It was a brisk, yet sunny Saturday morning and my immediate waking thought was to throw my favorite necklace into the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
Seriously. I opened my eyes and was like, “Opal. Ocean. Done.”
I’d been watching too much Big Little Lies, but in my defense, that’s a great show and reenacting some of those scenes to an audience of unsuspecting hikers seemed kind of like an idea I could get down with.
Yeah, there’s probably something wrong with me, but I can’t imagine the stereotype of the southern belle (which men love to put me into) would have it any other way.
Thinking about my necklace’s brilliantly dramatic demise, I began writing this epithet for it.
I picked out the humble little stone on my last day in Australia. Before the opal was purchased, I was sobbing uncontrollably on the floor of my ex’s room, while he was downstairs working per usual.
Circa Avril Lavigne early 2000s, I knew this wasn’t my happy ending. As bad as I wanted it to be possible at times, a transcontinental relationship is like 99.9% a bad idea.
Clearly I’m a masochist.
After about 30 minutes of depressing thoughts, I was interrupted by him walking into the room. I was immediately questioned about what in the actual f*ck I was doing. I was somewhere between a pile of clothes, globs of mascara running down my face, and a sullen look of despair.
I hate when people see me cry, so I tried to hold in my tears in until I almost spontaneously combusted. Blubbering about not wanting to leave, although 92.7% of the trip I was completely depressed, I continued packing and ignoring direct eye contact.
The truth is, I have a strong intuition and I just knew this wasn’t the life I was supposed to be living. Australia felt so wrong to me. Something I didn’t want to admit. It wasn’t my home. It never would be. Most importantly, I wouldn’t be coming back and this would be the last time I ever saw him.
It was time for me to grow up and stop chasing a fantasy.
I remember when we started dating, an old flame sourly texted me, “Stop being so young.”
To be honest, it offended me enough to the point that the image is burned into my mind. The worst burns are ones filled with a strong dose of truth. While I don’t regret quitting my shitty ass $14 dollar an hour job, moving back to Alabama for a few months, and figuring out my life, I couldn’t help but think that I was acting so young RN.
Am I rite, ladies?!?
Although it was supposed to be a work day, he decided to take me out into town instead, so that I’d stop crying.
Instead, I naturally cried nonstop, while our Uber driver suspected domestic violence. Despite looking like a serious hot mess, we got out of the car and decided to walk around. We went into a little convenience store and he teased me about playing the lotto. I ended up winning $50.00 instantly, which was kind of cool. As we walked away from the harbor, he asked me what I wanted to do with the money.
“Why don’t you buy something that you don’t have from Australia and take it back home with you?” he posited.
Since $50.00 wasn’t going to buy me a wombat or a koala, I decided on an opal. As we were walking around Sydney, he noticed an free opal museum. It was filled with jewelry and weird fake dinosaurs.
Of course I’d be super into something like that.
After investigating and thoroughly examining 100+ opals (I literally do this with everything – avocados, flowers, sea shells, lemons), I settled on a blueish-glittery looking one that cost double my lotto winnings. It reminded me of the nick name that he had given me, “Queen,” because it looked like it had a little crown on.
Let me know when you’re done throwing up.
Okay, cool. Me too.
Since that day, I’ve worn the necklace a thousand times. I’d hold it up to my ear at a bar and pretend like it was talking to me to make people laugh, I’d wear it when I was feeling homesick, and I almost panicked to the point of a heart attack after I thought I lost it during a night out.
It wasn’t expensive. In fact, it was one of the cheapest ones at the store, but it meant something to me. It was the last little attachment that I had to my past relationship. It was comforting, just as our relationship had been.
I always saw my ex in a very “protector/possibly my dad” way. While my previous relationships were deep-rooted in passion (often to the brink of psychosis), this one was founded upon mutual interests and near mind reading capabilities. At weird dinners with his creepo dad, we’d make the same exact joke inside our head about his poodle-headed girlfriend. We’d get in the car and both bust out laughing at the stupid sh*t she’d say.
This connection was never determined to be a good or a bad thing. Sometimes it felt too comfortable. I never got butterflies with him, but I was always excited to see him. Just as I would be if an old friend that I hadn’t seen in years came to visit me. We’d seamlessly pick back up right where we left off and go about life.
After realizing that I wouldn’t see him for another four months, I decided that my heart wasn’t in it anymore. While I brought up the topic, the breakup was mutual and pleasant. We kept talking for an unhealthy amount of four months, doing our day to day chat, but when I moved to California, I knew it was time to break away. I was starting over and he couldn’t come along.
As boxes arrived from Alabama, one in particular stood out. Inside was all of the mementos from our relationship. Pamphlets from old plantations, a rock he gave me from Hamilton Island, stuffed animals, gifts, and a weird dried out nut of sorts? The box is currently stuffed under my bed alongside a set of gold silk sheets that I bought.
Why I decided to buy gold silk sheets is a question that I really can’t provide an answer to.
The only keepsake that I left out of the box was the opal. I kept wearing it and each time, I’d think briefly about the past.
My first month in California was an actual doozy. I went out and partied, I got punched in the face, I reactivated my dating apps to meet people, I almost got into a relationship, and I slowly, but surely, I forgot about everything.
Eventually, the opal made it’s way up onto a dusty shelf in my room. I didn’t touch it for months.
Psychologically, I know it’s a comfort thing. I’m not finding what I’m looking for and it’s frustrating me. Dating is not my forte. I kind of hate it, plus I find myself enjoying a substantial amount of alone time. I’ve met a few guys, but I know how I am when I meet someone that I could potentially fall in love with. That connection is instant and it’s intense.
I haven’t found that yet in California.
I don’t want my ex back. He literally lives on a different continent and he’s in love with a girl that he hired to work for him. Business rules his life, so it makes sense. While his company was an actual nightmare for me, maybe running this business is something that he and his new girlfriend will be happy supporting each other in. I honestly wish them the best and I hope it turns out to be something incredible for both of them. I think everyone deserves that.
As for me, I just want to write books all day, sit by the ocean, and drink malt liquor.
Just kidding on the last one.
No for real, I wish them the best.
I didn’t initially. Initially, I was hella pissed off. But, I like to think I’m a person of reason. We hadn’t spoken in like two months and I was out seeing different people. Why did I suddenly care now?
Initially I wanted to run to the edge of a California cliff amidst a plethora of wildflowers and right when I got to the edge, halt, rip the necklace off my body, look at it with one final goodbye, while a drone zoomed over my head and captured this testament to lost love as I tossed my opal into a sea of angry waves, which was exactly where it belonged.
Run-on sentences exude anger.
Instead I decided to not say or do anything because like the big JC says, “This too shall pass.”
I was only mad because that used to be mine and now it wasn’t. I was acting like a total baby and being really stupid. While a multitude of snide remarks about the whole situation crept into my mind, I fought them off. Acting petty, dramatic, and immature had me being the basic bitch I accused his new girlfriend (who full disclosure, I don’t even know) of being.
I’m an ISTJ, so that J really gets the best of me sometimes.
Wearing the opal, I sat on the sand and thought about what I wanted to do. Processing my thoughts, I decided that it could stay as a memory, but not an active one.
I thought about the time I went to Greece to meet my first boyfriend, while he was home for our college’s summer break. After we broke up (like the first time out of 9,458 times), I deleted every single picture from that trip from the hard drive of my laptop.
Like those bitches cannot be recovered.
Greece was a lifetime experience and those pictures helped keep those memories around. I still seriously regret making that irrational decision. Instagram wasn’t around back then, so there’s nothing to help me remember that trip.
I decided to learn from my mistakes. The trips I took to Australia were also trips of a lifetime. It wasn’t a bad or painful experience for me. It was a beautiful one, so why would I throw out all of the stuff that helps me remember those times?
Growing up can be hard to do sometimes, but I’ve gotten a lot better about stopping to think about the decisions that I make. When I think about what was upsetting me, it wasn’t the fact that he moved on.
It was the fact that I still haven’t found what I’m looking for in someone. It’s hard. And I’m sure it’s going to continue to be hard. Solely because I’m not willing to settle. Never been good at it and I’m not going to start trying now.
But I know one day, someone is going to hit me in the face like a ton of bricks. Hopefully not literally, because that’s already happened once this year.
Someone who will make me feel nervous, excited, crazy happy, passionate, creative, driven, all the good stuff.
I’ll keep waiting for it.
As for my opal, I’m sure it’ll still be around for the ride. It’s a keeper of memories and good times. Possessions can take on new meanings, as well. Maybe it’ll be a marker for the day I finally decided to sit down and write my feelings out and let go of the negative thoughts I was having.
‘Cause I was being ultra dumb about something I didn’t really care that much about.
Or maybe I’ll get a new opal. Who knows.