So, what do you do when you have nothing left?

So, what do you do when you feel like you have nothing left?  You try and find a place where you had something, no, where you felt something.

Let’s go back to the beginning.  Two months ago my life fell apart.   Two months and 6 days before that I was living with my fiancé in a cottage with our two dogs and a cat.  We were planning our future and nearing our 5-year anniversary. You get the picture.  Did I see it coming? No. Did I believe everything was perfect? No. Did I believe that when someone proposes to you there is a certain level of commitment attached? Yes.  Did I believe that we had work to do?  Yes. Did I believe in our future? Absolutely.  Well in a flash what you believe can change in an instant. You are left with an overwhelming sense of bewilderment, loss, confusion and profound sadness.  But this isn’t about what happened between me and him (that is what he shall now be referred to) relationships end every day, everyone has a sad story to tell.  Besides, although I am open to a certain amount of airing of dirty laundry in public there is no need to go all out. Some knickers are made for private viewing only. 

When you finish being a two and become a one, it feels half of you has gone, and in a way it has. You are no longer part of a couple, your responsibility belongs to you and you only. Or maybe it always should, and maybe that’s where I went wrong but it hard when you are in a relationship to know where the boundary is between the responsibility for yourself and for you as part of a two.

Anyway, once you become one I believe you don’t quite know what you are left with.

The thing is you blend. Your tastes blend, your desires blend, your opinions bend. I like to think that I have a firm sense of what I like and don’t like and overall I trust my instincts and understand myself.  Now I am not so sure. Upon reflection I think I lost sight of what I wanted and what makes me happy.  I lost my sense of self. You go too far down that road and it only leads to trouble my friends.  The thing is, life is constantly evolving and moving and shaking and slapping you in the face.  I believe are you perhaps better off if you move with it, as in my experience if you stand still long enough you will get knocked sideways.

Now, I don’t want you think that I am sitting here all cleansed and I have been on a journey.  Fuck no, I am very much trying to work it out, very much in the middle of nowhere, very much up shit creak without a paddle. 

Right, so where did I go.  I went to India. Those of you that know me, know that makes sense. Those who don’t, well let me explain. 

I first came to India, Kerala to be exact, 8 years ago.  It feels like a lifetime ago.  I very much needed to get away, not that dissimilar to the position I find myself in today.  I had (and still do) been struggling with depression and had come out of a period of therapy and recovery.  I hadn’t ever travelled and I felt that it was time to do so. So I enrolled in a volunteering programme and came to Kerala and stayed for about 8 months.  Mostly in Fort Cochin.  Much hilarity ensued, a wildly inappropriate nod to an Indian boyfriend was taken on and a zillion laughs were had.  I came home to the UK with a renewed sense of purpose, embarked on yet another career choice (massage that time) and found my happy place.  Sounds so cliché, I mean it is, but NOT in an Eat, Pray, Love sense. Please.  Just in a, I focused on Nadra and tuned in to what Nadra wanted. 

I absolutely did just speak about myself in the 3rd person, what a twat. 

Ok.  I go on.  

What I mean is that I put myself first and began to understand what I wanted, what made me happy and I recall that from that my confidence grew and I became very much the person that I feel I have lost.  Now.  I do not blame that on my relationship.  I am a firm believer that we are solely in control of our choices and we must take responsibility for the choices we made that lead us to where we get to.   Word.

Anyway whilst I was very much in the trauma of losing him I went to my parent’s house.  I knew I need to give myself a tiny window of opportunity to think even if it were for a few minutes I needed space from being in fight mode, I desperately needed the chance to sleep.  It is only now in the last 2 days that I have managed to sleep without some sort of pill to get me there.   

Slowly things began to bubble up.  The absolute need to get away was the strongest feeling.  India.  I knew that I had to return to India and I had to go to Kerala.  It made sense. I made sense when I was there. I liked me when I was India.  I was funny, happy, carefree, fearless, bold, open and it gave me the capacity to grow. 

Quick debrief with the olds.  They agreed. They very kindly paid for my flight. I took a risk, mostly financial as I am poor my friends.  And here I am.

The thing is when you return to a place. Whatever place.  Or people for that matter. There is always a risk that it or they won’t be the same, and the memories you had, have been edited over time. 

There was only one way to find out.

And so, I arrived.

I think my greatest anticipation is what observation will be bestowed on me this time around. I’ve had pimples, fat and now what?  Well low and behold…I have won the observation lottery.  I look the same. I am still young. That my friends, I will take.   Vanity takes no prisoners as that only lasted a mere day before mosquitos had some sort of BBQ on my face and once again I was awash with red spots.  Looking young is now a thing of the past I have truly gone full circle, as now we are back to openly discussing the marks on my face.  I love all creatures, apart from mosquitos.  They are devils with wings. Quite frankly they can all burn in hell.

I promptly got myself to Shop & Save, who still remember me, I hasten to add, and get some natural stuff to put on my many bites.  It contained turmeric, I apply, I look like I had jaundice.  The look just got a whole lot worse.   

Life in FK felt the same.  Yes, there were new cafes and restaurants, recently a bar/club scenario opened.  This I feel is the biggest news.  No more tying to sneak a drink in the seedy XL fighting off the local leery lads.  Sadly, I have not yet been to No. 18 as I was without dancing partners but there is still time and I feel that once I have experienced it there will be epic stories to tell.  Life in FK still feels good. Right. The balance of buzz and tranquillity. 

My first four days passed quickly, it would seem that I was suddenly very busy.  Doing what, I couldn’t quite work out. But you know, a coffee to catch up with someone there, a visit to a new shop there, a massage here, a massage there, dinner with a friend here, a dinner with a friend there, coffee with the same friend there.  Catching up with my Kerala Mummy.  Catching up with one of my favourite students from the volunteering days (more on that later).

But, do you know what really felt good? Not constantly thinking about him.  Not checking on him. Not reliving every detail of him and I.  

And do you know what else felt good? No one knew.  And if I did tell them, such is the Indian culture that it was quickly brushed aside.  His loss.  You will have better times ahead.

I mean, I suppose in a way, it is that simple.

It is a loss, I believe it to be both of ours, not his or mine alone.  Although, him chose not to preserve my friendship and that is his loss alone.

Yes, so not walking around with the weight of what had happened in my life was in fact a relief. I simply have not been able to be powered by my grief. 

The reason for coming to India was not only to have some much needed time out and begin the journey to nurture again, but, it was also to provide space to think about what my next moves will be.  The thing is my friends, running a business on a shoe string with no income doesn’t exactly provide the bricks to self sufficiency.  Financial security and future security are not my friends presently.  What to do? What to do? 

There was only one thing for it.  Next stop.  An Ayurveda retreat.  No one around just me a blank page, my thoughts and space. Sounds idyllic doesn’t it.  Well, if you want a constant boob bashing, then yes, I suppose it is.  

To be continued…

Nadra Shah