Ahhhhhh okay…so we’re going to go here. I don’t talk about this ever. But I guess it’s time to go here with you because I want to be completely transparent and honest. And you should know that the desire to fall in love right out of the gates after a toxic relationship is real. And you almost can’t control yourself: you just want to be loved and admired and you want to feel something, don’t you? For me, it was an Italian man who lived 50% of the time in Sicily and 50% of the time in Toronto. He was so poetic and handsome and real and the way he described the world and his country and what he wanted for his life... gosh, I fell so hard that I visited him in Sicily and spent time with his mama making pasta from scratch and drinking homemade wine, and eating seafood from the ocean that was just down the street, and talking and laughing for hours using google translate. I mean, seriously... I was loving it, and they all treated me like I was the best thing since sliced bread. It was beautiful and it was magical and I was deep in it. I met his siblings and his nephews and I spent more time with this family, making more food, drinking more wine, espresso, family gatherings, meeting practically everyone he knows. And then…just like that, all of a sudden, he changed his mind about me. I was still in Sicily when it happened. I remember his sisters celebrating me while I could see in his eyes that he saw something in me that didn’t work for him and he got scared and he suddenly pulled away, and it was like my heart exploded. We were so close. We were having so much fun. His family loved me and I loved his family: I loved that his dad worked tirelessly making wine and three different cheeses in the back shed and he couldn’t wait to feed me and delight in how much I loved everything. What I didn’t realize is that we were having so much fun pretending. I thought it was more…I mean I asked for him: I wanted someone passionate and from another culture, maybe a little younger than me, but poetic and charming and handsome. I mean, I wrote it down and I talked about it out loud with my girlfriends and I practically created him out of thin air. But I didn't know how to ask for what I wanted...I didn't know what to really ask for. We were introduced by mutual friends and I thought that it was such a great match. I didn’t know what went wrong but it happened in a flash of a moment and just like that, the fairy tale was over. I tried to keep it alive for a while but it just wasn’t there and he never told me why and it broke me apart in a way that was 20 million times worse than the end of my marriage. It was because I had hope that a man might actually find me loveable. That’s how broken I was. For one year my ex kept coming back to me asking me if it was really over between us, and I couldn’t imagine being with him or without the other man. It was horrible because I was stuck in this whirlwind of low-energy/ low-vibration people that I had created. On purpose. Twice. Does any of this sound familiar?
What I’ve learned in the 3.5 years since I left my emotionally abusive marriage of 18.5 years is that my story isn’t unique. Sooooo many of us are just longing for someone to see us, to hear us, and to desire us after we’ve been in a toxic relationship that we sometimes practically throw ourselves at the guy. I wouldn’t have described myself that way at all, but what I know now, looking back is that I was willing to let a lot of things go just to be seen, heard and desired. That is not a good or fair exchange, and I can tell you right now that when you’re coming out of a relationship where the partner you had was gaslighting you, was playing games with you or cheating on you…that low energy will do nothing more than attract more people and experiences at that low energy. So, here I was again…looking at myself in the mirror asking myself how I got here, with a man who would want me to second guess myself and make me feel like I wasn’t enough simply because he didn’t have the confidence or the self esteem to be what he really wanted to be in life, and instead of doing the work, would try to dismantle me emotionally and do it in plain sight, stringing me along. It was too much.
The day I got my tattoo, a tattoo I had been dying to have for years on top of years, I was so numb from the breakup with this new man and the games he played with me, and the breakup from my marriage and the games the husband had been playing with me that I sat in that tattoo parlour, in that chair for 8 hours with only one break and got 3/4 of my arm tattooed without so much as a wince. I slept through some of it. I read my book on starting a business through some of it. And I had grown-ass men coming up to me asking me how I could sleep and read while getting this kind of tattoo? It was amazing to everyone around me (and me) how numb I was to the circumstances of my life and I just needed to feel something, anything. I was emotionally exhausted. And it was exactly what I needed to start this online business. And I’m sure you remember that I was a reluctant business owner who started an online interview series without having a business just because I had had enough and wasn’t willing to let the men in my life dictate what kind of woman I was going to become. Trust me when I say that I wasn’t done suffering…I kept this man in my life for about 6 months longer until I really saw what he thought of me, so I get it for all of you who don’t want to listen and think you’ve got the perfect guy (your rebound guy) and for those who didn’t listen to my warnings but went through it anyway, I’m still here, and I feel you. I get it. I’m not perfect and I don’t claim to be. As a matter of fact, I am constantly wanting you to listen and not make the mistakes I’ve made because it was just so damned painful.
If you remember last week’s post, it was all about having the courage to say what you want in life and to create a fulfilling space that you’re proud of and that keeps you busy, cleaning out the negative relationships, and knowing what you stand for. I needed to have the experiences I had in order to become who I am. I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m a bit of a late bloomer and in the past, I needed to learn things the hard way because my ego was front and centre.
So what did I do to clean it up? I decided that I needed something to focus on so that I was deeply distracted from becoming depressed and useless. I didn’t want to wallow - it’s not my style. And with the life experiences I’ve had, I can’t exactly afford to sit and let the tragedies of my life overtake me. I just don’t have the time. So I decided to start a business, learn everything I needed to learn, get coaching certification so that I had a structure to follow when coaching, keep building my personal growth and development by reading 10 pages of one book every single day until that book was done, then move onto the next book. I don’t even know how many self help books I’ve read in my lifetime but it’s a lot, and I don’t even know where I would be today if I hadn’t. I made Oprah, Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, Susan Jeffers, Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill and Bob Proctor my closest friends and whatever I could get my hands on of theirs, I would run toward it and eat it all up. I would find out who the people were that I needed to learn from and buy their programs and pay for their coaching experience to give me a hand picking up the pieces and pulling my life together. I would spend time in any church that resembled my beautiful Catholic church that I grew up in in Montreal, because even though I am not religious at all, it was my safe place. I could block everything out and just go hide in there, be alone with my thoughts, meditate and solve my problems. I still do that to this day. I threw myself into my work and made some sharp decisions about what I stood for and what I wanted for myself and I spent a lot of time talking to myself in the mirror about what was going to no longer be acceptable from my life: my discipline had to be on point, my friendships had to be with people who knew their self worth, and I had to start spending time with people who had what I wanted so that I could learn how to create it for myself. I’m still there now, and know that I always will be. I love learning and stretching and pushing myself past my boundaries.
Someone said to me: what feels hard now will be sooooooo easy for you after you’ve done it for some time. And they were right. It was feeling similar to torture to put myself in the position of having to force myself to read and do things that made me extremely uncomfortable, but for crying out loud…this is my life and I had to take it back somehow. I don’t have a mother or sisters or aunts who will do this kind of thing for me. I had nobody to stand in the fire with me and pull me out, and all I could think of was this: “Tanya…do you REALLY think that all the women and men who have come before you worked their asses off to give you the life and opportunities you have now just so that you can give in and stop really trying?” All I could picture was 100 French and Spanish women staring at me with their specific period-clothing on, in black and white, watching me with this expression: “SO WHAT NOW? WHAT are you going to do?” I had no choice but to succeed.
The last thing I will say on this topic is this: I frequently make lists of things. I will make a list in the next few weeks about what my higher self will tell me I need to become in order to get to the next level in my life. And it will most certainly be filled with things about discipline and balance. She always tells me these things and I always listen. Because I said I would. I make lists about what I need to become to thrive in any situation, like my divorce for example. I meditated and called in my spirit guides and asked what the right thing was to do 99% of the time in my divorce and the answer was always “ask for what the greater good for everyone is.” Ugh so not what I wanted to hear. Sometimes I just wanted to be angry, and so sometimes I was but that didn’t get me anywhere. I want you to make a list of what you really want for your life. Don’t edit it, and don’t go into too much detail (just a few words is fine), and then you take it from there. On your list, what is the most pressing? Then ask yourself what you need to learn (and don’t forget about how you need to start to think) in order to have what you want. Because a really good friend of mine once said “Where you are now isn’t enough to get you where you need to go, so what do you need to learn?” And take the steps. That’s it. Fill your life up with things you want to fill your life up with and don’t fill the time with things that are taking you off your path. If you’re feeling lonely and empty it means that you need to reconnect to yourself, not find someone to take up the space. I learned the hard way that when I’ve done that, I’ve ended up with someone I don’t want or I end up alone in the end anyway because they weren’t the right person. So don’t put off the inevitable.