It’s March, and somehow I’m already 7 months into this adventure on the road! Wow. While each day feels much longer than it does at home & time passes much slower, I still find it hard to believe that I’ve been wandering about for so long. This post was written in between breaks at my Spanish language school, volunteering with kids, and laying in my bed at my Nicaraguan family homestay. I am so happy to have a home for a month and to take a break from the backpacker life for a bit. It has been very grounding.
I feel compelled to write and share my experiences about a beautiful thing that occurred recently. Something that gave me a huge feeling of relief.
I recently wrote a guest blog post for Oiselle that went live on their site last week. When I saw that they had tagged me on Facebook announcing the post, my stomach dropped and I got VERY nervous. I had been waiting for this moment with much anticipation because I didn’t know how the public would receive me. The article contains very personal details about my life. I talk about my divorce and my unconventional decision to quit my job and travel for an unspecified amount of time. Granted, this wasn’t the first time I went public with my story, but it is still hard for me to talk about the past. I am still recovering from this difficult period in my life, and I’d be lying if I said I’ve healed completely. (If only it were that easy!) My heart needs time, and time is what I am going to give it. Needless to say, a huge weight was lifted when I started to receive nothing but positive feedback from family, friends new and old, the Oiselle community, and complete strangers. Some said they had been through similar situations. Others gave uplifting words of encouragement. Some even said they were inspired! I was filled with joy all day, and I am still riding the high of speaking my truth.
Speaking the truth can be slightly terrifying. I have always been a perfectionist at heart and scared of failure, particularly when it comes to not meeting the expectations of others. (People pleaser much?) I wanted a perfect education, a perfect job, and a perfect happily ever after. To admit that my relationship wasn’t perfect…that my job wasn’t perfect…that these things weren’t bringing me joy, and that I am no where near perfect….well, that was difficult to do in the beginning. I was afraid to admit to things that I considered to be “failures.” Divorce felt like a dirty word and admittedly I still hate to use it, regardless of how it all went down. Reflecting on these fears, I realize that no one is perfect, so why should I ever expect perfection from myself and from my relationships? I shouldn’t. Life doesn’t work that way, and the actions of others cannot be controlled. Life is filled with ups and downs and learning moments. It’s full of messy times and blissful moments in time. It’s full of love and loss. It is a grand journey to be celebrated each and every day, and it can be whatever we want to make of it. (If you’ve always wanted to do something, set out to go do it!) This fresh outlook on life is something that I am learning to embrace. I definitely wasn’t this insightful before I went through something that made me question everything I knew to be true.
And now, a few words of advice:
As I reflect on all I’ve learned, I also wonder…Have you ever kept a part of your life a secret for fear of looking a certain way or for fear of being perceived in a negative light? Have you ever had to keep secrets for others or felt like you were living a double life? Do you ever see someone on social media and think they have a “perfect life” with a “perfect family” and a “perfect body?” First, remember that no one is perfect. (I actually appreciate finding authentic brands and people on social media more and more!) Second, if there is anything in your life that is causing you stress or anxiety because you are keeping it all inside, I highly encourage you to reach out and speak with someone. It doesn’t need to be in a public forum like a blog. It can be to a close friend, family member, or completely neutral therapist. Writing down your feelings in a private journal is another helpful exercise. Just let it gooooo (“libre soy! libre soyyy!”) and observe what happens when you do. I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised, and soon enough, you might find yourself speaking your truth with more and more people until you slowly begin to recover, take action, and heal.
I feel so free in this moment. I am free because I have nothing to hide. Nothing to keep inside. This new phase of my life is about learning from the past, not worrying about the future, embracing where I am in this moment, and staying true to myself with each decision I make. I’ve started to come up with some ideas of what I want to do next, and I can’t wait to see what doors start to open. Thank you for being a part of this journey with me!
“The comeback is always stronger than the setback.” – Unknown