Dorothy: Oh, will you help me? Can you help me?
Glinda: You don’t need to be helped any longer. You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas.
Dorothy: I have?
Scarecrow: Then why didn’t you tell her before?
Glinda: She wouldn’t have believed me. She had to learn it for herself. – The Wizard of Oz
This year, I found myself at the end of my time living in china. I had been there for 2 years with my boyfriend of 5 years. I wasn’t happy by any means, as I always knew that he hadn’t been faithful to me. We always know don’t we? It’s like a secret sixth sense that we, as partners, make room for in our brain. You just KNOW. Well luckily for me, I got out of it. I escaped the years of mental abuse, the constant cheating, lying and torture. I didn’t do it by myself. Don’t be fooled into thinking that I strode into the apartment, bitch slapped him across the face and said it’s over before then breaking into a rendition of Beyoncé’s ‘Irreplaceable’. No, he left me. Why? Who knows? The reason he gave was that we had grown apart. Grown apart. That phrase. You’re damn right we grew apart! Cheat on me for years and expect me to be at your side like your lapdog still? Nope! It’s all well and good for me to sit here now and say this stuff, but that’s not how I was when I returned to England, 3 days after he broke up with me. I was an overweight, emotional mess. This isn’t the story about how my relationship ended. Today, I’m going to tell you how I changed my life for the best, in less than a year.
When you go through a breakup, whether it’s been a 5 year relationship or a 5 month relationship, it hurts like hell. That’s the cold, hard truth of it. You fall into a black hole that you can’t escape from. I tried and tried and tried to claw my way out of it, but the walls of the hole kept bending like hot plastic. I couldn’t get my grip and I fell back down to the bottom. Time and time again, when I thought that I was nearing the top and could just see the light, I would lose my grip and become folded in a dark sheet of torturous memories and sorrowful thoughts. Everywhere I looked was a constant reminder of what I once had. The stores that we used to shop in, the bars that we used to drink in and even the bus route that we used to take home all brought back a tsunami of adrenaline, coursing through my veins, reminding me, just in case I had forgotten, that my boyfriend who I loved more than anything in the world, had screwed me over, by screwing other men and then proceeding to leave me. What had I done to deserve this? I had always loved him and made him my #1 priority. He was my everything. I travelled to the other side of the world with him just to be there, at his side. He was all that I knew. He was my life. Wrong.
The thing is, sometimes you can find yourself literally becoming your partner. The music you listen to, the clothes you wear and even the soap you wash yourself with. It really happens. It happened to me. I was sat on my bed, where I usually sat every night, curled into a ball under my duvet, listening to power ballads on Spotify when all of a sudden, it changed track to a song that I had never heard before. At first, I went to change the song as the music that I had been listening to, reminded me of a time where I belonged to someone. These were some of the things he would listen to on a regular basis. I got up to change the music, walked over to the stereo and stopped in my tracks. I liked the song playing. It was a new song that I had never heard before. I couldn’t associate it with my now ex-boyfriend as I didn’t know if he had ever heard it before. All of a sudden, I felt as though a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. It was nice to put all of the worry and woe on hold for 3 minutes while the song was playing. I was no longer the victim in a bad relationship. I was just a person, stood in his bedroom, tapping his feet to a song that appeared to be awakening something inside of him that he had forgotten that he owned. His own personality.
The song ended and I fell back into the hole, but it was nice to have a taste of freedom from the shackles of my ex-boyfriend for a short amount of time. The weeks went on and I tried to go about my life as best as I could. I went to see friends, who all assured me that in a few months’ time, I would look back on how I was feeling and smile, because I wouldn’t be feeling like that for much longer. I half-believed them. There was a side of me that wanted to stay wrapped in my security blanket of photos on Facebook and memories of relationships past. However, there was also a side of me that wanted to rip off the blanket and burn it to a crisp. In the weeks that followed, I came across a job that I wanted to apply for. In one of my favourite stores, selling the things that I loved and using the Chinese that I had now become fluent in (thanks to living in china). I applied and got the job! I cannot describe to you what a great feeling it was to walk into a place where nobody in there knew me as “the ex-boyfriend of a**hole”! That job started the ball rolling for me in getting my own life back. I suddenly had some responsibility in my life that meant that I didn’t have the time to sit, half dressed, eating cream cheese out of the tub with my finger. I had to get up, shower, look nice and go to work. At first, it was a bit of a disaster. I hadn’t been my own person in so long and my people skills weren’t as good as they used to be. When you’re constantly told that you are pathetic and stupid, that’ll happen to you. Regardless, after my wobble, they came back to me and I was once again becoming a human being. So that was the job situation sorted out. The next thing I did even shocked me. I started seeing someone!
4 months after my breakup, I met a guy. Looking back now, I can happily say that he was my rebound guy. Ladies, if you think that you are going to fall out of the arms of your long term partner and into the arms of prince charming, think again. Sure enough, this guy was nice, but he wasn’t for me. We would go on drives together and spend the evening at each other’s place. He met a few of my friends and we arranged to go away on a mini-break together. I met the parents. He met mine. He cooked for me (and still hasn’t collected his pan that he brought over). My confidence was booming! After spending so many years with a guy who would call me fat every single day, here was this guy, who liked my body and most bizarrely, said that I was attractive! It was all going great. That was, until he ended it out of the blue one sunny morning, the day before we were due to go on our mini-break to the seaside. The whole thing only lasted for a month, but it felt like longer. I say that in the sense that it had all moved too fast. At the time, I was quite upset about the whole thing, but I quickly got over it. I gained a lot from that experience. I was shown that there are guys out there who are actually nice and don’t cheat and lie with every breath that they take. I was given a glimpse of what the future holds, eventually, but not yet.
The week before my fling with the rebound ended, I decided to leave my job. It just wasn’t working out for me. I wasn’t happy and I needed to spend some time getting to know me again. My ex-boyfriend was due to return to England and my anxiety was going through the roof at light-speed. The thought of bumping into him again, whilst still fat and to see him look me up and down just like he used to, made me shiver with nerves. The adrenaline tsunami was coming back in full force. Time for a change. I had to give my manager one week’s written notice of resignation as I had been there less than 6 months. I left my job on the Wednesday, then my rebound left me on the Thursday. In hindsight that was a good thing. I had been given a fantastic opportunity to discover a new part of myself. I’ve never been confident with my weight. I’ve always been an over-eater. Every time I looked down at my belly, all I could see was sadness, pain, worry and paranoia of not being good enough. I got up and started to move. I’d walk, I’d run, I’d dance (I love to dance, even if I’m really bad at it). The weight started to fall off me.
I got thinking about my dreams and aspirations for the future. Ever since I was a little boy, I have always written short stories and made my own comic books. I’ve written journal after journal telling myself that I wanted to make a career out of writing. I was in a prime position to do it. I went with my best friend to London to a blogging master class which was run by cosmopolitan magazine. Walking into the room where the class was being held, I glanced up at the stage that had 5 chairs set out on it, all with successful bloggers occupying them. I sat down and soaked up all of their advice like a sponge. I looked around the room and looked at the other people in there. Everybody that spoke about their blog was writing it about fashion and makeup. When I first decided to start to blog, my initial plan was to write about my travels in China, but after listening to everyone say the same thing in that room about their fashion blog, I started to wonder how many of these girls had been screwed over buy a guy that they thought they loved? Why was I the only person in that room of 200 people who wanted to write about this? Was I the only one who cared?
It turns out that I wasn’t the only one that cared after all. After rushing back from London to my little town that I recently moved to, I started to brainstorm ideas. I started to flick through my journals and rip the pages out. I could use so much material from them. I intended to create something that people like me, in the past, when feeling at their lowest, could look at and gain inspiration from. That was what I was meant to do. That was my calling. There are so many single girls out there, or in a relationship that they feel that they can’t escape from. My job is to tell them that they can do absolutely anything when they put their mind to it.
That’s what brings me back to the opening quote of this post. I spent so long searching for a way out of the black hole that I was trapped in without realizing that all I had to do was understand that the walls didn’t actually exist and that I was living in the light. I have now been back in England and single for nearly a year. I have cut off all ties with my ex-boyfriend and we will not speak again. Ever. I have shed 38kg in that time. I have also faced my fears of being alone and accepted that when the time comes, I will meet someone. I’ve found my niche and I love it. I receive frequent emails from people that have read my blog and listened to my story. They tell me about how much I have helped them to see the light. That is a feeling that I cannot even begin to put into words. To help other people is my mission. I’m on the other side and if you’re reading this, feeling like you can’t make it over here, take my hand, click your heels and follow me.
I recently came across an awesome website called ‘Honesty for Breakfast’. These 20 something year old girls write about everything that goes through my mind. Please, check them out as they have done an amazing job! you can find my article on their website too! Check them out here at: http://www.honestyforbreakfast.com – Kalvin
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