254 days ago...
I left. It seems strange to me that 254 days have gone by since I drove away from Boise with my three cats in my home in tow, crying because I was leaving a man behind who had snuck into the deepest realms of my heart.
I had no idea what would happen next. I had no idea that he'd join me on this adventure in a little less than a month. After all, we hadn't known each other for very long.
It's crazy how the universe works for your good. It's been over 2 years since my ex came home and hit me with the news of what he had done... totally altering my understanding of what is real.
I am extremely grateful for that moment in my life.
Yes, it devastated me at the time
but holy hell...
it woke me up to all the amazingness of this life (granted it would take several months to get my mind right and several more to realize how toxic that marriage was for me).
Sometimes we have to step away to see the truth. I didn't realize how small he made me feel until I removed myself from his space.
A few days ago, my sweet cat (who fetches- so she's quite a smart cat) went into full defense aggression. You see that tiny slit on the side of my easel in the image? Somehow, as I was putting her to bed, her tail caught in there. I've looked at it nearly a dozen times over the last few days...I still can't understand how it happened.
Her response... attack what's holding her... which happened to be me. I was afraid to drop her without getting her tail out... worried it might break or literally hang her up. So I held on and tried to release her tail.
In a matter of seconds, she attacked my hand ferociously. Soon, I let go of her tail in an attempt to scruff her ... trying to control the aggression but she was in full fight mode and attacking so viciously I couldn't get a hold of the back of her neck. Jordan tried to get her tail released, ready to break the easel. Finally she bit so hard into the muscle of my hand, my only response was to let go. Thankfully, she dropped to the floor, no broken tail or hang up. Just a seriously freaked out cat and a bloody hand and wrist for me.
It was such a bizarre experience. But it really got me thinking about how the fight or flight response works in all of us. And sometimes, we sink our teeth in and fight when there's absolutely nothing to fight for. When we should be throwing in the towel or saying "I won't go through this again" and "fleeing."
My life is complete now because I chose to flee from a toxic marriage. Not that he was a bad person (although he made bad choices) but he was bad for me. Very. I always walked on eggshells... almost 20 years of my life was spent that way. I couldn't see how bad it was until I fled. First for a 9 day solo retreat in January of 2019... then completely in April 2019... when I finally said I was done.
I have never felt so at peace... and the craziest piece of all... I stopped having suicidal thoughts the day after I left him. A quiet (sometimes screaming) voice that had been with me all my life stopped saying "everyone would be better off without you." I now know that I have healed what I came to heal. I am free.
And I am SO loved. My new VIP in my life treats me like I've always wanted to be treated. I thought this kind of love was only in the movies. It isn't.
Our travels have slowed (thanks to COVID) but we are still adventuring. In fact, we had a starlit hot springs soak last night, returning this morning after 5 am.
We had been sitting still - the house in one spot - for the longest I have been still since October of last year.
We've taken day trips... one to a place called Blue Heart Springs which can only be accessed by water. Kayaking down (and then back up) the Snake River was a lot of fun - although I was worried about getting my new tattoo wet. The Springs are just a little lagoon nestled into the cliff side, it is quite lovely.
Then June arrived and we finally hit the road for a week long adventure, traveling to City of Rocks, then to the Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park area. We discovered that Zion is WAY too busy (which led us to the Grand Canyon to watch the sunset). Bryce and the Escalante area is absolutely magical (of course Grand Canyon is as well).
While in the Bryce area we hiked to a breathtaking waterfall, rode mules, and hiked slot canyons (we even got snowed on - in June... in southern Utah - crazy weather). The slot canyons were probably my favorite hike I've ever done because of the technicality and unexpected around every corner.
Jordan, and our friend Dan, are not small guys. The trail info said Spooky Gulch slot canyon is tight for the average sized American. We really had no idea what is considered an "average sized American" and we were told on the hike in (by a couple old fellas) that they met a couple who showed a picture of themselves going through and it was tight... and they were thin people.
We went for it anyway. Hoping we - well, hoping Jordan and Dan - could get through. Then after the sweltering heat of the first canyon (it's recommended to go through Peek-a-boo slot canyon to get to Spooky... it was an oven in that first canyon - I definitely overheated) we came across a family with some pre-teens who said there's a 20 ft sheer drop and prepare to scale the wall if you want to get through... but they didn't think it was possible to get through.
We decided to go anyway. Knowing we might have to turn around.
It was fairly tight, nice and cool though so we didn't mind. Then we got to what appeared to be an old rock slide in the way of the trail. As we scrambled over the rocks, I could see the ground getting farther and farther away. Jordan and his brother, Brad, were standing on the top - looking over the 20+ ft precipice. They figured they had the leg, and arm strength to scale the wall down but no way could I or Dan make the climb. I started looking for alternatives and soon Brad purposefully slipped through a hole to the trail below.
The route he took was a good 10 ft drop...I looked for something closer to the ground. Thanks to the screws in my shins, normal jumps can be quite painful so I was hopeful for something smaller. The hole I found was still, easily, a 5 or 6 ft drop onto the trail (4 or 5 ft if I could leap forward onto a rock). Thankfully Brad was already down there to assist because I am sure I would've been limping if he hadn't been. Not that it was a graceful decent anyway.
Dan came through the same hole as me, then Jordan took the same route his brother had taken. And then we found the REALLY Spooky part. The two big guys barely squeezing through... and it was a long treck of this. It kept getting narrower and narrower, sometimes forcing us to go high, or low, through the tight space until finally, it began to widen. Just before exiting the canyon, someone scratched the word "Freedom" into the rock face. I laughed and took a picture.
I loved it and will definitely be exploring more slot canyons in the future. I just need to strengthen my arms and legs some more and I'll be golden.
For now, we're back in Boise. Jordan is healing from a mule kick - his brother's mule tried to kick Jordan's and instead got Jordan's big toe. I'm healing from those cat bites. We're still having adventures (there was a short trail to get into the hot springs for our star gazing last night). There's so much to explore, I'm so happy to have people to do it with.
I hope you all will stop biting down and fighting for the things that are no good for you. Believe me, when you let go... you'll be free!
Love you all! Fly...be free my friends!
I had a dream that I was traveling all over the world. In less than 6 months, I sold almost everything I own...bought a Toy Hauler (the "garage" is my art studio) and am now living wherever, whenever...just me, my art, and my cats.