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.