What I Feel

A wild sense of being an adult and having total independence. Ben moved his things out of the house on Saturday. I helped him pack. I then cleaned the house, put fresh covers on the couches, bought plants for the balcony, re-arranged my clothes in the closet, threw away the half-eaten boxes of Ben-cereal, and lit a candle. It’s strange being in ‘our’ apartment and thinking of it as ‘mine’. But that’s what it is now, and this feeling is both terrifying and liberating. Looking around, thinking, ‘hey, I’m a single chick who lives by myself in Amsterdam,’ is a very powerful thought. 

A deep sense of confusion. Everything is in turmoil that the moment. It’s like the future has been thrown up into the air, and all of the pieces are slowly floating down. Some have hit the ground, and some are still floating, up into the clouds with no destination in mind. I don’t know where I will be in one month. Or one year. I so badly want a family and kids someday, but I could now be on a totally different path. I could find the love of my life next week. Or I could swear off love for the next 10 years. I have NO idea what the future holds in terms of location, lifestyle, romance. And I keep forgetting that this is the case. I have a strong sense of security, but then I remember that it’s now a mirage, and the only sure thing is myself. Last week I had someone to make decisions with, build dreams, and name hypothetical children. My dreams are now all mine again, which is a hard concept to grasp.

Sadness. Now that I’m over the big shock, I’m slowly realizing the small things that will change. Ben’s parents are no longer my second parents. Scotland is no longer my second home. I do not have a crazy bikram partner who will sweat it out with me five times a week. Who will make me tea in bed on Sunday mornings and spam my Spotify inbox? Who will I cook for? Shop for? Annoyingly sing for? I have a monumental amount of love to give, and I don’t want it to go to waste. I am scared to walk around the park by myself at night, to travel on weekend trips alone. I don’t feel lonely, but I feel sad for the love I have to give. And the happy routine that is no longer in place.

Strange satisfaction. It’s funny, with Ben ripped out from under my feet, you’d think I would fall down. But I didn’t. Because I have my job, awesome colleagues, passions, friends, family, dreams, financial independence, knowledge of myself, my camera, this blog, the kitchen, small pleasures, and the world. Alone, I thought I would be incomplete, and totally hopeless. But I know who I am now, more than ever. I am a strong woman who loves life, who can think positive even in the darkest of times. I thought I would fall apart without Ben, but I’m still standing. And that is shocking and incredibly satisfying.

Facing my deepest darkest fear. I can’t believe I am going to say this here on the blog, but my biggest fear is dying alone. I could see my entire life with Ben. I wanted to have his children, raise a family with him, build a home with him, retire with him, grow old with him, and god damit, die next to him like in the Notebook. Or at least be buried next to him for eternity. Death scares the shit out of me. But if I can do it someday with someone I love more than anything else in the entire world, then I think it might not be that bad. And even if heaven isn’t real, even if I am just a pile of sad lonely bones, at least they can lay next to the love of my life. I find that thought incredibly comforting. Love is the person you choose to be with, in this world, in life, and in death. Love makes life worth living, and death just another thing we all do together.

Hope. My Gramma taught me to add ‘or something better’ to the end of my prayers. Because we always get what we need, and in the end sometimes we don’t even know what this is. I want Ben back, and I want us to be happier than ever. Or I want an even greater love that I didn’t even realize existed. I want amazing travel opportunities, career moves, family, endless love, or something better. I have a massive amount of hope that this will happen. And I will do whatever I humanly can to turn my hope into a reality.

Nostalgia. Did I ever tell you about the second time I tried to kiss Ben? I was drunk, we were upstairs at a house party, and I cornered him alone in the hallway. I asked him to kiss me, and he replied ‘no’. I asked him why, and he said ‘because you’re girlfriend material’, and literally darted away from me. It’s funny how sad times have the power to remind us of happy, forgotten things. I’ll never understand memory, or how my brain works. Why do certain thoughts of people or places, meals or seasons, pop into our heads, completely uninspired?

Anyways, I’m so sleepy and I have to go to bed. I’m in London for a shoot. Normal Ali would be getting up at 7am to roam the city and take photos. But broken heart Ali can’t sleep at night, and feels heavy and sick in the morning. I’m going to try and make this my last sad post. It feels good to get this stuff off my chest, but I think it’s time to pretend to be normal again.

xo Ali

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11 thoughts on “What I Feel

  1. Despite the sadness, your hope and strength is definitely evident in this post, much like I think they are in your life and feelings. As tough as it is, you will get through it, and I think you know that and I wish you the best in getting there. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard is “the only way out is through.” Keep on keeping on. And your grandma’s “something better” is beautiful, and I’m going to try to remember to incorporate that into my own prayers.

    (Oh, and don’t listen to people giving you a hard time about writing about your feelings. You have every right to do it, and the act can be very healing.)

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  2. Ali, I feel your pain in every sentence. I mentioned this post to my wife. We have both been where you are now and can say truthfully that you will find wonderful things in your future. I admire your ability to see the positives while in the dark times. Be happy, be well!

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  3. I have been there, Ali, and you sound strong at a very vulnerable time. You sound smart at a very confusing time. You sound determined at a very fluid time. Stay true to yourself. Many people are behind you.

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  4. In DIVINE oneness… we descend into this MATERIAL WORLD… to EXPERIENCE… LIFE as we TREAD ALONG various PATHS… some LANES END abruptly… and so it must BE… many ROADS.. PEOPLE and LANES have ended abruptly for all of us… SOMETIMES WE WONDER… what we could have done differently… and we can go on DELVING INTO THE DEPTHS… of PONDERING…. but no amount of trying to unravel the PAST MYSTERIES… will ever give the DESIRED ANSWERS… the JOURNEY must GO ON… and YOU ARE HERE… at this MOMENT IN TIME… JUST YOU… FORGIVE YOURSELF… and all the ones responsible…the JOURNEY is not easy on anyone… LOVE YOURSELF… unconditionally and YOU ARE ALL YOU HAVE… and… the DIVINE rests within YOU… embrace the DIVINE and the PATH WILL UNFOLD BEFORE YOU….. be well…in LOVE… LIGHT… and ONENESS :-)

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  5. Ali, you really seem so self aware and strong, vibrant with so much love to give. B seemed a little…dark and difficult? you may find someone better suited for you, but that doesn’t mean right now isn’t incredibly hard. thanks for sharing with us.

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  6. Ali, I’m really sorry to hear about what you are going through and I think you have amazing strength. I’d like to share with you a quote that really helped me through a bad time, “It is always darkest before the dawn”. Take care xxxx

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  7. Oh sweet girl! You have a way with words that brought me to tears at my work desk. I discovered your blog while planning my July Hardy Farm wedding. My heart is broken for you. I cannot imagine what you have been going through but I wanted to reach out and tell you that the word that comes to mind is “tenacity” when reading your posts. Girl, you bring it. There is no doubt in my mind that life is going to deliver to you a blessing in proportion to the loss you have suffered. I can not think of anyone most positive and deserving of the good stuff than you.

    I think back to the one massive and life shattering break up I had (I had many more but nothing compared to this), and all I think about is clawing at the carpet and sobbing, whispering “he’s never coming back”. It was undoubtedly the least proud moment of my life— and it lasted for MONTHS. I was miserable to be around, so full of angst and heartache that blossomed into anger, and unable to be happy for others around me. I felt like I had been cheated some beautiful fantasy life that I felt entitled to– without even realizing how absurd it was to feel entitled to something just because I wanted it. My time in the “cocoon” of misery lasted a lot longer than yours has! I can’t wait to follow you and see the transformation you will no doubt undergo. And honestly? The photos you have shared from your trip to Maine (many of the places are home to me!) show a beautiful woman who is so full of life, vigor, determination, passion, and the tenacity I spoke of above. You are already healing in so many ways. Sharing your thoughts and feelings on this blog will no doubt blow your mind in the months and years to come when you can look back and see the small changes that occured along the way.

    And one last thing– you put into words the exact reasons why a cancelled wedding is humiliating. A friend of mine went through this and I witnessed up close and personal just how deep that embarrassment goes. But you cannot feel responsible or bad about the money, the plane tickets, the accomodations, the time off from work, etc. People made those plans because they love you and wanted to be there for you. Those two things don’t change just because the circumstances did. And I can assure you…NOBODY is going to hold YOU accountable for this. If anything, these people are feeling nothing but empathy for you. And if you decide to get married in the future? Those same people are going to be overjoyed to be included on the day they envisioned for you this past July. I know it might not feel that way right now, but there is not a single guest you invited to your wedding who hasn’t been broken up with. These people all hoped for better things to come to them and they found ways to be happy. And you know what? Nobody faulted them for it. Nobody felt less happy for them or excited to be included in the special moments of their lives because they thought they were to happen with someone else.

    If all else fails, a quote from Glamour magazine from when I was 14 that stuck with me: “Picked the wrong guy. Gave him the wrong finger.” It was included on a card the author sent out to all of her wedding guests to explain the situation. She then invited them to come party with her and her friends/family on the date that was supposed to be their wedding. I remember thinking she was brave, had a sense of humor, and would be okay. Just like you.

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    • Hi Courtney, your sweet post has been on my mind for a while now, and I finally wanted to write and say thank you for the wonderful words. I think your comment is even more eloquently stated than my original blog post. It’s unbelievable what the human heart can handle, and to be frank, sometimes life has sucked but for the most part I am consistently surprised by how we as humans can manage to heal, physically and emotionally, in such different and wondrous ways. I tweeted the Glamour quote as it’s hilarious, and also comforting to see how others have handled similar situations with humor and grace. To be honest, the wedding was just a drop in the sea. Getting through the actual day was difficult, but I’ve been morning the loss of love and a wonderful relationship, as opposed to focusing on the milestones that would have been. I was scrolling through my Instagram photos last night, and was so surprised to see that 16 weeks back I was gleefully eating burgers on a terrace with Ben. How crazy is it that life can change so completely in such a short amount of time? I’m beginning to recognize this calm inside myself, and it comes and goes, but I am feeling it more and more. And it’s the feeling of letting go, accepting the unknown, embracing that the future will be glorious, and owning the fact that I have absolutely NO idea where I will be or what I will be doing in 5 year’s time. 6 weeks ago this was a very scary thought, but the more I heal the more I realize there is a rock inside of me and that’s all I need, because that rock and that happiness will be there no matter what happens in the outside world. Anyways, thank you again for your comment – it truly meant a lot :) xo

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