Josh My Life

The Camping Trip that changed everything

I was so scared to leave CA. The night before I left, all I could think of was how I wasn’t ready. This was a stupid idea. But as the miles flew past, the distance seemed to lessen the dull ache in my heart.

As the humid Kauai air hit me while walking off the plane, I just instantly felt home and safe.

My favorite cousin Tots picked me up and took me directly to the beach. Tots is… basically my sister.

Actually in reality, Tots is my second cousin, but ever since we were little we basically adopted each other as sisters. Her little daughter Kaileah is… she is my pure joy. I have never loved a little kid the way I love her. Even though she’s my cousin, she feels like my niece.

I basically come to Kauai for Tots, her husband Kaia and their daughter Kaileah. I usually tend to spend most of my time with them on the North shore.

Together Kaileah and I ran out to the ocean to put our toes in.

I just felt whole again. Like me. My laughs and smiles came easy. I spinned Kaileah around in circles as we laughed. Finally, Tots and I ended up sitting in the sand and I told her everything.

About the elopement Josh and I had planned. About the breakup. About my questions. My never ending list of questions. None of this made sense to me. The questions I was left with were the main reason I was having a hard time with this breakup. I just didn’t understand any of it.

Something Tots said, keeps repeating in my mind:
“Monica, if he could throw away 10 years with you, maybe he wasn’t worth having in your life. Who even does something like that? Let him go. You don’t need anyone like that in your life.”

She was right. A few tears fell down my cheek. Only this time these weren’t tears or hurt and confusion like before. These were tears of letting it go.

Drama at home

Some drama did happen back home. My sister apparently tore Josh a new one. I actually don’t know any details since she won’t tell me and Josh is still pretending I don’t exist.

I was a bit sad at first. Yeah, what Josh did hurt a lot. It’s just not fair to attack him for it. So what if he’s moving on? I actually genuinely do want him to be happy, even if it hurts me. I wish I could tell him that, and apologize for the craziness that is my sister. But, there is nothing to do when you can’t get a hold of a person. So I went to bed and I ended up falling asleep the happiest I had felt in a week.

Finding Clarity

The next morning, I woke up early and wrote my heart out. Then finished packing for our camping trip to Polihale and left.

They already had all the permits for it and we’re going with a huge group. I’ve only camped there once before, about 10 years ago.

It was rough getting there, but oh my god the views were incredible.

My cousin Tots married an incredible guy, Kaia. He’s like my awesome brother in law and he insisted that I drive up with him :). We just talked about life. He gave me the awesome big brother conversation I needed and asked me a lot about Josh.

My family knew I was dating Josh, but I never really talked a ton about it. It was easier that way since we were so on/off. I didn’t want to tell them about the cheating. I didn’t want anyone to hate him or judge him for it. It was so much easier when everything was kept between just me and him. So it felt nice for the secrets to come pouring out.

The elopement, the life we had planned. Kaia asked me why I chose Josh. What was it about him? Why did I stay together with him for so long? Why was it always off and on? And I couldn’t find a great answer. Obviously in the beginning it was a lot of physical attraction. I loved his confidence. But then Josh just… he was my best friend. He became my home. So I always went back home. Now I can’t tell if it was out of habit or because I loved home.

Other then that, it wasn’t like he made me a better person or he pushed me to be my best self. It was more like… he saw me for who I really was on the inside. The real me and he accepted me flaws and all. I felt like arm candy to everyone else. They didn’t care about my opinion or listen to it, but Josh did. He wasn’t intimidated by my opinions or my big fancy job. It wasn’t a factor in our relationship and he didn’t make me feel like the sugar momma that I felt like in other relationships. He saw all of me, even in the worst parts that I never let anyone else see and continued to love me for them.

The best thing about us, was the sexual chemistry, it was just off the charts with him. (Side note: is it weird that I have no memory of the last time we had sex? I feel like I should remember that, but I can’t remember anything.) Although with Josh, I felt like I was constantly having to prove myself or fight for his love. I also hated how he could just be so mean and cruel. Saying the worst things. Never thinking of how to be kind to someone else. It always felt so selfish.

The biggest issue in our relationship was he would cheat and lie and I’d have a hard time trusting and giving up my entire life when he was doing that. Every time though, we’d come back and Josh would pretend to be good for awhile. Until he wasn’t. So then we’d fight and make up. And just fell into this pattern of fighting hard and loving each other harder.

I felt uneasy in the relationship… like I was always waiting for another screw up. I was never able to full trust him, which is why committing to marriage and an elopement with him was such a big deal for me. It made me into this insecure person I wasn’t really. Remembering it all, I don’t like who I was as a person towards the end of the relationship. I almost don’t recognize her.

By the time we made it to the camping site, I felt like I had so much clarity.  I had finally found all the answers I needed.

Yes, Josh was the one who broke up with me and called off our elopement. In the process, breaking me in a way I’ve never been broken before. Now… it felt like the best thing that had happened to me.

The Camping Trip

I had forgotten how incredible the views here were. When we got to Polihale, we picked a spot by the beach.

Then we just chilled. I even set up my own tent, BY MYSELF! There was a group of about 30 of their friends. Most of them I’ve met before. I’m just horrible with names, especially in large groups. A few of us just walked the beach as far as it’d go, in the distance was the Na Pali coast. One of my favorite places in the world. Something about Na Pali… just brings me to tears because it’s just so.. magical.

At night we had a huge bonfire BBQ, played the guitar, and sang around the bonfire. Talked story. Drank so so so much whiskey.

I was in pure bliss though. I couldn’t tell if I was more drunk on life or on whiskey. I eventually slipped away into the dark shadows of the beach, walking along the coast. And sat in the sand by myself. Just staring at the most awe inspiring stars I’ve ever seen. Listening to the waves and thinking about how funny life is.

If Josh hadn’t broken my heart, I wouldn’t be here right now in such a perfect place. I wouldn’t be as strong as I am now. I just felt like a brand new person.

I realized it didn’t hurt like it did before. Now when I thought of Josh, I felt…. like a faint recognition to someone I used to know. Kinda the way I feel about all of the rest of my exs. Before, he felt like my home that I had lost. He felt like he was still mine. Now, he didn’t feel like mine at all. He felt like a stranger.

For days, we just camped. I wrote. I laid out on the beach. Read books. Listened to music. Taught Kaileah my best dance moves and together we spinned around in circles and chased each other up and down the beach. I’d sip whiskey with Tots at 10am. With no cares in the world. Went swimming. And I felt 10 years younger. All the stress was lifted off of my shoulders. I felt full of life, joy, and purpose in the most beautiful place I’ve ever been in. I didn’t want to leave, ever.

Confession: I ended up making out with one of Kaia’s friends a few times. Dusty is a local guy, we’ve hung out a few times over the years, but this time was different. At first he seemed to be all surface level confidence, but he has the sweetest way about him. Like the way he’d walk me to my tent at the end of the night or brush strands of my hair from my face then shyly touching my hair. It felt natural to be near him. Comfortable and safe. Kissing him didn’t hurt my heart at all. I loved the way he looked at me and blushed. Or how he’d try to avoid Kaia’s big-brother glares. In fact, I just felt incredibly beautiful. Not because he called me beautiful, which he did, but because I felt like my whole happy self again.

I didn’t realize until hours later that I never even thought of Josh. Is it weird to feel bad for…. not feeling bad? Awh hell, he’s the one who dumped me for his coworker! Why should I feel bad? Then again, I don’t know if I ever would’ve had the strength to dump him. Maybe I should be thankful he did.

Back to the point, shouldn’t moving on hurt more? Shouldn’t it take more time? Or feel empty and painful? I’m not at all serious about Dusty and I don’t think I have it in me to be serious about anyone for awhile, which I was 100% upfront about with him. So it’s not like I led him on.

All I want is to be free to focus on being my very best self. The Monica that I love. The one that dances in the car, sings loudly in the shower, and doesn’t doubt herself because she’s too carefree and confident in herself. I love that side of me. I’ve missed that side of me. I don’t know how I lost her actually.

Actually, I figured that out too. Since I come from such a shitty family situation… I feel like my life has been centered around finding the one thing I never got: Love and Acceptance. I was always never enough for my parents, my biological father, my siblings. So I’d kill myself trying to be perfect and when I found a source of love & acceptance, I’d hold onto it for dear life. What I really needed though, was to love and accept myself. Josh was only able to hurt me like this, because I gave him the power to.

It feels weird bouncing back so quickly. Maybe because I’ve experienced this breakup all so deeply in such a short amount of time, that I ended up needing less time? Or maybe my magical island gave me all the answers I needed.

Josh always said that if we ever broke up, I’d be able to move on and I’d end up being okay. I never believed him, it would actually piss me off when he’d say it. Maybe that’s why I held on so tight after we were over, even after he had clearly moved on. I still believed all the things we said before. Turns out he was right. I have been able to move on.

We should’ve broken up sooner

I was thinking about it on the hike and I wish we would’ve ended it a month ago when I was in Cabo for work. It was before we had talked about the elopement and it was the closest I had come to breaking everything off with him.  He was talking with his coworker Alex back then and I remember catching him in another lie. I was so hurt and I just felt SO done.

I remember drinking by the poolside and thinking to myself, ‘Why do I keep putting up with this?’

We even stopped talking for a few days while I was on the trip. I focused on work and myself. It felt amazing. The day I was flying back, I had a gut feeling to end it with Josh. I just didn’t know what it all meant and I was trying to process it all.

I think he could sense that I was over it and reached out first. Explaining away his bad behavior as missing me and being lonely. When we talked about his coworker Alex, he said that realized he couldn’t lose me over her. It wasn’t worth it, since I make him so happy. So he’d stop talking to her. I agreed to give it another chance.

Later, when I asked him about that conversation during our breakup, he said that he told me what he thought I’d want to hear, but didn’t mean any of it. Ugh. Jerk move.

Soon after Cabo, Josh was feeling frustrated with the lack of direction in our relationship and wanted to move forward. So we talked about what that could look like. He said he wanted to marry me. That’s when we started planning our elopement. Settling on Mauai, a budget, started looking at rings and dresses. Everything.

If he was going to end it and was pursuing something with his coworker, why say you want to marry me? Why push for that if it’s not what you wanted? We could’ve broken up when I came back from Cabo and it would’ve hurt SO MUCH less. Why breakup after we had planned our life out? Why dump me for the coworker you’re cheating on me with after we made so many stupid promises to each other? Promises that I realize now, meant nothing. The way it all happened, just feels so damn cruel.

No regrets

At least it doesn’t hurt anymore. Maybe he needed to burn it to the ground so that he knew we’d both never come back to it.

I don’t regret our relationship. I don’t regret being with him for 10 years. I wish I had been stronger, or had done a few things differently. But overall, I think what we had was beautiful even if it didn’t last. Josh wasn’t meant to be my forever. As much as we both tried to make it be.

I don’t hate him. I’m not angry at him. In fact, I hope that wherever he is… he is living his very best life. That it’s full of as much love and hope as mine. I want him to be happy.

We left late Sunday afternoon. Dusty asked me to ride back with him, so we could hit a surfing spot he was telling me about on the way back home. As we drove away from Polihale, I turned around so I could catch the last glimpses of the beach. I felt like I was returning a completely different person. Someone whole, strong, beautiful, and loved. It was one of the best and most healing weekends of my life. Coming back to Kauai was really the best decision for me.

best thing

About Monica

Living in Newport Beach and Kauai. Survivor of crippling Anxiety and Depression. When I'm not cuddling my adorable dachshund puppy, surfing, or reading, you'll find me on here writing about my love life, loss, and everything in between.

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