Through Garance and the Atelier, I have had the honor of getting to know a few pretty incredible Hawaiians (remember Jen?) Today we’re so happy to introduce you to Tahiti – who is as beautiful as her name suggest, inside and out. Tahiti is telling her story of hardship and heartbreak, but more importantly, of strength, resilience, and self-love – in her own words.
Tahiti Huetter, Creative Consultant
“Everything happens for a reason.” Ugh, eyeroll. This would be the response from friends and family for the next 6 months after my breakup. The breakup. From my very first boyfriend, my very first “I am so madly in love with you, I want to spend the rest of my life with you, we are going to get married” boyfriend. My soulmate, the father to our adopted pup, my best friend. Or so I thought.
When I fell in love I never envisioned it ending with a New York City eviction notice, twenty-thousand dollars worth of debt, moving back to my home-state (Hawaii), and months of insomnia.
It wasn’t supposed to end, we had made plans to get married, sometime in 2018, he had been designing my engagement ring. We had planned out this perfect life together and were set to move to LA when my NYC apartment lease was up. We met on that one infamous dating app, he was incredibly charming, kind, smart and we shared all of the same interests. My dreams mirrored his. Everything I loved, he enthusiastically loved and supported as well. He took me back home to meet his parents and introduced me to his world so quickly. We had sweet nicknames for eachother, I would wake up to the most loving texts each day. I was hooked. So was he. This was “it” I thought. I met the one.
A year together went by fast, during that time he moved in and encouraged me to leave a job I was really unhappy at. He told me he would take care of us, me and Luna (the dog we adopted together). He would pay the rent, take care of all the bills – I would contribute with whatever I had. I stopped working and as an eventual result, faded into a depression, which was confusing. I had this amazing boyfriend, an apartment, and a dog. I shouldn’t have been feeling this way. I had it all, except a job – which is what I eventually began to blame my depression on. The depression continued and I began to get so anxious that I couldn’t even walk Luna because I didn’t want to be outside. I became paranoid and avoided the subway. A lot of people don’t know this but I became reclusive – I considered killing myself. I had gone dark. I had no money, but he had a bit – supposedly. I was struggling to understand why at the same time of being in a really loving and caring relationship I was just as depressed. He comforted me and allowed me to stay home, do nothing, eat whatever. I gained 50 pounds, he didn’t care, he said I was perfect at any size. He just kept supporting me, I had no idea it was a form of control.
An opportunity for a two month long consulting job came up in Hawaii and I took it, I really wanted to get out of NYC. It would be tough to be away from him and Luna for so long, but I also knew it would be a healthy break from the city. Being back at home in my bikini was such a stark contrast from the layers of winter coats in NYC. I was ashamed of how much weight I had gained and knew I had to make a change, so I started to see a trainer and go to spin class. The consulting job was forcing me to be out more, socialize, be creative. My depression started to lift.
I knew I had an amazing, supportive man waiting for me back in New York. I was beginning to feel better. Until I got an unexpected call from my landlord in New York telling me I was being evicted. I was shocked and panicked as I was 5,000 miles away from my boyfriend and all of our belongings.
I flew back to New York the next day and spent the weekend with him collecting rent receipts, going to the courthouse, negotiating with the landlord’s lawyer to move out and put our belongings in storage. But something wasn’t adding up. My boyfriend assured me we had just gotten stuck with one of those Brooklyn landlords who wanted our rent controlled apartment back. A combination of naivety, ignorance, and total trust in my boyfriend temporarily allowed this to be a good enough answer to what was happening. I went back to Hawaii to finish up my contract and he went back to Maine to his parent’s house, we would wait til my job was over and move to LA like we had originally planned. This was only a hiccup, not the end.
But with some distance between us I started to piece together the truth. He hadn’t been paying the rent like he told me. The eviction happened so quickly that I just wanted to handle everything and move on, so I paid off the back-rent, eviction fees, and temporary storage. I later found out that he bailed on his previous apartment and left his roommate with six months of unpaid rent and utilities. Oh, and my engagement ring? The jeweler I had put him touch with had never heard of him. I also discovered he had been on that dating app again, messaging girls and using our dog and the photos I took of him as Tinder girl-bait. “Who the fuck is this person?” I asked myself.
Now it was all surfacing – everything had been a lie. I had been living with a sociopath. I was crushed – what had happened to my sweet, ultra-caring, attentive and un-naturally patient man? He left me confused, heartbroken and, on top of it all, in debt. I emailed him and asked him to please just pay me back the money he owed (stole?) for the apartment, telling him that we were done. He never responded. He blocked me. He began a smear campaign to friends and colleagues. His parents wouldn’t even answer my emails or texts. He had our dog, I would never see Luna again. I lost my appetite and didn’t sleep for weeks, and when I did I would have nightmares of him.
The distance prompted a period of reflection. I played back our relationship and noticed certain signs that I had overlooked. He was overwhelmingly sweet to me. When we first met, his mom was battling breast cancer, so he was emotional and blamed any of his strange habits on the fear of losing her. I loved this man, why would I think differently? The usual signs of a sociopath (harmless lies, making up stories, showing a lot of affection) were in my eyes, a result of his mother’s illness – not necessarily his own. None of my friends or family anticipated this happening. I realized I had let him get away with a lot more than I perhaps would have if his mom hadn’t been ill or if I hadn’t fallen into my depression. I hated myself for not looking at the signs earlier.
My only option was to stay in Hawaii. I threw myself into work and started getting job inquiries almost daily. I would workout everyday. It became my obsession. I launched an action plan to recover – much like drug rehab, but for the heart. I started seeing a real therapist. I began to lose weight, I stopped looking at his social media. I started sleeping through the night. I started to find my everything happens for a reason moment.
Healing from this breakup was like grieving a loss. It took time but eventually I moved forward and stopped hating him. I began to forgive him. This person had never loved me, he was pretending to be someone he thought I needed him to be. I felt pathetic for falling victim to it. I shouldn’t have given him the responsibility to mail in the rent or handle my apartment, it should have been my obligation. Eventually I forgave myself. I was going to have to accept that I was given this lesson, the only thing that was going to help was time.
That time passed and I started to notice change. Big change. Profound, life-altering change. Thank god, I was finally able to see some sort of beautiful blessing. I stopped worrying about things that were out of my control, and my anxiety nearly disappeared. I began to have more patience and understanding for others. I stopped jumping to conclusions and I started to ask more questions. In a year I became more authentic, softer, grounded, motivated. I bounced back into life with excitement and optimism, something I hadn’t felt in years. Each day I consciously chose to heal rather than fall into the easy path of being his victim.
The choice paid off. I lost weight, 30 pounds (and still going). I became a cycling instructor. I landed dozens of contracts. I paid off all of the debt he left me with. I traveled. I started dating again. I really began to shine. I got my life back, a better version of it than before he came along. “Everything happens for a reason.” It was now my mantra. Ahhh, sigh of relief. This relationship had ended without closure, he had left me in the dark with so many questions. Questions I would never have answers to. From which I learned acceptance. Sorry, but some things just fucking happen. I learned gratitude. I had so much in my life to be grateful for. I learned that I was courageous. I could accomplish great things. I learned to use my intuition. I now follow my gut more than ever. He had taken so much during the break up that I never saw how much he gave me in return, until now. He gave me the reminder that even when left in the dark, I would continue to glow on my own.