to love and lose

It’s been a minute. Something like six months. I’ve been writing a lot, but it’s felt more personal than anything that needs sharing. Now though, I’m ready to share.

What a year it’s been. I realized earlier today that it’s officially been a year (to the day) since my divorce was finalized. In reflecting on that experience, I truly believe it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. (Not the divorce itself; that still feels too raw and personal to write about and there are details that I will never disclose, despite being a relatively open book.) Rather, the love that landed me here in Durango. The love that I had and will always have for a person who showed me more about myself than I could’ve ever imagined.

Something I discovered this past year is that - to me - love lost doesn’t detract in any way from love shared. We’re fed a narrative about love that doesn’t fully encompass the experience. We’re made to believe that true love looks and feels like a fairy tale. That real love means everlasting love.

I disagree. To have loved and lost is infinitely better than moving through the world with impenetrable guardrails around our heart. Our felt experience of pain and sadness is directly proportional to the degree in which we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and take a leap of faith. To believe in the possibility of a future with a partner, despite knowing how little we know about the path our love will lead us down.

I have a lot to share about the past month of my life. At the beginning of this summer, I spent two weeks in jail. Jail, jail. Some shit went down and I found myself sentenced to two weeks in the La Plata County Jail (fondly referred to as the La Plata Ramada). It’s not the series of events that landed me there that I feel I need to write about. I’m completely open to telling that story, but it’s not the one at the forefront of my heart and mind at this time.

The story that is desperate to be told has little to do with my mistakes and much to do with how jail expanded my soul. The story I need to tell is what I observed about humanity through spending fifteen days behind bars. I would never say my observations are the universal truth; they’re simply MY truth. My time in jail allowed me to access a depth of understanding about trauma and how it affects the people who develop in its shadow. It reminded me that people are good at their core and that people do to others as has been done to them.

But that’s a whole separate blog post. One that’s coming. As much as I enjoy shooting from the hip, it feels important for me to slowly digest and process that experience. I know it’s a turning point for me, and that I will look back years from now and understand just how significant those weeks were.

For today, I’ll end by acknowledging that freedom and opportunity are all I’ve ever known. It’s the Fourth of July and we can take from that what we need.

To me, it’s a moment to pause and reflect on just how fortunate I am. To remember that not everyone has the freedoms that we have and to simply feel gratitude for that truth.

Hannah Smith