There’s no way to talk about the rest of the summer without talking about a not-so-slight hitch that occurred the first Friday night of my trip. And that requires some background, so bare with me.
3 years ago, I graduated from my master’s program jobless, recovering from a stalker ex-boyfriend, and completely unsure what my next steps should be. I knew that in a few months when my apartment lease was up if I didn’t have a job the smartest choice was to move back to CA and live with my mom to avoid a rent I couldn’t afford. But while I love CA, I also love DC and so I kept searching for something that would reasonably keep me there. And as I tried to figure out that part of my life, I knew I had to get over the fear my ex had put in me. So I went on a few dates because I figured the chances were high I’d move across country and therefore I didn’t have to fully make myself vulnerable because I don’t think long distance relationships can work.
And then I met a guy who changed that.
He was smart, took me to historical places for dates, shared my favorite spot in DC (Jefferson Memorial), kissed me against the Washington Monument just to kiss a cute girl near an iconic symbol, came out to BFF’s party before she left the city, helped me move crap out of my apartment. I knew after our 4th date I was in serious trouble because this was the kind of guy I could fall for. I didn’t get a job and had to move, and thus began our on-and-off relationship. It was mostly on – or so I thought – and while we certainly moved at a slower pace and had fights because of the long distance, I believed we were finally in a good place. We broke up briefly in September because he claimed he couldn’t deal with the up-in-the-air future anymore. In November he told me he loved me for the first time. By January we had agreed to get back together. I mentioned my whole idea about working remotely for an extended period and traveling around. We agreed it seemed like a great way to spend some extra time together; I would live with him after visiting Tall One in Ireland and use his apartment as my launching pad for our already planned trips, but also any others I wanted to take.
I left for my 2.5-month adventure thinking it was finally a solid step forward for us.
Until the first Friday night when he told me that he had basically lied to me for the last three years, that at one point during that time he had had an exclusive girlfriend with whom he had been in love and on whom he’d cheated with me, and that before ending things with me in September he had started dating other people.
It’s a bit terrifying to be in a foreign country and know that in less than a week you have nowhere to actually stay. Suddenly a trip I spend months planning and a summer I was super excited about fell apart. After my conference in DC, where am I supposed to go? Do I call it quits and head home, just forget about the whole thing? Do I try to see if I had enough money for extra hotels and hostels?
Not one to share this kind of stuff on my personal social media, I rashly posted a call for help on Facebook. I didn’t give details, just said that my trip had started to fall apart. I was moved to tears (okay, I was already crying, but they changed from sad ones to I-feel-loved ones) by the support I received from friends. People I’m close to, women I’m in chorus with, people I only met recently, and long term friends, responded offering places to stay or a willingness to reach out to people they knew. And, though most of them had no idea what had happened or why I needed the help, that out pouring of love was exactly what I needed. If you were one of those people, thank you. Thank you so much for showing the true kindness of the human spirit. Thank you for reminding me that I am not alone even if I’ve taken on this adventure more solo than I planned.
I woke up Saturday morning still a little panicked and sad, but also ready to tackle even more than I originally planned this summer. I don’t need to be on the East Coast anymore. I can literally go anywhere. I’m not quite packed for it. It will be a little more burdensome than I hoped. But I have nothing stopping me but myself.
So I won’t be going home on Wednesday. I’ll fearlessly move forward, in fashionista style (yes, that did mean I bought myself a new dress and shoes because I deserved it!).
Next post I’ll cover my amazing three-day weekend in Ireland. Thanks for reading!