I want to share with you, the story around the event that triggered the beginning of my unraveling, and a beautiful, tumultuous journey.
In January 2019, to most people on the exterior, it probably appeared as though I had it all.
I recently graduated from the Nurse Practitioner diploma program, successfully wrote my licensing exam and landed THE dream job – equipped with an office with big windows, six digit salary, bragging rights and all. The room for growth was there, and I was in Dreamland.
I also moved back home to Ottawa after having been away for two years, and moved in with my then boyfriend of two years. We found the perfect apartment, perfectly located in central Ottawa, perfectly priced. We struggled to adapt to our new life together after having only ever dated (albeit for two years) from a long distance. At least, I struggled.
For most of my two years in Kingston, the only thing that kept me going was the idea that once I would be done school, I could have it all and I would finally be happy. When I moved back home in September, all the puzzle pieces of my perfectly calculated and envisioned life fell right into place. At least, that’s what I told myself. I downplayed all the red flags that popped up along the way, because everything was perfect and I was in denial that things could be any less than perfect.
So some time towards the end of January, I get a text from a close friend of mine inviting me to a vision board workshop that Saturday. Without much thought, I said yes, of course! The idea was cute and I was free that Saturday morning.
I went out with some friends Friday night and drank way too much, came home at 4 am. Reluctantly (and still drunk), I woke up 4 hours later and dragged my ass to the other end of town to go this workshop. I did not want to go and I came so close to cancelling, but something pushed me out that door.
I got to this lovely ladie’s place before my friend, and felt immediately out of place (it may have been the fact that I was slowly sobering up and moving towards the hung over phase of the excessive drinking). I met the host, thinking “She is perfect, ugh”. I met the other participants and (I am ashamed to admit this) immediately started to judge each one of them in my head.
Once we were all there, we sat down together and the workshop started. We did a meditation, and then we started on some brainstorming activities to help us get clear about our goals and aspirations, our strengths, our weaknesses, etc.
As I went through the questions, I started to tense up, and tears flooded my eyes. How embarassing!! I did my best to keep it together as it slowly dawned on me that I had no idea what to write down for most of these things. As I struggled to fill the blanks and come up with perfect answers, this sinking feeling that I was a failure started to overwhelm me.
Our host then asked us to share how the exercise went, and how it made us feel. I have no idea why (probably because I was drunk/hungover) but I couldn’t keep it together any longer.
As I started to speak and share my experience, I sobbed uncontrollably. Through the sobs, I explained that I felt a deep sense of sadness, because I realized that I was so unhappy. I felt uncertain about who I was, what I wanted and what I needed. I felt absolutely lost. Guys, I literally fell apart right then and there. In front of my friend and four complete strangers, I poured my heart out.
These people created a safe space for me, a space where I felt loved, supported and understood. A space without judgment. One of the participants stood up, and walked over to me and just hugged me. She held me with her arms (but mostly with her love) as I felt my world fall apart.
My perfectly planned and calculated life, that I wanted SO bad, that I worked SO hard for, was making me unhappy.So the morning went on and we all shared really deep things and my heart started to open up a little bit. As I got to know these amazing people, my judgements fell away and I was left with a sense of comfort.
I feverishly worked to grab words and pictures out of magazines to create my vision board. I felt posessed. As if some outwardly thing was actually doing all the work for me. I knew exactly what pictures and words to cut out. And it all came together rapidly on my board. I was in flow.As I shared my board with the rest of the group at the end of the session, I had a few realizations. These have led me to create massive changes in my life, which I will share in the coming weeks and months (did I mention I have made a LOT of changes?).
Ultimately I came home that day and had the most amazing heart to heart discussion with my then boyfriend. Speaking about how I realized that I had been projecting my fears and insecurities onto him. How sorry I was to have taken out all my stress and unhappiness on him. My undoing was exactly what we needed at that point in time.
I didn’t sleep that night. My brain was on fire and ran wild with thoughts and ideas. It’s like the floodgates had opened. I could finally see clearly. I could see past the mystical, foggy, fantasy world that I had built around me. And what I saw was ugly.
It has been exactly six months (minus one day) since that day. And holly shit how things have changed. I have cried a lot. I have struggled. I have doubted myself. I still doubt myself. I have dreamed a lot. I have taken chances. I am laughing more. And I am finally able to say that I am happy, most days.