I can’t believe it’s been over 6 months since I last updated this little corner of the internet. For the longest time, I just didn’t know what to say. See, quite a bit has changed in my life since that last post. It actually breaks my heart to read it. I spent a few weeks last month debating on whether or not I should delete this entire blog all together.
I guess I should rip the band aid off first, right? The biggest change is my marital status. I’m getting a divorce.
No matter how many months it’s been since we both agreed to end our marriage, reading those words never gets easier.
That’s why I spent so much time hovering over the “delete” button on my WordPress admin site. Every single post is a reminder of what I don’t have anymore. Even though we’re both amicable – friends even – it doesn’t mean there aren’t days I cry missing the life I once had.
My ex and I spent 9 years together, most of those during one of the most important decades of my life. We went through so many highs and even more devastating lows. We lost two dogs, went through a fire, dealt with the death of loved ones. Even though we had so much foundation, we just weren’t strong enough to survive the latest blows that came at the end of this summer. Those blows, which I’ll probably never talk about, were too much for us to overcome. And honestly? We weren’t strong this year. We went through a big move, job changes and financial cut backs. I look back and think if what happened this summer happened a year or two ago, we’d probably been able to overcome it. But when you’re already falling so quickly out of love with someone, you don’t have the fight you used to. And you start to see a life where you don’t have to fight to keep things together.
I respect my ex, which is why I’m going to end the divorce portion of this right now. It’s not messy, I wish him nothing but all the happiness in the world and I know one day we’ll both look back and smile.
Probably the second most substantial change in my recent life is my diet and my weight. It’s not news to anyone I steadily put on weight during the last few years of my marriage. I think back now, and it’s all so simple – I wasn’t happy. I was miserable, actually. And, like so many other women and men out there, I didn’t talk about it. I didn’t do anything but just eat and drink. I told myself that the weight was due to anxiety medicine, that it was due to stress. I never actually spent anytime reflecting inside of myself and facing what the real catalyst for the weigh gain was – uncertainty and misery.
When my marriage was imploding last fall, I made a change. I decided I was going to stop eating meat. It was a really easy decision, actually. I was getting sick all of the time on my travels. Literally, daily. I just couldn’t digest food, it seemed. I noticed it happened more when I had meat in my diet. So, I just stopped eating it. I remember the last hearty meal I had. I was moving out of the house my ex and I shared and I had a hamburger. I also can remember how I’d never felt so sick in my life those following few hours. That was all it took. I haven’t had a bite of meat since then. To be honest, I haven’t even had a fleeting desire to eat meat since then.
Well, the first 2 months’ post meat were true game-changers with my appearance. From the beginning of October to the beginning of December, I lost 25 pounds. In mid-December, I decided to make another change – I decided to give veganism a chance. As a glorified cheese and dairy addict, it was much harder than I thought. But I went in with 100% dedication. From the beginning of December to mid January, I lost 15 more pounds.
I’m now down a total of 40 pounds. I’m not 100% vegan all the time, it’s just really hard as a food writer. But I try. And I notice a huge difference when I don’t do it. I’ve truly never looked better. I’m at a weight I haven’t been since I was a junior in college, my hair is so shiny and my skin is as clear as a baby’s.
Of course, diet isn’t everything, as we all know. I also threw myself into an exercise regime right after my divorce. Which, of course, is also why I think I better than I did in the past. I’m not just thin, I’m fit. I workout 4 times week, doing a mix of totally different exercises. A few days, I do Pure Barre, other days I do Orange Theory. In between, I run, bike and hike. So many of my trips lately have been activity based, so I’ve been lucky to get to tackle some of the world’s hardest hikes and really push myself more than I ever have.
I still have about 6 more pounds to go until my ultimate goal, but I’m finally happy with myself for the first time in over 10 years. Other parts of my life may be complicated and stressful, but it’s really reassuring knowing I have my health.
Another bonus of exercise and a happy mindset with food? I don’t take anxiety medicine anymore. None. I haven’t taken any medicine in about a month and I can tell you I don’t face any of the crippling anxiety I once had. Maybe it is the endorphins, the change of my diet and my entire outlook on life, but it’s really refreshing not having to be reliant on drugs to feel normal in my day to day life. I’ve found there are other ways I can find peace with myself that don’t involve a prescription.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still moments I feel that oh-so-familiar rush of anxiety. There are days when I wake up and think I’m going to have a panic attack. But I don’t rush for the Xanax anymore. instead of popping that comforting blue pill, I take deep breaths. I write. I go for a run. I cook. Or I just face it. It sounds terrifying, to face the things that give you the most anxiety, but it’s also freeing. Instead of numbing the thoughts that bright me stress, I face them. I try to find solutions to the problems that pop up. I try to find a way to handle it instead of run away from it. I spent so much of my 20s running away from everything – my marriage, my jobs, my family. And I’m finally learning you can’t run from things that give you stress, you have to face them. Even if you don’t think you’re strong enough.
If I’m strong enough to face the millions of demons I have, so are you. Trust me in that.
If you’ve been following me on Snapchat (@wayfaringclaire), you probably know all about the last portion of this update – dating. If there’s one thing I didn’t miss in my 9-year relationship, it was dating. I knew the world was changing fast, I have a ton of single friends and watched them go from dating app to dating app, trying to weed through ALL OF the frogs in search of their prince. And even in the thick of the unhappiest months of my marriage, I was never envious of them. I thought “hey, I’m fucking miserable, but at least I don’t have to date!” Which, I know, sounds pretty pathetic. But now that I’m in the middle of the nightmare that is called online dating, I still sort of agree with that sentiment.
I’ve gone through the ringer in terms of relationships the past few months. The first guy I let in after my divorce and dated decided to ghost me. The second one was just in it for a hook up. And this last one? Pardon my French, but fuck. Just fuck. This last one was with someone I truly saw a future with. Someone who made me happier than I’ve been with anyone in a long time. We were nearly perfect. The only issue? Distance. And that’s not something he could budge on, and I totally understand that. Just like I can’t budge on not traveling, I can’t expect him to budge on distance. It just sucks, considering we both wanted nothing more than to be together.
So, broken hearted with tear soaked eyes, I’m realizing I might be alone for a while. And that’s terrifying.
So, I’m single again. And instead of jumping back into another app, I’m taking a breather. I’m going to spend some time finding me. Spend time getting to know the person that sometimes looks and feels like a complete stranger. I see my life, how I’m dealing with situations and how I’m handling this new chapter, and I don’t have a clue how I’m managing. I’ve turned into this strong, powerful and no-holds-bar person, and truthfully, it’s such a change from the me I was before, it’s taking some getting used to.
Al in all, through all of those changes, I’m happy. Not everyday, of course. But most of the time, I wake up feeling good about this next chapter of my life. I feel happy knowing that it won’t be long until I’m truly happy. It’ll take time, I know, but I’m taking the right steps to get there.
I don’t know when I’ll update this again or if. But I needed to say it, needed to get it out there. In a way, this is my journal and this is an entry that needed to be published months ago.