surviving to thriving
This past weekend I attended the Air + Style event in Los Angeles. For those of you who do not know what that is, it’s a two day musical festival and pro snowboarding event put together by Shaun White. I was offered a couple 2-day VIP passes and said yes. And I’m extremely glad I did.
It was a melting pot of different types of people all there to listen to music and watch some Professional Snowboarders do Big Air Tricks (an event that’s now going to be included in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games). Now I can’t tell you the first thing about the snowboarding scene. I, admittedly, do not snowboard, but I have done my fair share of skiing (I grew up not far from the Poconos so it was a pretty common winter activity). I also didn’t really recognize the majority of the musical artists that performed this past weekend, but that didn’t stop me from having an amazing time.
When you say yes to life and to new experiences and step outside your comfort zone, you learn a lot about yourself. I didn’t need to know anything about the intricacies of snowboarding tricks to enjoy watching the Pros spin around multiple times while being launched over 100 feet into the air. I didn’t need to know any of the musical performers to enjoy their music. Once I gave into the moment and just started enjoying the experience happening around me, I found myself cheering for the major snowboarding tricks and dancing with thousands of other people to musicians who clearly just enjoyed doing what they love. Everyone at the event was just happy to be there, and that was a beautiful thing to witness.
This past weekend was also great for me because it hit me that even though I’d gone through a breakup a month ago, I wasn’t just surviving anymore. I am thriving. I’m back to the girl I used to be before my last romantic relationship ended but with some added wisdom and earned maturity. I’m trying new things, meeting new people, laughing unashamedly, and singing at the top of my lungs. I’m not second-guessing myself or walking on eggshells. One of my favorite authors - Kurt Vonnegut - once said, “And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.” That's how things have been for me the past few weeks: an abundance of gratitude. I feel alive again, and I almost forgot how good that feels.
I went through my Instagram and my Facebook this past weekend and deleted all the photos of my ex-boyfriend and me. Breaking up is hard in and of itself and the addition of social media didn’t make anything easier at first. I waited a month to delete the photos because I wanted to make sure I did it for the right reasons and not as a byproduct of hurt or anger. I’ve never been a vindictive person, and I like that about myself. I didn’t want to erase memories right away just because I was hurting. And I’m glad I waited. Of all the things I’ve learned about myself, especially after this most recent breakup, I’m happiest to learn that I didn’t lose sight of who I am at my core.
I forgave my ex-boyfriend awhile ago. I’m thankful for all the great experiences and memories we got to make together, but, more importantly, I’m grateful that he let me go. And now I’ve finally forgiven myself, too. As I sat, combing through my last year-and-a-half of social media to remove the photos, I realized I’m not angry. I didn’t feel happy deleting the photos, but I also didn’t feel sad doing it, either. The only way I can try to describe the process was that it almost felt like there was no sort of emotion attached to it anymore - a kind of apathy. It felt as though I was simply Spring-cleaning out some older things from my closet to make room for new ones. And I’m glad I went through and deleted things because as I was doing that, I realized how many other amazing photos and experiences I had for myself - separate from that relationship - over the last year and a half. For every photo I deleted, there were probably 3-4 photos of me from the other important relationships in my life - relationships that have only gotten stronger as time has passed. There are countless memories with my friends, my fellow improvisers, my basketball teammates, my family, and people I met while working on set and at the theater. These people have been such a huge part of my life and my story in LA, and they’re still around. And I love them. I love that I can pick up my phone and call or text any one of those friends or family members right now and make plans to go do something fun. Or something silly. Or invite them to see one of my shows. Or vent if I’m having a bad day. The people in my life right now - who have been in my life for awhile - are superstars. And I’m so blessed and thankful to be a part of their lives. And I’m thankful for all the new people I’m going to meet, too.
I don’t feel like I wasted time just because one relationship didn’t work out. If anything, I’m proud of myself that I kept all those other relationships with my amazing friends and my incredible family going. I’ve written before about changing my perspective to one of gratitude. I’ve always felt lucky in life. Good or bad, everything has a silver lining and a lesson in it. And I’m so incredibly grateful for everything that has happened to me in life so far.
When one door closes, another one opens. I’ve had some amazing things happen for me just in this past month alone, and I am genuinely excited for everything that will happen for me in the future. Life can be tough, but if you stay strong and true to yourself, there won’t be anything you can’t overcome. Just keep saying 'yes,' and keep moving forward. Wonderful things will happen.
And when Major Lazer says they’re doing more song, it doesn’t matter if it’s pouring rain. Just dance.