The Bandwagon

Stay as busy as possible.

Smile, even if you don’t feel like it.

Surround yourself with people who love you for exactly who you are.

Do something you’ve never done before.

Be yourself.

My friends, I took your advice…

These pictures were taken 2 weeks ago. It was my first Friday night without the boy, unless you count the Friday before that when we were “thinking about things”. I look back at these now and realize I am smiling REAL smiles. I wasn’t faking it, even though my heart was shattered. I remember I cried at Boston Pizza, but how could I lose heart when I looked around me at those beautiful faces. And the Canucks won that night. We danced in the streets. We laughed. We played. We stayed up way past our bedtimes.

It was so worth it.

And this year I have really learned to appreciate the Canucks…I have yet to wrap my head around sitting completely still without talking through an entire three-period game, but I love the way those guys bring everyone together. I know that’s really cheesy, but it’s true. Give me a free community event and I am SO totally on board, whether or not I know what is going on. And if you don’t live here, or you don’t know about what happens on South Fraser when we win a game, you should know that it is madness. It’s comparable to Olympic Madness. And that’s pretty awesome.

So if you need someone to come and watch the playoff’s with you, let me know. I can cheer as loud as the next guy. And I do a mean happy-dance. ; )

It’s good to finally be on the bandwagon.

~C

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Dreams Are a (risk?) Your Heart Makes…

I was having my hair done at home the other day by a friend of mine who has a mobile hair studio. It was so nice to be in the comfort of my own place, yet be pampered as if I was at a salon. As I sat in my swively desk chair facing the door leading into my kitchen, something caught my eye:

There is a picture on the wall there of me and some of my kindergarteners in Africa, and we all look pretty happy. That picture is in a frame that was given to me by a friend years ago, and the frame says, “Dreams Are a Wish Your Heart Makes”.

I hardly ever look at that frame because I don’t spend much time in my kitchen, but as I sat there my mind started playing tricks on me and I could have sworn that I was actually reading, “Dreams are a RISK your heart makes”. Perhaps it is the scrawly writing or the fact that I was getting a bit restless, but after a while of staring at that, that word Risk just kept jumping out for me.

It took me a long time for me to start dating someone seriously. Even though I have dated some really nice guys since high school, my heart has been insanely hidden inside of me where no one could really touch it. But then I met someone who I thought was extra special and that I could see a future with, so those walls slowly started coming down. Now that I have had my heart severely broken, I think some people closest to me are wondering and worrying about how I am going to react in the long run, you know, once things start getting back to normal for me. My mom’s advice to me this weekend was to make sure I don’t close myself off to the possibility of love. And honestly, it’s a tempting thought. Part of me would like to give up on my dreams of finding that special someone and raising a family of my own. It would be so much easier than putting myself out there again, wouldn’t it? But I know for a fact that I can’t do that to myself. I care way too much. I dream way too big.

Those dreams of mine are very risky and they don’t come with any guarantees, but I am not giving up, my friends. I am not.

And even though it is way, way, way too early to be considering another relationship, I will tell you that there has already been an invitation put out there from someone genuine. He has been told the truth about my heart and the state that it’s in, but it’s still nice to know that it’s not too late for me. I feared in the first days after the break-up that my future was futile; that I was going to be an old maid. Because sometimes 26 (almost 27) seems ancient, but mostly I just need to remember that I am still very young, and I need to go back I think and re-read my own advice from last year. If you want to re-read it, too, you can here.

Disney does a kick-ass job of depicting love, doesn’t it? They think they are the experts on falling in love. Even though I have learned the hard way that Disney doesn’t know everything, I am still okay with believing in fairy tales. No one can take that away from me. Those dreams are mine.

And sometimes, friends, risks need to be taken.

~C

Demolition

Working with your hands in the face of a major break-up is a good thing, I have learned.

I was nervous going into this weekend; apprehensive about the feelings that would come up knowing that I was supposed to be spending time with Brian’s family. My own family is MIA right now: Gramma and Chester are back in Germany and Mom and Old Brian are in the midst of buying a new house, so Easter-ness isn’t really a priority. That has been hard for me, but at the same time I have an enormous amount of gratitude towards 2 particular sets of friends who have kept me busy, cherished, and loved this Easter weekend.

Randy and Myranda, my surrogate family, are expecting a little baby. My new niece or nephew will be born in about 5 months, and I am (of course) so, so excited. We had no ideas or plans this weekend about working on what will be the baby’s nursery, but somehow one thing led to another, and before we knew it full-blown demolition was taking place in their spare bedroom. Randy left the project in our hands, and so Myranda and I took the plunge and started tearing the place apart.

Even though it’s already been two weeks since the break-up, I am still waiting for the pain to subside. Not a day goes by (yet) where I don’t cry, but I am focusing on releasing everything I need to so that there is not a single tear left unshed. I plan to do this the right way. After crying in the bathroom at work on Thursday for what seemed like the millionth time, my friend came to get me and told me that maybe I should take on some kind of big project, like painting my house or getting new furniture and redecorating, or planting a garden; anything to keep me busy. She thought it would be really therapeutic and take my mind off of you-know-what.

I thought that was a really good idea. I just didn’t know that it would end up being Myranda’s house that I redecorated! It turns out my friend from work was right, though. It HAS helped big time to get right in there with my hands…to feel nails and bits of plywood cutting into my skin, to rip up carpets like my life depends on it, to tear baseboards off the wall…it felt good. And throwing everything out the window onto the driveway didn’t suck either. All of those things were somehow life-giving, if that makes sense.

And it’s kind of like that with my heart, right now. I am crying ugly, snotty, loud tears, and am okay with that. It hurts like hell, but I feel like I am going through some kind of right-of-passage, like if I can get through this I am going to be stronger as a result. Demolition of the soul is going on inside of me. And if you are reading this and know anything about the Refiners Fire, you will know what I’m talkin’ about.

In a few weeks that nursery is going to be amazing; it will have a fresh coat of paint and new floors and beautiful furniture, but that could never take place until we got rid of the bad stuff.

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On another note, the choir that I am a part of performed again this morning, and it was a really good experience. I have struggled through the last few rehearsals because that is/was our church, but as time has gone on, I’ve realized that I have every right to sing my heart out with people I have grown to love, and I made the right choice by not dropping out of choir. Something inside of me healed this morning as I raised my voice along with others and let myself get lost in the music.

And even though I have been sad that this Easter weekend wasn’t what I was expecting, it was still really good. I have been held by loved ones and surrounded with fun and funny people. I am writing to you from Starbucks, nestled securely in a big couch-chair, and as I shifted to get more comfortable I found 3 Easter eggs hidden behind me…it was a good surprise.

I hope you, too, were pleasantly surprised this weekend even if it wasn’t what you were expecting.

Like the story of the Struggling Butterfly, we need to struggle and fight our way out of hard places sometimes, otherwise we will never become the butterflies we were created to be.

Spread those beautiful wings of yours, my friend, and happy Easter : )

~C

Sun Runnin’

If you don’t live in BC, you won’t really understand the irony behind the Sun Run. Because every local knows full well that it barely ever does anything but rain here, and April is no exception to that rule. But today? Today it was beautiful. The sun was high in a blue, almost-cloudless sky, warming the 60, 000 some-odd participants, even though it was only 7 degrees or something like that.

I felt really nervous when I woke up today, especially considering I didn’t sleep well last night. I kept waking up every hour or so, and alternated between crying myself back to sleep in the dark, and feeling anxious about the run. The last week has been by far the hardest of my life, and the tears have not stopped. And yet, this run has been something I have been looking forward to for so, so long. I woke up with mixed feelings—part of me wanted to give up because I am so sad and Brian was extremely supportive of my ambition to run this, and part of me knew I had to do this…whether I burst into tears at every kilometre marker or not.

But you know what? I did it. I ran 10k. And I was crying and my friend was puking (maybe stopping for coffee at 8am wasn’t the best idea), but we did it. It hurt like hell. That tattoo was nothing compared to this, and probably because I didn’t train for hills but should have.

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People keep telling me that every day it will get easier until I don’t think of him anymore. They keep saying I will stop loving him soon. I hear people telling me that the harder I cry the deeper the healing will be. And I want so badly to believe it.

Whenever I was feeling wiped out or like I couldn’t possibly climb another hill today, all I had to do was look around me and see the people lining the streets with signs and flags and huge smiles…they were cheering us on. So even though I felt like quitting I knew I couldn’t. And that’s what this week has been like. Many-a-sobbing phone call has been placed to Myranda this week, and it’s always the same: I cry and tell her I am quitting, and she tells me I can do this. I don’t believe her but she’s right. And when I was exhausted at kilometre 3, people told me I could do it, I could run 7 more. It worked.

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I am so, so happy that I did this, broken heart and all. Crossing the finish line was incredible and rewarding and liberating and I am already excited for next year.

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And I’m so thankful to live in such a beautiful place, especially one that sees the importance of community events such as these. I am thankful for friends who cheer me on, both literally and figuratively. I’m thankful for a body that can run 10k, a body that forgives me for treating it so poorly for so long.

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Not so long ago I thought running this was something I could never do. And maybe for some people they don’t see it as a big deal, but for me, it was...it is. I get to draw a giant red checkmark beside this on my bucket list. I thought I wouldn’t make it because I have been thinking for a long time that there would be a certain someone waiting for me at the finish line…but I did make it. And I wasn’t alone, and I won’t be alone…

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I can DO this.

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~C

*For the record, we finished in about 1hour and 20-ish minutes…hard to say because we didn’t cross the start line until at least 10am. Results will be printed tomorrow morning in the Vancouver Sun. 

No Going Back…

I did it, you guys.

I wrote LOVE on my arm. And it feels like such perfect timing. You have no idea.

Everybody knows I am going to be okay. I didn’t believe it. Not even a little, tiny bit. But today? Today I somehow know that, too. It’s sad to think that 5 days ago this broken girl truly, honestly felt unloved. I have been proven otherwise ten thousand and one times over.

It still hurts.

But you know what? So did this tattoo. It wasn’t unbearable, but it was uncomfortable, painful, annoying. It has left its mark on my life, forever branding me as loved. That pain is a small price to pay. And it’s kind of like that with my relationship. The break-up (I speak as if I am over it and it was ages ago; I can assure you it is still very real), though painful and uncomfortable, has left me branded as loved. I am not loved by the one I wanted, but I am loved by countless others who caught me when I was falling. It wasn’t a lesson I was expecting to learn, but it is a lesson well received.

My friend from work looked at my tattoo and commented on the irony of it. I have such issues loving my body, and now my body permanently declares love. I am loved. And so are you.

There is no going back.

~C

Tailspin

I don’t want to be okay without him.

I don’t want to stop missing him.

I don’t want to stop imagining that he is going to come back to my house and tell me it was all just a big mistake. I don’t want to remember that he gave me my keys and took his. We have no access to each other’s lives anymore. I don’t want to come to terms with that.

It’s easier for me right now to embrace this gut-wrenching pain than it is for me to dry my tears. I am not ready to stop crying. I am not ready to eat. I am not ready to take a shower. I am not ready to clean my house, which is uncharacteristically messy and disastrous at the moment. I don’t want to stop mourning. Because that will mean I am healing. And I am not ready to heal. I want him back. I want him back so bad.

I remember all the times I left Africa and came back to Canada, and the first week was always such a huge shock…I was able to start sentences like, “2 days ago, when I was in Africa…”. And I would cry my heart out because that time was so close yet so far away. And I am back in that strange place now. The place where I can say, I had a boyfriend last week. He held me and we laughed last week. Last week, I saw a future with a man I loved.

Do you know how hard it is to wrap my head around that? Do you know how hard it is to look at Sumas Mountain and come to terms with the fact that I will never again jump in my little blue Aveo to surprise that boy with a visit? How hard it was for me to hand-deliver thank you cards to his incredible family this morning?

Yesterday was hell. And yet I was insanely blessed. I got sent home from work shortly after I arrived. My manager sat across from me holding my hands while I cried. And then she told me to leave and try to sleep. So I tried. And then for the rest of that day I was placed in the care of one friend to another…people who weren’t afraid of my giant tears or gross Norwex cloth that I have been using to wipe my face. People who know there is a hope and a future for me. People who saw light when I only saw darkness. And the emails? Oh wow…it was more than I could have imagined. Thank you all so much.

Tomorrow I have to go back to work. I know that, eventually, I am going to have to get some groceries. I know that I will be okay. But for today, I don’t want to be. I just want my boyfriend back. So I pray that I will have some clarity soon. I pray that I will start to see the bigger picture. I pray that I will stop fearing for this weekend, my first weekend truly alone. I pray that I will stop worrying about him, hoping he is okay. I pray that I find a way to thank each person who dropped off a gift on my door step, squeezed my shaking body as I sobbed, called me to check in, forced me to eat, ran their fingers through my hair. Let me cry.

Last night I tried to leave
She cried so much I
could not believe
she was the same girl I
fell in love with long ago

I say that I don’t care, I just run my hands
through her dark hair, then I pray to God
you gotta help me fly away.

And just
Let her cry, if the tears fall down like rain.
Let her sing, if it eases all her pain.
Let her go…let her walk right out on me.
And if the sun comes up tomorrow…
Let her be, let her be.

~C

Unloved

There has never, in all the land, been a girl sadder than me as I write to you at 1:50am from my dark, quiet and lonely bedroom. I won’t even apologize for what may sound overly emotional and exaggerated. I can assure you I am not exaggerating.

My heart. Is. Broken. For I have loved, and I have lost.

And I would like to know who the retard is that once said “T’is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all”. That sounds like bullshit to me. Because right now, at this moment, with my head exploding with unbelievable pressure and my face on fire from countless tears, I do not agree. One day, soon I hope, I will be able to tell you truthfully that I do not regret the 9.5 months I spent being Brian’s girlfriend. That I don’t regret giving him my whole heart only to have it broken into tiny little unrecognizable pieces. But for today, or tonight rather, I do. Or maybe regret isn’t the right word. Maybe there hasn’t been a word invented yet for what I am feeling.

Be still my soul…

I am scared out of my mind. I am weary. I am in physical pain. I haven’t eaten anything but a few carrots when I can manage in 3 days. My stomach is a mess. My eyes are permanently blood shot. My Salbutemol inhaler, for emergencies only, has been sucked dry. Can’t breathe. Can’t sleep. Can’t think clearly.

But my foolish words from my own mouth keep coming back to me over and over and over…

“Don’t you love me anymore?”…

The silence that followed will surely haunt me for many days, weeks, and months to come. I am unloved.

I am unloved.

I am so sad.

And I don’t know where to go from here. I have never before felt this hollow, unending pain. Who is going to tell me good morning? Who is going to call me Pilgrim? Who is going to love me now? And worse, my thoughts are consumed with this man who I have been so deeply in love with. Who will be there when he gets another nose bleed? Who will he go car shopping with? Who will laugh at Sister Wives with him?

We built a life together. We were each other’s family. He was home.

And now he’s gone. He is not unloved. That might be the worst part.

Without wanting to drag his family or mine into this, let me just say that this is a huge loss. For all the obvious reasons of course, but to have to say goodbye now to 8 more family members who I have grown to love so very much is unimaginable. To have to cancel future plans, to have to let go of things we had in store…makes me feel sick to my stomach.

And my mother…oh my dear mother who is so optimistic. Who loves him as much as me. And my gramma…this is too hard.

Some people have commented that sometimes my writing is a little too private, that I should be keeping some of my thoughts such as these tucked away into a diary with a lock and key. I apologize if I have been too open and too raw with this post. Maybe there should be a rule that I am not allowed to blog when it is almost 2 in the morning on the day after my boyfriend dumps me. But actually, this is good. It is good for you to read real thoughts. Real hard, raw things.

This. Is. Life.

And sometimes, it sucks.

Last night I took my little sister and her friend to see Soul Surfer. Not bad, except for a few too many let’s-make-sure-people-know-we’re-Christians parts. The girl in the movie gets her frickin’ arm bitten off by a shark. And guess what? She survived. I can’t pretend that I am the only person in this world who has been consumed by this pain. I can’t pretend that I don’t know that one day I will be okay. I can’t pretend that my life is over. I can’t pretend that bad things don’t happen to good people. But man, does this ever feel like hell. When do the tears stop flowing? When do I smile again?

And how do I say goodbye? He held me so tight in the driveway as I wept. I am not ready. But he drove away.

I have to listen now to that still small voice in my mind, drowned out now by so many hours of endless, noisy, ugly, snotty crying. I think it is saying that I am going to be okay. I think it is saying, “I see you shaking in your bed, Chris. I know you’re not cold. I know you don’t know how to calm yourself. But I am here…you’re not alone.”

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD your God.

My dear friends, this girl is undeniably more broken than you have ever or will ever know. And yet somehow, somehow I know that I have an army behind me. I don’t even have to turn around. This is me falling backwards. And I am scared shitless. But I know you won’t let me fall.

~C