When going through something traumatic or draining, one tends to develop a sort of "road block" in their life. A "road block" often leads to a mental block, and you become shut down emotionally.
During the month of September last year, the unexpected card of a breakup sent me spiraling downward. I had to make a change and I had to do it on my own. After a year of new jobs, new towns, new relationships and setbacks, the sudden loss of someone I considered as close as a sibling and heartbreak, my mind and body were ready for a little "social media shutdown 101.″ I was over making decisions to find happiness. There were things in this world, like death or heartbreak, that I could not control. You can live a thousand different ways, but in the end, you can not stop people from hurting themselves, each other, or you.
After an unexpected breakup, my mind had had enough. I was numb and in a dark place. During this time, the thought of doing the mundane, working to pay the bills, and forgetting about ambition or love for a little seemed like the right path. No matter what happened, my overambitious self pushed through for the past 10 years focusing on my goals. This time, the fight was gone. A snowball effect of yelling at the universe and not understanding the cards dealt, mixed with the situations that I could not control, soon occurred. It made me want to hold on to my raft in the tumultuous ocean and shut my eyes for a little.
So I did.
I let the emotions building up from the past few months engulf me. Feelings of loss, grief, rejection and unsettled emotions with not having the usual "plan" disturbed me. As I tried to heal, I worked like a robot on auto-pilot. My life seemed to pass before me in a hazy mess. I allowed myself to cry until I drifted to sleep. I allowed myself to be honest to my best friend when she asked me if I got dressed or put on pants, and I replied "no." I watched romantic comedies, ate a disgusting amount of gelato, replayed The National's album over and over, and supported corporate business by buying an extraordinary amount of Kleenex. Some days you need to allow yourself to be a gross, sweatpants-wearing, rom com-watching, unshowered mess. In order to let a wound heal, you have to allow it to get a little rough. If you keep picking at it, you'll get an infection, possibly a scar, and will only make it worse.
It wasn't until the beginning of October when I blinked and realized the awe of standing on a cliff in Ireland looking out into the ocean. How did I get there, you may ask? Well to put it simply, things happen for a reason.
At the beginning of April, I decided with one of my best gal pals to book a "girl's trip" to Ireland. I thank my past self and Lana for making me purchase that ticket, because who knew that the next six months would bring a level of hell I couldn't describe. It was the trip in Ireland where after singing, drinking countless pints of cider and discovering the winding streets of Dublin, that I finally started to get out of the haze. I could feel the sunshine on my face, could laugh and smile at an Irish boy when he sang songs for the "American girls" at a cafe, and could appreciate the Irish Coffee being injected into my bloodstream. And yes, I finally started to put on pants.
It was during that trip, that Lana and I decided to search for things to turn around the tumultuous year. We traveled to an old church under the recommendation of a local, where you could walk through the ancient crypts and rub the hand of an 1100 AD Mummy for luck. Yes, a dead mummy. We went to the Jameson Distillery, where touching the whiskey stone brings good luck. I rubbed my whole body on it. On an adventure day, Lana went her way to the Blarney Stone for luck, while I walked around the streets of Dublin letting my gut instinct get me lost. To my worldly appreciation, my "gut instinct" found me in an alley of the back entrance of a sacred church, which happened to be named after my confirmation saint. Taking it as a sign, I went into the church, lit a few candles for lost loved ones and prayed.
I believe that we see signs in life for a reason, but I also believe we have to keep our eyes open to see those signs. It wasn't until my haze left me on the Cliffs of Moher that I actually began to believe things could start looking up.
After coming back from Dublin, I started to feel the funk start to leave me. I don't remember the exact moment, but I remember when I made the decision to move and try something new. I put on my "big girl pants," started to job search, and started to figure out a location of where I wanted to start the new phase in my life. New York held too many memories of loss, hurt and the past. I was ready for a fresh start again.
No one can ever put a time limit on grief. Whether grief over a lost loved one, a relationship gone awry or grief over unhappiness in your decisions... you have to be the one to let it go. Don't let anyone tell you that you should be "over it by now." You don't have to until you decide that you want to. But I promise you, one day (sooner than later) you will wake up from your funk. You will remember your old self and you will start living again. You will shower and put on pants and then eventually a little makeup. You will stop living in the past, and start realizing that you have a future. Whether it will take you rubbing your whole body on a whiskey stone, traveling to the depths of a crypt to touch a mummy's hand, or looking up at the sun and feeling it's warmth... it will happen.
Through sadness comes indescribable strength. You have to look back on what you overcame and realize the minute you start to feel whole again that "you did it." Once you shut one door, another one will open again. Three years ago, I tattooed the word "fearless" on my foot to remind myself of my inner strength. Being fearless isn't living without fear, but recognizing the fears you have and still leaping anyway. With each leap you take, you are heading closer to the path you were meant to be on.
Fate loves the fearless