This is a picture from my honeymoon in 2015.
We were in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The weather was incredible and the views were magical. I remember standing at this very place, saying to myself... this is what life is all about - vacationing with my husband... the sun on my face and the wind at my back - I've finally gotten everything I wanted. But something... deep down didn't feel right, something was off. I knew this feeling very well as it popped in and out periodically during our 8-year relationship. To me, our relationship was “perfect”, I mean every relationship has issues, right? So pushing unwanted feelings down, felt like the right thing to do... until it wasn't.
My ex and I began our "love story" on a vacation just like this - it was all rainbows and fairy tales. We took trips together, we celebrated family milestones, we did all the relationship things. About 5 years into our relationship, my ex fell out of love with me. I didn't realize it at the time but looking back, I see it clearly now. During our time together, I was constantly grasping for any piece of love or attention he would give me, yet he always pushed me away. I wanted to be the perfect girlfriend, the perfect partner for him but I was always reminded, I was never good enough. As a rule follower and a believer in the status quo and romantic love, I wanted this relationship to work, it had to work and was one I thought would last forever. Until it didn't.
Despite our unhappiness and dysfunction as a couple, we still decided to get married.
Here's the truth...
Our relationship was falling apart faster than we could get down the aisle and we both knew it. Yet, we both kept...walking.
The wedding took place during a torrential downpour with hurricane winds strong enough to take our entire tent down. This rain was not luck, it was the universe was shouting... "What the fuck are you two doing!? This isn't right!"
As I walked down the aisle in my beautiful gown, I felt nauseated, scared, and distracted. These were not exciting nerves about getting married, but the ones that signaled danger. I looked left and looked right for potential exits that I could run to if I had the urge to puke inside a flower pot.
I felt like I was experiencing someone else's dream, living out someone else's life, floating outside of my body. I was flying above the crowd watching the event take place, waiting to see what would happen next. I didn't feel right, I felt off, I didn't even feel beautiful on my wedding day. I felt like a fraud and didn't completely understand why. I had to pull myself together. I was getting married! I'm not supposed to feel this way, right!?
I made my way to the front, said my vows, became a wife and danced away any anxiety I had like nothing was wrong at all. But deep down, I knew it was.
Although no one would have noticed, I developed severe anxiety and became borderline depressed during the end of our relationship. I put on a pretty little smile to conceal my emotional pain from family and friends. Inside I was tormented by resisting defeat, an inevitable heartbreak, defying my intuition, and forcing a relationship to work that was so completely broken.
After we got married, we jumped right into life, went on our honeymoon, and renovated our house on an HGTV reality show. This was the nail in the coffin that solidified the beginning of the end. Our marriage worked for a couple of months (yes, that's right a couple of months) until it didn't. In those few months of our marriage, we hit a wall, a brick wall, one that was crumbling right in front of us and one I knew I couldn't stop. In the end, my partner found love elsewhere and I was left running on empty.
I never really talked about my wedding or the months after it happened. I didn't want to admit that I knew all along how it would end, yet I wanted so badly to have the life I dreamed of. I didn't want to admit that I had failed to trust myself and my instincts. I didn't want to disappoint my family and friends. I didn't want to admit failure, that my fairytale life was all but a dream.
Truth is, marriages are a two-way street. No one person is completely at fault. Although one might have a larger hand in the downfall - it is always two people build a relationship and those same two people allow it to fall down...
After my divorce, I realized I wasn't whole at all. I didn't love who I was nor did I have any clue who I was either. My identity was built upon the love and acceptance I would recieve (or not recieve) from another person. Unfortunately, from a person who wasn't willing to give it. Well my friends, that's not love. True unconditional love starts within and let's face it - I didn't have any of it. I came out of that experience a shell of a person. I learned the hard truth that you've got to love for yourself before you're able to love another. It's cliche but so damn true. I made a commitment to myself to start the uphill mountain climb to find it and conquer love on my own.
Through my own inner adventure, it was clear my relationship with myself was in the dumps and had been for a very long time. I had no idea who I was, what I wanted, or what direction I was heading. I was just going through the motions of life, doing what I was supposed to do, not realizing what was happening (or not happening). What I did know for sure was that I wanted to be like everyone else.
Life's not here to be perfect, and neither are you. It's not here to be easy or give you a free ride. It’s here to give you incredible experiences both good and challenging that open you up to a greater existence. They challenge your deepest weaknesses, uncover more of your truth to get you to the next level. They make you realize that life is an adventure to explore and conquer as the heroine of your own love story. Truth is, I'm not perfect but I'm living proof that love does exist, I've conquered love and found that I am love.
That's the reason behind why I do what I do. First and foremost, IT'S OK TO HAVE A FAILED MARRIAGE. It's ok it didn't work out. It just means that you've got a second chance to find love - the one that's for authentic for you - only if you're willing to do the work. What I want for you is to start living your life for you. Not your partner, not your family, not society but FOR YOU. Stop living as the supporting character, get your game face on, and step into the spotlight as the starring role - the heroine of your own adventure.
Because I'm sure as hell, you'll be getting a standing ovation from those around you as soon as you do - and I'm here to help you do that.