The first time I said aloud that I was moving to Italy, I was joking. Truly, I was being reactionary. The bloody Englishman (see “About Me” sidebar) and I had broken up just before a planned 2-week trip to Italy. Several years before this, my husband and I were supposed to travel to Italy for our five year wedding anniversary, but he changed his mind at the last minute. When I was talking with my friend, Nat, trying to figure out why all of my trips to Italy had been cancelled, I declared, “Fuck it! I’m just gonna move there!” As soon as I said it, it felt right. I can’t explain why. It just did.
After this declaration, I had several internal discussions trying to convince myself this idea was the stupidest one I had come up with yet, but I couldn’t get the wanderlust out of my heart. I knew I had to do this.
Several people asked me why I wanted to give up everything I worked for to move to Italy. “What?” they would ask. “Are you trying to find yourself?” Although a legitimate question, it was hard for me to answer. There was no one reason. It was more complicated than that.
I knew this trip was not about “finding” me. I’ve already spent most of my adult years doing that; trying to break free from the roles assigned to me by my family; trying to break free from my self-imposed insecurities and impossibly high standards; trying to forgive myself for my failed marriage; trying to be okay with who I really am.
Without a doubt, after quite a bit of effort, I have already “found” the new me. This trip was more about taking the new me out for a spin. I wanted to make sure the woman I thought I had become, was indeed the woman I was.
I’ve discussed in previous blogs that my strength had been tested several times since I landed in Italy. Over the past few weeks I’ve had some tests of a different nature that have challenged my old ways of thinking and reinforced my faith in who I have become. However, for you to really understand my growth in this area you need to understand some of my old ways of thinking. Until not that long ago, I was in such a state that if a guy liked me, I might like him back simply because he showed interest in me. It’s not something I’m particularly proud to admit, but it’s the truth.
Yet on three separate occasions here I have chosen to not settle for, pursue, or accept that which is less than what I truly want in my love life. The choices I have made may sound like common sense, but in reality it’s not that easy to stay focused and do the right thing.
My first challenge was turning down an offer to be placed on lay away while the guy I had been dating tried on some other girls for size while I was in Italy. It may sound like a logical request to date other people given that I was in a different country, but it was not the relationship I wanted. This was a hard decision. It’s not easy to tell a gorgeous, romantic, successful, and in most ways great guy, “Thanks, but no thanks,” when in the very back of your mind you think to yourself, “What if I never find anyone I connect with as much as this man. What if this is the best I will ever find?”
The second example was choosing NOT to tell a married friend (who I have a close personal connection with) that I desperately wanted him to come to Italy to hold me, make me feel safe, and tell me I wasn’t going to be alone for the rest of my life.
The third test of strength was turning down an offer to have an affair with a very sexy, very successful, very charming, and very unavailable man who I felt an intense connection with the moment we were introduced at a party.
All of these tests have helped reinforce that the new me is built from a solid foundation. I’m not embarrassed to share that I'm really proud of myself for doing the right thing, staying focused, and for holding out for what I really want in life.
Okay now, where is George Clooney these days?