this is what flying looks like

At first, every thought was a racing one. For two months. Longer. Even still, some hours, some days. Everything was fine. Everything was fine. Everything was beautiful and fine. All of our social media posts and excitement about our love were so true. We were and still are so in love.

And in October, we saw it. Jonny and I were jolted into a huge and heartbreaking realization that our relationship no longer served either of us. We were holding each other back from our potential. As much as we love each other, our time learning together in this realm has come to an end.

I have had moments of the deepest despair I have ever experienced. It is harder to describe than love. Most of the time, this divorce doesn’t bring me relief. I sometimes think I made the biggest mistake of my life in doing this. Other times, I feel goodness moving through me and I am comforted.

I read the other day that “the free fall from illusion is a disturbing way to fly,” and it really helped me understand that sometimes this is what flying looks like.

Now, I remember something that Jonny and I frequently talked about during our 100 day camping adventure. We always saw the most beautiful things we’d ever seen. Every day, there was a new beautiful thing. We stopped on the side of the road to take the dogs out and we observed the beauty everywhere. At some stops, we stayed longer. Others, we moved through quickly. And we were always excited for the next beautiful thing. Rarely did we feel sad to leave a place, we were ready for the next.

There is so much beauty to be seen, let’s go see it.

There are forests and animals and people that I will remember and talk about for years and years. I saw beautiful things and I still remember what it felt like when I saw them. And maybe that’s how looking back on our time together will be. Marriage was the most grand adventure I have ever been on. The most beautiful sights I have ever seen, I saw with him. I got to experience what it feels like to show someone my soul and feel it be so loved.

With every phase of life come the best and worst things that ever happen to us. Some hold their spot as pillars in our hearts for decades to come. The other heartbreaks and successes get smaller over time while other events pull our attention away.

So, I will see more beautiful things. I always have hope.

I also need to feel what this pain feels like. I need to sit here and close my eyes for five minutes. I need to observe my body in this anxiety.

Sometimes I need to cry and I usually set a timer and cry a bunch and then walk around my apartment and do it again if I need to. Or I call a friend, which helps a lot when I’m in a mega cry mode and need some reality. When I can’t get out of bed, I take my dogs out. It is the worst and the best and it drives me crazy.

I get stuck in never-ending undertows of negative thought. Among the best parts of having a partner around was constantly having someone to reassure me and tell me that I am cool. So, I’m having to choose positive self-talk on a consistent basis and I need to pause multiple times a day to take a gratitude or self-compassion break. Constant positive affirmations.

It takes a huge effort to combat negative self-talk when I am alone in my apartment and my dogs aren’t in the mood to cuddle. I frequently phone (text) a friend, and it helps every time. It pulls me out of the undertow and gives me an opportunity to breathe so that I can provide security and love to myself, while being reminded that I am loved by others. I look in the mirror (making eye contact with myself) and I say, “I love you,” to myself at least twice a day.

I am beginning to laugh.

I have already created happy memories, and that feels weird sometimes. Sometimes I make people laugh and the only laugh that ever mattered isn’t there. I’m also having quite a bit of fun. I have been putting myself out there and saying yes to more things. I have surrounded myself with loving support and some great therapy.

Brene Brown talks about how joy is directly tied to gratitude. And she is the person who inspired my daily gratitude practice in 2014. I think she was right. She said, gratitude is directly tied to joy. It definitely is, because I still feel this light that just doesn’t go out. There’s just this steady glow, always in my heart, and I never had that before.

I take moments each day to acknowledge what I am grateful for. I make a gratitude list every morning. No matter what. When I am in a group of people and laughing and dancing, I let myself feel grateful. When I look over and see my dogs sleeping, I pause in gratitude. I am grateful for breath.

I think the same lesson will present itself to us until we are willing to learn it. I am doing my best to remain willing and I am so grateful for the opportunity to build a life according to my values.

Simone DeAngelis