Monday, November 19, 2012

My Wildest Moment

Former wild child here so this is a hard one to narrow down, BUT Krystal Wade is hosting a Wildest Moments contest for the release of her new book, Wilde's Meadow.


And she wants to know our wildest LIFE-CHANGING moment, in celebration of her third book in the Wilde series. Like I said, I've never been deprived of wild moments, but most were spontaneous whimsy that didn't actually change my life.

Which led me to this one moment I'm going to share with you, because it made me into a better, stronger person. Sorry it's long.

When I was 21 I moved back to my hometown from college town and met someone, fell in love, and began a relationship. This guy, whom I'll call Bronx (since that's where he was originally from) was the kind of guy that is what I call magnetic. His charisma, his wit, his humor, his looks, his style. Everything about him was compelling. I fell hard, and we continued a three year relationship that I wish I could say was a bed of roses.

BUT ...

It was far from it. Bronx liked to flake out on the spur of the moment. He was young, like me, but also self-absorbed, and even though the stunts he'd pull could've been from mere immaturity, they were the kind of stunts that hurt and made me question what it was I wanted and needed in a relationship. Every day.

Ah, but love is so fickle and stubborn, isn't it?? It didn't matter what Bronx did to hurt me, I always found a way to forgive and get past it. I wanted it to work. I loved him, and I loved being with him. I was willing to sacrifice some of my convictions in order to have him in my life because he was that magnetic.

He proposed to me, at Thanksgiving, many years ago, and I accepted. We were engaged and I had a diamond ring. I was ecstatic. It all appeared to be working out and I was going to get to marry my guy. Except, every time I'd mention setting a date, he'd change the subject. Or shrug. After a few months, I began to understand that the engagement ring was not a beginning of a life together, but instead, a kind of layaway plan in exchange for my loyalty. He gave me a ring to keep me around while he went off and did his own thing. I came last. Our relationship came last. There were never any wedding plans.

I was utterly confused. This was supposed to be the happiest time of my life and instead, I spent most evenings alone in tears. I was 23 at the time (so young when I look back at it now) and I should've been at the top of my game. I was doubting everything about myself because the guy who asked me to marry him didn't really want me around. Oh, he'd call and stop by, as if he were doing me a great favor, but there was no depth to it.

I wondered what was wrong with me. How could I be better? What should I do to fix whatever mistakes I'd made? How could I change to suit him better? I didn't understand it was him and not me that needed some adjusting. The final straw was when my birthday rolled around and he never called.  That was it. He'd been elusive for months before then, but that was the real eye-opener. I was done.

So there I was: heartbroken and with zero confidence. Something had to change, and fast. In my wildest moment(s) of clarity, I took off the ring, put it away, and booked myself a trip to Europe. My family thought I was nuts, but I didn't care. I left it all behind and flew to Italy alone where I spent two weeks touring the country and re-discovering myself. Rome, Florence, Venice, Tuscany ... showed me there was so much beauty in the world and to stop feeling sorry for myself. I soaked in all the art and culture and architecture and it repaired what was broken inside me.

That trip was a self-defining experience that gave me back the strength and confidence Bronx had whittled away. This was all way before that book Eat, Pray, Love came out so it had nothing to do with that... pure coincidence.

When I came home, I was refreshed and renewed and %100 completely over Bronx. I didn't hear from him again until months later when he showed up un-announced to get the ring back. Yeah, the one he told me to keep. What a sleaze.

As luck would have it, I met the man I WOULD marry about a year later and he is everything I wanted and needed in a husband. Thankfully, I never married Bronx as I'm sure it would've resulted in a divorce and ever more unhappiness. These things have a way of working out.

Thanks so much for sharing my wildest moment with me. Do you have one to share? There's still time to enter the contest and help spread the word about Krystal's book! Click on the picture above to learn more. Or tell me about something in the comments. I love hearing from you!

25 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad you didn't get stuck in that awful relationship!

E.J. Wesley said...

Absolutely HAD to check out your 'Wildest' PK! You've traveled so much, and I've read some of your 'normal' stories, so I was thinking BIG. lol

You surprised the heck out of me in a great way. Wonderful story (minus the heartache, of course). I completely relate to how you just left--and your family thinking you'd lost your mind as well. :-D

I did something similar (after a similar event in my own life), but more on an emotional level. I just needed space between me and people, if that makes sense. I needed to get a feel for what life was, and what I wanted out of it.

Perspective is a beautiful thing, and no better place to find it than Europe. (Especially Italy, but I'm biased.) Everything is so old and relatively unchanged there. Well, minus the giant billboards that now cover the buildings in 'the square' in Venice ... Nothing like a Guess ad to 'enhance' the beauty of St. Mark's Basilica. #Sarcasm

Elizabeth Seckman said...

First, it didn't seem long, so no apology needed.

And WAY TO GO GIRL!!! I started saying it college and I still believe...that feeling of love that leaves you insecure and uptight? That's just puppy love, the kind of love you cut your teeth on, but it isn't real. True love makes you stronger.

Hug your sweetie and yourself...you're such a smart lady!

Carrie-Anne said...

Wow, a lot of your story reminds me so much of my so-called relationship with my pathetic so-called fiancé (a walking DSM if there ever were one). Sometimes we just have to have the courage to realize things aren't working out and that this person wasn't the person we thought/hoped he was at the beginning.

Carla White said...

I think you were stronger and more confident than you realize if you had the sense to leave before you actually got married. I took off to Europe at 23 as well - after university and before I figured out what the heck I was doing with my life. Eat, Pray, Love may have broadcasted the idea, but I think people have been doing this for years in that phase before "settling down" when they're unsure of their life and themselves. It certainly gave me clarity and was one heck of an adventure!

Johanna Garth said...

Aww, but those hard moments make you the strong person you are today. I bet Bronx wishes he'd been more committed now...or maybe not, but in the end who cares about Bronx when you are so rock solid!

Michael Di Gesu said...

Wow...
What a story? His loss sweets! What a jerk! I hate people that play with others' emotions.

I was in your shoes on once but TWICE! After my second engagement, I decided to change my life too. Hardships like these are always great learning and growing experiences.

Remember, you wouldn't be the woman you are today if you didn't have that experience with Bronx. Thankfully you were young enough to bounce back.... PERFECTLY!

Roger Lawrence said...

Those "thank-God-I-didn't" moments warm us as we get older. It's just a pity they aren't as easy at the time.

Trisha said...

What would have been awesome is if you had sold the ring and bought something really cool with the money. :P I still have an engagement ring I was given - I offered to give it back after we broke up (I broke up with him) but he told me to keep it. Aww, that was a nice guy.

Not like Bronx!

I LOVE that you just took off like that. I've done the same thing, but with a bit more forward planning. ;)

Tammy Theriault said...

*hug* glad you found happiness in the end.

T. Drecker said...

So glad to hear you made it through that one. Not everyone would have had the strength and wisdom to pull themselves out of that. Way to go!

Krystal Wade said...

Oh, Pk! You had me in tears. You are so much stronger than you gave yourself credit for. Thank you for standing up for yourself. Thank you for believing in you! This is exactly the kind of thing I love reading about, and I'm so happy everything worked out for you.

Tanya Reimer said...

A layaway plan! I never thought of it that way!!! Great story with a happy ending!

jamieayres.com said...

Going to Europe to find the beauty in life sounds great! So glad that everything worked out perfectly for you:-) You deserve every happiness and now you can share your learning experience and wild moment with young adults!

Tamara said...

Wow. That is a really inspirational, awesome post. It takes a lot of guts to just start over like that. I think it's really cool that you had the courage to do that and the trip sounds like it must have been an amazing, cathartic experience.

Lots of GREAT stories on this blogfest!! Thanks for sharing. :)

Cally Jackson said...

I really enjoying reading this post and learning a bit more about you, PK. unfortunately I have very little in the way of a wild past, and the few 'wild' things I can think of didn't really change my life. How about texting a boy and asking him out rather than waiting for him to contact me after we met? That boy is now my husband. Pretty wild, I know! ;-)

michelle said...

PK, I think that you were very very brave at that time (considering you were only 23 years old...)
You were also really fortunate to experience that "wild moment of clarity", which afforded you the opportunity to take charge of your life and book a self-defining trip to Europe!
Remember that our experiences/obstacles/heartaches help to mould and shape us into the adults we are today...

Lexa Cain said...

I think all of our early relationships teach us what we want and need in a healthy relationship for later. It takes most of us a long time to realize we don't have to put up with crap. I'm glad two weeks in Italy did it for you! :-)

Donna Yates said...

Good thing you were guided to make the right decision, because the right one was waiting for you.

William Kendall said...

It's hard to see when we're in the middle of a rough time in our lives that getting to the other side isn't that far off.

Bronx was, in two words, an idiot.

Courtney Worth Young said...

Hi PK! I had to read your entry :) Wow! Visiting Europe alone for two weeks? I often imagine booking a flight and saying eff it all...but you really did. Such an amazing story that requires bravery on so many different levels. The older I get, the more I realize how young 23 was. Thanks for sharing! I hope this story reaches other young women that are stuck in relationship rut. I love that you took a stand, moved on, and found true love. Sometimes life drags us through the crapper so we will appreciate the beautiful things that much more <3

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