This story picks up from where I left off in my last post. If you want to start from the beginning, check out Back to the Real Me.
Realizing I craved authenticity more than anything else, I continued my journey Eastward, and stopped to visit another dear friend. This one is my practical friend – the one who tells me like it is, and helps me see things from an entirely different perspective. But most importantly, she listened as I worked through everything I had just gone through out loud. I ended up staying a few days, soaking up the practical advice in a safe environment, enjoying the intelligent conversations. I started feeling myself light enough to be inspired to play a little music again. Something that I would later recognize as a huge red flag! If you’re not doing something that you love and that makes you “you”, take inventory of your life and your feelings and make sure you’re ok!
During that visit, we didn’t do anything extravagant. We ate meals at home, went through the drive-thru at Starbuck’s on our way to drop the kids off at school, and just hung out. I joined in on a few days of their cozy life, and I felt myself grow more and more convinced that I was doing the right thing starting over. That isn’t to say that I never doubted this decision, or never freaked out about being in my thirties and having absolutely nothing to show for it. Not to mention the reality that I was driving home to live with my mother with no plan whatsoever other than to get out of my current situation and home to a safe and supportive environment.
If you want a reality check, ask people who *really* know you what they think about how your life is currently going. That doesn’t mean you should give them or anyone else control over your decisions or happiness either. But these real friends, these are the people who aren’t afraid to call you out. They will notice when you’re lost, and they will remind you of who you were before your soul was pushed down into hiding.
That’s what the first week of my journey out of San Diego looked like: a huge reality check. I knew with certainty that I would never go back to that life, and that I truly wanted to be the real me again, though at this point I wasn’t even entirely sure who that was.
If you are still reading, thanks for letting me share a part of my story! I want to encourage you, right now, to stop and take a deep breath. Ask yourself, am I living the life I want, or the life someone else wants for me? Am I in a safe and nurturing environment, or am I in a situation that I shouldn’t be in? It took nearly three years for me to finally listen to my family and decide to drive away. Don’t wait. Be honest with yourself, and if you need to recalibrate, do it! I am not a licensed counselor, but please feel free to reach out if you need support on any of this. I know from experience that even when you know something isn’t right, it is not easy to leave (and stay gone).