drie jaar geleden.

damn, it has MOST DEFINITELY been a minute since I’ve written a post. The last I checked I wrote a blog post in APRIL 2019!! THAT WAS MORE THAN A YEAR AGO! Wow, how could have I gone so long without writing. I mean okay, let’s be real for a second though, this is not some grand reintroduction to my writing because if I’m going to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure when I will write again after this post. Who knows, maybe I’ll be inspired next week, next month or next year. But as I sit here and type my thoughts out onto this laptop, I’m reminded of how much I actually love to write.

So here I am, 16 months later since my last post giving my writing another shot. Well as you’ve probably gathered from the blog post title, (although it’s in Dutch, meaning “three years ago”) today marks a pretty significant day as I celebrate three years in the Netherlands! THREE YEARS! In the grand scheme of things, I guess three years doesn’t seem too long, but if we’re measuring these years in how much my life has changed even from year to year in the Netherlands, then yes, three years almost equates to a decade, if not more (okay, definitely exaggerating a little here, but you catch my drift, I’m sure. LOL!).

I celebrate today because today is a reminder of how hard I fucking worked to get here [sorry not sorry, for the swearing :)]. Sometimes I forget that I’m literally living the dream I had set for myself only five years ago, and I do NOT want the novelty of living in the Netherlands ever to wear off, hence why I consciously celebrate today. And here I am, not just living the dream, but also thriving.  I always get emotional around this time of year as memories of my last few weeks in Toronto pop up on my “memories” page on facebook & instagram and I’m reminded of all that I had to say goodbye to. Sure, on paper, moving to Europe does sound glamorous but in reality, moving countries let alone continents, all by yourself can be extremely difficult. I loved my life in Toronto, no doubt. I had a GREAT job, my career was thriving and I made good money. I worked with an amazing team of healthcare professionals, I had an extensive social life, and up until my departure, I was still doing what I loved outside of work: yes you guessed it, dance! Ultimately, however, I knew it was time. Toronto had given me what I needed.

If you’re familiar with my story then you’ll know that 2015 was one of THE most difficult and painful years of my life, following the ending of an extremely toxic five-year relationship. Now the only reason I bring this up is not to dwell on the past nor to bring up past relationships as that definitely no longer matters; but to provide context as to how this journey began for me. I remember thinking on June 18, 2015 atop the highest point in Budapest, that Europe was where I felt like I belonged; not knowing that one week later, my life as I knew it was about to fall apart completely. Who knew that hitting rock bottom would be one of the greatest things to ever happen to me.

It took me two years to make this happen. I’m not just talking about the process of finding the programme at Maastricht University, and the studying for the GRE, and the working two jobs, and the application for my scholarship and the logistics surrounding the move etc. etc. I mean the list goes on and on. But I’m talking about the work.

THE REAL WORK.

The shadow work.

The deep healing.

The learning how to love myself.

The journey to discovering who the fuck I was because I had absolutely no clue.

The creation of whom I wanted to be and how I wanted to show up in the world.

Yes, that kind of work.

It is extremely difficult to face yourself and to own up to your choices. It was an ominous day when I finally came to the understanding that my unhappiness and my willingness to stay in such a toxic relationship for so long was my responsibility alone. I know it’s easy to judge yourself for not knowing better, and I know it’s even easier to judge yourself for when you did know better, and you make the same choices time and time again. But my healing process has allowed me to show myself compassion. When we fight against the choices we have made in the past, when we avoid and shame the experiences that have shaped us, we keep ourselves trapped. We forget that mistakes are part of life, even if we make them again and again and again. We are not a failure for coping with life the best way we knew how.

At the end of the day, I thank that former version of me because she brought me here; her “mistakes” brought me here. She brought me to this couch, on this night, in the Netherlands, writing this blog post, in reminiscence of her life over the past few years; all whilst celebrating her third anniversary here in the Netherlands!

One of many things I’m learning as I continue to evolve and grow is that we will all go through MANY evolutions in our lifetime. We will be different versions of ourselves, time and time again.  If you would have told me only a few years ago that I would be where I am now and be the person that I am now: I never would have believed you.

The lessons and life experiences have been very real and albeit sometimes difficult; but they have also been extremely expansive. As I continue to expand to the next version of myself, I am cracked open again and again, soaking in all that life has to offer and teach me. Sometimes this growth is recognizable, these lightning bolt moments of clarity, and sometimes this growth is quiet, sometimes it sneaks up on us; but sometimes we won’t notice until we look back years later and see how the dots finally connected.  

Sending you so much love,

Loubelle

The Phoenix.

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