The Journey to Fabulous – Chewed Nails

 When I was a senior in high school, I chewed my nails.  I didn’t even realize I was doing it.  I chewed and I chewed and I chewed.  I was stressed because my parents were divorcing and it was a great way to sabotage myself.  To make myself ugly on the outside to match the ugly I felt on the inside.  When the nails were gone I’d start on the skin next to my nails.  Then at one point, I thought to myself, “Why am I chewing my nails?  They look ugly and I really don’t benefit anything from the process!!”  So I vowed to myself that I would stop.

Boom.  Just like that, I stopped.  And I grew the most beautiful nails.  Strong, healthy, vibrant nails.  For 35 years I had beautiful nails.  All because I had the strength and resilience to stop sabotaging and to fully, whole heartedly appreciate me.  At an early age of 17, I started realizing that I needed to love me.

Today I looked at my hands and recognized I started chewing my nails, and the skin around my nails…again.  When did this happen?   And why?

I took a hiatus on this Journey to Fabulous for the last year.  I convinced myself that I had miraculously pulled it all together.  That my Journey had been a successful culmination of hard work, perseverance, and timing.  That I had found my purpose and the life I had been dreaming of had manifested.  I got complacent in thinking the job that occupied my existence and the man I loved were the be all, end all to my journey.

This weekend, I drove my son to the airport at 5:30 am, the sun had not risen yet and the temperature outside was a frosty 5 degrees.  It was cold and I was feeling sad that I had to say goodbye to Brad, who had occupied my life and fulfilled my happiness for the last 15 days.  I hugged him at Terminal B, and proceeded home. It was when I got home that I realized that I had started chewing my nails again.  My nails were a disaster.  So I tapped back into my spirituality and talked to God.  Something I have not done in awhile.  In way too long.

Colbie was downstairs barking to go outside.  “It’s 5 degrees,” I thought to myself.  “Why the hell do you want to go out?”  I trudged downstairs and walked out on to my deck.  I stood in the freezing cold and prayed, “God?”  “Are you there?”  “What do you want for me?”  And I instinctively pulled my hand up to my mouth to chew a ragged nail.  It was then that I realized that I had reverted back to my 17 year old self.  Making my outside look as ugly as my inside felt.  Here I am, celebrating my 52nd birthday and I am still the emotionally immature soul that I was 35 years ago.  “What the fuck is wrong with me?” The ever powerful voices in my head were full of disdain.Chunky bay

Then, a miraculous thing happened.  Another wonderful, miraculous thing in my life.  I looked out at the frozen bay, chunky, icy, unforgiving; and I raised my eyes to the sky.  A sliver of a rainbow presented itself.  A giggle erupted from the bowels of my soul.  How could this be?  There was no precipitation for miles around.  The world was a frozen tundra.  And yet, I was witnessing a rainbow.  God was with me.  I had asked for a sign and there it was.  I am not alone.  I will never be alone.  God is always with me.  So what do I do?   I write.

I bare my soul and I write.  I have not written in a year.  Why?

Because I got caught up in romance.  My co-dependency reared its ugly head and I withdrew from my inner-self work to make someone else whole.  I gave up my passions and hobbies.  I forgot about myself and my own Journey to Fabulous.  I collapsed back into the comfort zone that I have tended to for 52 years, the belief that other people, and their happiness, are more important than mine.  God, and that ridiculous rainbow, slapped me back to reality.

My Journey to Fabulous has officially rebooted.  A part of me wants to condemn the man who broke my heart. To blame him for my dereliction.  That would be dishonest.  That would not be speaking to my true self.  That would be me avoiding my own inadequacies.

Let’s back up to when I met him.  I have over a year of writing to catch up on.   A year of life to explain.

I moved back to Hull after living almost 3 years in Costa Rica.  I had ended my engagement to a really wonderful man.  A man that I wish nothing but happiness for.  My Journey to Fabulous had embarked when I started questioning my existence.  I had cleansed, and sought out therapy and realized that I needed to find self-love.  I needed to find my purpose.

So I started a job that gave me purpose.  I connected with my girlfriends, an important aspect of life that I truly missed in Costa Rica.  I rejoiced in online shopping, something I missed desperately while living abroad.  Amazon Prime became my secret pleasure.  I walked the beach with Colbie and talked to God.   I felt whole.  I felt happy.  I was prime to take on whatever was thrown at me.

Then it happened.  He wasn’t looking for me.  I wasn’t looking for him.

Like a moth to fire, I was drawn to him.  He had an infectious smile, an engaging personality.  He saw the affect I had on people and he wanted to bring my beautiful energy into his sphere.  Rationally, I knew I was on a good path.  I tried to remind myself that I needed to choose to be alone to continue on with the great progress I had made.  But a little voice kept whispering in my ear.  What if he is the one?

Like an addiction, I abandoned that path and threw myself into passion and love; I threw myself into his world, our world.

It was an amazing, wonderful romance.  I turned my head to the shortcomings and reality of what I knew would be a difficult situation and embraced the newness, the love, the excitement.  There is nothing better than budding love.  Nothing,

Our relationship kicked into overdrive.  I fell for him because he was so competent, generous, affable.  He was always surprising me with gifts.  He was quick to help me with whatever I needed around the house.  He confessed early on his deep love for me.  That he had never felt this way about anyone in his entire life.  We did so much together, from enjoying a bike ride down the Cape or over the Canadian border to fun-filled vacations, driving a scooter around Key West and SCUBA diving in Cozumel.  We went skiing and snowshoeing in New Hampshire and kicked back at home watching Netflix and HBO together, snuggling by the fire.  We golfed every week and cooked dinner together in our matching aprons.  We explored the Boston islands all summer by boat, and started a tradition of hitting every dive bar we could find on Fridays after work.  I completely abandoned me and threw my soul into his and our “together adventure.”  What an adventure we had!

Why is it all good things must come to an end?  Well, it wasn’t all good.  We both had our demons that impacted each other, except I was the only one willing to acknowledge my shortcomings, striving to work on myself.  I started to become small, so small.  Not myself.  I began to have constant anxiety with him.  No longer the happy woman I had grown to love.  My self-confidence started to take a nosedive.  I reasoned with myself so many times that I deserved more than he could offer.  I sacrificed so much of myself to be with him.  However, he was going through turmoil with his divorce and his kids turning against him that I didn’t feel that was fair.  I loved him.  You don’t leave someone you love when they’re going through a tough time.

So I stayed until I couldn’t stay any longer.  Until I had to choose my self-respect over the harsh realities of our current situation, and the toxic way he was coping.   I had to set myself free from his emotional abuse.  I won’t bore you with the details of the break up.  It sucked.  Every moment of it was brutally painful.  I learned the most important lesson during this tumultuous time after I broke things off with him.  He didn’t love me enough to fight for me.  He accepted my decision at face value.  I had spent months doing the work for two to keep our relationship going, and when I was finally forced to abandon the heartache being with him caused, he simply walked away.  The man who claimed to love me banished me into non-existence.  He never wished me a happy birthday or checked on me when a brutal storm was battering the Northeast.  It still sucks, but you want to know something?  I haven’t had an ounce of anxiety since I broke things off with him!  I slowly started to realize, shame on me!  It was my fault I lost myself.  I take total credit for allowing myself to lose who I am.  He didn’t force me.  He may have broken my heart but he didn’t break me.

I returned to daily meditation and walks on the beach.  I started an exercise program, began working out with a trainer and went on another cleanse!!  I treated my body the way it deserves to be treated.  Within three weeks I lost eight pounds.  I got back to practicing yoga.  I began to live each day, one at a time.  I waited hopefully and with great anticipation for the Christmas holidays when both Brad and KD and Jessi and Christopher would be home.  For the first time in over a year, I took care of myself, for myself.  And I feel wonderful.

I completely engaged in my children when they were home.  Had I still been in a relationship, I would not have had the quality, amazing time I had with my kids.  I focused on living in the moment with them and boy, did we have a lot of fun.  I had some great talks with Brad.  I shared with him my heartbreak.  He gave me some excellent advice when I told him I was afraid I was going to die alone.  He reminded me that I have him and I have Jess.  He suggested I work on continuing to improve my relationship with my daughter.  He helped me to realize my priorities are NOT just me, but me and Brad and Jess, collectively.

That’s part of the reason why dropping Brad off at the airport was so hard.  My joy of being with my children for the past two weeks was ending and I was going to be alone again.  This is just something I have to do.  I know this now.  This is just another chapter of my Journey to Fabulous.  Another lesson for me to learn.  Another gift from God for personal growth.  I am embracing this chapter.  I can’t lie, I still sometimes miss him.  A lot.  But with time, this emptiness will diminish.  It’s time to find again that strength that I know I possess and has helped me out so much on this journey.

Boom, just like that.  I’m going to stop biting my nails!

And someday, when I am ready, I will find a special someone that I am meant to spend the rest of my life with.   A man who uplifts my life in a positive way.  Someone who appreciates the value of my smiles and is supportive of my independence.   What did I learn from this chapter?  No matter how much in love I think I am, I will not lose myself in someone else ever again.  I will maintain the passions and hobbies that sustain me and make me unique.   For now, I’ve got a whole lot of awesomeness inside to discover.  I’m going to work on accepting my whole package, my good, my bad and my ugly, with gratitude. I want to make me the best me I can be before I give my heart away again.  And that seems like a pretty good resolution for 2018.  Happy New Year!

chewed nails