A lot can change in 100 days. 100 days ago my friend Wayne was still alive. 100 days ago I was patiently waiting for the man I loved to work through his commitment issues so we could start our happily ever after. 100 days ago I was commuting an hour each way to a job that had long ago lost its luster, and took mine away with it. 100 days ago I was driving past all the suburban soccer moms in my neighborhood, dreaming of being like them someday. 100 days ago the pieces of me fit together differently.
97 days ago my friend Wayne died – too soon, too suddenly—leaving a hole in my heart and a missing piece forever in my close circle of friends. 92 days ago I found out the man I loved had been lying to me, leading me on, deceiving and betraying me in the most hurtful way shattering not only my heart, but also my sense of self. And it was all too much. Too much hurt. Too much pain. Too much loss. And, in turn, I lost it. I lost my shit, as the saying goes, but I’m here to say – losing one’s shit has a bad rap. The best thing I ever did was go a little crazy.
When mental and emotional trauma takes over, it’s hard to control all the reactions. I remember feeling like I was standing at the edge of an abyss, the hopelessness washing over me. I wasn’t sleeping, the grief of loss was too great and my thoughts too many. It wasn’t just losing this man I loved, but it was the loss of the life I thought I was living, the person I thought I was, the trust in myself. I went over and over in my head all the lies I’d believed; all the times I’d been humiliated. I worked with this man and the woman he’d betrayed me with and going to work every day became torture – on top of my inability to sleep (three hours a night became the norm) I had lost my appetite and had to be reminded by friends to eat – even then it was a struggle to get much down. I was full all the time – full of hurt and hate and anger and sorrow and pain and disbelief. I could actually feel the toxic energy coursing through my body. I had visceral reactions to seeing his vehicle, or any like it; to walking into my office, to every room in my house. I would have surges of adrenaline and be unable to stop physically shaking. I started getting on the treadmill twice a day just to get the negative energy out of me, to try to control the shakiness that was becoming a daily challenge. I stopped drinking caffeine and started popping Tums like my life depended on it. Maybe it did.
And all the horrible, hateful, angry thoughts that kept me awake at night, barely functioning during the day, I found myself texting, emailing or leaving messages about on my ex’s voicemail – I was the epitome of the crazy ex-girlfriend. I was losing my shit, but felt I had to get it out, I didn’t think it was fair for his choices to put me in this state and him not have to deal with the consequences or know how deeply he’d hurt another human, one he’d claimed to love. In hindsight I wish I could say I’d handled myself with more dignity and class. But I didn’t. I lost my shit, but I do not regret it. I had to get all that toxic hate out. Because it wasn’t that I hated him as much as I realized I hated myself.
I swung from despondent to manic throughout each day. At one point I found myself sitting on the floor with a knife, tracing the outline of the veins in my wrist wondering how hard I’d have to press to make some blood trickle out; how hard until I couldn’t control the blood from coming out… I don’t think I was really suicidal, just… curious. And it scared the shit out of me. This was not who I was, not who I wanted to be, not how I wanted to live and sure as hell not how I was going to die. And that was the moment. That was when I saw myself standing on the edge of that dark and scary abyss, and decided instead of giving in to the misery and hopelessness, I was going to turn around and fight for my fucking life.
I called my realtor – I knew I needed out of that house, out of the constant reminder of the life I wasn’t living and away from the ghost of the man whom I’d given way too much control for way too long. I interviewed for a company I’d always admired and been interested in – and guess what? They liked me. More than that, they were impressed with me and as muted as my light had become over the years they saw inside of me the strength of it – and they offered me a job. One that didn’t even exist yet, one they had to create because they WANTED me. Feeling wanted is one of the most basic needs we as humans have and to feel it is a powerful thing. So I took a job, not knowing what it was… but trusting whatever it was I would excel. It was time to wake up and start trying again. 38 days ago I had my first day at my new job, still not knowing what my role and responsibilities would be. The company I now work for gets over 200,000 applicants a year, of those less than 2,500 get hired… And they wanted me.
Every day I walk into work with a smile. Every day I feel challenged and engaged and respected. Every day I am excited to prove myself – to prove that I was worth not only one of those coveted spots, but also the trust of developing a role that suites my strengths and the company’s needs. I am surrounded by some amazingly intelligent, well-educated, strategic professionals and it’s inspiring and humbling to be counted amongst them. I may not love the role I’m currently working in, but I love my job — and that is the hallmark of a strong culture and a powerful company.
The same day I was offered my new job my house sold and the offer I put on the loft of my dreams (well, realistic dreams given my finances) was accepted. It was a big 24 hours in my life. Two days ago I left the house I’d made into my home over the last 12 years and moved into my new space. It crept around the edges as bittersweet, I was proud of that house and thought I was proud of the life I had built there – but it wasn’t authentic. It wasn’t me and it wasn’t fulfilling and it never made me happy – the happiness was in the thought of what would be, not what was. So I shook off any trace of sadness and whole-heartedly embraced my future.
I’ve learned a lot in the past 100 days. I’ve learned it’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to say out loud the awful things that are trapped inside. It’s okay to be broken and hurting and vulnerable. I’ve learned it’s important to take a chance, to believe in yourself, to be brave. I’ve learned that sometimes it has to all fall apart to give you a chance to put it back together again—the key is to put it together in a new way, a better way. I’m not the same woman I was 100 days ago. I’m stronger. I’m braver. I’m happier. I found my voice and uncovered my shine.
Lose your shit my friends. By definition it’s the bad stuff and you don’t want to be holding onto that anyway. XOXO – Awkward Jean