Where we left off . . .
My apologies everyone! The holiday rush has distracted me from my blogging, and I am late posting chapter 5. As a refresher, let's go back to chapter 4 briefly. In chapter 4, I shared how I started dating a co-worker and how this relationship quickly turned sour. After one year in this relationship, I finally realized that I was not happy. Unfortunately, the cumulative stress of this unhealthy relationship combined with an unexpected car accident led to a third episode of depression. Now, I was single and ready to begin recovering once again. This episode did not take long to recover from. I spent the first week of the new year (2013) in the GTA with my Nana and Papa. Upon returning to school, I fell in love with my classes, and I made the decision to add a fifth year to my undergrad studies so that I could do an undergraduate thesis.
The thesis was one of the most daunting challenges I have ever taken on. I never thought that I could do something so challenging, but after speaking to one of my professors about my future, I realized that it would be in my best interest to complete a thesis. Despite the fact that the deadline had passed, my professor was able to sneak me into the thesis course plan, and I started my thesis prep class that year. The more I learned about psychology research, the more excited I was for next year! My grades were sky-high again, and I remained single for the entire semester. I knew that I needed to take a break from dating. Even my counsellor quickly realized my need to be alone for a while. My urge to jump into the wrong relationships was likely a result of my fear of being alone. Now was the time to kick that fear to the dust by spending some quality time dedicated to my studies, my friends, and most importantly, myself.
I truly enjoyed this quality time, and when I finished my fourth year, I felt satisfied with my grades. Of course, I visited the GTA as often as possible over the spring and into the summer. I felt like I was finally putting the broken pieces of my life back together again. I shed all of my weight gain that resulted from my recent bout of depression, which made summer 2013 more enjoyable than summer 2012. Little did I know that the summer fun was only getting started . . .
A summer romance
I have always fantasized about having a summer romance, but I never counted on actually experiencing one. In July, I threw my annual pool party to celebrate my 22nd birthday. I invited my closest friends plus some people from work and from my classes. There was one coworker in particular that I always had a crush on. He left the fast food restaurant a few months prior and was starting a new job. I never thought much of this crush because he seemed like trouble from day one. We bantered and flirted at work, but this guy flirted with everyone. Not to mention, this coworker had a long-term girlfriend, and the whole "player" thing never appealed to me. I was especially not interested in another heartbreak now that I finally recovered from my year-long debacle with Bill. My life was flowing simply and easily, and I did not want to mess things up.
Besides our work banter, I never gave this guy (let's call him Hunter) much thought. That is until I received a text message from Hunter asking to be invited to my pool party. I laughed out loud; is this guy for real? What does he care about some random pool party? I didn't see the harm. I told Hunter that he could come to my party. In all honesty, I wasn't expecting Hunter to show up, so when he was one of the first guests to arrive, I was shocked. He arrived with one of the girls that I worked with, and I gave her my routine greeting hug (I like to hug). I was not expecting to give Hunter a hug, but it happened. Not that it was a big deal; like I said, I am a hugger, and I would rather hug over handshake any day! The only thing is that my heart started hammering in my chest when we started hugging. I repressed those pesky feelings beneath the surface where they belonged.
As friends kept arriving, the party became more fun despite the overcast weather. My pool parties had seen their fair share of strange weather, including an almost-tornado on my 20th birthday party. Still, no one expected the downpour that happened that day. The rain started coming down heavily, and it never stopped! We set up the buffet table under umbrellas and ate burgers on the back porch where we were sheltered by an awning. I couldn't help myself. I kept drifting back to Hunter, and I found myself enjoying our usual banter in a way that was . . . well, unusual. There was something about the heavy downpour that day that made my 22nd pool party one of the best I ever had. My brother showed up with his friends toward the later hours of the night. One of his friends brought over a beer pong table, and things started to get crazy. By the end of the night, I could hardly see straight. I was sitting on my back porch when the party started to die down. It was almost 2 am, which meant that my party lasted 12 hours; I was exhausted and beginning to realize that the backyard was quite a mess! To my surprise, Hunter came and sat down next to me. We started actually talking for the first time. There was no banter, no name-calling, and no shallow conversation. I learned that Hunter was currently working as a paramedic in British Columbia and Alberta for 3 week stretches at a time. He was currently back home for a 2-week stretch before returning out west. His job followed this pattern indefinitely, which seemed like a headache of a job to me, but I admired his hard work. Maybe there was more to Hunter than I originally thought. When we wrapped up our conversation, I realized that I would probably never talk to Hunter again. Besides the odd shift at work, Hunter and I hardly spoke before this point. Why would things change from just one conversation?
Dreaming Wide Awake
I thought that things would reset for me, and I would go back to seeing Hunter as the annoying coworker that he had always been to me. Instead, I couldn't get him out of my head! It was such a frustrating feeling! A few days after the party, I was at my friend Lola's house (of course this is not her actual name). Besides Erica, Lola was my best friend; she was also a coworker whom I started hanging out with in the spring. In a short amount of time, we became best friends, and I spent most of my days at her place. She lived conveniently close to downtown, so we spent a lot of time getting drunk together. I just finished getting my outfit and makeup together for another night at the new country music bar. Country music wasn't my thing, but Lola and her roommates loved this place. I also couldn't help but find myself thinking about Hunter; at my party, he told me how much he loved country music. I personally did not see the appeal, but he insisted that I needed to give it a chance. While we were pre-drinking, Lola put Pitch Perfect on, and we were singing to the final number when my phone went off. Hunter sent me a message! I let out a little squeal of excitement, and Lola looked over at me with curiosity. She asked if it was Hunter, and I nodded as I started messaging him back. For the rest of the night, Hunter and I messaged on and off. I stopped messaging while I was at the bar, and Hunter stopped messaging me while he was on his plane back out west. When Lola and I finally fell into bed at 6 in the morning, I heard my phone go off again. It was not uncommon for Lola and I to watch the sunrise as we finally crawled into bed. I carefully looked at my phone so that I wouldn't wake Lola. As I had hoped, Hunter sent me a message. We continued to talk for about an hour until I couldn't keep my eyes open for a moment longer. I felt a surge of excitement that I had never felt in my life. I took this as a good sign. Maybe this time, I would fall for the right person.
Every day afterwards, Hunter and I messaged for hours at a time. Then one night, we finally had the conversation that I had hoped for. We were in the middle of a four-hour conversation when Hunter finally told me that he liked me. My stomach was burning with excitement and frustration at the same time. I couldn't believe that he was thousands and thousands of kilometers away as he was telling me this! At the same time, maybe it was for the best. I was shaking with nerves. When I told Hunter that I felt the same, our conversation continued for the rest of the night until 8 o'clock in the morning. I couldn't believe that I pulled another all-nighter just from messaging someone with my phone. It all seemed too good to be true. Once Hunter knew that the feelings were mutual, he started pouring out his heart to me. I was startled at first. This guy liked me a lot more than I thought he did, and he hardly knew me! I hardly knew him. To make matters worse, he just got out of a relationship just one month prior. The last thing I wanted to be was someone's rebound, but he reassured me that I could never be a rebound.
The rest of July was spent in painful anticipation of when Hunter would return home. Those were the longest 3 weeks of my life! We were both dying to see each other, and the more we talked, the more we poured out hearts out to each other. My days were spent waiting for the evenings when Hunter finished his shifts and could talk to me. We messaged for hours, and things took off dangerously fast. He was constantly telling me how I was the most amazing person he had ever met, and I fell for his lines hook, line, and sinker. I started to see myself as truly beautiful for the first time in my adult life. I knew that it was weird to see my own beauty as a result of something that some guy I hardly knew told me, but I couldn't help it! I lived my life like I was floating on a cloud. Every day felt like a dream, and I woke up with a smile on my face every morning, even when I had to go into work.
As July came to an end, I started to prepare for my trip to see my Nana and Papa. Of course my trip overlapped with when Hunter would return home, so we would have to wait longer to see each other. While I was in the GTA, I told my Nana all about Hunter and how I thought that I finally got it right! She was slightly apprehensive, but hopeful. On my last night in the GTA, I laid awake, staring at the bedroom ceiling. Hunter would be picking me up from the train station. I was so nervous. What if he saw me and decided that I was actually not as beautiful as he thought I was? He raised me up onto such a pedestal that I was starting to fear that I could never follow through with his expectations. When I hugged my aunt good-bye, I remember her telling me to please be careful. She told me to please not let anyone treat me poorly again. I reassured her that I knew what I was doing this time. Everything was going to be okay. My Nana said the same thing when she dropped me off at the train station. She was excited for me, but I could tell that my family did not want to watch me go through the exact same struggle again, especially so soon after recovering. I stepped onto my train with the realization that I would be seeing Hunter. The wait was over. I couldn't hide behind text messages any longer. Part of me didn't want the train to arrive; what if this perfect dreamland came to an end? I didn't know what to expect because I hardly knew Hunter, yet we were talking to each other as if we were madly in love.
Picture Perfect Summer
When my train finally arrived, I felt my breath catch. My legs were shaking when I stepped onto the platform. It took me a while to find Hunter in the crowd, but I saw him standing next to the parking lot, holding flowers. As soon as we locked eyes, I saw his face light up, and I had instant butterflies. He hugged me and twirled me in a circle. I could feel other people's eyes on us, and I felt like I was living some sort of fairy tale romance. When he set me down, we timidly started to kiss. It was crazy how the last time we saw each other, we were little more than strangers, and now we were kissing. But that's just how things were with Hunter: absolutely crazy!
From the train station, Hunter took me to the riverfront where we walked and talked. He laughed at me because I was still shaking with nerves. I was still so afraid that I wouldn't be able to actually meet up to his standards. If I learned one thing over the past 3 weeks it was that Hunter believed that I was perfect. Well, I knew that I was flawed just like anyone else, but I didn't want him to know that. As the evening progressed, I started to realize that being myself was okay. I started to relax. I honestly don't remember where we went that night for our first date, but I remember returning to my house on a cloud. I floated onto my bed and fell asleep with a dumb grin on my face. Do you want to know what the best part was? I knew that the next day, Hunter and I would be driving into Michigan together to spend the weekend at his family's cottage. Yep! Just 24 hours after our first kiss and we were going into another country together, just the 2 of us. At the time, I really didn't see how crazy this was. All I knew was that my life was becoming something better than dreams.
The next day, Hunter and I drove across the border into Michigan together. The drive was fun because we got to talk more. We bonded so effortlessly, and the way that Hunter kept looking at me sent shivers down my spine. When we arrived at the cottage, I was in awe. Hunter's family owned a log cabin in the middle of no where with acres of land reaching in all directions. Words cannot do this place justice. Hunter kept telling me that I would get goosebumps when I saw the place; the whole family experienced the same magical feeling when they saw the cottage for the first time. He was not kidding! The positive energy radiating from this lone cottage was elating! The best part about all of this was that we had this cottage to ourselves for a whole weekend. Once we unpacked, Hunter showed me the property, including the river and bushes surrounding the property. We casually drank and listened to country music, which to my surprise, I was beginning to like. We rode the ATV's around for miles in the fields and bushes. I sat on the wooden porch swing while Hunter cooked dinner on the barbecue. The sun was setting and turning the sky into a blush colour. As the sun continued to set, the blush transformed into twilight blue before giving way to a star-speckled night sky unlike anything I have ever seen! When I stepped outside that night, the amount of stars in the sky made my breath catch in my throat! Living in the city, I never realized how many stars were actually glimmering overhead; now that we were in the middle of no where, no star was going unseen. I felt so small under the sky, standing alone in acres of open field and bushes. Hunter and I set up a campfire in the bushes next to the cottage. Where the fire pit was situated, the land was raised to overlook a calmly flowing river. As the fire crackled and the country music filled the night air, I felt like I was being taken over by something magical. If this was my reward for dealing with Band Guy and Bill, then those years were more than worth it.
The next day, we shared coffee on top of a wooden look-out tower next to the fire pit. From here, we could see the river and surrounding bushes even better, which was for the best. Just as we were in the middle of talking, a deer emerged from the bushes to wade in the river. That weekend's magic only continued to improve; we saw a family of deer leap across the fields while we were ATV'ing and listened to the lonely call of barn owls in the distance. When it was time to leave, I felt a tug on my heart. I felt like I found my own little heaven, and I didn't want it to end. However, this whirlwind romance was not over yet.
When Hunter and I returned home, we took off to my family's summer cottage the following weekend. We were renting our usual cottage again for a week, but Hunter could only stay with us for the weekend. At the end of the weekend, it would be time for Hunter to return out west for work. I tried to forget about the impending distance and focused on having another memorable weekend. The first night, we were thrilled to be in the small summer town where my family's cottage was located. After spending time with my parents and their friends, Hunter and I went for a sunset walk by the beach. This place had the best sunsets because it was situated along the west horizon. The sun was a blazing pink that cast ripples of purple, orange, and rose across the sky. There weren't many clouds in the sky at all, but the few clouds that were in the sky were dipped in this purple, orange, and rose concoction. The waves weren't too bad that night, just a gentle cascade toward the shoreline. Hunter initiated the swimming by running into the water. I was wearing a bathing suit under my sundress, so I took off my dress and tip-toed into the cold water. That evening was pretty romantic at the time, especially with the gorgeous sky hanging over us.
When it was time for Hunter to leave, I felt so sad. He wasn't just leaving my cottage, he was travelling clear across the country. When we kissed good-bye, I felt this terrifying feeling gripping at my chest. Even though things could not be more perfect, I knew that something was wrong. As I walked away from Hunter and his car, I felt my stomach fall. I had this strange feeling that things were about to come crashing down, but I had no reason to believe this. I looked over my shoulder to see Hunter one last time before he drove away. His eyes lit up when he saw me. It was clear that this guy was crazy about me, but I couldn't shake this awful feeling. As the week at the cottage progressed without Hunter, I still could not resist the nasty feeling gnawing at my stomach. I kept telling myself that my doubts were just due to my experiences with Band Guy and Bill. Still, I couldn't seem to shake the feeling that something was severely wrong.
When the Dream Ends
The weeks passed agonizingly slowly before Hunter returned home. Hunter returned in time for labour day weekend. As soon as I knew that Hunter landed in my city, I was eager to see him as soon as possible, but Hunter kept putting it off. As each hour passed, there was a new excuse why he couldn't see me now. The dread in my stomach was cranked up to a ten. Something was definitely wrong! When I finally got to see Hunter, I went out for dinner with his family. Although he knew my family, I still had not met his. My experience with Bill's family ruined things for me, and I was borderline neurotic with how nervous I was about meeting Hunter's parents. To my surprise, Hunter's family took a liking to me right away, and I LOVED them. He had such a kind, welcoming family, and in no time, I felt comfortable around everyone. In our typical fast pace, I went away for labour day weekend with Hunter and his family. We went back to the cottage that weekend, and in that short time, I got to meet all of Hunter's siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins. From what I could tell, everyone liked me . . . except for Hunter. He had been acting differently since returning home, which only kept feeding the torturous feeling in my gut. I tried to ignore the feeling, but the harder I tried, the harder it fought back. Finally, I started to talk to Hunter about my feelings one night by the campfire. I didn't want to bring up serious feelings this early in the relationship, but he was beginning to snap at me in front of his family. Long story short, our conversations never really got us anywhere. Despite reassuring me that everything was okay, Hunter kept treating me like I was an inconvenience. I still had a great time at his family's cottage, but when we returned home, I felt even worse than before we left.
Time flew, and Hunter returned out west just in time for me to return to school for my fifth year. This would be the year that I would write my thesis and collect the remaining credits that I needed for my degree. I joined a research group and gained a thesis supervisor. Sadly, my enthusiasm was waning because all I could think about was how off things felt with Hunter. He was hardly texting me anymore. The whirlwind romance of the summer was already plummeting. I tried to tell myself that this was just normal. Maybe I was used to intense, feverish romance, which made a normal relationship pale in comparison. Still, my intuition was going off on high alert. I knew that something was wrong, but no matter how many times I tried to talk to Hunter about it, I couldn't get any answers. So I counted down the days until Hunter returned home, believing that the answer would be to see him again.
To my chagrin, things only got worse each time that Hunter returned. He seemed to be increasingly less interested in me until he actually started saying hurtful things to me. I was crying every day. How could someone treat me like I am a ray of light and place me up on a pedestal just to treat me like an invisible, forgettable girl only weeks later?! The pain was unbearable for me, and all I could keep thinking was "what did I do wrong?" My worst fear was realized; I was not able to live up to the impossible standards that Hunter had set for me, and now I was a disappointment. I felt worthless, and my self-esteem crashed down around me. All the progress that I made after Bill was gone. I felt like an insignificant speck once again, and I hated it. I hated how powerless I felt. I remember crying my eyes dry before walking into a late-night lab session with another girl in my thesis class. She asked what happened, and I told her what Hunter said to me. I tried to back him up, supplying him with the same endless excuses that I used to back up Band Guy and Bill. I saw the same look on her face that I have seen time and time again when I fell for the wrong person, but didn't want to walk away from the relationship.
The night before Hunter returned out west, we had a long, thorough talk where we cleared up all issues and confusions. Well, I still felt confused, but I didn't want to make him angry, so I bought his empty explanations for his strange behaviour. He was getting angry at me over everything, including the fact that I was getting along with his family too well. He didn't want me spending the night at his place anymore; in fact, he didn't seem to want me around at all anymore. Still, he claimed that he wanted to keep the relationship going. He returned to work, and I tried to tell myself that everything was okay.
Things were not okay. The day after he returned out west, Hunter broke up with me over text message. My heart was shattered, and I kept telling myself that we would get back together. I couldn't handle the heartache and the powerlessness that I felt. I hated him, but I was still in love with him, which was incredibly unbearable. When I thought back to the summer, I wondered what all of that was for. Why did he have to make me feel so special and so in love only to destroy me soon after? Why couldn't he have just left me alone? I still had no idea what changed him because he still offered no actual explanations. He offered lame, empty excuses that I could see through. I became increasingly aware that there was likely another woman in the picture. That year, I volunteered at the peer support centre on campus. I was waiting in the office with the other girls on my shift. Few students ever came in to talk to one of us "peer counsellors," so a lot of time was spent drinking tea and talking with new friends. I connected with a whole community of women who were motivated by the mental health awareness movement like me. I shared my Hunter story with my friends, and they all said the same thing: it sounded like there was someone else. Deep down, I always knew that was likely the accurate explanation, but it was too painful for me to face.
Things kept spiraling downward for me. Hunter texted me more often after our break-up than he ever did while we were together. Staying in contact with Hunter was making it impossible for me to move on, and I kept holding onto false hope that we would get back together. Hunter would come to his senses and offer an actual explanation that would not cause me a boat load of pain. Still, weeks passed, and it became clear that Hunter was not going to be interested in giving this relationship another shot. I finally took my friends' and family's advice and stopped responding to Hunter's text messages. He persisted for a while, but got the hint eventually and started to leave me alone. Despite the fact that I was no longer talking to Hunter, I still could not stop thinking about him. I kept experiencing flashbacks of the magical summer that we had and how he used to look at me like I was a ray of light. What happened? Where did we go wrong? I tried to trace back my experiences with Hunter, but the more I tried to figure things out, the more confused I felt. I tried to put Hunter in the past, but I had never felt this heartbroken before. Trust me, I had my fair share of heartbreak, but in my relationships with my high school boyfriend, Band Guy, and Bill, I was able to come to terms with the break-up before ending the relationship. I was always the one to end these relationships, and I usually started getting over my feelings before the break-up happened. These break-ups still hurt a lot, but within a month, I was moving along with my life. This time was oh, so different! Hunter and I had only been dating for 3 months, so the relationship came crashing down at the exciting, new relationship phase. Being used to long-term relationships, this early break-up was foreign to me. What made it even harder was the fact that Hunter had lifted my expectations over the summer. I truly believed that my life was a dream come true and that I found someone who made me feel special. The sudden turn of events did not make sense to me, and I kept believing that I was missing a crucial piece of information. Things just did not add up. How do you make someone feel as special as Hunter made me feel only to decide that you don't want to be with that person weeks later?
My questions were answered in time
In order to cope with the agonizing heartbreak and running thoughts, I started drinking heavily, and I mean heavily. The stress and twisted pain in my gut led to severe weight loss this time. I was down to 110 pounds because I was hardly eating at all. It wasn't that I intentionally refused to eat, but my stomach just did not want food. I was lucky if I ate a full meal at all. My parents were getting worried about my weight loss, but eating was too challenging with the knots in my stomach. Now, at 5'3'' and 110 pounds, I was going downtown with friends every weekend, downing 10 tequila shots at a time! This routine became my regular weekend routine, and I kept pushing my drinking limits in a desperate attempt to make the thoughts stop. It worked temporarily. Ten tequila shots will help you to forget anything, but it's pretty easy to see where this can go wrong quickly. Things only got worse when I found out that Hunter was seen with his ex girlfriend. That missing puzzle piece was placed down, but rather than giving me peace, this information caused unbearable pain. I was with Erica and Lola when I found out about Hunter and his ex, and I remember crying into their shoulders that night. I had never felt such a strong need for my best friends like that before.
New Year's eve came around quickly that year. I had to work the night shift at work for New Year's Eve, so Lola took me out on the 30th to celebrate the new year. At first, we were just going to a friend's party, so I drank a few glasses of wine. It was becoming normal for me to down a full bottle of white wine within an hour, so the fact that I was halfway done my bottle of wine when Lola's friend suggested we go to a bar was not abnormal. We went to the British pub downtown where I decided to start lining up for my usual tequila shots. I was shooting them back like a champ, not even wincing at the nasty taste anymore. With each shot, I started to think about Hunter less and less. Just when I started to wonder about what Hunter was doing for new year's, I took another shot. I kept drinking and drinking until Hunter was out of my mind completely. This meant accepting some drink offers from a few men, including a full pint of beer between tequila shots. Just when I thought that I was drunk enough, one of the guys who bought me a tequila shot asked if I had a boyfriend. Hunter was on my mind again. So I ordered another shot of my own while the other guy struggled to choke back his own shot. I reached a new level of drunk. I couldn't feel anything. I could hardly see. One man was talking to me, clearly interested in getting to know me better, but I couldn't see his face no matter how hard I tried to focus my vision. I became wildly aware that I was drunker than I had ever been in my entire life, including my 19th birthday, which is saying a lot! The man I was chatting with started to get creepy, and I couldn't see his face because of my blurred vision. I decided to start walking back to Lola, but I was not sure if I could even walk. To my surprise, I could walk. I couldn't feel my legs, but they seemed to work okay on auto-pilot. I found Lola and her friends, and I collapsed next to Lola's friend on a couch (at least, I think it was a couch). My determined suitor continued to follow me and tried to push for more conversation. He then tried to offer to take me home to "look after me," but Lola's friend protected me. She made sure that he left while I basically existed. I felt so nicely numb. This was the kind of numb that I wanted to feel. My floating, drunken stupor paradise was interrupted by a discomfort in my stomach. I couldn't put my finger on what I was feeling, but I told Lola's friend that I needed to go to the bathroom. Lola's friend walked me to the bathroom. The luck that I had earlier was gone, and I could no longer walk on my own. Lola was in pretty rough shape as well; she was struggling with her own sadness and chugged back as much alcohol as me. Another one of Lola's friends walked her to the bathroom as well. Lola and I went into side-by-side bathroom stalls in the most god forsaken public bathroom that I had ever seen. I wasn't worried though. I didn't get hangovers anymore because I came up with a fool-proof system over the summer, and I certainly never threw up while drunk before. I was confident that I just needed to stand over the toilet, and the nasty feeling in my stomach would go away on its own.
How wrong I was!
I blacked out temporarily, but when I came to, I noticed that there was vomit in the toilet (sorry for the overshare). I asked Lola's friend if it was mine, and she laughed at me. I honestly had no memory of throwing up, but apparently it was happening. I thought maybe now that it was out of my system that I would be okay to go back to partying. Still, I couldn't seem to leave the bathroom stall because I kept blacking in and out with new vomit attacks between intervals. I called out to Lola to make sure that she was okay, but by the sounds of it, she was just as bad off as me. I told her that we would get through this, but honestly, I was becoming painfully aware that I might be looking into the pits of hell. The black outs stopped, but the vomiting did not.
Finally, I got to the point where I could walk back to the car without being sick. Lola felt slightly better too, but the whole time that I was in the car, I was battling with my stomach. I knew that I needed food. As soon as I had food and water, I would be better! We stopped at a fast food drive thru for nuggets and fries. When we arrived at Lola's boyfriend's place where we would be spending the night, Lola and I fell to the floor. I remember eating nuggets on the kitchen floor with Lola, but struggling to get the food down. Lola was only able to eat a few fries before giving up. Suddenly, I became painfully aware that I was going to be sick again. I got up and rushed over to Lola's boyfriend's sink, covering my mouth. I just missed the sink and made an embarrassing mess in the kitchen and all over my own clothes. I felt so bad, and I apologized to Lola's sober boyfriend over and over again. I grabbed a dish rag and cleaned every spot. How I was able to do this in my state, I have no idea! Lola's boyfriend seemed to be okay with the mess since I cleaned it up myself. After that situation, I was taking no more risks. I sat next to the toilet where I remained for 5 hours!!! The whole time, I kept praying for the sickness to stop. I was clutching onto the toilet, wondering when the agony would end. Sometimes, I fell asleep leaning against the toilet, careful not to lie down on my back. I heard Lola's boyfriend ask me if I was okay to which I responded with a wretch. Just when I was certain that I would never leave the bathroom, the sickness stopped. I decided to give the couch a try where I successfully fell asleep (on my side) for the few remaining hours of darkness left. That night was life-changing for me. For one, I learned that I am in fact not invincible to hangovers and tequila shots. I also learned that I was not being good to my body and that I needed to stop drinking. Whether I wanted to or not, drinking was no longer an escape option. When I saw alcohol, my stomach turned. I couldn't even imagine having a casual drink. In fact, I never binge drank again after that night. It took months before I could socially drink again, and even then, I hardly did that. The downside to this was the fact that I would have to face my own heartache. Sober. It was time to build myself back up again.
She Makes Another Come-back
The early months of the new-year brought some peace to my life at last! Returning to school after the Christmas break was a much-needed distraction. I was busy with my thesis and my mental health awareness activities on campus. I made new friends on campus, and I started blogging for the first time in my life. I started reading spiritual self-help books and connected with a side of myself that I had not known before. I always believed that I was being guided by a nurturing, creative force, but when I read these books, I really learned how to conceptualize these feelings into something that allowed me to forgive Hunter. I was finally moving on, and I was learning to love myself again. I was becoming increasingly active on campus, even being interviewed by the city paper and building a following of hundreds of blog readers within months. I felt driven, purposeful, and truly happy. In fact, I felt better than I remember ever feeling in my life. I was elated because I was focused on my life purpose, which is to help others to live a positive life based on love and light.
I was learning that I could conquer anything that life threw at me. Hunter was a thing of the past, and I hardly gave him much thought anymore. I told myself that I would never place myself in a vulnerable situation like this again! I would keep my heart close, and I would focus on my school. I was tired of starting over again and again. It's one thing to hit a road block in life, but when you keep hitting the same road block again and again, you begin to wonder what you are doing wrong. Usually, we are not learning the lesson that these life events are trying to teach us. That was definitely the case for me. I was not learning how to be happy and fulfilled on my own. I was getting closer with each heartbreak, but never quite hitting the mark. Finally, the lesson was learned. I swore to myself that I would never let another man make me feel powerless and insignificant the way that Hunter did. And I stuck to this promise. What I didn't imagine was that heartbreak could strike again in another form. Not all heartbreak is romantic, but it can still derail you all the same.
Are you curious about how this all ends?
I apologize for waiting so long to publish chapter 5. I will have chapter 6 up MUCH sooner because I can't wait to share the final part of my story with you! I will be sharing what my new heartbreak was and how it impacted my life. This will be the final chapter of my blog series, so you don't want to miss it! If you join my mailing list, you certainly will NOT miss it!
Happy new year everyone! Lots of love to all of you beautiful people xxoxoxoxx
Counsellor in training and positive living blogger