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It’s Been a Year
It’s been a year since my engagement ended.
I had this exciting idea of throwing an un-bachelorette party, but then everything fell apart— myself included. I hadn’t really thought about how I was going to feel leading up to the day. I didn’t anticipate how I’d feel in the moment.
Everything hit the fan. I had panic attacks every hour for a few days. I tried to keep it under control, but I didn’t do a great job.
But yeah, it’s been a year. A really, really, really eventful year.
It’s ironic. I release podcasts on Tuesdays and my engagement ended a year ago today (which is a Tuesday!).
There have been moments I wanted to throw in the towel. My threshold was pushed. I thought so many times I was at my breaking point. But the universe was be like, “Just kidding! We’re going to amp it up five notches. Good luck, Jordo!”
I sat in my car, having a horrible panic attack, and cried on the phone with my Mom for 2 hours. I told her I was miserable being so far away. I told her how unfair it was that my engagement ended. I had planned on a future, I was committed, I was willing to put in the work— and it was taken away from me.
I didn’t have a say.
I pushed through, went on a road trip, and convinced myself that this would simply be a notch in the timeline. But this year was a timeline in itself. I’m proud of what I’ve experienced this year.
My Year in a Nutshell
Post-breakup, I moved out of the house we shared, went skydiving, went on a cross-country road trip, some holidays, went to Charleston, celebrated Christmas by myself, birthdays spent crying in the car, I signed a lease in Charleston (got laid off from my corporate job the same day!), had a colonoscopy to test for colon cancer, moved to Charleston, got a new job, my neighbor threatened to kill me, quit my job, started another new job, moved again, went on a lot of bad dates, and managed to stay alive….
Are you dizzy yet?
A Year of Firsts
The last thing I want to do here though is air dirty laundry. That’s not me, but I process things through writing and speaking.
I was talking to my roommate yesterday and I told her that I’m not upset that the engagement ended anymore. He was honest with me and did what was truly best for both of us.
What’s hard is that it was a year of firsts that I didn’t know how to process.
It wasn’t a death, but I had to watch someone not choose me and then move on and live the life they promised me while I was stuck hurt. I’ve felt stuck for a year. I’ve been frustrated and struggled to come to terms with everything.
I didn’t know how I’d feel on September 14, 2021.
Was I supposed to accomplish something by now? Should I have moved on? It’s a year of firsts with someone still alive. I felt guilty for even grieving.
He’s still here.
It’s not what could’ve been— it’s that he left, walked away, gave up. All the firsts are over, so how am I supposed to feel?
I’ve felt like I wasn’t good enough to be with that person. All of the firsts didn’t include someone to validate me. I’m not upset about the breakup, I’m upset that life didn’t go as planned. Today is hard.
Chocolate Beet Bundt Cake
I baked chocolate beet bundt cake.
I was frosting one when he ended the engagement. I’ve wanted the cake for a year now, but I didn’t want to. It felt weird to close the circle and celebrate new beginnings with something that was so painful.
Starting at the Beginning
We broke up on a Monday and I was given a week to move out of our house.
The hardest room to put in a box wasn’t our living room, or the kitchen, or honestly even our bedroom. It was the downstairs bathroom. I can remember opening the top drawer and seeing floss. I took a step back and my back hit the door. I slid down it and sobbed uncontrollably for what felt like forever.
I don’t know why the bathroom was so difficult, but it was the most gentle and harshest reminder that I was no longer home. An everyday task was no longer where I’d do it.
I also donated truckloads to a local charity. I vividly remember handing them my wedding dress and workers double checking to see if I wanted to keep it. I joked that I had nowhere to wear it— but deep down I was crushed.
Making It Make Sense
I sat in a church every weekend and prayed that God would make all of this make sense. I moved 1,200 miles because I couldn’t watch the person I loved love someone else.
I was terrified to watch them make memories we had planned to share.
As much as I miss the midwest and my family, I couldn’t fathom seeing him ever again until I was healed. So I moved.
I still wrestle with wondering if I did the right thing. But I did so many things and accomplished so much without him that people didn’t think I was capable of.
I jumped out of an airplane, took a 6,000 mile road trip by myself, I hiked mountains, swam in oceans, cried in the middle of the Redwood forest, and I even changed my car’s headlight in the middle of Montana. I took myself on dates, I forced myself to move across the country, I forced myself to get back out there after being hurt.
As hard as this has been, being on the other side of growth has shown me that this wasn’t for nothing.
You Have to Pursue Happiness
Happiness doesn’t just find you when you’re at your lowest.
I downloaded dating apps (Tinder, Bumble, Hinge) because I thought happiness was going to come in the form of a person. You can be happy alongside someone, but you can’t put all your happiness on someone else.
Happiness is from within. It’s doing what makes me happy, doing what’s best for me, and understanding that you aren’t going to just wake up and be happy if you’re not chasing it.
I would lay in bed and crying about how unhappy I was. I was crying in bed for hours, listening to sad music, and doing things that made me miserable. It wasn’t until I changed my scenery and mindset that I found it.
You won’t find happiness in the same environment that makes you sad.
Not Everyone Will Understand
People won’t understand why you move far away, chase dreams, and why you do what you do.
I have great friends and family that support me, but it’s not my responsibility to convince or explain to anyone why I’m doing what I’m doing.
People May Not Stick Around
I lost a lot of friends in the process of the engagement ending— I don’t know if those people even realize it.
I was griving the loss of the relationship, but also the loss of people in our lives that were still his friends. I really struggled with it. I thought they were my people, too. I know they still care about me, but it’s not in the same capacity as it used to be. And that was an entire grieving process in itself.
And then there were some people that just walked away. And that sucks, too. But you can’t make everyone stay.
Learn to Love Yourself
When someone tells you they don’t love you anymore, you start to internalize it. You start to think everything you’ve ever done is a problem and your identity goes up in flames. Everything hurts and you feel like the worst human to ever exist. It takes a lot of unraveling to realize that just because someone doesn’t recognize the great things about you doesn’t mean you’re worth changes.
You have to learn to love yourself before you love and let others love you.
I looked in the mirror after the breakup was no longer my person’s counterpart. I also couldn’t tell you details about myself anymore, because everything that was me was part of him. I took on so much of him that I didn’t recognize myself. I didn’t know who I was and I didn’t love myself.
He even told me that I didn’t love me. He asked how I could love someone else if I didn’t love me? And that hurt, but he was right.
I didn’t love myself. I didn’t even know who I was. And it’s taken me a year to figure out what I like, what I don’t, what makes me who I am, and what does that mean moving forward?
It Takes Time to Heal
Everyone has different timelines.
I struggled with mine. The person I was with moved on quickly. I found out while at a church event. My sister texting me if I had seen the news (I honestly thought he had died.) But he was in a relationship and I couldn’t handle it.
I felt like I couldn’t breathe. It was hard to process and it was Facebook official— that cut deep.
But I was in no condition to date someone when he had moved on. I couldn’t even handle the relationship with myself. This year has taught me that my timeline of healing can’t be compared to anyone else.
Starting at the Beginning
I never thought I’d get here. I remember crying, and crying, and crying, and….you guessed it, crying. I was a mess when things first ended. I thought my entire world was ending. I was humiliated, embarrassed, mortified, angry, and broken.
I thought I was broken beyond repair.
I’ve only been this deep dark place that I had only been one other time— after my assault. It was desperation and I didn’t know if I was capable of finding happiness again.
I told myself if I was gone, people would be okay. They’d be sad at the first Easter or Christmas, but eventually they’d be okay. And that was the moment I realized I wasn’t okay.
I was glamorizing the idea of not being around because someone didn’t see my worth.
Starting at the Beginning
I texted a few people because I didn’t have confidence in myself and didn’t trust myself in that moment. Someone suggested that I wrote down something positive that happened each day.
I cut up 365 pieces of paper and kept them in a Ziploc that said, “365 reasons to live”. And I got to write down on the last piece of paper today.
I wrote, “I made it 1 year.”
The strips of paper are in a green Nalgene bottle that is on display on my bookshelf. I got it at REI before my road trip. It’s covered in scratches, but it’s so important to me. It’s 365 pieces of paper, 365 moments that proved over the course of a year that I have a purpose.
It may not be easy, but I deserve to be here.
10 Slips of Paper
I pulled 10 slips of paper from the past year and here are a few moments from my timeline that made the year worth living:
- 11/19/2020 Played at the park with my nephew Harrison
- 10/31/2020 Hiked Ladybird Johnson Grove in California
- 4/24/21 Drank bourbon with my Uncle Garrett
- 12/20/20 Found plates for new apartment
- 4/5/2021 Tasered a hot dog
- 5/1/2021 Made it to May
- 5/24/2021 Smiled at an old memory I thought would kill me
- 11/4/200 Drank a sage margarita at Plonk! in Bozeman, MT
- 5/20/2021 Found a pair of jeans my ass looked good in
- 2/25/2021 Went to Isle of Palms beach as South Carolina resident
This year hasn’t been sexy or glamorous. It’s been crying in Death Valley because I realized my kids and his would never know each other. It’s been holding my own hand in a hospital bed while waiting to be rolled to my colonoscopy for a cancer screening. It’s been moving across the country away from everyone and everything I’ve ever known.
But it’s also been making new friends, meeting new people, going out of my comfort zone, and growing more than I ever thought I could.
In 365 days, the trajectory of my life changed. A year is a long time, but it can be amazing if you go out and chase happiness and what you deserve.
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