Beauty In The Breakdown–Four Years Later

JesicaTMP-14

Another year…another anniversary of me leaving a country I called home, a man I referred to as my husband, and the only adult life I had ever known.

It’s hard to imagine that it’s been four years already (time surely does fly when you’re working on rebuilding yourself, creating a life that’s worth living, and reassuring yourself at least one hundred times that you’re going to be ok).

Each year I’ve written a blog on this anniversary (the anniversary of leaving my husband). For now, it’s the one I hold closest to my heart…I can’t remember the exact date I got married, or the day I moved to Germany, but I will always remember the day I moved “home.” In the past, this particular blog has gotten thousands of views and I accredit that to the title of 1. Why Leaving My Husband Was the Best Thing I’ve Ever Done, and 2.Why Leaving My Husband Is Still the Best Thing I’ve Ever Done — Three Years Later Although it’s clearly a popular title and it intrigues people to read what is on my heart, I’ve decided to switch things up for my fourth year anniversary.

That was my story then, and it will always be a part of my ongoing journey throughout life, but as it remains that’s no longer my present, simply a chapter (a rather long chapter) that I’ll now refer to as “Beauty in the Breakdown.” It’s a story about who you thought you once were vs. who you choose to become.

Do you remember growing up and listening to your parents tell you that you could be anything you wanted? Well, that’s still true to some degree. But, we do grow up, we get hurt, we get knocked down, and as a result we become fearful and even more vulnerable. In today’s society there’s more people telling us what we can’t do, rather that what we can.

As I’ve grown up, and continue to do so I find that my truest form of beauty comes from reinvention and the ongoing choice to continuously re-write, re-create, and change my proposed purpose.

Throughout the past four years, my exterior has certainly changed but it’s more about my interior and how it’s made the most improvement. A year ago, I had a difficult time attending weddings of friends that I hold dear to me, a year before that I wasn’t always able to process my feelings an in turn did everything humanly possible to mask the pain; I worked out way too much, had one to many drinks (ok, four or five) too many drinks at the bar while out with friends, I sobbed in the middle of the day for no reason asking myself “why me?” There were days when I felt empowered, and days when I literally wanted to quit life. I remember sitting on the couch across from my therapist asking when I’d get mad instead of sad, wondering if the immense amount of pain and confusion I was feeling would ever subside or if I’d just have to accept the overwhelming feeling of anxiety forever. Although she wasn’t able to answer my question with utmost certainty, she told me that as time went on, I’d begin to heal in various ways.

As I write this years anniversary blog, I still wholeheartedly believe that leaving my husband was the best thing I’ve ever done, but this year I’ve also come to the realization that there’s SO much more ahead of me; more struggles, more failures, more setbacks, more heartache — and as a result those hurdles may in fact become the best thing I’ve ever done…

I firmly believe that leaving a situation that I was so unhappy in, that ate away at me both mentally and physically, and that didn’t fill up my tank the way it needed to be filled was the best choice at the time, despite it feeling like the most gut-wrenching one.

Honestly, I didn’t know if I’d be ok, I didn’t know if I’d make it out alive, and I didn’t know what life after divorce would look like for me…if anything. Well, it’s been four years and I’m here to tell you that I’m better than ok. Yes, I’m human and have my days (even months) where I’m not 100% clear where I’m going or what direction I should be heading in, but I’ve never been so sure of my purpose, or my ability to create this magical space, and continue to share my story, to allow someone, anyone to see that they’re not alone.

I was afraid of the unknown, of uncertainty, of judgement of not being enough for him before, or myself after.  I was afraid to share any piece of my story, but I’m so, so glad I did, and I do. Similar to fitness; I didn’t know what was real and what was fake. Yet through the process of self-acceptance and self exploration, I stopped believing the myths that leaving behind the title of Mrs. would somehow make me less than, when in fact it made me more than– more than I ever thought possible.

If you think about it, we’re all in this together. So thank you (yes you), for having my back, I appreciate it, and I’ll continue to have yours by sharing my truths no matter how uncomfortable it may make me, in hopes that it will comfort someone else’s pain.

Let’s cut the bullshit and be honest about ourselves and our stories because once we do, we realize that our stories are what make us human, they’re what connect us to one another on a greater scale, and allow us to see just a glimpse of our potential purpose in this great big world we call home.

Sometimes, the most beautiful form of creativity comes from suffering. For me, each beautiful piece of artwork was birthed by failure, defeat, heartache and loss.

Jayel_Sig

Dating Schmating

JesicaTMP-62We’ve all been there, in fact you may be there right now…

Thanks to my therapist I was reminded that we have a tendency to make up imaginary deadlines in our head of when things are supposed to happen and exactly how they’re supposed to play out–like being married by the age of 30, having kids by 35, buying a house before your best friend does, the list goes on… and we’ve been programmed to become fearful if those things aren’t going according to plan.

People ask me all the time if I’m dating, who I’m dating, or why I’m not dating.

Most of the time my answer is “yes”–myself. If I’m being completely transparent I’ve spent the last three years or so hiding behind my well structured walls that I refer to as “work”–my career can require a lot of  creative energy, and time, yet my definition of work can also be defined as the walls I’ve built so that I don’t have to seem vulnerable, have an excuse to not let anyone in, and can continue to build, both physically and metaphorically.

I believe in this day and age people are so quick to settle down, date for the heck of it, or not commit because there are so many options to choose from, and the grass is seemingly always greener on the other side. This is where I think we need to take a step back.

I’m not opposed to dating someone (not just anyone), but I thoroughly enjoy getting to know myself. I’m ok alone, and being alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely, it simply means you have the ability to explore any and all possibilities. Whether that means falling madly in love with someone, picking up and moving to a new state to begin a new chapter, or adopting a new puppy- (personally) I’m open to it all (especially the puppy).

Us females tend to let guys play a HUGE role in how we view ourselves, and yes, I’m guilty of it too. We allow a simple text to change our entire day, or lack thereof make us go bat shit crazy. We’re ok with someone not responding to us, taking us for granted, or lacking any sort of substance because we don’t view ourselves as worthy, and in the back of our minds we’re panicking about imaginary timelines that truthfully don’t exist.

I am confident, sexy, and successful (yes I said it), and although I may not always feel those things, I know them to be true of my character, yet I often seek validation in those things from someone of the opposite sex. We allow them to define us, and make us feel more valuable, or worthy.

Let’s put a stop to that.

No matter where you are in your relationship, whether that be personal or with someone else I think it’s important that we remember it’s more fun to do life with someone and not for them. By sharing the foundation of who we are and being fully confident in doing so there should be nothing wrong with making ourselves a top priority. If your tank isn’t full, why do you think you’d be able to add premium fuel to someone else’s?

Jayel_Sig

 

“I Did That.”

JesicaTMP-38

I do this thing every year where I book a vacation on a few days short notice. I tell my clients, do not tell my friends, and venture off on my own to a sunny destination outside of America where I can turn my phone off, fill up on vitamin sea, and disconnect from the rest of the world. Some find it odd, some find it impressive, some find it admirable, some find it weird; I find it necessary.

On this particular day I woke up in paradise to the sun shining through my windows gently hitting my (very sun burnt skin) and the rhythmic swaying sounds of the palm trees outside my palapa.

Yes, I woke up in paradise, but the reason I awoke was due to a dream; one that often haunts me at times. I don’t talk about them often, as I don’t want to give too much light to situations that I don’t have much time for in my everyday life. It’s a reoccurring dream to some degree and has been happening for years.

In this particular dream I was somehow back with my ex-husband. We were in the kitchen and had recently celebrated something as the large cake in the fridge had suggested. The fridge was a reminder that despite being back together there were still trust issues. There were old photos of girls from the past, post it’s attached to the outside of the fridge with magnets (yet the blank side of the post it was facing me), and I had an unexplainable feeling of disconnect. I knew that if I tried to talk to him and ask about these things that I would immediately be shot down, and that despite whatever he may have said I wouldn’t feel confident trusting in his responses.

It was throughout that period of my life that I trusted others more than I trusted myself. I allowed their words to be more bold, more confident, and hold more value than my own.

When I realized what was going on I knew I had two choices; continue to try and sleep and attempt to determine where this particular dream was headed, or wake up. Waking up was the clear choice, however not always easy, I view it as more than a physical state but a metaphorical one as well. As I took a stretch and I found myself in a state of appreciation I was reminded that those particular happenings were no longer a part of my life, they were no longer a part of my life because I made the ultimate decision. I chose to leave. At the time I didn’t know exactly what that would entail and what feelings would arise in the short term, and long term, but I knew they were much, much greater than the feelings that would have continued to develop had I stayed. I reminded myself that years ago I had a choice in the matter even though in that moment the pain and agony was so strong that I didn’t quite feel that way.

While continuing to wake up, I told myself over and over that I no longer had to live that life. Yes, it may come back as a reminder of what I had to grow through in order to get to myself in the present day, but that’s all it is; a reminder. We have a tendency to get caught up in the past, and allow our past experiences  to define or put such great emphasis on our future that we get stuck in the same cyclic cycle without any sense of forward motion.

Although those dreams are not warranted and aren’t pretty, and can be rather redundant it allows me to be reminded that no matter what I’ll always have a choice. The choices and the way that they present themselves aren’t always easy ones, but they are ultimately ours for the taking. …As I threw on my clothes, brushed my teeth, and grabbed my laptop to write this post, I headed to breakfast on the beach overlooking the sea, and was pleasantly reminded that; “I did that.”

No, it’s not always going to be easy but I’m creating a life worth living, I get to decide who I’m going to be, and that my voice doesn’t necessarily have to be the loudest in the room, it just needs to be loud enough to make an impact.

So, for all of you that are struggling with where you want to be, and which direction you’re headed—remember that you have a choice- you have a say in this thing called life and you deserve to make an impact. Know that your life doesn’t have to be perfect for you to be proud!

Jayel_Sig

Taking Flight // Part Two

IMG_0741

We all have preset expectations of how our life is supposed to look, what we think we deserve, and how it will all play out. If I’m being honest with myself, and others- that’s bullshit.

I used to believe that my life would unfold the exact way I planned for it to-merely because that’s what I planned. I expected a few hiccups along the way, but I didn’t expect my life to be the exact opposite of what I had planned for.

Five years to the day, I took a flight that ultimately ended up changing my life. I moved abroad with my then husband into uncharted territory ready to pursue the next chapter in our lives. Five years later on this very day I’m flying to Boston- a place that holds meaning to me, and yet another place that changed the course of my life.

Upon graduating college (eight years ago) my girlfriends and I decided to take a road trip to Boston. We spent quite a few ridiculous nights in the heart of the city; going out to bars, having fancy roof top dinners, and introducing ourselves to unfamiliar faces. We were literally having the time of our lives. We unexpectedly walked into the Beantown Pub for yet another ridiculous night on the town. That night I ended up meeting my future husband. From that moment on my life was never the same. I fell in love, moved to a different state, got married, moved to a different country, watched my marriage fall apart, attempted to pick up the pieces while failing miserably, and eventually moved back to the states.

It was during those times of uncertainly that I began to figure out who I was, what I stood for, and how my own voice sounded when the background noise of others was no longer so influential.

Last year, on March 28th, I flew to Mexico. I needed a break, an adult time out from the rest of the world and I wasn’t quite sure why, why then…why I was breaking down. Facebook was kind enough to remind me why I was in such a state of angst, confusion, and misinterpretation of my own feelings. At the time of realization, tears began to roll down my face, they were tears of sadness, of loneliness, and a feeling that what I fought so long and so hard for was no longer my reality.

Yet, today, I’m back in Boston for a reason; it’s the rebirth of a new era. Two years ago, the thought of visiting the Beantown Pub would have made me go into a complete state of utter chaos, but today I’m more at peace knowing that a place that once held such a life altering experience is now a reminder that life can change at any moment, and for any unimaginable reason. In a sense it’s a form of closure.

This time the tears aren’t of pain, or of hurt, they’re tears of joy, and the ability to pursue my purposeful passion. It’s the roads that don’t always get discovered, but somehow manage to find their way to you. Not necessarily because you decided to go a different route, but because life decided that’s what was written in the stars for you. My mom continues to remind me that despite our desire to be in control, we’re not. The life we thought we planned for ourselves is nothing more than our purpose that was planned long before we can imagine. The future you thought you’d live wasn’t as meaningful as the present you’re currently living. Learning to embrace your fear, and a life you didn’t plan for can be a source of inspiration, but only if you allow it to.

Jayel_Sig

In the Blink of an Eye

1933766_509877474608_3846_nIt was a normal Friday night, except for the fact that I don’t typically go out on Friday nights- I take that time to recover, recoup, regroup, watch 20/20, and get a good nights rest without having to wake up at the crack of dawn the following morning.

…Except this last Friday night- was atypical. I stopped by a friends pre-holiday party she was having at her boutique.  While sipping, shaking hands, and mingling, my phone rang. The screen displayed “Mom” I quickly answered, knowing I had dinner plans, and although I couldn’t quite hear her, I said “Mom, Mom, did you mean to call me, hello?” It was in that moment I realized my Mom was gasping for air, searching for words, and was in complete, and utter shock… “It’s cancer” she said, “He has cancer.” In that moment my world stopped. I couldn’t process or particularly fathom what my Mom was actually saying–or not saying, but I knew I had to go home. Before hanging up the phone I responded with; “I’m on my way.”

I arrived at my parents doorstep searching for the right words, having so many unanswered questions, and still feeling like this couldn’t possibly be happening. My Mom was on the couch, sobbing. You could see it in her glossed over eyes that “this can’t be happening” was going through her head, time and time again. She would go from trying to explain the situation to me, to talking about the event that I just came from. Her mind almost immediately took her into a tail spin and she thought the worse, envisioned it, and believed it to be true.

Once she was able to form a complete sentence she began to tell me the instances in which they occurred. I knew that my Stepfather was having complications with his spine, yet thought it may have been a slipped disc, or a severely pinched nerve. After a dozen diagnostic tests, the results were conclusive; multiple myeloma. A rare cancer that effects fewer than 200,000 people in the United States. It’s a cancer that attacks the plasma cells which ultimately weakens, and or break down bones in the body.

I’m a very matter of fact person. If there’s a problem, I like to be able to come up with a solution, if I can’t come up with a solution I’m typically able to figure out a resolution. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. There were no words that would make the situation better. There was nothing that could turn the truth into a fallacy, and there was no way to rewind time to just a week prior when we were all at my best friends birthday party, as though everything was fine, and there was a reason to celebrate.

Seeing my Mom in such pain, and not being able to console her was what hurt the most. Seeing as she had just found out she didn’t know much other than what the Doctors translated to her, and what google said. Eventually my Stepfather came down and explained everything in greater detail. Although he was able to hold it together (most likely to be strong for my Mother) you could see that he too was in shock, and was unable to process where his life was headed. He so profoundly said “I’ve lived a good life, I was never rich, but I’ve traveled- I even made it to Peru…” He wasn’t told what stage his cancer was in, or what his overall treatment plan would be…but, he was told that his time was limited. I won’t get in to specific amounts of time because I feel that’s personal, often misinterpreted, and can often times be wrong.

Cancer sucks, it f*cking sucks. It takes the lives of loved ones, ruins that lives of those they leave behind, make you question life, a higher power, and why, and there are a hundred more reasons as to why nobody deserves to go through this God awful disease.

As a family we’re no strangers to cancer. My Mom and Stepdad’s Fathers’ have passed away from cancer, my Grandfather, my Dad, Uncle, and Brother have all had cancer, and my Mom recently lost her best friend to a long and difficult battle against it. Dealing with it so frequently doesn’t make it any easier, in fact I think it makes it more difficult because you can’t believe that yet again this is happening.

Although cancer sucks, cancer also puts things into perspective in the blink of an eye. It can change your entire outlook in just a moment in time. That night, it brought my immediate family, (and closest friends) together. We prayed, we embraced, and we spoke about the future. Although it may be bleak at times, there is still a future. There is still something to look forward to. Whether we like it or not, we all have an expiration date, yet most of us have no idea when it is. The thing with cancer, is that sometimes we do. We know that we don’t have forever and a day left of this earth, so we have to make up for the time that we’re consequently going to lose. I’d be lying if I said the road ahead would be an easy one, in fact, I know it’s going to be a very long and difficult one- but it’s one that we have to face head on, and one that we will face as a family. The road will be filled with up’s and downs, family vacations, celebrations, tears of both joy and sadness, but most importantly one of togetherness.

In this generation, and time of life we struggle with living in the present, we struggle with realizing that life truly is a gift. We focus on everything else surrounding us thats negative, and brings us little to no joy. When given such horrific news we tend to focus on the end and thats undoubtedly acceptable at times, but it’s throughout those times that we need to celebrate our existence, embrace our loved ones, invest in experiences that will be cherished forever, and leave everything else that no longer feeds our souls behind.

Don’t worry Mom, and K– we’ve got this, we’re all in this one together.

Jayel_Sig