Defeated. The feeling settles with weighted intensity as I stare at my reflection in the mirror. I pull at a stray blonde hair and press it into place with intention. Pursing my lips, I blink. I’m exhausted. I’m sad. I’m confused. My skin is shitty and my life is nutty. Thanks November.
“All I wanted to do was come home to him…” I think dejectedly as I grab at my constant companion; a black suitcase that sounds as worn as I am by the way it clicks and squeaks behind my every step. I wrestle the heavy hotel room door open only to have it slam loudly behind me communicating the message that there is no going back and that you’re really not welcome here. I shake my head, disheartened, as tears threaten to slip past a clenched jaw. Nope. I put on mascara and eyeliner, and I will fucking pretend to be psyched if I must. Only one more flight.
The upcoming flight is the least of my concerns. The volatility and stress induced over the past two weeks has worn at me. From putting boundaries in place, to life-threatening accidents, to not being able to resuscitate a relationship that we had so deeply and sincerely invested in, I didn’t really want to stand in front of billionaires, pass out hot towels, and smile sweetly. More appropriately, I wished to crawl under a blanket, hug a puppy, and cry. Maybe not even cry. I didn’t have the energy for that.
I loved dating him and maybe it was selfish as to why. He was all adventure and brought so much joy into my time at home. For the first time since my flying career started, I felt that someone wanted me to come home, and equally as much, I loved that there was a reason to stay. I still said yes to almost every flight and worked twenty days a month, but the hard work and life away made me appreciate any and every moment that I could spend surfing, camping, or cuddling with him. Now, I would no longer see him or spend time with him. Abruptly and heartbreakingly, all communication was severed. And all I could see was my disappointment and discouragement. The thought crossed my mind, “Kara. Be the person you come home to.”
It’s the holidays and my birthday coming up. I know it doesn’t matter what time of year it is, necessarily, but why does it always seem harder to be flying constantly and single when it’s the “best time of the year?” I didn’t want to go through a breakup right now. We had planned to make gingerbread houses and go on December beach walks. I’m so much in the middle of the messy pain of something not making it, that maybe I should wait to write it all down. But, it’s me and what I do is write. Who knows…maybe it will help. How many of us are working through messy pain and just want someone to verbalize that which we don’t know how to say? Maybe you’re reading this and you get me, and maybe you getting it helps me, too.
Whether or not its better for me to be single, I hurt. And whether or not I know that time will offer healing, I sit pathetically wearing his sweater, his t-shirt, and his socks— holding onto the only things that I have left. It will be fine one day, and I’ll look back on this blog and be thankful that what I wanted vanished from my life, but for now, I’m not really that fine.
So, I retreat; retreat to the Farm where Mac, the German-Shepherd, doesn’t care how long I’ve been gone but licks my face and soaks up every amount of attention I’ll give him. He’s so happy. He loves so innocently; no conditions and no grudges. My Dad takes me for a flight lesson. I’ve put everything else in front of my flight training over the past five months. One positive of this heartbreak is that I have a new found amount of time. Yes. My therapy is surf lessons (although that is a bit nostalgic as I loved surfing with him), flight lessons, and was actually thinking of taking up dance lessons. I’ve always wanted to dance better than a white, Christian farm girl from the Central Valley. If I can learn to dance better in this lifetime, it will prove that there is hope in this world and that the impossible can happen. I need to believe in impossible right now.
I do three landings and Dad says, “Girl. Wow. I’m super happy with how well you are doing. I think you are actually close to solo.” “Thanks, Dad.” His simple encouragement means more than he will ever know. The time he’s spending with me is one of the greatest gifts he could offer in this moment. I feel like this successful, overwhelmed, bubbly, tenacious, optimistic woman who got knocked down for a minute and needs a little girl’s reassurance that all the bruises will heal and the scrapped knees and shattered expectations are not final. There is nothing in the world like family and good friends to hold you in these moments of confusion and chaos. To help with those bruised egos and crumbled plans.
I hope I become the one I come home to— the one who is sure of herself and her decisions, knows what she desires out of life and kindly, yet fiercely, sets healthy boundaries around her heart. I never want to isolate myself, but what I am saying is this:
What if we respected ourselves and loved ourselves enough that we felt complete and whole regardless of the experience we are facing? That we honored ourselves, our life and God by looking forward to the moments that we have— whether single or coupled; whether it’s Christmas or it’s Labor Day. That no matter what we could just accept all of it and all of ourselves?
The encouragement and time Dad is spending with me is very much appreciated. Flight training or anyone for that matter can’t replace what that person meant or means to me, but what I can do is choose to create new memories and moments for myself; even if that wasn’t my first plan. I won’t have the pretty holiday love story like I had hoped for or expected this year, but he’s alive and I can be grateful for that. I am so incredibly grateful for that. And I’m alive. Sad today, but alive.
This is what my friend Kevin, a writer and deep thinker calls, “Being ‘in it.” I’m in the middle of all of it and when you are ‘in it’ it’s hard to write the ending. So, I’ll just say this, “Don’t worry about me. I’m not ok. I’m not sure when I will be ok. But I’m ok enough, so please don’t worry about me.”
Curious. Bubbly. Creative. Curating a life I don't need an escape from and inspiring you to do the same.