{Divorced Life Dating} Light Up The Room


There are moments where I have thought to myself “maybe your relationships fail because you are incapable of deeply loving someone.” That thought is clearly irrational, yet my track record is not. I was married at 25, divorced by 27, engaged again at 29 and lost my fiancĂ© at 30.

Over the past four years dates have been a plenty and relationships are short lived. I never gave anyone a chance to get past my mote and I rarely took off my armor. Emotions make things messy. I wanted the benefits of a relationship, just not the emotional side of things. In my mind if they didn’t get into the deep then they couldn’t hurt me.

Divorce hurts, burying your fiancĂ© hurts, and letting go hurts. Charlie’s death was easier to deal with than my divorce. Divorce in its own right is like a death, the death of a dream. Yet with death there are no awkward run ins with your ex or “I wonder what there doing” moments. It ends at the grave. You bury your heart in the ground and walk away to fight another day. You walk away to rebuild your heart piece by broken piece.

Repairing ones heart is easer said than done. Your heart never truly heals, you you just learn how to live with the void. Charlie will always be apart of me. He showed me what love was and what a relationship could be. He used to tell me “AJ, you light up the room!” His eyes would sparkle and I knew in that moment that I was his everything.
Charlie’s eyes could not hide his love for me and I soaked it all in. Death does not stop love, love never dies. It is the reminder that we need to heal our hearts and to move on. It is the dream that we build our lives upon and that dream deserves to be lived.

Living is what I am doing. Unexpected moments are my crack. On Veterans Day fate took over and a marine walked into my life. (Yes another one) His heart, smile, wit, and charm caught me off guard and I slipped my armor off. I opened up and let him into the deep. He didn’t run nor flinch, instead he fell for me.

Happy?! Heck yes I am. For once I am happy, I am letting myself fall, be swept away, but mostly I am allowing myself to enjoy the process. I have laughed more in the past month than I have in two years and my cheeks hurt from smiling. In this marine I see a sparkle, his face lights up when I walk into a room and that says it all. I have someone who lights up and wants me simply for me. And that is fucking awesome!

{PERSPECTIVE} 10 Years of Have Bear Will Travel

10 yearsTen years ago today I boarded a plane with 67 strangers bound for Glasgow Scotland. The only thing I knew was “I’m going to Scotland and will live in a palace.” Everything else was left up to fate. That trip lead me to start havebearwilltravel.com. It was my attempt to stay connected to friends and family back home. I wanted a place where I could share my adventures in real-time. Scotland was only the beginning, it was my starting point to an amazing adventure.

I got to travel Europe, attend the Edinburgh Tattoo, saw the Queen at the Highland games, and there is nothing like spotting a hairy coo in your front yard. I went looking for Nessie, but came up empty-handed, pub crawls, yea I’ve gotta few under my belt, art was a plenty, ghosts were all around, the underground can’t be beat, Rosslyn Chapel is way prettier in person, and if you listen you just might hear the footsteps of giants. I was an intern with the New Scottish Parliament, they thought it would be highly entertaining for me to give tours of the building to school children and tack stacks of papers.

Scotland truly was one hell of an adventure and I now have a place to call “Home” in the Midlothians. Once I returned home I continued to blog about my adventures and encouraged others to step out side of their comfort zones. Funny thing, little did I know that this blog would see me through thick and thin. It has been my outlet to the world, a place for me to gain perspective, encourage others, and a place for me to write my story.

Looking back I did a lot of incredibly amazing shit, so amazing that I have to stop and think “yea you actually did that!” Ten years ago I had no idea where life would take me or what the future would hold. I am a firm believer that everything should be left up to fate. Fate will never fail us and as long as we believe, she will come through. I’ve been married, became a step mom, had a pulmonary embolism and a stroke, became a mama, got a divorce, quit my job, found my voice, fell in love, said good-bye, and hello.

I am literally in awe of my life. I have walked the beaches of Sardinia, stood on Mount Tibidabo, sailed the canals of Venice, climbed the pyramids of Egypt, zip corded through the jungles of Belize, set sail on the high seas, collected sea shells in Mexico, panned for gold in Alaska, and shopped in Morocco. I have stood on three of the seven continents and hopefully will see the remaining four before I die. My soul needs to travel this world and as long as I am able I will always choose GO.

Go? Alfred who is now a very ratty teddy bear still goes wherever I go. He is after all the “bear” in Have Bear Will Travel. That ratty old teddy bear has seen me through the good, the bad, the ugly, and the down right hilarious moments of my life. We never grow up, we just tuck our teddy into our suit cases and no one is none the wiser. I will carry that ratty teddy bear with me until the day I die.

If I could go back 10 years I will tell my 21-year-old self to enjoy the journey and to live in the moment. Moments make us who we are, without them we are books with blank pages. I would tell her to hold on tight because you are going to have more potholes than smooth pavement. That life can be cruel and unfair. That she will endure heartache, turmoil, and fight for her life, only to say goodbye to a son who never walked the earth. Mostly I would tell her” “You are stronger than you could ever imagine and to not worry about law school, you will change the world without a law degree.”