Any guesses what this number is?
This is the amount of times I wrote some version of, "there's something wrong with me" over the course of a 3 year relationship.
And this doesn't include the hundreds more times I said it to myself.
This isn't about bashing an ex-boyfriend. In fact, he's an awesome guy, hence why I thought something was wrong with me for so long.
It’s about trusting ourselves, about anything, even when it might not logically make sense.
This guy checked all the boxes and on paper it looked like we were perfect together - him, me and my son who he eventually grew to think of as his own. What more did I want?
But, from the beginning something didn't feel right and I wrote it off that I was just hard to please.
Three years into this, I still had those feelings, but they were more intense and I felt trapped. Like it had gone on this long, I didn't know how to stop it.
I went looking for a new therapist to help fix whatever it was that was wrong with me. At the end of our first consult, she said I was depressed and that she could give me a prescription.
Even though I felt like a hollow shell walking around going through the motions, I knew that wasn't the problem. But I weirdly wished it was because that would have given my brain a logical reason and been something I could have explained.
Otherwise, I didn’t know how to explain it and therefore couldn’t trust it.
So, instead I beat myself up for years for not feeling the way I "should" and hurt someone more than I had to.
It wasn’t until I found myself planning my divorce before I was even married that I realized how insane this was.
And also not fair to the other person.
Once the unraveling started, it was sad and scary for sure because we can only see what we’ll lose, not what we’ll gain with hard decisions like this.
But I felt so much lighter - like the heaviness on my chest to keep it all together and be perfect was gone.
I’ve had some version of this to share for months because I know I’m not the only one who’s experienced living a life of “shoulds” but I was, and still am, afraid of being seen as overdramatic - I mean nothing tragic happened.
There was no big event. It was just a dull, seemingly insignificant ping overtime, coupled with similar feelings about my job at the time and a list of other things I should want and should be doing.
I was, and am, worried about oversharing and looking like I don’t have it all together (which I definitely don’t).
And the biggest reason…
I’m not at a point where I can say, “Oh I see what this was all for and here’s my happy ending.”
I’m very much still in this.
Still figuring things out about myself, reflecting and learning from this and all kinds of things that have ended over the years.
Most people probably won't read this far, but if you did and if you’re carrying around a heaviness of shoulds, feeling trapped, or think there’s something wrong with you, remember that life is so short and so precious to give up what we really want for what we think other people want to see from us.
AND there is nothing at all wrong with you for feeling how you feel <3.