To be honest, going to Europe was more than just the thrill of going on a backpacking adventure. I hated admitting this even in my journal, but the past year at the University of Florida had been a long one. Yes, there were some incredibly great moments! Moments I will remember forever (and with time, hopefully only remember). But with the high highs came some very low lows – as is the ebb and flow of life. But the lowest low of all for me was finding out that a guy I cared for did not care for me (let’s call him Z).
Boohoo, story of every girl’s life at some point, cry me a river – I KNOW. I tried to delegitimize what I was feeling at every possible moment. Looking back on this time now, I realize I did not handle my emotions correctly and put myself through more hurt than necessary. But regardless, I knew a huge part of the reason as to why I was looking forward to this trip was to get away from Z and Gainesville. I would be distracted and I prayed I would get over him at some point during the summer – given I had no triggers to remind me of him & no off-chance that I would run into him at the gym or mid-town (which happened more than you’d probably believe).
Reading back what I wrote about this in my journal is frustrating because I am in a much better place now. Happy to say I am even completely over Z! Praise the Lord. But it took me longer than necessary to be able to say that and hopefully I can share some of my struggles with you in an effort to help you get through your own heart struggles.
Z & I had been broken up for four months, which regretfully was longer than I even knew him for (sad, I know). I even questioned myself, “is there something wrong with me?” I placed so much of this relationship going wrong on my own shoulders. I wrote in my journal,
“Ugh, I miss him. Or maybe I just miss the idea of being in love. I’m not in love with Z but with the idea of being in love. What I don’t understand though is why when a relationship ends for me, the guy just completely walks out of my life…why. If they cared even half as much as they said then they shouldn’t be able to do that to me.”
Well, I partially wish I could go back and talk to Keira at this point in time but then I would not have learned many of the valuable lessons I have taken away from this situation. Also, I know Keira-back-then would have heard the advice, but that nothing was going to take away the feeling of missing Z. What I would later realize is that I was being prepared for the future as well as redirected to where my attention was lacking.
Ultimately, this trip was supposed to be life-changing & I put a lot of pressure on it to be so. What a lot of people don’t seem to realize is the wisdom in the oft-repeated John Green quote, “pain demands to be felt.” This is one of my all-time favorite quotes and was also something that I would not fully allow to happen. I felt all of the emotional pain personally but I never let anyone in on how much I was truly broken. I had tried with one of my best friends in Gainesville – and even cried in front of her – but I was still shouldering the same pain every day, trying to pretend I was okay.
It was more than just Z. It felt like I had been suppressing feelings my entire life & they all suddenly came back to the surface. Z was the tip of the iceberg, so much more lay below the surface. Years of hurt that no one ever knew about or that I played off like it meant nothing. News flash: very little means nothing to me. I find meaning in everything and believe in meaning in everything.
With all that being said, posts to come will explain more of the Z situation. Be prepared for how I made my way through Europe carrying not only my backpack but the even heavier emotional baggage as well.