|My grandma, circa 1920's|
I recently turned 33 and as of last Friday, I am unemployed.
I have an eerie calm about being unemployed. It isn't denial - I'm not deluding myself into thinking everything is going to be okay. Instead, it's a belief I have throughout my body. Every fiber of my being knows I'm going to be more than alright. In order to grow into the woman I want to be, I had to make room and leaving my job was the first step. I will be broke for a little while, but I think it will be worth it. Just so we're clear, I resigned before A. dumped me, so leaving my job wasn't some heart-broken, rash decision. I had quietly been contemplating leaving for a very long time, and one Thursday afternoon I said it out loud: I was burnt out and needed a change. I needed to expand my world and see what it holds for me. Once A. dumped me, I was even more determined to figure out who I am and what it is I want from life.
While I begin transitioning to my next career, I plan on volunteering with my friend's community farm, reading more, meditating more and cooking more. While doing these things, I am working on taking down these stupid walls I have built around my heart. I feel like it's time to begin opening up again. It's been about six weeks since we broke up, and I am ready to explore my heart. Writing that, I feel like a broke version of the book Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert.
The book is an interesting concept - using an advance from her publisher, Gilbert traveled to Italy, India and Indonesia, all the while eating, praying and learning to love herself and learning who she is. While the book is problematic (really, who has the luxury and privilege of spending a year traveling to find oneself?) I find myself, and many of my friends, stuck at the same crossroads: where do I go from here?
The week after A. dumped me, I left to Oakland. The trip was planned far in advance of even meeting him, but the timing of the trip couldn't have been better. Humming Window Seat by Erykah Badu, I clicked my seat belt and slept during the two hour flight to my beloved Bay Area. When the airplane landed, I was so excited and ready to forget Albuquerque and everything that happened - at least for a few days (seven, to be exact). As the plane was cruising to the terminal, the flight attendant got on the microphone and thanked everyone for flying Southwest Airlines, then announced that a couple on the plane was going to be married that weekend in Oakland. As if that wasn't bad enough, she proceeded to sing "Goin' to the Chapel" for them. Everyone applauded, I leaned my head against the window and sighed.
While I was in the Bay Area, I received so much love and laughter from my friends who live there. We went to a Giants baseball game, a Raiders game, we saw Sade in concert - and in between, I drank great beer, ate wonderful food, performed poetry, wrote more poetry, sang karaoke (something I never do) and wandered around the city, alone in my thoughts and, at times, feeling so much joy (or pain) that I thought I would explode. I had a lot of alone time to think and contemplate. I thought about A. but beyond that, I thought about my situation of being single (again) and I found myself feeling very sad. As I have gone through this journey of getting over being dumped, I have contemplated the fact that A. and I weren't together very long. Logic says that I shouldn't be so hurt, but the reality is this - regardless of how much or how little time we spent together, I fell for him and it's been a hard process of getting back up.
Today would have been my grandmother's birthday. She died in 1994 at age 90. My grandma loved fiercely, jealously and with all she had. She was hurt by love in her life and decided at one point that she would only love her family. I think about her a lot when I think about myself as a single woman in my 30's. She was just a few years older than I am when she decided to close the door on relationships and I sometimes find myself identifying with her. At other times, I am terrified that I will follow suit. More than that, however, I think about the fact that she would rather have been alone than be disrespected and hurt. In the 1940's, there was very little support to "figure it out" - especially while raising a family on her own - so she simply closed her heart. I have the privilege of being able to share my thoughts, explore my heart and find who I want to be in life and love and while I want to love the way my grandma did, I don't ever want to be closed off. I owe it to her to love fiercely - with all I have and then some.
Today also marks a year that Freddy and I stopped, well, whatever it was that we were doing. Next week marks a year that I began writing this blog. It also marks a milestone that I really didn't want to reach...
Next time: Part Two
There is no way I could let this blog post pass without saying a few words about my dear friends M. and H., who got married this past Saturday. If there was ever a reason to believe in hope, patience, perseverance and love, their marriage is the reason. Two people who faced hardship on the road to finding each other is nothing new; two people who decided to take control of their lives in order to be whole and complete (and subsequently be whole and complete in their relationship) is inspiring. ¡Felicidades!