February 28- YEAR 2

Another year has come and gone. I can’t believe it’s February 28th tomorrow. And that it’s such a significant day for me and I’m apart from Rj for the second year in a row. I’m not digging this trend. February 28, 2016 is when I made biggest decision I’d made in my life (at the time) and decided to move back home for good.

I’m currently in my hotel room in Augusta for SANE training.I’ve been in Augusta for three days now and it’s crazy how distance can change how a person sees things. I went to nursing school in Augusta and couldn’t wait to get the heck out while I was here. It took me until a month before graduation to realize how much I was truly going to miss this place. Ironically, I had similar feelings toward Savannah. Driving on I-20 and coming into Augusta city limits felt like a tiny piece of my heart was home. I even creeped by my old town house and snapped a picture.

Just like Savannah though, this place holds countless memories. Bad and good. It’s where I cried countless times because I was so homesick I couldn’t breathe. It’s where I constantly felt I was going to fail nursing school because I made a ‘B’ on a test. It’s the place I learned my ex boyfriend first cheated on me. It’s where I escaped when my mom finally served my dad divorce papers. I lived with three complete strangers; one of which I now consider family. It’s the place I experienced my first heart surgery and fell completely in love with the human heart. The place I reached one of my dreams and the place I had my first ‘date’ with my husband.

As hard as it was to leave Augusta, it was one million times harder to leave Savannah two years ago. Last year, I was really emotional. I wrote how I longed for this day to not be such a big deal. I wish I could say that it’s not, I still have it circled in my calendar. I wish I could say I haven’t looked at all my time hop pictures and gotten emotional, but I did. (And I’m not prepared to see all the time hops for tomorrow- the actual day…)

Last year, I think I was so distraught because the ‘new’ chapter I envisioned when I moved home wasn’t the case. Naked truth- it’s still not. But that’s okay.

In Savannah, I had this big important job. I was in charge and had power. I found worth in the title I had.

I was in the best small group ever and involved in some pretty great ministries.

I had a condo that felt like the ‘home’ I had always longed for. I had a best friend that saved my life. I had a group of friends that were incredible. I found myself- the real me in Savannah. I finally started to love myself in Savannah. When I moved home, I essentially felt like I lost all of that. And a lot of the things I worked so hard to rebuild in my life crumbled. I started drowning again. I had this timeline and vision in my head of where I should be a year out and when I wasn’t there, it was hard.

Now I’m two years out, and I’m slowly starting to see my plan wasn’t big enough. I don’t have this power job title anymore, but I’m still able to do what I love to do. I get to do heart surgery, and bonus- I actually get to sleep and have a life now.

I am also allowed this extraordinary opportunity to become a SANE nurse (more on this to come). Something I would have never had the chance to do if I stayed where I was. I haven’t found a small group that has been a good fit for me at home, so I started my own. A group for high school girls struggling with anxiety, depression and self harm. I love every second of this group and even gained a ‘little sister’. I now don’t have to include quotations when I say ‘home’ because the house I shared with my husband IS my home. Including the red front door. Friends, now that’s a tough one. The best friend I had in Savannah is no longer in my life and that was a bitter pill to swallow. It broke my heart, but I will forever be grateful for her and laugh at all our stupid memories together. [the blog “when you lose your best friend” isn’t about her though, FYI. It’s about my other bff. It’s been a tough year in the friends category.]

Fun fact of the day: I was at dinner with my brother and Rj the other night and my fortune cookie said, “you are surrounded by great friends.” Ben laughed and commented that my only friends were at the table. And even if it’s a little sad because it’s mostly true, I’m okay with that.

I lost myself in Savannah, then found myself. I moved home and essentially lost myself again. But two years out, I’m still growing. I’m loving myself more everyday. And that’s not selfish. I’m finding myself each day. I even played the piano and SANG our first dance song to Rj last week. Y’all, that’s HUGE! Last year, I wrote about being excited about February 28th one day not holding any significance. This year, I’ve changed my mind. I love the date. It’s the day I got one step closer to living the life I always wanted without fear anchoring me down. I wish I could be with Rj and celebrate this anniversary, but tomorrow, I will celebrate alone. And in its own way, it’s the perfect way to honor the day.



How We Broke Up- Part 2

Picking right up from part one…

June 2013 I officially became a licensed RN and told Rj I loved him. It was one of the best days of my life. Unfortunately, it also meant my moving to Savannah was one step closer. We spent every day until I moved squeezing in as much time together as we could. We drove over an hour to go to dinners. We wore hats and sunglasses. I got a burner phone. We went to hole in the walls concerts. We danced to no music. We stayed up all night laughing and talking. Every day we fell more in love.

The last week before I moved we went on our first vacation together (and two friends for my alibi). We went to Orange Beach and it rained EVERY SINGLE DAY. We loved every second of the trip. We knew we had to enjoy our limited time together, so we did. The better things got with Rj the worse things got with my family.

The day I moved to Savannah, my mom wasn’t even home. It was a harsh realization. I met Rj in Atlanta so we could spend our last few hours together. I promised myself I wouldn’t cry in front of him, that I would be strong. YEAH RIGHT. I sobbed the whole morning. I was terrified of moving and not knowing a single person (except my controlling cousin I was temporarily living with). I was terrified to start a new and first nursing job and signed away a three-year contract. I was devastated over my family. And broken-hearted over leaving Rj. Now I know what you are thinking- if you truly felt this way, why don’t you just tell everyone about your relationship? And if it would have been that simple, we would have. Looking back, would we do things differently? Of course. But then I wouldn’t be writing this story.

I think I cried the entire 5 hours to Savannah. I had two days to get settled before my first day at work. I Skyped with Rj and wrote letters and emails. (I am terrible with communicating, so I write. Letters, notes, emails. You’ll learn the importance soon enough.) We started a count down to the minute of when he would come visit me in Savannah. We only had 6 days. We could survive 6 days. We did. My new job was overwhelming. I started doubting I would make it as an open heart surgery nurse. The first week actually flew by.

Before we knew it, it was Friday. I told my cousin I was hanging out with I friend I reconnected with from high school for the weekend. Rj was finally in Savannah and while I was on my way to meet him downtown, I got in a hit and run. I’d never been in a car accident when I driving. And of course, the car that hits me takes off! Who does that? Should that have been some ominous premonition of what was to come? Probably. We ended up having a great night exploring River Street together. I felt like my heart could beat for the first time in over a week. Saturday morning we woke up and started apartment shopping. We spent all day driving around figuring out where the best place to stay in relation to the hospital. I think we toured 20 different places. Saturday night we went to this cool little place downtown with live music (let’s be real, everywhere in Savannah is cool.) We were finding a place for us together. We could do three years of just weekends if it meant forever together. We had some cocktails and danced. It was going to be the best night. Savannah was going to be okay. Maybe I didn’t make a mistake….

And then my mom started calling. She had tracked my phone. With my cousin’s help. She said she knew I was doing something I shouldn’t have been doing. She asked me who I was with. Side note- I’m aware at this point I was almost 22, a nurse with this bad ass job, etc and my mom was tracking me. Psycho? Yes. But to be fair, I had never done anything like this in my life and she was worried. Did she only make things worse, yes. Again, why didn’t I just confess? Because when I told her I was dating a guy 10 years older she almost fainted, I didn’t think she could handle this 25 year age gap. Obviously, I was so flustered, we left the restaurant and went back to our hotel. I didn’t know if I should go back to my cousin’s or what I should do. I was stuck in a horrible place. That was one of the longest nights of my life.

Sunday morning I decided I needed to get back to my cousins.’ My cousin wasn’t talking to me, my mom wasn’t talking to me. I was a wreck. With puffy eyes and a snotty nose, Rj kissed me briefly in the rain in front of the Bohemian Hotel. If either of us would have known that was our last kiss, we would have done it differently. We would have done a lot of things differently. That was our last kiss for over a year. The last time we saw each other was standing in the rain in July 2013.

I got back and faced the music. I didn’t really talk to Rj the next week. The following week my mom came to Savannah. She asked me how I got so lost. To just tell her the truth. Another opportunity to come clean wasted. I saw how damaging my behavior was. Not only to everyone I loved, but to myself and Rj. That was when I began to make one of the hardest decisions of my life. To walk away from Rj. To walk away from this unconditional love and peace I’d never known. I KNEW my family would never be okay with our relationship, and at that point, I had to choose them. Who could choose someone they’ve only really known 4 months over their entire family? What kind of person could love that way at 21?

The answer to that should have been me. But it wasn’t. I walked away from the best man I’ve ever known without so much as a fight.

This is part of the goodbye email I wrote to Rj. I knew if we talked or I saw him in person, I would break down. I was a coward…

“Sent: Monday, July 29, 2013 9:59 PM


I don’t know how many times I have been failed by words. Because there aren’t enough words that can illustrate and describe all the things I need to say. So I am sitting here, at a loss for words. I am crying because my heart is breaking as I write this. But I don’t know any other way. I know that if I skype you or even talk to you right now, you will be able to change my mind. And I can’t change my mind. I need you to understand and I am asking the impossible from you. I try to not ask much, so know that this is something that I need. I am asking you to let me walk away. 

I love you, in every way that I can. That will never change, no matter what or who I become. And I hope that one day I will make a difference and leave a positive impact on this world and walking away from you will have been for something. 

“This above all, to thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night and the day. Thou canst not then be false to any man.” I have to really believe in this quote. I have to be true to myself. I have to be able to look in the mirror and be the person I want to be, to be the person I am meant to be. That is one of the things you are always saying to me. “What do YOU want?” “Be true to yourself.” After this weekend, I took a long look in the mirror and I didn’t recognize the person I saw looking back at me. I am not blaming that on you, by any means. I am just telling you the truth. I have never felt so lonely or isolated or miserable. I felt like I was hurting everyone in my life that was important to me, including you, and I didn’t know how to stop. So I had to take a step back. 

I had to think about my priorities and how to get back on the right path. And the only way to get back on track with my family, is to walk away from you. Like I told you the other day, I didn’t want that option. I still don’t want to pick.I started thinking about the future. I knew, down deep in my heart that there would come a day when I would have to choose. I think that I may have subconsciously always known… I know you may not understand, but I can’t not have my whole family in my life. I know that they may be a little crazy and a lot dysfunctional, but I love them more than anything and I just can’t live without them. I also don’t want you to think that I am choosing them over my own happiness, because I am not. I truly can’t be happy without them being a part of my life. This past week was one of the hardest of my life. I was miserable and honestly was tempted to do self-destructive things. I haven’t felt that way in many years, and I got to a place so low that I was almost at that point. I am not telling you this to make you feel guilty or sad or worry, but I am trying to just help describe where I am coming from. This whole thing with my family has hurt you too. Everyone I love is being impacted by my decisions, and it isn’t fair to anyone. It goes without saying that when I am with you, I am such a happy version of myself. I am at so much peace and even from that first day, we just fit together. I can say without a doubt I was swept away by you and fell in love with you. When you are with me, everything is okay, but when you aren’t, it is too much to bear. Sometimes you lose sight of what matters the most, and I think that is what I did.

Some days, you may not be able to stand back up when you fall down. And that’s okay. Sometimes, it’s okay to be broken. Because someday, someone will help you back on your feet. You won’t be alone forever, it just feels like it sometimes. You can into my life at a very pivotal moment. And while it may not have been the best timing and I absolutely hate the way that Danny and I ended things, but you came into my life when I was more than a little bit broken. I was in a relationship that wasn’t where it should be, I was finishing school, moving back home, finding a new job to start a career, studying for boards and so many other things. You held me together and gave me a peace that I’ve never experienced before.

‘Just don’t give up because times are hard, especially if that person means so much to you. Keep fighting for what you want until you can’t fight anymore, until giving up is the only option left.’ I know you may not believe it is the only option, but for me, right now it IS my only option. I have stayed up countless nights and cried myself to sleep over this. I honestly hate the term ‘heart broken’ because it isn’t just my heart. My whole body aches and is breaking. And I don’t want you to think that I am being weak and giving up, I have to think that I am strong enough to let go. You taught me what it feels like to love deeply and be so consumed it’s a little crazy. You gave me confidence and taught me so much about myself and life.

I have to let go, because we can’t keep doing this. It is taking a toll on both of us and our family. As much as we fit so naturally together and is the easiest thing in the world being with you, our families could never blend. And I thought about maybe it would be easier when I moved out (whenever that would be), but even then, I would know people here so we couldn’t even go out here. I don’t want to be this way. We don’t deserve to have to hide out and sneak around, but unfortunately that would be the only way for us. You deserve better than that and so do I. 

Sometimes I wonder if anything is absolute anymore. Is there still a right or wrong? Good and bad? Truth and lies? Or is everything negotiable, left to interpretation, grey. Sometimes we are forced to bend the truth, transform it, cause we are faced with things that are not our own making. Things that simply catch up to us. And while the challenges that we have dealt with were not of us, but of our situation, we are the ones that are being held responsible. And as much as it kills me, I have to change my situation.

Have you ever wondered how long it takes to change your life? What measure of time is enough to be life altering? Is it four years, like high school? One year? Sixteen weeks? Can your life change in a month, a week, or a single day? I feel like I’m always in a hurry to grow up, to go places, to get ahead. But I’ve come to realize one moment can irrevocably change your life. There have been many of those moments I have shared with you. 

You’ll get over it. It’s the cliques that cause the trouble. To lose someone you love is to alter your life forever. You don’t get over it because ‘it’ is the person you loved. The pain stops, there is new people, but the gap never closes. How could it? The hole in your heart is in the shape of that person and no-one else can fit it. And I’ll miss you, I already do. So much it hurts to breathe. I miss the times we’ve shared together, I miss not being able to talk about them to anyone. I’ll miss what our future could have been. I hate more than anything that it is going to have to be like we never existed.

I know that this is the worst thing, and I am so sorry that it has to be like this, but I just don’t see any other way. This is one hundred times harder than I ever could have imagined, so much harder than leaving Atlanta that Saturday. It kills me that I don’t know how to say goodbye. And I am sorry that I am not calling you or skyping you, but I know I would have just cried and I could have probably been wavered. You said in your email that if it was what I needed and it came to a point that it was too much, you would let me walk away. So I am asking that of you right now. I am begging you actually to let me go, I need you to be the strong one and understand this is what I need,

You have changed my life forever and I will always love you.

I am so sorry


Bloody hell, just typing this and reliving this is hard. Stay tuned for Part 3.