Connecting the dots in Costa Rica

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During the months leading up to my trip to Costa Rica, I stumbled across a powerful message from Pastor TD Jakes. The words “Nothing just happens” jumped out to me, and grabbed my attention. I pondered on it and began to reflect on my own situation. As a result, my perspective on the break-up did a complete 360. The message went on to say “nothing just happens and anything that does happen happens for a reason”. The funny thing is, I heard this message months ago, I was just not in the best place to receive it. Like Drake, I too spent a lot of time being in my feelings and was unable to see the bigger picture.

Time really does heal all, because I no longer saw the break-up as something negative, but necessary. In a weird way, I found closure and comfort in Pastor TDJakes message. It silenced all of those ‘what if’ questions that had taken up residence in my head. I now found myself at a true place of acceptance. Acceptance of what was, what remained and what was to be.

If I had not been so resistant, I would have been able to check out of Heartbreak hotel a lot sooner. But in life, nothing ever happens before the appointed time. By changing the way I looked at the break-up, it allowed me to give birth to a new me. I was no longer the victim that I had allowed myself to become. The best feeling in the world is when you arise from the dust that once consumed you.

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Things quickly turned around for me as I went on to enjoy one of the best summers of my life to date. I truly lived my best life making the most of my summer days. I was on a roll and did not want to slow down. My trip to Costa Rica was at the end of the summer and I promised myself that I would recharge once I got out there. But not before I ran two last laps at the London Notting Hill Carnival. It was a great way to kiss goodbye to summer. Especially since my brother and I unexpectedly landed a live TV interview on Sky news during the parade. O M G – I never imagined something like that would happen to us, lol. Check out the interview below.

Catch flights, not feelings

Running on 3 hours sleep the day after carnival, I set off on an 11-hour flight to Costa Rica with my cousin Aaliyah. I was so excited because I had never been to that part of the world before and it was our first ever trip together. Spending two whole weeks in Costa Rica does not come around often, so we were both determined to make the most of it.

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After surviving my first 11-hour flight, Aaliyah and I checked into Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica in Guanacaste. As we arrived, we were welcomed with a champagne/cocktail reception. You know I have a slice of Boujee in me, so this type of welcome was right up my street. I was all smiles because, within a few months, I went from passing out at work due to the stress of the break-up to sipping champagne in Costa Rica. What a way those tables turned and my oh my it sure did feel good. Our hotel had all the trimmings, 24-hour service, spa facilities, Wi-Fi, 4 restaurants, entertainment, two pools and an on-site photographer. We even had access to the sister hotel across the street.

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There is no such thing as a coincidence

During our first few days, we wasted no time getting comfortable. We spent most of our mornings by the pool, chilling, snapping and sipping on our favourite cocktails. Aaliyah and I had become very popular at our hotel because of our distinctive British accents. The staff loved us and always went above and beyond to ensure that we were well looked after. Things were only about to get better once we discovered a Black Travel group had checked into our hotel.

We were super hyped to see a group of Black travellers and wasted no time finding out who they were. I love meeting new people on holiday, so I was happy to go mingle with the new guests. Aaliyah and I walked right over to the tallest person in the group, Ricky he was as tall and brown as the bear from Bear in the big blue house. Ricky who was the group’s leader, was cool, calm, loved our British accents and invited us to hang out later to meet the full crew. img_5913

Every year for labour day weekend, the crew who are based in America travel to a new country to explore and party. SAY WHAT NOW? this blew my mind because out of all of the places in the world, we all ended up together in Costa Rica. What was even crazier was that Aaliyah and I were supposed to go to Aruba but somehow ended up booking Costa Rica instead. Now if you have followed this post break up travel series you already know, that there is no such thing as a coincidence when it comes to me, lol. With the arrival of our new guests, it was clear that our time in Costa Rica was about to be lit.

Within 24 hours it was as if the hotel had been hijacked. Everywhere you turned, all you could see were our melanin faces. One thing I love about being Black is we always tend to flock together come rain or shine. It was such a beautiful sight to see and felt even better to be a part of. We truly brightened up the place and it caused other hotel guests to want to be down with the clique, lol. I had never experienced something like this before. I loved it, plus everyone in the group treated Aaliyah and I like their little sisters since we were the only two people in their 20s.

Our day parties by the pool were literally some next level shit. Just think of the pool party scenes in the ‘Juicy‘ music video by Notorious BIG. It was such a vibe and every day our laughs got louder. The atmosphere was just filled with good vibes only, nothing more and nothing less. I remember getting messages from people back home on snapchat asking me who these people were lol. Overnight Aaliyah and I had been sworn into this new travel family and they never left us out of any of the fun. We hung out during the days, had dinner in the evenings and partied throughout the night. It seemed like my plan to recharge was taking a detour. But that is the funny thing about life, it always turns out better than the way we plan.

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Chase the adventures 

Our hotel was literally in the middle of nowhere, so we made plans to do things off the hotel complex. We hopped on a local bus into one of the oldest beach communities in Costa Rica, Playas de coco. When I ran out onto the beach and saw how beautiful the scenery was, I became very emotional. I realised that in order for me to be where I stood, I had to go through all that I did. I had come such a long way and even though I did not understand why the break up happened the way it did. I knew that it served a greater purpose.

This just reiterated the Nothing just happens message that I heard a few months earlier. Sometimes in life things may happen to you and you may never know why. You just have to trust and believe that things all things will work together for your good. I don’t know why but in Costa Rica, everything just seemed to make a lot more sense to me.

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Costa Rica is known for its tropical beaches, wonders of nature and Caribbean influenced culture. Aaliyah and I wanted to make sure we got to experience it, so we spent about $300 each for three days of excursions. One of my Jenna’s Travel philosophies that I truly live by is there is no price tag on experience, so spend whatever is necessary‘.

The first excursion we did was the open Catamaran Ocean tour. I love ocean water because it has so much healing benefits and I always feel a sense of peace whenever I am around it. Sailing along the gold coast was refreshing. It is not something you get to do on a regular basis, so I took the time out to really enjoy it. I channelled my energy and took in the natural views of the ocean. It was peaceful, but very short-lived because I was eager to get my body into the water and go snorkelling. You already know that your girl is unable to swim, so I had to be accompanied by an instructor. There is no shame in my game though, I put on my protective gear and went out into the water like a G.

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Feel the fear and do it anyway

The next stop on the list for Aaliyah and I was a day tour at the Vandara Hot springs and adventure. This included a 10 lap Zip-line tour, horseback riding, waterslide and the Vandara Hot Springs. Unknown to Aaliyah I secretly planned to skip the ziplining. The truth was, I did not think I was capable of doing it. But I did not want to tell my little cousin that I was feeling inadequate because of self-doubt. The break-up had bruised my confidence and as a result, I had been questioning myself and my capabilities. I somehow convinced myself that the failure of the relationship was a reflection of me. Now I do not know how I came up with that bullshit, but there I was, lol. I had internalised the break-up in such a way, that it made me forget who the fuck I was.

There I stood tweedling my thumbs, feeling petrified and contemplating whether or not to go through with it. Aaliyah took one look at me and said: “Jen, you have come too far to turn back now boo. You have nothing to be afraid of, you can do this”. There were no lies told because she was right, I was capable of doing anything that I put my mind to. The break-up did not define me and I had to stop letting what happened in my past, stop me from moving forward. I had to start undoing the damage and this moment was the perfect opportunity to make a start.

I thought to myself it is what it is at this point, let do this. So I strapped myself up and completed 10 full zip line laps. It gave me an instant adrenaline rush, that boosted my energy as well as my confidence. I was so proud of myself for going through with it. I proved my self-doubt wrong and I felt like a Baddie. People can encourage you, uplift you and tell you that you are capable of doing great things, but if you do not believe it for yourself, it means nothing.

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God makes no mistakes

I spent the rest of my time in Costa Rica reflecting. I thought about the girl that I once was and I thought about the woman that I was becoming. I felt inspired more than ever to get my blogging journey off the ground. I told myself that I when I got home, I would create a website for #Jenna’sWorldView. Costa Rica spoke to me in many ways and I really wanted to share more about my travel journeys. I also felt very eager to go out into the world to seek new experiences. Travelling has opened me up in such a way that has changed my perspective on myself, life, love and the world.

I never thought that I would ever end up visiting Costa Rica. I never imagined that I would be single at this age either, but hey life comes at you fast. My post-break-up travel journeys were filled with many highs and of course some lows. I travelled to escape my reality. Yet, with every country that I visited, I had no choice but to face it head-on. Most people say that after a break-up you must take time out to go find yourself. But the truth was, I was never lost, I just needed to be broken in order to uncover the hidden layers within me.

Anything that happens to us in life will never be wasted. Everything and everyone serves a divine purpose that only pushes you further into your destiny. I have no regrets, hate or anger in my heart because I now understand that in order for new things to come together, old things must fall apart.

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Thank you to my vocal and silent readers for keeping up with my Post-break-up travel series. When it all started, I had no clue about how it would all play out. Giving you a glimpse into my past challenged me in ways that I never imagined. Although the wounds have healed, the scars still remain. I no longer hide them because I wear every scar with pride and gratitude.

Many times, I questioned whether I made the right decision bringing this series to light. I have now come to know that although it was painful, it needed to be endured, in order to be shared. Use my experience as an example, take from it what you will remember God knows best and life GOES on.

To follow the full journey from the beginning, click below:

1. Intuition: A blessing in disguise!

2. The Aftermath

3. The wall that came down in Berlin

4. Dancing to the sound of a new beat in Santorini

Stay blessed

Lots of Love

Jenna

xoxo

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” -Deuteronomy 31:6

The Aftermath…

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I am a 90s baby, so I grew up on Toni Braxton, Monica and of course my Aunty Mary J Blige. I was singing about heartbreak and infidelity before I knew what it meant to really go through it. I could recite lyrics and belch every high note with raw emotion as if the heartbreak was my own. In my mind I was no stranger to it, I had read countless books about cheating couples (shout out to Brenda Hampton & Omar Tyree). I watched Tv shows and films over the years. I even knew all the words of the iconic heartbreak film Waiting to Exhale. It was all fun and games when it was make-belief but nothing could prepare me for the pain I felt when heartbreak became my reality.

Now I know that I dropped a bomb on you in my last blog post Intuition: A blessing in disguise. I was really touched by your response and I now feel braver than ever telling my story. Before I crack open my post break up travel series I need to take you a bit further behind the scenes. From the break up until my trip to Berlin, a lot had taken place in my life. I turned 25. I developed an elaborate and impulsive spending habit and I experienced everything from hair loss to depression. Dealing with a break up on top of trying to navigate my way through life was crippling and I couldn’t manage it. The break up was the straw that broke the Camels back and sadly for me it knocked me right off my feet. There was so much to process. My family were in my ears, my friends were in my ears. Everyone including me was trying to make sense of the madness.

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I was embarrassed, ashamed and I felt dirty. To make matters even worse, the word had started to spread and the people were talking. An old acquaintance of mine was so desperate for an exclusive, she texted my phone with fake concern in hopes to catch the tea. But this wasn’t tea or breaking news via the #shaderoom this was my real life. All eyes were now on me. Every move that I made was being scrutinised, so I wasn’t going to give the spectators, my ex or cousinbae the satisfaction of seeing me crumble. Even though I was half dead behind the scenes, lol. The show had to go on, so I kept up the appearances and made sure my Instagram uploads stayed popping.

The more I acted as though life was grand like a thousand pounds to the outside world, things were taking a turn for the worse. It got so bad that my mum sat me down and gave me some home truths. Mummy was blunt and told me that I am not the first girl in the world to get cheated on and I won’t be the last. I need to walk with my head held high. One day it will all make sense why I had to go through this. I can’t stop or give up, I just have to keep going. My mum tried the nice approach at first but in true Aunty Lorna form, she likes to leave an impact with her words. Mum made sure to remind me that I came from a long line of strong Black Women, who have been through ‘this’ before, so I have to pick myself up. Mum then went on to say and I quote “if you feel like you are going to mash up yourself over this Jancro boy & his dutty family, you have another thing coming”. In translation, this was a warning to get my shit together.

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You see, I heard what my mum said, but her words were not hitting home. Nothing anyone was saying to me at the time was. I felt like a victim and found comfort revelling in the pain of the breakup. I truly lost my strength and was I embarrassed to tell my mum that I was struggling to push through. My confidence was bruised. Ever since I was a child, It has been drilled into me that I have to grow up to be a strong Black woman. Life was going to throw some horrible things my way and no matter what happens, I have to keep it moving. Even if it hurts. Even if it’s painful. Even if I don’t understand it. I was raised and trained to be resilient. If I fall, I must get up and if I cry it shouldn’t be for too long, but I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t look or feel like the strong Black woman my mum raised me to be and this had a major impact on my confidence. I was unable to demonstrate all that my mum had taught me because I was crumbling.

Over the years I have been able to live up to this reputation as a ‘strong  Black woman’. I  have served as the friend, who many have called on. At one point in time, I even held a PHD in solving man problems for my girls, lol. Sadly, the tables had turned and the strong Jenna that everybody once knew, was now unrecognisable. The stress completely took over, I started isolating myself from others, my hair started to fall out and I wasn’t able to sleep at night. I remember feeling like someone cast an evil spell on me because everything that was happening to me just seemed unreal. I was declining, but I couldn’t do anything about it. The break up was an eye-opener and it made me realise that my ex-wasn’t who he portrayed himself to be. I thought that I knew him, but I didn’t. It made me feel as though everything that we had shared together was a lie. This was the worse part for me because, in my heart, I truly felt like we had shared something real.

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My ex- was the first guy I ever exchanged I love you with. The first guy who knew all of my hopes and dreams. From the age of 17, he watched me blossom into the early stages of womanhood. How could I just forget him? How was I supposed to erase the last 7 years of my life? I felt like I didn’t have anything to show for the relationship. I wasted my years and my time being his lover and the damn secretary too. I couldnt bear the thought of letting go of the relationship and to make matters worse, I was still attached to him(please don’t cuss me). It was so overwhelming for me to the point where I couldn’t even think straight. There was too much noise going in my head and I just needed to tune everything out. The break up was already taking its toll on my mental health and I knew it. As a first-class psychology graduate, who at that time wanted to get into Clinical Psychology Doctoral training. I knew the signs and tried my best to disguise it from my family and friends.

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It wasn’t only until an incident took place at work, that would soon reveal the true impact of the break-up. I collapsed at work and was unresponsive on my office floor for 5 minutes. As I regained consciousness, I noticed my wig was halfway across the office floor. My colleagues were standing around in complete and utter shock. When I realised my wig was gone, I just screamed out in embarrassment, lol.  I know they probably thought I was having a panic attack but unfortunately it was the shame of my wig abandoning my head at such a crucial time. Everyone believed I had suffered a silent heart attack until the tests came back normal. My iron levels were fine and no I didn’t have a stroke. Numerous tests were carried out on me but nothing could explain why I collapsed. The only thing the doctors could conclude was that stress had a major part to play. I spent two nights in the hospital and was advised to take it easy because next time I might not be so lucky.

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It was obvious from that incident I needed to get a grip on things but I just didn’t have the strength to get myself together. So I did what I do best and blocked out the problems by slipping away into isolation. I didn’t want to hear what my family or friends had to say anymore. I didn’t want to think about my ex anymore. I just wanted to soothe my wounds. I needed to make myself feel better and I was desperate to fill the pain with something other than the voices of my family and friends. So I kept spending money and boy did it feel good.

My aim was to get away from London and even further away from everyone’s voices. I was so desperate for a change of scenery. So when my girl Lola hit me up about Drakes Boy meets world tour in Berlin, I was all over it. Something about this concert just made sense to me. If you read JWV’s Top 10 things to do in Miami, you would know that we missed out on seeing him the previous year. I strongly sensed this was a rare moment of fate presenting itself and I needed to pay close attention. Without any additional thought, I booked those Drake tickets and Lola & I made plans to set off to Berlin. Little did I know, that this trip was going to be the starting point for my restoration & healing.

Click here for part 1 of my #PostBreakUp Travel series

Lots of Love

Jenna

xoxo

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