5: The Little Voice Inside My Heart

5: The Little Voice Inside My Heart

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Possible

The Little Voice Inside My Heart

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.

~Alan Alda

I thought about a lot of things as I sat in that room. I thought about everything that had happened. I thought about the baby I had lost and what that meant for me and for everyone else. I thought about the trouble I had been getting myself into and why. I thought about how I had become someone that I didn’t even recognize. I thought about how it had taken ten years for me to come to that realization. What on earth happened?

I knew that I could end it all right then. I knew that it was what I wanted and the only way that I would ever be happy again. All I had to do was get up, walk out of the room, and say two words. Two little words… And yet, even knowing all of that, I just sat there, absolutely paralyzed with fear.

There was still the part of me that wanted to fix everything. By “fix” I meant “keep things the same.” That would have been the easy thing to do. And deep down inside, I knew things were different. They would never be the same again.

I walked out of the room and found him sitting in the living room. My heart was pounding and I was holding back tears. I couldn’t bear to look him in the eye so I stared at the floor. I opened my mouth to speak, to say, “I’m done,” but he spoke instead.

“I want a divorce.”

There was that uncontrollable urge to stop him again… to “fix” things. It took every ounce of strength that I had to stop myself from doing it. I took a deep breath and managed to say, “Okay.” Then I turned around, calmly walked back to the bedroom, and completely broke down.

We had been together for nine years and married for half that time. This hurt. It felt like someone was tearing my heart from my chest.

Our relationship had seen all kinds of turmoil over the years: family tragedies, addiction and alcoholism, depression, secrets, lies, miscarriage. It was no wonder neither of us could find it in ourselves to hold on any longer. We both hurt so much because of all that had happened that all we could do was hurt each other. It had been this way for as long as I could remember. We didn’t want to be mean to each other; it just happened.

I sat in that room for another couple of hours, envisioning my whole world crumbling around me. I ended up leaving him that night.

We talked a week later and came to the conclusion that we couldn’t work things out. We parted ways. I moved out. I slept on friends’ and family’s couches for about a month. I rented a condo that I couldn’t afford. I went to work at my boring office job. I spent my nights in bars and in the arms of men who couldn’t offer me any more than I could offer them. I was hopelessly lost. I felt empty.

I tried to keep my friends around me but only succeeded in pushing them away. I burned countless bridges. I couldn’t seem to keep my head above water long enough to catch my breath. I felt like I was drowning. And I was giving into it. After reading through fifteen years of my journals, I came to the sad realization that I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted. But, thankfully, there was a little voice inside my heart that wanted to know.

A year and a half later, I finally built up the courage to listen. I wanted a better life. I didn’t want to drink anymore. I wanted to be active and adventurous. I wanted a job that I could be passionate about. I wanted to feel true happiness. Toronto had become, for me, a breeding ground for negativity. I felt like I wouldn’t be able to break my cycle of self-destruction if I stayed there any longer… I felt an incredible force urging me to run.

So I listened to the little voice inside my heart and I made the huge decision to move to Winnipeg. I needed to make a change and I knew it was the right choice. I could feel it in my bones. For the first time in over a decade, I felt positive energy flowing through my body. I felt free.

It was incredibly emotional saying goodbye to my friends and family. But my sadness was outweighed by my excitement about what was to come. I stayed with my cousin when I got to Winnipeg, and I spent as much time as possible by myself, writing. I wrote about my hopes and my dreams and everything that I wanted. I finally took the time to get to know myself at age thirty-one.

Along with all that self-reflection came a lot of anger. I was mad at my ex for not being what I wanted him to be. I was mad at my friends for expecting too much from me. Over time though, I discovered that the person who I was truly mad at was myself. I had let myself down! I had put everyone else’s lives and needs above my own and it had left me broken.

Sometimes I wanted to give up. I had sad days when I wanted to run back to Toronto, to the comfort of my friends and my local bar and to everything else that was familiar. But I resisted. I listened to that little voice that told me to keep moving forward. I tried new things. I met new people. I became more comfortable and more confident. I was pleasantly surprised.

I made time for myself. I continued to write and spent time embracing my thoughts instead of running from them. I surrounded myself with positive people and positive activities and life became so much bigger and so much brighter. I found a job helping troubled youth. I love having the opportunity to help other people overcome their negativity like I was able to.

I fell in love with a kind and empathetic man. We go on all kinds of excellent adventures together, traveling all over the world, which is both incredible and inspiring. I moved to Saskatchewan to be with him three years ago. For me, the prairies are the most beautiful place on the planet. I love being surrounded by open air and endless sky. It makes me feel at peace.

I was driving the other day and I actually pulled over to take in the most glorious sunrise. It’s so important to appreciate these moments. I am overwhelmingly thankful for the path that I was finally able to follow once I listened to that little voice inside my heart. I am exactly where I was meant to be.

~Jen Gulka

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