I stood frozen to the spot, in the apartment I rented with my then husband in Atlanta, Georgia, a dragging ache in my heart.
I recognised the truth that I did not belong there, that this life was eating away at me, that I barely recognised myself anymore. But, as I hunted through my mind, I could find no where that I did belong. There were places I had been, with people who I cared about, but I could not picture a future life that would play out in any of them. Not one I wanted. I had lost sight of what I wanted.
Like one of those dream sequences where you try to run and your legs don't work, every atom of my being screamed at me to leave but with no destination to navigate myself by, I stayed firmly rooted to the spot. I felt stuck. My life was so entwined with this man’s that I no longer knew where he ended and I began. My knees gave way in despair and I sank to the ground, my sobbing from somewhere deep and primal, escaping in long, strained guttural yelps.
I hadn't studied NLP or hypnotherapy at this point in my life, but, if I had, I would have done exactly the same thing as I did in that moment:
I asked myself where I would be and what I would be doing now, if I was just me?
The answer came back simply: I would be studying by the sea, in England!
With that, I created some momentum. A rope appeared over the edge of my pit.
Day by day, my dream grew and became clearer, more vivid. I would go to Brighton, a beautiful seaside town I had visited once with my family and had fond memories of. I would study for my MA in Philosophy.
I began saving and arranged a trip to the UK to check out the university. It turned out that a friend of mine had a connection to the head of philosophy so she was able to arrange for me to meet with him for a chat.
As my vision grew, everything fell so neatly into place.
That trip to Brighton was a huge turning point for me in so many ways. I travelled independently and relished, for the first time in a long time, the ease of my own company. Renting a room with a sea view and haggling for a good price, my confidence began to return to me. I spent time, buffered by the wind and gazing out into the expanse of unpredictable water. By absorbing myself in the changing moods and tempo of the sea, I somehow found peace with my own tempestuous emotions.
At the end of a very varied and fascinating conversation with the head of Philosophy, I asked, tentatively, whether I would be need to come for an interview.
'You already have.' came the reply.
Having visited my goal in person, momentum snowballed and in only a few more months I was unpacking my belongings in a flat with a sea view- for contortionists.
I found myself there. And, once I had, I vowed never to lose myself again. I decided that I could be happy alone; that I was certainly better off alone than with the wrong person.
But, of course, Brighton would, in time, bring me the right person...
For anyone reading this who is in despair right now, I recommend you too throw your thoughts to the future you want. I promise they will come back, like a rope, to rescue you from your pit. You don’t have to know exactly what’s at the end of the rope. You just need a direction and some momentum and, once you are out, you’ll see a whole world is waiting for you.