Sometimes life can throw curveballs that can make you fall. But it's up to you to decide how to pick yourself up and move on and all it takes is a little self-love.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on December 17, 2019. It has since been updated.
For Sandra Blanco, the Christmas of 2017 was not a good one because just the week before, her fiance dumped her and called off the wedding, according to the Daily Mail. But she had no idea that his cold feet was going to change her life so spectacularly.
The 32-year-old who owns a flower bridal crown business told Metro UK, "At some point in November 2017, I didn’t think my ex was committed and invested in the relationship enough after a year and a half, so I wanted to move back to London and leave him. Soon after this, he proposed and I said yes – I mean, all I wanted was a reciprocated relationship and I wanted to understand that maybe this was the wake-up call he needed." Deciding to elope in Vegas, the two had planned everything within just six weeks. And then things took a turn for the worse.
"A week before Christmas, he told me he wanted to take a step back, to go back to having a light relationship, while we spoke about buying a house together. A ‘light relationship’? That was not ok with me. The wedding simply couldn’t go ahead but on the positive side, I thought that we could still go to Vegas and enjoy ourselves without any pressure. I thought this might encourage him to communicate more openly and positively with me." But that didn't happen and her life was suddenly uprooted. "I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day alone packing boxes and searching for a place to stay in London with a studio for my flower crown business," she told the news outlet.
Just when she thought things couldn't get any worse, heartbroken Sandra found out that she wouldn't be able to get a refund for all of the things she and her ex had planned. But not willing to let the cards life had given her define her happiness, she decided to take a different path. She made the choice to continue with the ceremony and this time, marry herself.
"It was going to be a very depressing January; I was not looking forward to 2018. But at least I could actually go to Vegas. My 30th birthday was due to take place while we were in Vegas, so it was one more reason to go and celebrate. I searched online stories about being dumped that could help me feel better but everything I found was sad or written out of rage. This is when I decided to write a love story about my experience to inspire other people who have been through a similar journey."
Arranging for help from photographer Natalie J, who was more than willing to do so after hearing her story, Sandra also decided that this was the perfect opportunity to showcase her business called Sophie and Luna. She also contacted a male model, Iain Spivey, to join her on the photoshoot. What was meant to be a pick-me-up after being dumped turned out to be one of the best moments of the jilted bride's life.
"During our trip to Vegas, Iain, Natalie and I all bonded and became good friends; I got a tattoo in Vegas that means ‘friendship’ in Navajo and three dots to symbolise turning thirty during the trip. We did the most amazing road trip from Vegas to the Grand Canyon and stayed there for four days; it was spectacular, and I shall never forget the experience, it was truly breath-taking," recalled the 32-year-old businesswoman.
As for the actual ceremony, Sandra made her vows — to herself.
She said, "It was beautiful, emotional and moving; it was a ceremony where I committed to be good to and take care of myself. I’m a big fan of ‘cheesy’ and I wanted to make fun of such a situation, so I went to The Little Vegas Chapel; as I walked down the aisle by myself, the officiator, dressed as Elvis Presley, of course, spoke the kindest of words. They were exactly what I needed to hear, right there and then."
"He said, 'Sandra, today is a special day for you; you’ve come here to make a promise to yourself. Today you planned to come here with your boyfriend, unfortunately, it didn’t work out and yet you still have the courage to come here now to make a promise to yourself. It is time to fully live your life, your wild and precious life. It is time to untie the stories, distractions and illustrations that keep you small and lean into the life that is waiting for you. Time to honour your innermost values, time to be gentle with your innocent heart, time to stand firmly by what you know to be true and make a bold, lifelong commitment to love.'"
But that wasn't all Sandra learned from her experience. She learned something that she wished to share with others — that the most important kind of love isn't what you feel for another person, but rather the love you feel for yourself. "I truly believe that learning to love everything about yourself means that you will not settle until you find the kind of love you know is right for you; sincere, deep and in it for the long haul. The kind of love that makes you feel stronger when you are at your weakest, the kind that adds to and enhances your life."
Well, it seems that we could all learn to love ourselves. After all, behind every strong woman is a woman who desires affection, respect and adoration, especially when she puts her heart and soul into making others happy. And behind her smile is a tired being who just wants to find her happiness, something that might just start with a little self-care and learning to love herself.