I ran away last weekend.
I threw together an impromptu trip to escape my constant search for distractions and force myself to be alone.
Alone with my heartache, my anger, and my grief.
Having limited funds I chose to travel to southern Utah to stay at a friends parent’s vacant house.
Driving alone can be therapeutic. I set off with a full tank of gas, music cranked to full volume, and a caffeine source beside me. It didn’t take long though before the music wasn’t deafening enough. Three hours in and all of the feelings I purposely set out to feel ferociously flooded to the surface. How could he leave me? How could he walk out the door? I hate him for this. Why was I not enough? He broke me. How could he do this to me? How could we just end? I’m furious. He hurt me. I hate this. My heart hurts.
Driving 85mph with blurred vision is not safe nor something I recommend.
After a restless nights sleep I woke and took myself to breakfast. I sat alone at the bar of a diner. If you have never eaten alone, this is something I recommend. It takes some getting used to, but in an odd way it’s empowering.
Once my belly was full I headed up Snow Canyon to do some light hiking. My physical therapist had taped my ankle and told me to take it easy and be extremely cautious. I could have used any number of the paved “easy” paths, but the ranger told me the best view was from a “moderate” trail, which of course I decided to take. I’ve never been a girl to be intimidated by a trail, but one look at the loose sand, uneven lava rock and slick sandstone along the trail and you better believe I was nervous.
I hiked slow. I butt-scooted down steep areas. I had to stop every so often to look up from my shoes to admire the view. By the time I finally reached the top I sat down and before I knew it I was crying again. I couldn’t help it. I spent nine weeks on crutches. NINE! This was my first venture onto a mountain since before my accident, since before breaking my heart. Two short months ago I wasn’t able to walk and now here I was on top of a mountain. I don’t know how to describe just how meaningful the experience was except to say that it was precisely the type of healing I needed.
After gingerly making my way back down the mountain, with only one small misstep OMG I am going to die if I re-injure my foot moment, I celebrated by treating myself to a massage and a pedicure.
The next day, for the drive home, I decided to take the long way (through Zions National Park). My attitude and my outlook was entirely opposite from the drive up. I made some resolute decisions:
I am not broken.
I am not a victim.
I will not be a bitter person.
I am not giving up on love (I am however going to use caution and not ignore red flags).
I will take my time and not feel the pressure of getting “older”.
I have a lot to offer in a relationship.
I am a good person.
(And damn it, people like me!)
In the end I realized that it just takes perseverance. Just like it took time for my foot to heal enough to hike again, it’s going to take time for my heart to heal too – but eventually it will heal. The key is not to give up. Not on my passions and not on love. So what if my happily ever after is not how I originally envisioned it. What did the teenage me know anyway? My happily ever after will be whatever I decide it should be.
I know what I am saying is not novel or ground breaking. Some people find their resolve by reading self help books, I found mine by driving 300 miles to be alone with myself. Point being that I did in fact find it.
I feel happier and more at peace now than I have in the past six months. Life is so much better when you can see it through the lenses of an optimist.