My Best/Worst Decision by Liz Feezor
Troubled, broken, lost.
2010 started out promising enough, with the continuation of a relationship I was confident would lead to marriage (spoiler alert: it didn’t), a steady job, and a network of friends who had seen me at my worst, celebrated me at my best, and had my back no matter what. The year ended unceremoniously: drunk on champagne at a friend’s Seattle apartment and oscillating between tears and laughter, feeling as though the year had chewed me up and spit me out, leaving me a cynical shell of who I once was.
The spring of 2010 was an emotional slap in the face: my long-term boyfriend, who was also a work colleague (word to the wise, DO NOT date someone at work, no matter how promising it may seem), ended our relationship, only to jump into a new one less than two weeks later, unbeknownst to me at the time. The humiliation of having all of your coworkers whispering about what was going on, plus the unjust, hurtful feeling of it all became too much to deal with, as I spiraled into a depression that lasted for months and convinced me that my life was a total disaster.
By May of that year, I’d made the decision to get away from it all. Having been back home in Boise, Idaho since graduating from college six years prior, I knew that I wanted to be in a bigger city, but something always held me back, like the dead-end relationships I found myself in, combined with a heavy dose of self-loathing. I took another part-time job in addition to the full-time job that would forever be tainted by my failed relationship, and I made plans to leave town in the fall.
Moving to Seattle in November was a temporary relief from a pain that outlasted the novelty of a change in scenery, having escaped the constant reminders of my own shortcomings and one disappointment after another in Boise. The move didn’t solve my problems (shocking, I know) and only recently have I come to realize that I was running from difficult feelings as much as painful circumstances. A year in Seattle came and went, and I kept finding myself back in the same emotional space as when I’d first arrived. Though the location had changed, my fundamental issues had not. In my mind, Seattle had become yet another permanent reminder of my personal failures.
In the process of uprooting my life to find a better one, I was confronted with the harsh reality of my own psyche: patterns of disordered eating, horrible body image issues, and relying on the approval of a romantic partner for emotional stability. It’s one thing to know what matters intellectually, but it’s an entirely different thing to actually feel it. A smiling face often hides a lifetime of pain.
Although the move wasn’t a success in my eyes and heart, it became the catalyst for bigger, more important changes to take place. Had I not up and moved eight years ago, I may never have picked up and moved again less than two years later to Austin, my home for the last six years, and the place I feel most at home. I might never have taken the leap from corporate America into working for myself as a writer. It takes a lot of discomfort, some deep introspection, and more than a few tears (so, so much crying) to become the person we’re capable of being, and it’s a process I know I’ll be working on for the rest of my life.
Sometimes we just have to go through rough times to be able to appreciate the mundane, the seemingly uneventful parts of life that add up to more than just the moments surrounding the big stuff. We can’t grow into the best version of ourselves until we’ve fought some hard-won emotional battles, slew a personal demon or two, and lived to tell the tale.
Seattle was the gray, rainy backdrop to more than one autobiographical melodrama, but now I can tell these stories with reflective fondness rather than shame. For me, that is the mark of a lot of personal progress.
The highlight reel of my worst has taught me how to become my best: a lesson worth every box I packed, every tear I cried, and every breakup I moved away to forget.
Liz Feezor is a writer and creative strategist and is a regular contributor to Pass/Fail. A Texas native, Liz grew up in Houston and spent over 15 years in the Pacific Northwest before returning to the Lone Star State in 2012. She lives in East Austin with her husband and two cats, and her favorite food is candy, which is really all you need to know about Liz.