Okay, next instalment in my truth vomit series.
In episode one, I talked about how over the course of The Love Vitamin’s life (about 5 years now), I have been on two separate journeys.
The first one was my journey with figuring out my skin, my health, my diet, my emotions… messing around and experimenting, and then blogging about it.
This journey has slowed down in recent times because I’ve pretty much found my groove, health and acne wise. And because everything in my life had been going really well.
The second was my journey with the creative and business side of The Love Vitamin. The behind the scenes stuff that took up a huge chunk of my time.
As I said in the other article:
This is the part that I don’t really blog about, because, well, it’s not a business blog. But this was and is a huge part of my life. In the background, I spent many many hours of my life working behind the scenes on The Love Vitamin.
By this, I mean all of the hats that I wear to keep this thing going… the writing, the editing, the graphic design, getting the word out about the site, updating social media and newsletters, connecting with readers, figuring out technical stuff, managing contractors…
The formulating my principle, cohesive method of acne treatment that I want to teach (which took years, as this was the results of my health and skin care experimentation mentioned above), writing the ebooks and the programs and constantly updating them, answering questions in my private Academy forums … updating the look of the website… the, just… everything.
And all of it has been so much fun. Difficult at times, but awesome.
The slowing down of this journey is what we’re going to talk about today, and the problem that lead to for me.
The following post is pretty dang personal, so, uh.. judge me gently 🙂
My Blog Journey Slows Down
With the creative & business side of the blog, I had always had this vague goal of “completion” that I was working towards…
By that, I mean that I had formulated my comprehensive method of acne treatment, created a comprehensive and detailed program that teaches it, and finally had a really awesome website design.
The blog and my services, of course, would still go on, but everything else would be mostly in place (for a while, at least).
This process took four years of more than full time work, and in October of 2014, I finally got there.
And at that point, I wasn’t really sure where to take the website and business from there. What was the goal from there?
I didn’t know and I still don’t know.
That, plus the fact that I’ve lived and breathed acne and this blog for four years, I decided, you know what? I am going to allow myself some time to just not focus on it so much and do other things while I figure out what’s next in my life (whether it’s the evolution of The Love Vitamin or something else).
In other words, I was just going to take some “time off” so to speak.
So… as a result of the fact that I was no longer so much on my health and acne journey, and now I wasn’t so much on my business and creative journey either….
Well, suddenly I found myself with a lot of free time to fill and not really sure what sort of meaningful things to fill it with.
Now, I am not asking for sympathy… oh I have free time, poor me.
But for me, at least, too much free time can be a curse. I tend to crave periods of time when I have little to no obligations, and I always think it’s going to be the best thing in the world! Free time to do anything I want! FREEEDOOOOMM!!! Woooo!!
Except I’ve realized over time that I feel most fulfilled when I have a goal. I end up just getting really miserable when I don’t have a meaningful life goal to work towards.
That’s why The Love Vitamin, when I was in the thick of it, was so amazing for me. Reaching the goal wasn’t where the happiness was… the working towards it was the joy.
The journey, in this case, really was the destination, if we want to get all cliche about it.
It’s just that if I have a bunch of free time, doing a bunch of random or routine things with no clear goal or burning passion to them (despite them being enjoyable activities), then I feel like I’m just spinning my wheels.
What’s the point? Where am I going?
I like change, excitement, trying and learning new things… so new and interesting projects with goals and end dates work better for me. Repeating routine activities starts to really wear me down.
So, too much of that and I start getting really restless.
Let Me Paint You A Picture…
So, let me paint a picture for you of my recent summer and fall.
First of all, Luke was away a lot. He is a kayak guide and had a particularly busy summer, so he was away guiding tours much more than he was home. And after that, in October and November, he went to work for six weeks with a company in northern Manitoba that does polar bear tours.
I love having time to myself, so normally I don’t mind at all when he’s away. Generally it’s good for our relationship to have time apart.
But this year it was nearly six months of him being mostly away, and we were being really lazy about actively connecting over the phone or skype… so… you know. It was a bit much. There was a lot of distance growing there.
Secondly, we are the type of people who do best with just a few really, really close buddies. The type of peeps who are exactly on your wavelength and they need you like you need them… the ones who just assume you’ll be hanging out together that week, because who else are you both going to be hanging with?
I feel like I need this.. those tight friends in addition to my relationship with Luke … to feel truly happy.
But it seemed like all of our close friends like that had moved away from town.
I also work from home and tend on the side of hermit… I have plenty of great acquaintances, but meeting and making new close friends is not exactly easy for me.
Another problem was that we had recently bought our own home, which was another life goal that I had been working towards and was now complete… and while I love the house and am super stoked about it, it was just that… well, home and garden maintenance and repairs are huge jobs…
Luke had pretty much been away since we bought it, and while the work was enjoyable, I slowly began feeling frustrated with how much there was to do, and lonely and overwhelmed that I felt like I was doing it all myself.
This obviously wasn’t Luke’s fault since he was away working, but still.. it was supposed to be OUR home, and it wasn’t feeling that way. I was desperately wanting to do this together.
I started to feel a little trapped, and began wondering if home ownership was all it’s cracked up to be.
So here I was at home… too much free time, no meaningful work, no friends, mostly no husband. And a whole lot of “what now?”
But I Actually Had a Pretty Good Summer, Despite All that…
But here’s the thing… despite all that, I didn’t actually have a bad summer, so I didn’t realize how truly miserable I was getting at home.
See, there was one thing I totally fell in love with this year that I just wanted to do all the time, and that was rock climbing.
I have rock climbed here and there over the years… I always liked it and thought “that’s something I want to get more into one day”.
And that day was now, as I suddenly had the time, the means to buy the equipment, and the desire to really learn the ropes. And when I did that, I totally fell in love.
It felt so exciting and empowering.
Problem is, there is only limited outdoor climbing in our town, no indoor gym, and, of course, with no friends in town and Luke away all the time, I started taking constant trips out of town to go to festivals and climb rocks with my close friends.
So I actually had a lot of fun, but it was a major juxtoposition. No fun at home and extremely lonely, and a TON of fun out of town with other people, doing something that just lit me up.
The Perfect Storm
Basically, it was the set up for a perfect storm when I happened to meet a friend of a friend this summer who I connected with quickly and started having pretty strong feelings for, and could tell he felt the same way.
I have never ever had this happen before while in a relationship. Not even hardly a passing attraction to anyone else, so this was all very new.
At first, I thought… well, whatever.
I don’t really believe in “the one”… I think there are many people in this world that it is possible to have a really amazing relationship with, and in however many years of marriage, surely it’s bound to happen that you’re going to end up being attracted to someone else somewhere along the line.
I’ll just ignore it.
But slowly I found myself getting more and more emotionally wrapped up in it, and started spending way too much time with him (he is also really into rock climbing). It felt so good, when everything at home seemed so lonely.
I was firmly allowing myself to get drawn away and into the fantasy of a different life.
Oh, The Confusion
Which obviously caused a great deal of stressful confusion for me…
Luke and I have a really great relationship. We have a lot of love, respect, and fun together. We work so well. Up until now, our relationship of five years has been smooth as glass.
So it’s not like I could actually picture us breaking up! I didn’t want to break up! I love him! …. but then why was I feeling this way!? What the heck was going on?
When I realized just how emotionally deep things were getting, the other guy and I agreed to cut off all contact, and then I got prepared to talk it out with Luke.
Luke was still in Manitoba at this point, and I felt like this wasn’t something to discuss over Skype, so I spent a couple weeks by myself just absolutely freaking out over the situation.
I found out (or was reminded, I suppose) what a basket case I am when something is going really wrong in my life.
My mind goes nuts, I spend all day pacing and talking to myself, I can’t concentrate or focus on anything else, and I can’t eat because I feel sick to my stomach.
I basically went non-functional, and in this case, all my stress management tools seemed to go out the window.
But anyway, by the time Luke got back and we talked it out, I had finally started to put two and two together.
No I didn’t actually want to break up. I was just feeling miserable at home… frustrated, bored, lonely, abandoned perhaps, and I was pulling Luke into the negativity (none of which was his fault), and then trying to run away from it all.
I hadn’t figured it out until then because I didn’t realize how negative I was truly feeling… these feelings built up slowly, and were overshadowed by the good feelings I was having out of town with other people.
When we talked, Luke got it right away. This is the lovely thing about Luke: he’s extremely understanding, and he knows me apparently better than I know myself. I am really lucky to have him.
Right away, he knew the truth: I have escapist tendencies. He knew I loved him… but I was just doing the same old thing I always do.
The Escapist Me
You see, I have always had a habit of moving from place to place, thing to thing, assuming the next place or adventure will make me happier than where I am now.
If I don’t feel perfectly amazing at any given time, my default knee-jerk reaction is always to make sweeping changes to my location or environment, assuming it will make me feel better.
Of course, that’s only to find that it’s all still the same, and I’m still me.
The only time I’ve managed to legitimately quell these tendencies, was when I was engrossed in the passion of The Love Vitamin process. When I felt meaningfully fulfilled within myself, I felt no reason to run.
Now that my journey with that has started winding down, the old escapist me has tried to make a sneaky come back.
So luckily he didn’t hold any of this against me. He knew it was just a new reincarnation of me being me, and that our love wasn’t really dead.
We were booked to head to South America a week later, and we agreed that after all this time apart, this trip would probably be what we needed to reconnect; doing something fun and exciting together away from home.
We also, at the last minute, decided to do something pretty wild while we were there, as a way to process, purge, and grow together from this recent experience…
And that was the shamanic medicine from the jungles of Peru: Ayahuasca. If you’ve never heard of this before, it’s pretty out there… so get ready for some freaky stuff next week.