3 Things I’ve Learned About Myself

The last three months have been the most intense, stressful, life-changing, but also impactful months of my life. Due to these circumstances, my professional life took a backseat for a second while I did some much needed reflection, soul-searching, and identity awareness. During that process, I learned 3 new things about myself that took some time to acknowledge. Being open and honest with my readers has always been a top priority of mine, and I vow to continue that openness with you all when I can.

For those who may not have heard, my husband and I recently announced our separation. While we shared 9 wonderful years together, two beautiful cats, a comfortable home, and countless adventures side-by-side, our time together as a couple had run its course and we amicably chose to separate. In any break up, amicable or not, and especially one that marks the end of a long term relationship or marriage, it can certainly feel like a death. Death of a relationship. Death of a part of yourself. There’s a time to grieve. A time to mourn. A time to reflect. I’ll be open and admit that I am still in mourning for it, and I think that will take some time on both sides. During that process, I’ve been finding lots of personal time to sit in those moments and look within myself. Who am I? What happened to my life? Where do I go from here? Will I ever be happy again? All of those questions seemed daunting and terrifying at first to answer. But over the last 3 months, I’ve slowly found myself being able to answer them thanks to patience, a wonderful support system of friends, therapy, and writing in my journal. And yes, the occasional overflowing wine glass. Below, I’m sharing the 3 new things I’ve learned about myself during this transition in my life.

 

1. I am stronger than I think I am

With my anxiety disorder and depression, it’s quite the norm for me to think of myself as weak. 3 months ago, there was no way I could look in the mirror and say the words, “You are strong.” A part of me felt ready to give up. Everything seemed fuzzy in my mind. Emotions were running extraordinarily high. Physically I was becoming weaker because I pretty much stopped eating. Then one morning, after a night of aggressively writing in my journal, I woke up with the realization that it wouldn’t be selfish of me to do something for me in that moment. I knew what I had to do, and that was to travel north to my father’s house for a much needed retreat. It was there in my bedroom, surrounded by family (and lots of wine and hearty food), that I began to look deep within myself. I’ve been through a lot in my life. I’ve overcome so much in my 29 years of existence. If I could get through some of the worst before, I could overcome this. After my long weekend with my father, I returned home to Los Angeles feeling like a new woman. “I’m stronger than I think I am.” This time in my life will not define me, but it’ll continue to mold me into the woman I am. And that woman is adventurous. She’s driven. She’s powerful. She’s strong. She’s got this.

2. I’ve developed an incredible support system around me

There’s a line in one of my favorite television series The Tudors where Catherine of Aragon says if she had to choose between extreme happiness and extreme sorrow, she’d always choose sorrow because then she would know she was not alone. While in her speech she was referencing religion, I am referring to the support system that developed around me without hesitation and with nothing but love. For a while, I kept a lot to myself. I didn’t want anyone, not even some of my closest friends, to be in on what was going on in my personal life. Then one day, I realized I desperately needed support. Hiding and keeping things to myself was not the healthiest way to go about it, and so I finally reached out to a few people, even some I was surprised I found myself reaching out to. They dropped everything to come sit on my bed with me and cry it out over wine. Not one of them judged me. Not one of them was angry with me or disappointed in me. Instead, they lended their ears, their hearts, and their love.

3. I am happy

This one took some time to be able to acknowledge. This has been the roughest, most challenging and heartbreaking time in my life, and yet, after months of reflection, soul-searching, and time to myself, I know can really admit that I am happy. I wake up each morning with a renewed sense of purpose. I have spent the last few months getting to know myself all over again and to know what I am truly capable of as a human being and as a woman. I am taking control of my life one step at a time, and that first step is realizing that I am strong and that I am happy. These strengths will help carry me into the next chapter of my life as I move forward towards the unknown, which no longer seems to frighten me.

But what have these things taught me about myself? Losing a romantic relationship but gaining a new kind of friendship, embarking on a new chapter of my life, refocusing on my work life and business, and even my realization as to who my true friends are throughout all of this, these are the things that have transformed me into the woman I am today compared to 3 or 4 months ago.

There are some days I don’t feel like I am almost 30-years old. Some days I still feel like that 17-year old girl moving out of her parents’ house for the first time, which then makes me feel as if I am not ready to handle the things life has thrown my way. But not feeling ready doesn’t mean I won’t overcome or achieve balance. Every step is as important as the last. Life can be like one giant knot, and each day you find yourself pulling a new thread that pulls apart the knot until it is no more. I’ve been learning to give myself a little more credit, and that part of my continuing growth in this new transition and all the challenges and hardships I’ve encountered have allowed me to find myself again, to learn new things about myself – to become Alyssa again.

Etro dress (similar here, less expensive version here) | Boyy bag (similar here and here) | Zara boots | Jennifer Behr headband 

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11 Comments

  1. Alyssa,

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I recently moved from London to New York and have been struggling with terrible mental health and feeling like I’ve lost myself since that move in October. I’m about to embark on a big next step and am determined to find myself again and learn to love myself and be happy with myself again as part of it.

    This was absolutely the inspiration that I needed to take ownership of my life and my own happiness. I’m so sorry that you have had to deal with this difficult time, but I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your journey and being authentic — it truly helps to see another woman who is strong and happy and determined despite anxiety and life issues.

    Here’s to hoping things only get better from here!
    Nicole x

    Posted 5.6.19 Reply
  2. Ana

    Thank you for sharing. I was worried when I haven’t seen any posts in a while.

    I am so sorry that you are going through this difficult time, but as cliche as it sounds, time will heal all wounds. I am glad to read that you are able to find strength, comfort, and love with those around you. Please know that your fans are here for you too.

    Posted 5.6.19 Reply
  3. You are so strong and beautiful (inside and out). I am so sorry you are going through this, and I wish there were something useful I could do to make you feel better. But I am so glad to hear you have an incredible support network to lift you up the way you do for so many others.

    Sending so much love

    Briony xox

    Posted 5.6.19 Reply
  4. Fran Nocerino

    Beautiful and inspiring. God bless you Alyssa as you embark on this new journey. You are very courageous and smart. Always remember you are strong and not only do you have your family and friends….. you have you extended family, us your readers, followers, fans who are rooting for you and stand behind you unconditionally.

    Here’s to happiness everyday.
    Best,
    Fran

    Posted 5.6.19 Reply
  5. Thank you for your transparency — it helps to strengthen and inspire others. I too was concerned when I noticed fewer pictures of the two of you together. I’m sorry for the loss of this relationship but I celebrate the discovery of yourself.

    Posted 5.6.19 Reply
  6. Del

    Thank you for this post. My brother is currently grieving the loss of an 8 year relationship, which coincidentally ended 3 months ago, too. I’ve been telling him he’s grieving the severe loss, just as you would with a death (which is intensified since our mom died 5 months ago, so it’s all been too much some days), but anyway, reading your post was very comforting to me and may be to him as well. Love to you, Alyssa!

    Posted 5.7.19 Reply
  7. Dear Alyssa, I am so sorry to hear this news..( While you owe us nothing, thank you for sharing about break up and what you have learned about yourself during this complicated time.

    Maybe somedays you’ll also share with us reasons why you broke up, cuz it’s still a dissonance in my head how two close people can just separated after almost 10 beautiful years together((

    So much love and respect to you and Torrance.

    Posted 5.12.19 Reply
  8. Reesa

    Alyssa,
    Thank you for being so open about this. I feel like I’m going through the emotions without even personally knowing you. I had a bad feeling when I noticed there were less photos of you together on Instagram. I admire your strength and understand how uneasy that is.

    Always know that you are loved
    -Reesa

    Posted 5.18.19 Reply
  9. Laura

    Dearest Alyssa,

    Thank you for allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and especially in front of us. That’s true courage. One cannot be courageous without first being vulnerable.

    I understand what you are feeling and facing right now. I went through a separation and divorce last year after a 10 year run. It was simultaneously the most challenging, educational and liberating experience of my life. Like you, I learned so much, but not without first getting rocked in the arena of life and sitting alone in the dark, sometimes literally, with myself.

    I’m glad you opened up to loved ones. While being alone sometimes is crucial for growth here, having a network of love and support is paramount. Please think of us all as your extended support here.

    Sending love and light your way!

    Posted 6.14.19 Reply
  10. Elisa T

    Alyssa,
    Beautifully written !
    You deserve to be Happy!
    Live your life and love yourself!
    Be you.
    I’m always here for you too!
    Love you,
    Aunt E.

    Posted 6.17.19 Reply
  11. Toni

    This is so powerful! I recently went through a very similar transition – and even moved to the other side of world while finding and becoming ‘me’ again. I love that you shared this, you are a beautiful soul!

    Posted 7.8.19 Reply