The EX-Factor

Sometimes, as much as we love to hate them, or hate to love them, or love that they hate us, or hate that they hate us, or love that they hate us (I could go on) we have to eventually admit that our Ex(s), as in someone you were in a significant relationship with and are no longer with, influence our lives and our feelings.

Do you ever find it strange how many feelings and memories can be evoked by a location, a song, a smell, a color, a food, or even a way of life? Sometimes bringing back fond memories of a different time, sometimes reminding of heartbreak, confusion, and even self doubt.

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Now that I’m back in NYC (and I’m sorry, but isn’t that the MOST AMAZING pic. of Midtown NYC– as I flew over Manhattan from STL!!! click to enlarge it!) I’m finding this may be something I struggle with. For example, a year ago today… or maybe it was yesterday, I reconnected with someone who I truly thought I would spend the rest of my life with, in Bryant Park. We talked, laughed and started to lay the ground work for a future. Fast forward to right now, and my life track looks like it’s just me… but I still have a hard time visiting Bryant Park. Just being there reminds me of that night that changed everything. So what do I do? -Go there everyday and wallow in my regret and sadness, wishing I could go back and change things so I’d still be happy? -Never set foot in that park again and avoid it at all costs, in so doing, miss out on all the events hosted there year round? No, that all sounds like it’s going a little over board and bordering on crazy. Instead, when I find myself chilling in Bryant Park, I acknowledge the memories and the feelings, but I let them go… and I enjoy my time.

I have a dear friend who very recently went through something very similar to my recent events. She retreated home in order to get ahold of her feelings and make a plan to take her life in a new direction. The other day she was headed to a wedding with family. Once at the venue, it hit her that she and her significant other had been there just weeks earlier and had enjoyed a wonderful evening. Now being back and alone, all those emotions hit her… hit her hard. Tears began as she tried to make her way into the reception room and join her family, but the memories won out- she turned and high tailed it out of there.

Can you blame her? I know those feelings all to well. All we can do is hope that time will make it easier to cope and that eventually these places will hold new and better memories for us.

However, not all Factors are something as easy as a location. This is where my current struggle kicks in. My now-Ex and I had begun a very strict vegetarian diet and lifestyle together… and now that I’m on my own I’m having trouble deciding if I should (or want to) remain vegetarian or, if in attempting to “purge” myself of all reminders of him (ya right, not!), I should let it go and eat whatever I want.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

I have found I naturally tend to lean towards a vegetarian diet regardless (I really don’t like to handle raw meat, so I don’t cook it often) and I have come to truly LOVE many of the vegetarian meals I have been introduced too. Am I holding onto something by continue with this lifestyle choice? I know that I do feel better when I eat less heavy meats and I’m enjoying trying new foods that otherwise I may never try. But it does remind me of him… and as we have to eat somewhat consistently… it’s almost a consistent reminder. Eventually I know it won’t be, but for the present moment… sigh.

This whole experience and how I’ve managed to (somewhat) overcome it and continue to live, has been a true eye opener. You may never realize how closely tied your life is with someone else until they are no longer a part of it, for better or worse. Then it’s a healing and growing process… which, as much as we wish it would just happen over night… actually takes a lot of time (whether we admit it to ourselves and others or not).  Sometimes it seems like the easiest answer is to delete all reminders of that other person (I don’t do this but I know someone who does) and pretend like it’s not something that keeps us up at night, or surfaces after a few to many drinks, or seems like it would be a comfort when things are hard and no one is there for you.  (more on this concept in a post coming soon).

So, what’s your Ex-Factor? What things stir up memories that you struggle with? 

Feel free to Share, Comment, Like, Follow, ETC!

There are some great posts on the way, including some travel stories with great pictures, the importance of balance and how I find that, and my newest post work-out treat! So I know you will want to stay tuned 😉

Love always, Christiane

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One thought on “The EX-Factor

  1. Jow-dan Steele says:

    You wrote two things that I think were monumental:

    1) “…[A]cknowledge the memories and the feelings, but… let them go… and enjoy [your] time.”

    2) “…[H]ope that time will make it easier to cope and that eventually these places will hold new and better memories…”

    You ask for thoughts or suggestions. I’m happy to be obliged.

    My thoughts- you are human, and you are beautiful. I think the changing of chapters can be beyond sad and challenging at times, and there are many ways to handle them, including healthy and not-so healthy ways. That’s part of being human: experiencing changes and reacting to them. The way that you react to them is one of the reasons I find you so beautiful. You are compassionate, thoughtful, pragmatic, and mature. You embrace your current situation and think about progress and the future rather than running or hiding from pain and conflict. You remain faithful to who you are and what you believe, and I think that enduring faithfulness along with a solid head on your shoulders shows your strength and ability to adapt to all circumstances. You are human, you respond to life’s challenges with intelligence and remarkable ease; this is one of the reasons I find you so beautiful.

    This leads me to my suggestions- be happy.

    So often I find people finding a term, reading it’s definition, and then try to (or challenging themselves) to embrace it. But choices don’t have to be so strict. You don’t have to conform to the standard label. If you don’t like to eat meat because cooking it is makes you feel ewwwww, then that’s ok. If you want to order something with meat, then I think you should. You don’t have to try to live up to the label of vegetarian because you have nothing to prove. I would rather shower six times a day ( yes, you read that correctly- SIX times/day) than never eat meat again because I like meat. Eating meat makes me happy, and I think you should eat what you want and do what makes you happy. Me being a carnivore, and therefore not conforming to the vegetarian lifestyle is what I choose, and I’m happy because of it. You don’t have to eat or do something the same or different because of the past and memories. Eat that piece of meat from that fast-food restaurant on the way to work if you want to. No one is judging you for no longer being a vegetarian or thinking you failed in some way. No one expects you to carry on a lifestyle if you no longer want to.

    You should do and eat what you want because you choose to and because it is what you want to do. This life is full of too much hardness, grief, and people who will expect more from you than is realistic and fair. You deserve to be happy, and take that happiness every chance you get!! You are an awesome, beautiful person, and you should do what makes you happy because you deserve happiness!

    I love you. Who you are, and who you have become, and who you remain to be is beautiful to me, and you inspire me in so many ways. So as you are out their, making it in this big world, acknowledge your memories and feelings, but let them go, enjoy your time, make new and better memories, remember how beautiful and loved you are, and be happy ❤

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