Today though, I am 40, single, no kids and I am a full-time traveler and writer. Never in my life would I have ever thought that sentence would be used to describe me. But it does. This is who I am. I am the maker of my destiny and the only one responsible for my decisions in life.
I choose to continue to live a life that I love and make memories that will last me a lifetime. I’m also ready to love again. Funny, I tell myself every morning – I love you, Kristi. Because it is true, if you don’t love yourself, how can you love someone else?
November 4th… you are so full of memories for me. Thank you for the lessons you taught me in love and friendship and most importantly, how to live again when your dreams are shattered into a thousand pieces.