Lifestyle Blog: It’s time to speak up about Abuse.

It’s been a week.I don’t think I’ve ever needed a hug so much. I had a month off work to travel a country that I’ve only dreamed about, so I’m incredibly lucky. The truth is it was a trip I couldn’t afford, but equally couldn’t afford not to take. Since arriving home,  I feel unsettled.  I’ve been a hermit and haven’t wanted to talk or see much of anyone because I’ve had things on my mind. I was feeling more like the authentic me while in Vietnam. I’m more comfortable in my own skin then I’ve ever been. I feel like some of my world is upside down, or I’m upside down in my own world. Since I’m feeling all of these things, the Universe is making me face my past head on. I’ve grown in the last month, and feel that its time for me to talk. A few things happened recently that has left me no choice but to speak out. A friend is dealing with a rape trial, another who just broke up with her boyfriend, an acquaintance who was dragged across her carpet by her now ex, a music video that is heart breaking, and me starting to speak about my  past relationships in previous blog posts. It’s time to speak out. Abuse, domestic violence, rape, it’s all around us, and it’s everybody’s dirty little secret. It was mine too for a long time. I’ve spoken out to a limited friend base about it, since I’ve been away from it, but I wont be silent anymore. Because if one person hears what I’m saying and thinks twice about going back home to abuse, or if someone asks their friend if they are really okay and starts these important conversations that need to happen, then I’ve done the right thing. It’s time we start talking.

I was afraid to speak for way to long. I didn’t want to be labelled a victim. I didn’t want to appear weak. I felt shame and most of all, I didn’t want my family to know. I didn’t want to admit what I’d been through. You see when you experience abuse, it’s not only on an emotional or physical level. It affects every part of your being. It affects your friendships, how you view yourself, how you view others, and how you interact. It affects your confidence, your future, and it affects your psyche.  Shame, regret, pain, anger, sadness, weakness,guilt and desperation to name a few of the emotions you feel when you deal with abuse. This is about the relationship I’ve discussed briefly in previous blogs that left me devastated and shattered, until I came undone and had to rebuild myself. It’s also about my past. The abuse started way before that time in my life.

In high school I was hit by a boy who I liked. He wanted me to perform sexual acts on him that I didn’t want to do. He made me feel guilty for not doing it, as we had before. He told me he really liked me, and I was beautiful, but I found out he was seeing another girl while over at his house. So I refused to. And I was slapped for it. I remember being shocked. Where the hell did that come from? I thought this boy liked me. I thought I was beautiful to him. I never told my parents, I never told my school. I told a few friends but he had a different story and it was easier to let it go, than suffer the embarrassment. So I shut up.

I married my “high school sweetheart”. We were together for years. He wasn’t emotionally supportive. He let me drown, and he made me feel shitty about myself, until the day I stood tall enough to walk away… But before that I became a small version of myself. To him, my clothing was too colorful, my dogs too expensive, my body shape a constant topic of conversation, my yoga practice was expensive stretching, I was too sensitive, my/our debt solely my responsibility, my job not well-paying enough, my friends weren’t suitable for him.  Everything that was said put me down, and broke my spirit. So I shut down.

I fell head over heels in love with the next man I dated. He had anger issues. But I could handle it. He said he’d hit another women before. But, I knew he wouldn’t do it to me. Until he did. I blamed myself. I pushed him too far. I knew he was upset. I begged him to stay.  He had family pressures. They didn’t like me. They didn’t understand me. The color of my skin was wrong, my body was wrong, my culture was wrong. None of that matters. It wasn’t about me. It was about them. And him? I promised him if he was seeking help I’d always be there. I wouldn’t leave him. I wouldn’t betray him. I promised to love him to the moon and back, and I had intended too. But that was a hurt and broken girl who made those promises. Yes. I enabled him. I came by it honestly. I thought we could work through it. That love would be enough. I didn’t understand how deep the troubles of this man ran. I didn’t understand that I was repeating my same patterns again. How did I find another abuser? What was I doing wrong? Why wasn’t I enough? Why couldn’t I fix this? We went to therapy. He went to therapy. I was proud of him. Things would get better. We’d be happy for a while. And then he pushed me. This cycle continued. The unbelievable highs and then the bottom of the world kind of lows. I spoke up to him about it. I said I wouldn’t allow it. I said it would never happen again, because he knew better. And when you know better you do better. But I didn’t leave. So I enabled him.  I became unhealthy. My anxiety was high. Every text or conversation had the possibility of becoming a war depending on his mood. I was walking on egg shells, and they were stabbing me. But I held on for dear life, and I begged him to work it out . How could I walk away from this when this man needs me? He’s working on it, getting the help that he needs, were both working on it. And then he kicked me. That’s when it ended. We both broke down. How did we fall so far down this hole. We loved each other. How could we have violence in this relationship? He said it, and I knew then we were over .”Your somebody’s daughter, your somebody’s sister, and your somebody’s friend.” He left me. He couldnt’ stay. He knew it would happen again, and he wasn’t balanced. He left because he wanted to fix what was going on in him, and deal with the abuse he himself had suffered. He left because he finally saw that I was afraid. Because he and his family had broken me down so low, and made me so ashamed, and his family taught me that I wasn’t enough. I stayed and he left. And it was a low that I hope most people never have to feel. I had begged silently at times that our relationship would just be over when we’d have a fight , quietly the voice inside my head would say this isn’t right, get out of this abusive cycle.  But I had always said I wouldn’t be the one to leave. And looking back that was the worst thing I could have promised him or myself. But I believed in the best version of him, that he could get through it and we could somehow make things work. I stayed because the love I felt for him, I didn’t think I would feel for anyone else. I believed my own delusion. So my heart broke.  But when he left I knew that we couldn’t come back from this. So I decided to break this pattern, I chose me.

I always thought that people who stayed in abusive relationships were weak. I judged it. How dare they put themselves in danger. How dare they stay when someone who really loved you wouldn’t do that. How don’t they understand it’s not love. And than I became that women. It’s so easy to judge when you’re not in it. I truly believe that every human is capable of anything. It just depends how far they are pushed. For me, I was capable of seeing all the good in a man. The thing was, it wasn’t all bad in the relationship. We had an incredible connection, and it was easy to stay when things were good. And it wasn’t always abusive. But that’s how it goes, and why I chose to stay in an abusive relationship. I would excuse it, and say I’m strong enough.  The truth is nobody is strong enough for that, and NOBODY should ever think it’s worth it for the good parts of  a relationship. “We accept the love we think we deserve” Quoted from the book The Perks of being a Wallflower. If your taught that you don’t deserve the whole world you will accept less. Why did I accept that love? It’s what I knew. Most male relationships that I’ve experienced had some form of abuse. All abuse looks different. Constant put downs, it’s abuse. Pushing or bullying. It’s abuse. Being beaten, or hit once. It’s all abuse. I’ve changed my thought process on it, released my judgment from it, and I recognize an abusive personality from a mile away now. I won’t for a second engage with it. Abusers sometimes don’t know they are abusive. And others know it but don’t try to change. And there are the ones that don’t want to be defined by it. The ones that seek help. And I hope that they all get the help they need, but it’s not for us to stand by and wait. There is no helping an abuser, in my experience it caused more harm then good.

Why do people stay in abusive relationships? They stay the same reason people stay in stagnant relationships. Sometimes it’s easier than leaving, the good parts are comfortable. Maybe they are afraid to be alone. They think there is nothing better for them. On top of that… there’s manipulation. Your lead to believe that everyone else leaves, so you fight to stay. To prove that you wont let them down. You stay because you don’t want them to suffer. I stayed because I forgot my worth. I stayed because I was told I was a bitch, a slut, made to feel worthless and that I wasn’t enough. I started to believe it. I also stayed because I believed I could handle it. Looking back, the first time I was hit by him, I was shocked. I walked out his door and walked for half an hour. I was NOT going to be a women that gets hit by a man. I didn’t have enough money to get a taxi home, and while walking and crying and in shock I wanted to talk it out. I didn’t want him to be angry with me, and I didn’t want him to be angry at himself. I was a fucking mess and believed that it would get better. And this is why I’m writing this. Yes in abusive relationships you will have some amazing days. Amazing trips, amazing experiences, amazing memories. Then that amazing cycle hits a low. All of a sudden it’s so much worse than you thought it could be. But you cry together and say you’ll do better together. And then things get amazing again. But the next time they don’t just get bad. THEY GET WORSE.  Progressively we were on a downhill spiral, and I was fighting with all I had to save us. Why? Because I thought I could make a difference in his life. Because I loved him, faults and all. But the heartbreaking truth in life, love isn’t always enough. And there is no happy ending in abuse. There’s no healthy love in abuse.

Please talk to someone. If you think you know someone in an unhealthy relationship talk to them. If you are in an abusive relationship. Talk to someone. I promise you any day without abuse is better than the best day you could have with that person that is breaking your heart and your spirit. You leaving doesn’t mean you gave up on them. It just means you respect yourself enough to know you deserve so much more. YOU ARE ENOUGH. You do not need to stand by for one moment longer. Don’t be ashamed. Don’t feel guilty. Don’t blame yourself. You didn’t cause this.

I’ve been out of this abusive relationship for a long while now. I’m nowhere the same person that I was. I am calm. I am strong. I am enough. I will never let a man have that power over me, or make me feel ashamed again. I dated again, and it didn’t work. But I didn’t find abuse this time. I broke that cycle when I was shattered and devastated, embarrassed that I was abused, and that he left me. When I realized how manipulated, and low I was made to feel I told him that I couldn’t accept him in my life as a friend anymore.  I chose to let go of the anger and the hurt so that I could heal, and forgive for the bad that happened, but I couldn’t accept any longer a relationship with him.

I chose me. I gave myself some love. I reminded myself who I really was. A girl who loves to sing and dance, hang out with friends, travel, walk her dogs, and be in  nature. A girl who loves love. A girl who would never let a man treat her poorly. So I decided to be that girl again. I let her flourish. I let her grow. I let her get strong. I let her travel a country alone for a month, and feel love for the world, to be reminded of kindness and compassion, to find herself. I’m back to me. The me before I was hit by the first boy. The me before I was married. The me that grew into a warrior who loved herself fiercely. The me that knows that being ‘alone’ isn’t the same as being lonely. I have so much love for life that I feel unstoppable. I’m grateful for all that I have, and for finding my voice. I’m grateful for what I’ve learned, and the help I’ve received to be in this better place.

So to my friends that I know, and friends that I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting.  If you are in an abusive relationship, Emotionally, Spiritually, Physically. You deserve better. You are enough. Don’t stay because you think you should. Don’t stay because your afraid. Seek Help. Don’t stay because they say the can’t live without you.  Simply, Don’t stay. I STAND WITH YOU. A THOUSAND OTHERS STAND WITH YOU. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  LET SOMEONE HELP YOU.

To my friend I haven’t seen in a long time who gained the courage to stand up and admit you were raped, go to trial and now are reliving all of the trauma.This cannot be easy. It is important what you are doing. I BELIEVE YOU. I STAND WITH YOU. I LOVE YOU. YOU ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE.

To my coworker that committed to leaving abuse after being dragged across the carpet by your hair. I STAND WITH YOU. YOU ARE STRONG. REALIZE YOU DESERVE SO MUCH MORE.

To the ones who don’t understand, or who have never felt the pain and shame of abuse.  To those who judge me, and others that have been in abuse. I STAND WITH YOU, AND I LOVE YOU TOO. We all have different battles that we face everyday. I am here for you.

Because of support from friends, and family… Even though they didn’t know what was happening. I am out of abuse. I won’t tolerate it in my life, as I have no more room for it. I AM ENOUGH. Please note that me being away from home didn’t make this happen. It started years ago. It was a process I went through and it changed me to the women I am today. You don’t need to worry. I am healthy. I am happy. I am enough.

I’ll leave you with a music video from Hosier done to help raise awareness and break the silence on domestic violence or any sort of abuse. Also, I’ve included below this phrase that I saw today that brought me to tears. It reminded me that I promised I would speak up and speak out. My intention is that this blog post helps and serves those that need it. There is no shame in what happened to me. There is no shame if your going through it. This subject is no longer taboo. Lets talk about it. Lets stop it. Lets go with love and kindness. Lets change the world.

XO-Vanessa

 

 

Travelling throughout Vietnam

While I was in Vietnam I got from destination to destination by bus, airplane, taxi, boats and scooters. On the map below highlighted were the destinations I went. The red is where I took bus/night bus and the purple is where I flew. The routes aren’t accurate as to exactly how I got there I just joined the departure and arriving cities. (Ie. Not the correct flight path or correct bus route). 

There are many  ways to travel about Vietnam. Personally I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way. Many people are weiry of the night bus, but I had good experiences when I took them. (Mui  Ne to Hoi An, and Da Lat to HCMC). Make sure to do your research and do what’s most comfortable for you. I ended up taking a bus from Hanoi to Sapa versus the train because it was on that date cheaper and quicker. I’ve heard a lot of good and bad about the night trains, just as I had about the night buses so I just did what felt right, sent a few prayers to the universe and was just fine. I had no problems with transportation in Vietnam and would happily do it all again. Even going on a scooter in HCMC!

Here’s a bit of information for travelling within Vietnam:

  • Often on buses your required to take your shoes off. Wear shoes that can easily slip off, and for night bus you might be more comfortable if you pack some socks to stay warm. They provide a blanket but it can get cold on bus. You’ll also want some good ear plugs. There’s two levels on the bus, I liked being on top personally. Because I’m short I found the night buses to be comfortable. I could see it being crammed  if your on the taller side as your in a “pod” see picture below. 
  • The first time I took bus was a bit daunting. I  found someone that spoke English to make sure I got on right bus, and that I got off in the right place. Make sure the driver or employee on bus knows your travel plans so you get dropped off at correct hotel, or correct station. I didn’t know that I was assigned a seat, so I just sat anywhere, and was quickly corrected. If your not sure, just ask someone. I was lucky to always find helpful travellers, employees or locals.
  • The bus from Mui Ne to Hoi An was about 16-17 hrs with a one hour stop in NHA Trang. I’m sorry I can’t remember the exact amount of time, however most of the trip is overnight and with some good ear plugs I was able to get some sleep. 
  • The bus from Hanoi to Sapa was about 5-6 hrs (if no traffic stalls) and it has lots of winding roads. If you get motion sickness I recommend some gravol before travel. The scenery is well worth it.
  • The night bus from Da Lat to HCMC saves you about 2 hrs versus going in the day, but the road had a lot of twists and turns and I didn’t sleep at all. It took about 5 hrs, during the day it can take up to 8. You can also fly in between those destinations.
  • My flights were easy and straight forward. I checked one bag (my backpack) and had my carry on as well. They were not delayed and both flights were good experiences with good customer service. I’ve heard a lot of other opinions, but I had very positive experiences both with Jetstar and Vietjet.
  • Most buses have wifi but there is no plug to charge your phone. Charge your devices before you go, pack ear buds or bring a good book!
  • Most of the night buses have a toilet but check when you buy ticket. Normally there is 1-3 stops at bus stations that has a toilet. 
  • If you get picked up from your hotel usually they give you a 1/2 hr window of time. I usually was ready 15 minutes before that. If bus is behind quite a bit, it seems to be normal. Don’t panic, your hotel or hostel can call to double check for you. I waited about an hour in Mui Ne for my bus, and called them. They were late but they didn’t forget me!
  • When going to Sapa and Ha Long Bay I would recommend packing a smaller backpack instead of taking all of your gear. It’s common practice to leave luggage at your hotel in Hanoi and pick it up when you return. In Sapa you’ll likely be trekking with what you take with you if your going to a homestay. In Ha Long Bay it just leaves you more room especially when on tender boat to get you around the harbour. Pack light, most likely your doing a two or three day trip. 
  • Hand sanitizer and tissues will be your best friend while in Vietnam. I was impressed how many western style toilets there were, and most I didn’t have to pay to use. But occasionally there is no tissue offered, and you have to adapt to other cultural ways. It’s just nice to have some familiar options when needed. 
  • There are many great travel tour companies such as VK tours that can help book different excursions, tours etc.  There are also many destinations and things you can do on your own! I did a tour in Sapa and Ha Long Bay. Do some research and have a blast!
  • In travel things are bound to go wrong… You might miss a flight, get sick and stay in one place longer then you intended, or wind up like I did often hopelessly lost. So be lost. Enjoy the moment knowing that your exactly where your meant to be. Get so lost that you find yourself. And then maybe find where your trying to go. Ask for help, but be willing to go with the flow. Because when it comes to travel, plans change, or things go wrong. Don’t take it as a negative. Find the good in every situation. When things go a different way, they often lead you to a great adventure, or a unforgettable night, or to somewhere even better then you could imagine. There is no right way, or perfect plan when it comes to travel. Only your way, whatever that may be.

I went to Vietnam on my own, as a first time solo traveller and I would recommend it to everyone. Solo travel is an adventure that I wish everyone experienced at least once in their life. You learn a lot about yourself, how strong you are and how much you can accomplish. I felt safe and comfortable and had great freedom.  I didn’t plan too much in advance, and even skipped some of the places I had intended to go, as I found others I didn’t want to miss. So many people along the way were there to help me, and  I couldn’t have enjoyed myself anymore. Take chances, enjoy new experiences and most of all be kind. All the best on your travels!!!

    War and Human Connections

    After a month in Vietnam, and meeting hundreds of wonderful people I have had countless interactions, connections and stories to share. On my last full day I went to the War Remnants museum. I was moved to tears and filled with pain knowing our history as humans, and even now today that the world is still at war. In Vietnam the war isn’t the Vietnam war. It’s commonly referred to as the American War.

    I was moved to tears for a few reasons, and wasn’t sure if I’d share my opinions but I will say this. Have we as humans learned anything? My biggest fear when it comes to war is that we’re not doing better today. Nobody wins in war. Vietnam, America, and the world, they all lost in this war that lasted over 19 years. Crimes that were committed have just come to light in the last 15 years. I have two stories to mention here that stuck with me when we talk about war.

    1. I met two men who fought in the war while I was in Ha Long bay. We had a moving conversation over lunch. One was discharged from the war after a land mine explosion, and the other that served in the army over 20 years. He has come back to Vietnam the last 3 years in hopes of healing, but mostly he’s looking for a few Vietnamese men that fought in the war that were his allies. He hasn’t seen them since the war, has no idea where they live and if they’re still alive. He has been travelling to small remote villages in hopes of reconnecting with these men. He also came back because as he said during the war, they saw what a beautiful country it was. Now they can safely appreciate the beauty. He had tears in his eyes, and gave everyone at the lunch table goosebumps as he told his stories. Both these men lost a lot in the war. Friends, a brother, they saw things that will change a man. It’s moving to see them back in Vietnam with a love for the country, as well as hoping to reconnect with some of the Vietnamese from the war. I would like to think, maybe this trip or the one he has planned to come back next year that he will find who he’s looking for. The universe works in incredible ways. This man still has traumas from the war and he spoke about how he’ll never visit certain areas such as the tunnels in Vietnam, but he also has love and hope in this country. I think he’ll find what he’s seeking.
    2. In Da Lat on the news at every restaurant and bar was the attack on Brussels. I choose to not watch the news. Not because I am naive about what’s happening. I don’t like the glorification of war or of breaking headlines. The news creates fear, and they sell fear. I sat at the bar one evening with a man from Brussels and his friend. He’s now living in Vietnam and has been for several years. He hadn’t slept in days watching what’s going on in in his home on the media. He spoke about his views and how these attacks are happening around the world and it’s causing fear. But when do we learn as humans? He had the same concerns as me. We focused our conversation on the kindness that we’ve seen while travelling, and the people that help you along the way. We talked about how a simple kind gesture from a stranger can renew your faith in humanity. We talked about the beauty in nature, and in likeminded humans. This in my mind is what humans should focus on. The good. The kind. The love that still exists in our world. We hugged as we all parted ways and they thanked me for listening and for still seeing the beauty that exists around us. There are no words to explain how moving these conversations were.

    These two experiences will stay with me. Even in war, there are human connections and stories of love. How do we change and do better? I’d like to think when we talk about war, or terrorism, or any of the major news headlines that we speak about the humans that have made a difference, or the stories of sticking together and being positive. Choosing kindness and love not fear. It might not be possible everyday or in all things. But when we share some light with another human, the world does shine brighter.

    Kindness is contagious. Go forward with it, and you’ll receive it back. People were nervous or afraid of me travelling solo. I wasn’t fearful one bit. Because I chose to believe in the kindness of others. And everyday I was shown it. I had no negative experiences. I was sick at times, but people helped me. I was lost at times. People helped me. One time I was charged extra in a taxi and for a moment felt devastated. And then you know what happened? Someone helped me. I told the guesthouse what had happened, and they made my one night stay free. Solo travel is popular because it teaches love, kindness and tolerance of oneself and others. It restores faith in the goodness of others.

     My whole trip went smoothly and my experiences were unbelievable. Many cannot be put into words.  So I’ll leave it at this. 

    The world is still kind.

    💜💜❤️❤️

    Thank you for NOT loving me 

    To the men in my past, I today am filled with gratitude, nostalgia and sentimental thoughts. I’m thankful that you all didn’t love me enough. Or didn’t want me, or couldn’t stay, whatever the reason.. Thanks.
    However these relationships came to end… It gave me courage, taught me kindness, broke me down and built me back up, and most of all showed me just how resilient I really am. I’m not suggesting I’m glad you all hurt me, or that we hurt each other. I’m thankful for how I made it through it gracefully and full of love for my life. So don’t take this as a compliment or that you men should all hurt others. We are all responsible for our actions, and need to be accountable for who we are.  I’m acknowledging the fact that I came through it okay because of who I am, and I’m thankful to be where I am today.

    I had a conversation last night with a Man that spent many years together with me. After such an amazing day in Hoi An I agreed to it. I had previously told him due to how heartbreaking our ending had been, and some unfortunate damage done that I didn’t want to communicate or be friends anymore. However I reached out when I was travelling near his hometown. Just to say I’m alive and well and loving Vietnam. He contacted me back and we talked about the hurt we both suffered from such a traumatic ending to a relationship. It was an intense love we shared, but sometimes with that kind of love, the ups and downs are so extreme that it’s a wonder we both made it out… Regardless, we were able to show some kindness and compassion to one another and put some perspective as to why it went wrong. We talked about where we are now in our lives and how we got here, as well as offering some much needed closure and understanding of previous misconceptions. It was a healing conversation. It didn’t take away the things that cut so deep… But it’s helped put a bandage on those wounds left on me. 

    “I am a part of all that I have met” 

    That quote has been echoing though my head today. Every human interaction has changed me, filled me with joy, made me fall apart,taught me a lesson, or been a beacon of light in my life. Interactions that have made me laugh, cry, afraid, happy or angry. I am thankful for them all.

    Because of these moments in my life I am filled with an overwhelming understanding that brings me to tears.

    I AM EXACTLY WHERE I AM MEANT TO BE.  

    How profound is that? I just want to sit with this thought for a few minutes. We as humans get so accustomed to being busy, distracted, lazy, stressed or simply waiting for the next best thing that we forget to focus on the now. On the moment we currently are in. We take these moments for granted. 

     Because of past interactions, and past relationships, ones that were good, ones that were bad, ones with friends, family, and romantic, they have all shaped me. They have allowed me to be just adventurous and fearless enough to be here in Vietnam experiencing a whole new world. I am exactly where I am meant to be. I’m following my path, and thankful for every moment I’m experiencing.

    The days of being lost, of wandering aimlessly, of being afraid or excited. I appreciate them all. These are the moments on this trip that have pushed me, and made me damn proud of myself. They are all blessings. 

    There are many ups and downs to travelling solo. But this is an experience I wish more people would allow themselves.  

    We are all capable of amazing things. The challenge is to be willing to take the risk. 

    So thanks guys, and even thanks for failed friendships and past jobs and “missed” opportunities, for the times I felt regret for not taking the chance on things.  It puts things into perspective. I needed to go through these things, so that today I could stand where I am and think “holy shit! I am meant for this.”

    Thank you for these moments, experiences and challenges. It’s brought me here to where I stand today.

    I am feeling overwhelmed, blessed, fearless and surrounded with love and protection from the universe and my friends that support me. Today I feel it. 

    Love life. Because it’s a beautiful thing.

    – Vanessa 

    Heart wide fucking open

    Hi. Here we go . I said I’d be open and vulnerable…. But can I do it? The words are exploding in my mind and it’s time to start talking.

    It’s my blog and I’m going to say things, and laugh, and swear and probably cry. And maybe even make you uncomfortable being so honest. But I’m pretty open, so it shouldn’t surprise you because anyone that knows me… knows that’s who I am.

    There will be two posts shared today. I wrote a post over 2 weeks ago, but between blogging issues and deciding to be ok with being so open it didn’t get posted.

    It deals with a lot of the same that’s posted below. Some of the words will be similar. Maybe you didn’t read my last one. I posted it just before I posted this one…  About me, my dogs, and a boy. But two weeks have passed, and I still had troubles letting go… So it continued until again I had to understand when it was to be let go, that yes indeed it was time for me to listen. So today I begin actually posting topics that belong in my lifestyle blog. Life lessons I don’t even always want to learn. So here it is…

    I’ve said it before. I’m not awesome at letting go. Even if there’s nothing left to hold onto.

    There you were. The perfect blend of I shouldn’t go there and I’m captivated by you. 

    But lets start further back in 2013 and 2015….

    I  had a heartbreak in 2013 that surprised many. I announced my separation that became my divorce.  It had been a long time coming, even if the marriage wasn’t long. It was years of slowly feeling my heart-break piece by piece. I had become a shell of who I was, and I didn’t feel right. It was time for me to become healthier and love myself again.  I found help from therapists, and admitted I was in over my head. Friends and professionals helped me make a tough decision. But in that I had to fully recognize that a relationship, a marriage was over, and gained the strength to say I wouldn’t stay any longer for someone who wasn’t willing to contribute. I won’t get into all the ins and outs on why my marriage failed. I’ll just say this. It wasn’t a quick decision but it was one that allowed me what I needed. It was the right decision.

    So then the year 2015 came. A year I feel for a lot of people was full of trials and hard times.  I went through a heartbreak in 2015 that shook me and broke me and left me wondering how the hell that all happened. My heart was completely devastated and shattered. A different heartbreak then I had felt before. I hadn’t quite accepted just how wounded this relationship had left me, and was in denial of it ending.  I again, gave too much of myself, and put in all the effort and never wanted to walk away when I should have. Realizing I’ve given more than I’d gotten and ended up depleted. I stayed in a cycle of extreme highs and lows. Unhealthy moments that should never have been allowed…. When it was over and I was in the middle of this heartache, I woke up and came alive. Somewhere in that unhealthy space when things were ending, I found strength and beauty within myself. My heart shattered open. I realized the strength I have and that I was done with unhealthy relationships that left me wondering who I am.

    I became balanced. Happy. And ready for more in life. More love. More gratitude. More living. And when I allowed myself to be so open you arrived. And I was ready for you, which surprised the hell out of me. I was enjoying my own company and wasn’t looking for someone to fill a void, because I didn’t feel empty. But I surprised myself when I wanted to get to know you. I was intrigued.  And you were the one that showed me kindness, and reminded me what a relationship should be.  It woke me the hell up to how badly I allowed myself to be treated previously. That’s a blog post for another day.

    You filled me with joy and made me want to dance. But there were problems. You weren’t open to the things I was. And you said it. You told me that you weren’t good at this… But I didn’t listen to just your words… I listen to your actions, how you treated me, how you acted around me….. Your actions were into what we started. You wanted to be around. You said one thing but you left the door open. A part of you wanted us… And as I so eloquently put it to my friend… You hulk-smashed my heart. But I allowed it. I knew it was coming again and again when you’d speak your words, and back away. You were meant in my life to teach me kindness and after that we needed to walk away. But I stayed. And you let me. We both have fault in that. It should have ended romantically after a few weeks when I got the cliché lines from you…. I should have known my worth and laughed it off and just been your friend… Because it was just the beginning of us hanging out and it was still good.

    People are meant to be in your life. Just not always forever. So we need to learn to let go when we’re told too. I can’t blame just you… I listened only to my heart that felt love. And I followed that against your warnings. But you left that door open. And that hurt.

    I’m leaving for a month and it’s the truth; we weren’t meant at this time or maybe at all.  And it needed to end now. You were right about that. So I can go away centered and balanced and loving myself, and being brave. Brave enough to take this risk travelling alone. Brave enough to know I need it. And to be brave enough to know I’m meant for so much more. It takes two to be capable in a relationship. I am. You aren’t. And this… Whatever it was, wasn’t so profound for you, and that’s ok. You weren’t at my level, because you didn’t want to be. You weren’t willing to be. You were more closed down than anyone I have ever met. And I told you. I’m not there to fix you.

    You are  beautiful in your ways. In ways you are deserving of more than you allow yourself, I hope one day you’ll see it. But my dear friend in other ways, this wasn’t all roses lets just put it that way. And you do have some responsibility in this situation we found ourselves in. Even if you say you were always honest with your words.  We both stayed too long in this suto-relationship. And in doing that, there was the stuff that hurt me. The parts that were real, that you wouldn’t acknowledge. You had to let me go based on our differences, and you didn’t want to hold me back, you also just didn’t want to be apart of what I had to offer… And I had to finally listen…

    The difference this time  between what you and I had and those other relationships?? I stayed who I was. I didn’t change for you. I was goofy. I was me. I sang too loud in the car, and danced around feeling joy all around me. I learned  to not lose myself in you. I’m proud of myself, because I understand that this is growth. I didn’t allow you to shatter me. Yes my heart was smashed, and I feel this heartache, but I wasn’t completely undone. Not because it wasn’t real, but through it all, I saw what I want and what I need… and in truth, you can’t give me all of that. You don’t want too.  And at some point I could no longer deny that. My heart and my brain were not in agreement when it came to you.

    So.. Letting go. I’m learning. And my heart broke but it also broke open even more. I didn’t close down and get bitter, which in all of these trials I’ve been through I never have. I learned. About me. About my worth. About letting go. About being so fucking grateful for all that I do have. About what I crave in a relationship and what I need… And what I won’t allow in the future. So there were many gifts in what we had.  And I showed myself I came along way from where I’ve been.

    I spoke to friends and sought out advice on how to let go. And I’m so thankful to you all. Some knew about all of these heartaches and spoke your mind even when I wasn’t ready. But I heard you. I just had to get there in my own time. Even if the words were straight to the point. I heard you. And I loved you all for it. But I find my way in my own time. Between potential and caring to much I held on to tight, every time.

    But you, the one that many never knew about, I have to let you go. As you have let me go. The timing is right. The universe again has said its time to allow for the healing and releasing what this was, and what it wasn’t. And it feels good to be authentic to myself again. I wouldn’t consider myself unlucky in love. I’ve felt and had great love. I’ve also had great loss. I’ve also had some lessons that hurt, and made me think twice about what I would ever allow.  But in that I’ve found myself. There will be days I hear a song and feel something that hurts, and reminds me of you…  but I’m going to save those moments for a rainy day, as Kenny Chesney put it.

    (Side note: those who didn’t know about this most recent relationship… It’s not because you aren’t important in my life, and it certainly wasn’t because he was not important to me. He was.. He and I from the beginning were pretty much over… I wanted more. He wasn’t ready . And then it was over. And then it was over again….).

    I’ve got so much coming my way.. I’ll be okay. Actually I am okay. I’m learning and that feels so damn good. There’s a reason people write songs about heartbreak. It’s excruciating and devastating. A pain I’ve become familiar with. But somewhere in there it’s life changing and beautiful to be so vulnerable to feel it all. I’m not afraid of my feelings. I was unapologetically all in, and willing to be open to love and see where it went.  The heartache has it’s purpose. It’s brought my creativity back. It’s reminded me of exactly what I want. It’ll be another blog post. What VANESSA Wants… I’ll write it all down, because it’s going to come true for me, and how cool will it be to see it all unfold. Believe it. I know my worth. Because I’m fucking awesome. And so are every one of you reading this.

    I have to thank my friend Anita. She helps me to open my heart and feel gratitude and love even amongst the pain. She helps me to stay grounded and be authentic and know my truth. Through her work in body talk she’s gotten me through some dark days. She helps me when it’s time to let go. My tears are accepted and they flow freely. But she’d say I’ve done the work, she’s just the messenger. I’m able to feel creative and open and spiritual and blessed by the work we’ve done together. If you don’t know about body talk it’s time to seek it out. Message me for more information. If you’re in Calgary, and your ready to find your balance, or if your feeling stuck I highly recommend her.  Our bodies are incredible and when we actually tune in and listen… We realize we know our own truth all along. Ask me about her gift, and her passion. I will get you in touch with her.

    So away I go. Full of love and life and passion. I’m learning to find my passions and live them. My dreams are coming true. What an incredible statement. I’m trusting that I’m on the right path. And being open to feeling all of what I’m going through as it help shapes me. I’m allowing myself to be in the moment and I’m able to move forward without fear. And I’m beyond excited for what’s to come.
    Be kind. Be kind and gentle to yourself. Because although life is beautiful, it isn’t always easy.

    Be full of passion for this life. Love life. All the moments. Because each moment has beauty in it. And… Let go when it no longer serves you. Be brave enough to do that.

    Xo Vanessa

    A prick, quills and my dog 

    This post was originally written just after valentines. Things are better now but it should have been posted earlier. I was trying to get my blog to post under “travel” and “lifestyle” but haven’t quite figured it out yet..  It keep me from updating the blog on this subject so I’m posting it now. Like I said its a travel and life blog.. So if you only want to follow the travelling skip this and next post 🙂

    I was on my flight today listening to Florence and the machines ” what kind of man” and it hit me really hard. It’s a great song and the lyrics rang true to quite a few of my past relationships.. Not being all in, but leaving the door open. 

    Anyways.. The post is below:

    So it’s no secret that my two dogs (or my girls as I often call them) were my valentines this year. And really.. They give unconditional love, and are always happy to see me… So I’d say I’m a pretty lucky girl.❤️
    But I had kind of been seeing a guy for awhile,…. Yeah and didn’t tell most people as I knew it wasn’t going to last… Not my choice I thought he was pretty great… But anyways… it ended awhile ago and I didn’t walk away as soon as I should have… Could have saved me stress, heartache and all that… Well… What can I say… I’m a sucker for punishment and am still learning. When someone says they’re not good in relationships.. THEY MEAN IT. Okay okay. He was honest about it… But we both have to own up where we went wrong. He shouldn’t have been open to dating me if he was going to shut right down, and I should have walked away the second he said that he doesn’t “do relationships”

    Life lesson: people come into your life at exactly the right time, for exactly the right reason. This guy healed parts of me that were broken and after I’d done so much work on fixing myself and the hurt I had… He came along and helped me further.  I had worked on myself enough that I was willing and ready for something more. He offered kindness which had been missing in previous relationships. However…. Just because someone comes along at the right time and helps you grow…. Doesn’t mean they’re meant to stay.  It was meant to be over soon after it started… I’m not good at letting go. I’ll get into that in another post at another time.. This post is about my dog, and I’m getting there…

    I’ve been stressed, between this guy and me being over (had been awhile but we still were hanging) and he offended me the last time I saw him. I thought he was better than that… But I think he had his back up. Afraid.. Yeah I think so, but not here to diagnose what he has going on…

    Lol. … You see what I did with the title of this post? Funny right?   But,  I wouldn’t call him that really. It’s just catchy. And I appreciate him for what he is, and probably all he ever should have been… A friend.. Oh well. My heart wanted more.. 😪

    So between this guy and my upcoming trip with so much to still do… I was feeling emotional and stressed.

    I met one of my closest friends for a walk. We did over 5 km and were  enjoying our day completely. She allowed me to vent about my stresses, and she talked about hers. It was incredibly windy but a warm day for what is supposed to be winter in Alberta. On our way back to the vehicle…. Things went wrong. My girls caught scent of something and before I could control them they were pulling me down an icy hill. I tried to get my balance and hold them on leash better and somehow one got away. Oh Roxy. My girl who stays by my side always…. Was gone after who knows what… Turns out she met a porcupine that wasn’t so happy to meet her.

    My heart was hurting for her. She got away pretty lucky all considering. Too me it was awful and horrible… And she certainly wasn’t happy, but they weren’t all over her body and down her throat. It could have been worse. She seemed to only have quills in her nose. But still there was enough. Off to the vet we went.

    Side note. Find a friend who loves you unconditionally like I have because I’m beyond grateful for her. Her support is solid, and her kindness is contagious. When shit goes wrong she has my back… I hit the jackpot with the friends I have in my life, and she is no exception.

    My girls are my life and my loves and my family. Seeing one or both in pain is not ok. It hurts me. But man did it put things in perspective. Who cares that this guy I liked hadn’t texted in days, didn’t apologize for hurting my feelings. It doesn’t matter one bit when my girl Roxy was needing surgery to get the quills out.  The best part is the tiny reply I did get back  from him… 5 words… None of which were taking responsibility for what upset me, or apologizing… Just went to show me… Not everyone is willing to own their own shit... All that stress for no good reason. I was warned about boys like that. Emotional roller coaster I was allowing myself to be on… For someone who’s not capable of being accountable, or at least meeting somewhere in the middle. I’ll talk about that another time. But in times of stress, you realize quickly that anxiety and stressing over someone …. Well what can I say. Life happens and things get put into perspective…

    So now I can just focus my stress on financial woes from my vet bill and planning my trip.

    And Roxy ? She’s no worse for wear now. That girls got spirit. And hopefully has learnt that you don’t make friends with porcupines….  And I shouldn’t have tried so hard with someone who has their quills out too…

    2015