To most of you, this blog is entirely new. To some of you, it’s a new URL with a lot of the same content from before.
The reality is it’s somewhere in the middle of both. I’m going to attempt doing something new with something old. Because really, that’s what I’ve been doing with myself. I’m still Nikki, but I feel like I’ve definitely changed since last writing here. And I’m trying to save the lessons, ditch the shit from the last 30 years of my life. Easier said than done, of course.
Here’s to an attempt. In the past, I think my efforts were in line with trying to be an authority on life. However, since last June, a lot has changed in me. I realize I’m an authority on nothing, for one. The life I knew basically collapsed around me and I had to pick up the few pieces I wanted and make something entirely different. I realized nothing is what we think it is. Nothing lasts forever. And who am I to say what is good or right for anyone? For another, I realize the value in vulnerability and sharing of real truth- in all its messy glory. I want this space to be a place we can all be real with each other without anyone assuming they know the truth. Life is hard enough. Let’s just help each other through it, hold each other in the pain, and love each other in all our struggles as they are. In that vein, I’ll be the first to tell my real story with my real struggles, not the sugar-coated version:
Last I wrote, I was in a marriage with D, took care of a beautiful dog, and had moved to Colorado. That was last April. Come June 1st of the same year, I walked out the door of D and my apartment and never walked back in.
The truth that you see online is of course only pieces of the truth. We all show the best parts of us to others- the shiny things, the smiles, the excitement, the adventures. Not the heartrending pain. And especially not the parts of us we won’t even let ourselves see. I was hurting when I wrote this blog before, but I was trying to rationalize it. I was trying to believe that my commitment to a relationship mattered more than my happiness. I was trying not to see how unhappy I really was.
I had gone off oral contraceptives and acquired a remote job (something I’d wanted for a long time) and for the first time in my life, I realized I could be happy inside of me. I had so much more energy to be social, to be alive and I suddenly began to see the reality of my life in a clearer way. I could finally see that my relationship held me back, it made me sad, and worst of all…it was abusive. I could only see that without hormones in my blood. I met some amazing people in the dance community, people who showed me that what I wanted was not only possible but something I deserved. They brought me the support and courage to finally walk out the door after a year of struggling to hold my marriage together.
Someone told me after I left: “Sorry for your loss.” Though it’s true that I lost certain things- most of all, a friendship of 11 years and a dog I loved dearly-, I have gained more than I could have imagined in the last year and change since. There are moments of grief still- over losing stability, knowing someone would be there for me always. Those are the things that still weigh on me. However, knowing now that those were only illusions anyway makes it easier most of the time to push aside those notions of what “should” be and focus on what “is.”
D and I had talked for a long time about a lifelong adventure, of building a house on the land we had bought in Colorado, of getting remote jobs and then traveling around in a converted van or maybe even out of month-long extended stays with our dog and each other. We got the jobs, we finished paying off the land, and we even moved to Colorado. But what we hadn’t factored into all the future planning was the present- the present that very regularly showed us we were not good for each other and were unhappy. We lied – to ourselves, to each other, and to everyone else too.
When the lie was finally dispelled, when I left him curled up in fetal position on my parents’ couch in our apartment…I decided to make the future my present. No more waiting, no more lying, no more trying and pretending. I told myself I wouldn’t accept the stability I so desired any longer; I would have to figure out how to be alone and how to be okay with ambiguity, with risk. For real. Because I would no longer sacrifice me in order to know what would happen tomorrow or the next day or five years from now. (And it’s all an illusion anyway.) I put 85% of my stuff in a storage unit and left August 1 for the longest, most amazing adventure of my life. I’m not sure if it’s over yet.
I stayed at Airbnb’s or houses of friends and family until the middle of this year, working the whole time, but also seeing national parks, going to dance events, and visiting with people I love. I also got rid of the 85% of stuff in my storage unit and built myself my “spaceship,” as some people call it. My adventure mobile. I live out of that now. Sort of. I still spend time with people in their homes semi-regularly. The uncertainty of where I live, work, and love is something I deal with on a daily basis. Sometimes it sucks and sometimes it’s the best kind of freedom I’ve never known before. It’s taught me so much – the biggest of which is how little I really “need” to survive, to be happy, and to share adventures and life with others.
So this is the place I’m starting from here, now. Love it or hate it. Share it or don’t. This is me- unadulterated and unabashedly. My life and my thoughts in all its messy glory. Brace yourself.