Endings are tough. Sometimes we view them as the symbol of something new, but most of the time, when we think of the end, we think of loss, fear, and we most likely have a huge dose of anxiety about the thought of change. Then, to take it a step further, there is not only the end but there’s that very difficult first step one must take – to walk through the door to the space of the beginning of the end.
The beginning of the end represents that tipping point, that moment when a little voice in our head says “I think a change is near” or you’ve gotten fed up and have finally allowed the words “I can’t do this anymore” occupy space in your everyday thoughts. Once these thoughts start – the end is near.
I remember the various points in my career I would wake up and go to work every morning, just like I always did, and then one day for whatever reason I started to think that maybe there was something different for me and it was time to start exploring it. It was at those moments when I experienced the little twitch in my gut, that feeling of the beginning of the end. It represented the moment when I started to visualize myself doing a different job, having a different routine and then, one day, I started to visualize myself not married anymore and that was the beginning of the end of my marriage.
Getting to that point where I let the thoughts of not being married anymore come into my head and actually let them stay there was one of the most frightening parts of the long process of ending my marriage. Denial, fear, blame, excuses, and straight-out fairy tales were the things that swirled around my head as I tried to convince myself that “it’s ok, it’s just a phase, everything will be OK.” I spent a lot of time repeating these words to myself until one day – I stopped. I replaced it with “I can’t do this anymore”combined with a smudge of courage and for me, that was the beginning of the end of my marriage.
Sometimes it takes an outside perspective to jolt us out of our mental state – to stop that tape recorder playing over and over again in our mind because deep down we know we are telling ourselves lies but we don’t have the strength to let anything else in, especially the truth, especially when the truth is ugly and scary.
In my essay featured in the book “Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It,” I share my story about how reading “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert back in 2008 was that jolt I didn’t know I desperately needed to finally be honest with myself that the beginning of the end of my marriage was right at my feet during a time that I just didn’t want to see it. I was stuck in the “everything will be fine” phase. I was stuck there for about a year and I was trying so hard to stay there – to hope and think everything was going to be fine – but it wasn’t.
When I received my advance copy of the book, I immediately started to read through the other essays from my fellow contributors and I was absolutely amazed by the resilience, strength and courage these writers displayed and were willing to share it. I read story after story of different ways that people used the words from this book to create change in their lives in many different aspects. Careers, toxic relationships, where they lived – the stories went on page after page, I was amazed and I was honored to be part of it.
This beautiful book is 43 stories of our journey to the “Beginning of the End.” The moment when we realized there was something else out there for us and that we didn’t have to live life the way we were living it anymore. The hardest part of the process of ending something and having the courage to change it is admitting that the end is near. Deciding it’s time to finally take that leap, make a change, let words fall off your lips that you never thought possible:
I want more.
I don’t love you.
When you’re standing at the beginning of the end, there is no road map to what is next. It’s a yellow brick road and there is no “Fairy God Mother” in sight telling you everything is going to be OK. Nothing. It’s only you and the ideas of what could possibly lie head and that in itself can be the scariest feeling of all.
For me, that meant picturing life as a single mom with two young daughters, one still in diapers. It meant not even knowing what it would look like, where we would live, would I be able to make it on my own after not being on my own for 17 years? I knew nothing about how things were going to turn out, all I knew at that moment in the fall of 2008, I was in the midst of the beginning of the end.
You can read Tracie’s entire essay along with all of the other inspirational stories in the new book “Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It.” Available now wherever books are sold.