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post-secret follow up

I thought the end of Ned would be like getting hit by a dump truck, in the best possible way.

It would be a moment--one, single moment--that would knock me on my ass (or damn near kill me {as long as we're going with the dump truck metaphor}) and literally change my life forever. That was the best-case-scenario--that was what I prayed for. 

I'm starting to think it's not going to be anything like that. I'm starting to think it's happening now. And will take a very, very long time. A life, if you will. But it will not be my life--it will simply be one part of it. The end of Ned is a gradual coming to--an ascent into consciousness, the compilation of countless near-obvious realizations.

And I'm starting to think that this whole Ned thing...well, maybe there's a reason it's happened--happening.

For those of you who've read The Time Traveler's Wife, do you remember the scene where (bear with me I've loaned the book out so I have to paraphrase) Clare at twenty has just begun dating Henry. And they're at some club and she wanders off to go to the bathroom and runs into Henry of the future (the Henry she's known all her life--the Henry she grew up with) and she says to him, I miss you, I wish you were the one who was here right now--I don't know this other person. And in return he says, but who you are--this time you spend with the twenty-eight year old Henry is what makes me who I am today--the man you do love so much. I need you Clare. Do you remember this part? I'm absolutely butchering the poetry of it all but I'm just trying to make a point. 

Well, for better of for worse Ned is shaping me. He has made me who I am today. And he is creating the woman my Henry will one day fall in love with. Yes, there was a time when Ned made me unbelievably selfish, unbelievably unreliable and unbelievably unkind. But that time has passed. And for the first time in my life I'm beginning to think that I am, actually, quite strong. 

Now, let's be clear, I am not romanticizing Ned. Ned is bad. Very, very bad. I wouldn't wish Ned on anyone. Ned robbed me of whole years of my life--countless would-be memories. But I am making the choice to be thankful for how I am now responding to 

So, remember this post? Well, my post-secret really was what was written on the card, but there was more--I promised you more and I never delivered on it.

Well, okay, here goes:

About a month ago I decided to stop acting. Not for a long. Just a year. Maybe two. I was having a near impossible time reconciling Ned with the audition process. And I knew as long as Ned is an ever present force in the room with me, I'll never be able to give it a proper go. And I want to give acting a proper go. But I need acting to be my decision. I need to come to it when I am ready--not simply because it's the next step on some pre-prescribed path.

I think I scared my parents. I think they're afraid I won't go back. What I tried to explain to them is I will. That in my gut I believe this is actually the best decision I can make for the future.

And so now I have a year to fail brilliantly and make impossible mistakes. And all I want to do is travel. I have nothing tying me down, so what better time is there?

So I'm looking into teaching English abroad and while I've surreptitiously gathered information from a few of you (thanks girls!), if anyone else cares to weigh in on the subject...well, by all means.

Phew, now that I've gotten all of that out of my system, maybe words will come a bit easier now.

quote found at this little blog
which i've just discovered and
am falling in love with


Rosalina said...

Wow. I loved The Time Traveller's Wife. It's one of my favourite books.

Sarah-lucy said...

wow. that is so validating, because i've made a similar decision as a would-be actress. thanks for being awesome and always so open and honest.

Kayla said...

I'm saying goodbye to my own Ned right now, and I absolutely agree. It just sort of creeps up on you and you realize new things every day that are so much better than they were. Ned's voice gets softer, so that even though you still hear it sometimes, it's pretty easy to ignore. I always thought there would be some big revelation, a point of no return. But it's slow, and I'm realizing that some things might be there for a while, and some may never go away completely. As terrible as the whole thing is, I really believe that I would not be the same person I am today if I did not have to work through this stuff.

Marisa said...

Go abroad! Travel! It will be fantastic and amazing, though sometimes confusing and challenging. I went through a difficult period in college and after an especially emotional semester I made the decision to save up my money and fly to England. From there I traveled around other Euro locations. I felt like I was able to regrow the part of my soul that was hurting and damaged, through meeting new people and gaining my own personal experiences. It was a time of self reflection and I came back feeling changed.
Where do you want to go? Best of luck in your decisions!!!!!!

heisschic said...

ok- i have to read time traveler's wife now. your descriptions of it are just that moving.

congratulations on the time off! that's amazing- it's something that i dream about but cant (YET) do. just please promise us you'll keep us informed here while you're living life abroad. ((and if you happen to have a spare room, i may have to take a vacation...))

Sara said...

Travel and teach English! The biggest downside to TEFL is that generally the need is not in the places you really want to go, like Western Europe. But if you want to go some unorthodox places (which I highly recommend) Asian countries have great need and pay really, really well. Good for you for following your gut and knowing what's best for you!

Signorina Svizzera said...

I agree with Sara, above, that most countries where you could work are in Asia. I know friends who have gone to monastaries in Tibet (spiti valley) , villages in India and Thailand, Mongolia...
One of my close friends, a french major, is going to France next year to teach English at a high school in Paris. She found this program through her Uni (Rhodes in TN) but she is being paid and getting a visa by the french government. I also know there are several programs (many located in NYC) where you go get your TOEFL certificate and they can probably direct you to places in need of teachers.
Good Luck! If you need advice on living abroad, feel free to ask!!

Jessica Tingey said...

thank you for writing this. isn't it liberating when you realize you don't really HAVE TO do anything?

Krysta said...

Oh Meg, when I read your posts I often feel like we are living parallel lives! Even if I did not care for The Time Traveller's Wife ;)

On a side note, a very wise woman once told me something that I feel you would appreciate. She said, when you imagine your life in the future do you see yourself with a man you love? With children? With a family? Yes! All of those things will happen for you. It is important to remember that this is the only time in your life that you will be 20 something. Living in a great city. With your girlfriends. Free to do whatever you please. To discover yourself and what you want out of life. So take advantage of that now. Live the best life you can. Because one day you will have the things you hope for now, but you never want to look back and regret living your life wishing for something else.

I look forward to reading about your adventures!

Fashionably Kate said...

I loved Time Traveller's Wife! Go abroad. It would be such an adventure!

Micaela said...

that is a gorgeous part in the book. You know, sometimes I get so upset and angry at the time i've wasted spent on relationships that went no where, which have taken years to get over- or is a continuing process.

but like you've pointed out with that beautiful passage, how can i curse what will eventually make me into the Claire of my future?

i know it's a big decision to put your passion (acting) on hold... but i'm amazed by your courage. Please do give me some info on teaching english abroad-- i'm curious to look into it!


autumn said...

I don't know you, just a lurker on this lovely blog. But I dealt(dealing...always) with my own little Ned of sorts. I know that without learning to overcome a beast I never would have understood the value of learning to love instead of just feeling love. Ned presupposed that I had to learn to love myself, never just naturally feel it. I think that the whole process of choosing and learning love is precisely the best gift I have ever given my husband. We have a love that is true and real and not just easy. So keep on keepin' on and know that all things work to the good; even though Ned's a bitch you can take all the strength you are growning and learning and use it to your own advantage and stick it to him all the more!

Carlita said...

I taught in China (thru ILP where you have to pay your way the first time, but you can go back with another group of teachers the 2nd time and get paid) and then I got TEFL certified and taught in Ecuador. The pay wasn't that great in South America, but it's an adventure anywhere you go! I'd probably try Asia/Thialand area if I ever go again... or actually Poland or Russia b/c it puts you closer to Europe. My brother works for ILP and visits schools around the world if you have any questions. www.ilp.org

good luck!

Erin said...

I loved the Time Traveler's Wife.
I really like the way you write. Good luck on all your endeavors!

Valerie said...

darling meg, it is important for us to be real + strong and have real people lives we adore most of all. i needed a real-life break from acting for some healing/strengthening/finding of MEEE. a little different, but maybe a little similarish. + i am tres tres sure your heart will lead you back to it when your life needs it again. sometimes we gotta live a little. xoxoxo.v

Hanako66 said...

I think that I am going to order that book now.

I love your new outlook and think that travelling is a fabulous idea. Who knows, you may even meet Future Husband while you are away:)

faryle said...

Gosh, I love how honest and open you are. It's refreshing and eyeopening.

Traveling sounds like a wonderful idea. When are you ever going to have an opportunity to do something like that again?

iheartkiwi said...

you go girl! i did a few study abroad programs in college and they are honestly some of my most cherished memories.

the time is now! while you are still young... before too many responsibilities get in the way!

kiwi and went to thailand a few years ago and absolutely loved it. there are so many opportunities to teach english there. i think you would be great!

jess said...

I love you courage and spirit meg.

Come to england, I'll take to my local village pub and we can sit in the garden with the roses and ducks and drink cider and eat cream teas, you'll love it.