When letting go is what is kind.

Six months ago I was packing up my house in Playa and moving in with my partner at the time because of Covid and the lockdown that was happening in Mexico. It seemed like the right move (optimism despite a rough year), but 2 weeks in we called it quits and I flew back to the States a month later. It wasn’t a bad breakup but it was a relationship we spent the last year fighting for and couldn’t come to any new conclusions… the more we tried the less it made sense… we couldn’t fit ourselves into a relationship we had outgrown any longer. So, we made the tough choice to walk away & even though it was painful, we did it with kindness in the end… as much as we could stiffen in the difficult moments anyways. We had moved back in together but the uncertainty of the world and our individual needs pulled us apart. Holding on felt too hard when we couldn’t even be there for each other anymore. The kindest thing we did for ourselves and each other was to let go, but it wasn’t easy.

I loved and learned more in those 4 years but also got shown my worst side… so I could heal, so I could get sober, and he was a part of all of that. He opened the door to my darkness and he is where the real shadow work began so saying bye to him felt like letting go of someone that knew my past and had played an active role in watching me heal, and it felt like a loss that still feels hard to describe… because 6 months later the love still exists. Love doesn’t just go away, it isn’t conditional— and I learned that sometimes… the most loving thing we can do, is let another go, no matter how much we love them. You can love someone so much and still know that person isn’t good for you. I learned this year that love isn’t enough; and for someone that believes in love in all moments, it felt heartbreaking. But moving in this new understanding now, allows me to start asking myself what I want for my future (and what that looks like for me). I’m still learning what that is… and how it feels in this new world… but the lessons keep coming and I’m thankful to be seeing so much clearer now than I was.

After leaving V (my ex) in Mexico and returning to the States, I had no idea what life was going to look like for me in the US and I felt a lot of uncertainty returning given current world affairs. Honestly I felt safer overseas! But the smart choice in that moment was to move back and my incentive for doing so was the freedom I’d have to live in my van, work on and build my online business and start to focus on the passion projects I’ve been wanting the time to birth. It seemed like I was being pulled back across the border & it felt like the universe was going to help me sort it out, plus… tourism in Mexico meant my future as a dive instructor was a bit unstable. The waves of change brought me back and 3 days after arriving my home state of Minnesota witnessed the violent murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis PD and well… I think we all know what’s happened since then…

The protests and political division in my home country also brought about an incredible amount of tension within my own family and my personal life. This heartbreak felt suffocating and hasn’t since been reconciled. I grew up with an incredibly privileged lifestyle and a family who was supportive of my lifestyle and dreams, despite the fact that our paths and beliefs became more and more different as I got older. Somewhere along the line, our family curse of sweeping things under the rug came to a head and we haven’t found a way to open the line of communication since. The world is full of division right now, especially amongst families. I’ve always thought we could find common ground on other things, but I’m having a hard time disagreeing over human rights or the rights of women and other marginalized peoples. Losing my partner and adventure buddy of 4 years on top of my family shortly after felt like the rug being ripped out from under me. At the same time I was mourning the loss of my lover I was grieving with my nation and my Black brothers and sisters and then my family… it felt like bricks… It isn’t that we believe differently, I’m not 5 years old! Unfortunately, things were said and done that will take time to heal and will forever change our relationship. My sobriety and my healing has led me on a path of radical honesty and acceptance within my own life and I ask the same of the people I love. I don’t think this is unreasonable. Right now a lot is being asked of us that we’ve never experienced before and if you’re struggling with those you love, stand in love and stand in what you value. As long as you do those two things, you will never regret being true to yourself.

I know none of this is easy & I have it easy easier than most. I recognize my privilege in this world and the more I’ve moved about it and traveled the last 8 years, the more I’ve realized that all humans deserve access to food, water, education and healthcare. This realization shocked me because I never saw human rights as something someone should have to “realize”, and I was ashamed at the things my privilege (and the narrative I was taught) simply hadn’t allowed me to see. When I discuss my privilege I’m not just talking about class privilege but also white privilege, the privilege to be able bodied, to have a University degree, + to be heterosexual (passing). Understand, I’m a girl from a small Minnesota town and a well to do Republican family— speaking out against the narrative that has allowed me so much privilege is hurting the people that have given me everything in this world. To them it feels like an attack on a lifestyle I wouldn’t have had the option of living if it wasn’t for the privilege I was raised in… and the opportunities it gave me over others. Speaking out and voting against a system that disproportionately benefits me seems like a smack in the face to the people who gave it to me… it feels unappreciative and entitled. But dismantling the system that works in my favor is exactly the work that needs to be done because I believe and have seen that there are better ways. I don’t have the answers and I don’t claim to, but I believe in communities and people as a whole to do better, and be better. I believe that by lifting others, we all rise. I believe that how a first world country treats it’s poorest citizens says a lot about that country and it’s morality. I believe in having the difficult conversations and confronting the ways in which our activism may fall short on extending to all peoples. I am so thankful for the education I was given that has allowed me to confront my own privilege and the access I have ((my autonomy and ability to move about the world)).

I think if we don’t use our privilege to open up space to others with less than we aren’t actively engaging in the world; and I intend to use mine to make the world a better place. Having these conversations for the last 14 years since my degree in Women’s Studies and Sociology and traveling extensively has given me a lens vastly different than the one I grew up with. Despite my relationship with my family now, they raised a strong, independent and educated woman who happens to believe fundamentally and morally different things than them… and no matter what, I wouldn’t be who I am, nor would I have the balls to do what I do, if it wasn’t for them and the safety net my privilege has provided. I am still uncovering more layers of healing that need to be done but I can only take responsibility for myself. For the first time in my life, I’m standing in opposition to my family and although it doesn’t seem like much can be done right now, I have faith in the future. I think we can always find common ground as humans, even if that means creating new boundaries so there can be a relationship. I think this sentiment goes for everyone… letting go and boundaries have been my two biggest lessons this year and I acknowledge that my healing here isn’t linear.

I’m not going to lie, the last 6 months have been really hard on my heart. They have tested my values, my voice, my convictions, and my integrity. I have been challenged more than ever before and I am so thankful to have sobriety, self development, and a level head through it all. Because of this, I feel fortunate… fortunate that the universe has given me these tough times when I have the tools to move through them. I feel fortunate to have invested in my own health and sobriety and to have a strong community of supportive friends and coworkers behind me. I feel fortunate to have the space and privilege in this world to stop and reflect on my place and impact within it. I feel fortunate. Period. Even though there are days the grief creeps up on me, I remind myself that I can handle whatever gets thrown at me. I remind myself that I am blessed to live the life I do and I pick myself back up, even if it takes me awhile.

In these moments of turbulence that has been 2020 I am being faced with the opportunity to stay small and comfortable for fear of being difficult, or to use my voice and my platform in a positive way. I choose the latter. We are all being pushed into uncomfortable situations and instead of fighting them why don’t we ask ourselves where the resistance comes from and start looking inside. I keep asking myself over and over, “what is the most loving thing I can do here”, and then I do that… and “loving” doesn’t always mean easy… it means what is kind, what is in alignment, what is in our best interest. & sometimes the most loving thing we can do is let go…

Sometimes we float, sometimes we sink.

I spent the last 4 months learning to let go. And by let go I mean let someone else in. That, to me, was letting go because I’m not the best at letting people in, at least not for very long, and definitely not commitment wise. But when you care about someone enough even the possibility of pain seems worth it, although getting myself to that place wasn’t easy. It took me 5 years to put the heartbreaks of my past into exactly that– my past. It took 5 years of being single to feel as if I was ready to be vulnerable again.

It took exactly 5 days to crush all of those things. 

Now, don’t get me wrong here- I’m not chasing the scattered pieces of my heart in the wind… but I am trying to pick up a very sad heart and a slightly bruised ego. I am trying to take the higher ground. I am trying to understand the reasons with an open heart and mind. I already got angry, then 2 days later I got really really reallllyyyyyy sad. Then by day 5, I didn’t have any feelings. I felt numb.

I appreciate when people have enough self awareness to point out their short comings. Awareness is always the first step, and the biggest! But actions speak louder than words, and at this point I’m waiting for the latter.

I’ve learned in the last 4 months that it was okay to leap. It was okay to let him in, and that it’s okay now to be hurt about the way the relationship exploded with possibility only to crumble into uncertainty over night. ALL of this is okay. I’ve learned that I’m okay, that I always have been and always will be. But mostly I’ve learned that hearts aren’t fragile, they’re actually quite resilient. And so am I.

I am still me, I am still enough. And I’m not angry, because I know from experience that you cannot love someone else until you love yourself first. I already spent the last 5 years dating myself and learning who I am. Just because I’m past that doesn’t mean others are. And timing sometimes sucks. But I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older that maturity is, “beginning to accept your defeats with your head up and and your eyes ahead with the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child”.

We are all okay, and we are all so much more than enough. Don’t forget that. This is the first time I’ve stumbled and only allowed myself to fall half-apart. A good cry never hurt anyone. In the end though, we lace our shoes back up and we start running. Running in the direction that makes us happy and fulfilled. That’s my self love. 

holding hearts is for adults.

It’s a lot of responsibility, holding a heart. It’s not something you play around with, and i know that now. I know what it feels like to hold the broken pieces in your hands and wonder what your next move is. I know how much it hurts to walk around, barely able to pick the pieces up, trying to figure out how to act calm and collected while silently plotting a pity revenge of some kind. In a small way, we feel that revenge is our right don’t we? That royal infraction on our heart deserves a kind of decree in the end. But when you’re standing there, broken, it’s hard to pull yourself out of that moment. It’s hard to see the end game amongst so many feelings. The anger makes us freeze in limbo for a few days, or months, or years, until we wake up one day and realize we’re past it all.

I’ve been on both sides of this heartbreak. I guess it kinda comes with the territory. At the age of 27, my life isn’t exactly conducive to relationships at this point. I’m kinda like the show Lost when it comes to those things… on the island, off the island, wait now we’re in the future? For real though, this is real people shit! I’ve spent essentially my entire life convinced that I don’t need a relationship. Even after I made a plan for Thailand, everyone I dated in the 2 years leading up to the big move began with a conversation that said, “I hope you realize I’m moving and this can’t be more than a casual thing”. I became too good at “casual things”, too good at saying goodbye, and I’ve always been an out-of-sight-out-of-mind kinda gal anyways…

Flash forward a few years, or 7… and I can’t say I’ve gotten out of that place exactly. I haven’t allowed myself a relationship, and I most definitely haven’t learned how to make myself vulnerable to anything or anyone besides my career and travels. It scares me shitless to be completely honest… I guess I’ve became so good at being alone and learning to rely on myself that it’s hard for me to give someone my heart and say, “hey, play nicely please”. Because love isn’t like that, it isn’t wrapped flawlessly in a box with a pretty bow and a users manual. It’s messy! It’s one person looking at another and trying to recognize them in a way that’s genuinely who they are. It’s me trying to break down a person to their core and still love every flaw and every part of them. It’s exhausting is what it is. And we’re never ready for that kind of responsibility. We’re never ready to hold someone’s heart, we’re not the best at it. But we leap all the time, straight into nothing because we’re human and we WANT to feel something. Anything. Especially love. We know what it’s like to love, sure… but to be IN love? Nah, that’s rare. I’m struggling right now trying to find my vulnerable self. I can’t remember what it looks like or feels like to be in love, but that part of me is becoming awake for the first time in so long. I’m trying to be honest with myself and with another about the state of my heart. I’m trying to fall in love at some point, I’m trying to let that feeling in.

At the end of the day I do want the happy ending. Unfortunately for me, I find it really hard to open up to anything unless I know it’s not permanent. If it has an end game, and I can say, “well hey, I leave in a few months anyways” it’s easy to me. But that’s not the point of relationships. You start relationships because you’re saying to that person that you want to see what can happen with them, not that you’re giving it a test period of a few months and then jetting across the country or world, never to be seen again. That’s not how this works. I know that now.

I know all of this now. But mostly I know that I want all of those things despite my vulnerability and the possible pain. I want to take that risk on someone even if it means that I could end up stumbling around trying to pick up the pieces of my scattered heart. I feel sorry for the great guys in the past that genuinely tried to give me their heart when I didn’t play nicely with it. We owe more than that to eachother… I owe more than that. I want to open myself up to all of the messiness of love. I want to leap without an end-game and without expectations. I, more than anything, owe that to myself.