This is me... 8 years ago today. And before you congratulate me on my anniversary I'll let you know, i only made it two month past my 2nd anniversary before leaving my husband.
It's so hard for me to even recognize myself in this photo. Regardless of the lack of tattoos, the girl I see here is someone completely different, and in someways I miss her, she was innocent, full of hope, blissfully ignorant believing the good in everyone and full of trust. So very trusting and unscathed. But also, I see someone who was ridged, hard, stuck in her ways and lacked perspective. Someone who believed the world was black and white and there was no room for grey. But also full of questions she didn't dare ask.
Let me start off this next part by sayings I don't wish divorce on anyone.
I had no idea the immense pain that is caused and still causes. It's like a death but instead of the person being gone they are out there living their life without you and you can't see them or talk to them. All those hopes and dreams you had together died with the marriage and It was death of the dream that was the hardest for me.
For along time I struggled with feeling like the bad person. I was in fact the one that left, why should I be hurt or devastated? I remember how I used to judge other divorces. Scoffing and judging them thinking "they sure didn't try very hard, only being married a couple of years" it's funny how life can come back and kick you in the butt. And let me be the first to tell you two years can feel like an eternity when you are in an unhealthy relationship.
I used to daydream while driving home about getting in a car accident and dying. I thought death would be easier than divorce. That it would be more acceptable and also an easier way out. You see at a young age I bought into believing that divorce was wrong and I for sure would never do it. I was a self righteous, judgemental person. And if divorce has taught me anything it is grace and humility.
Near the end of my marriage I was starting to break down. I started secretly recording our arguments on my phone to share with my therapist. I thought I was losing my mind. I was confused about everything, I had lost trust in my gut and my intuition. I didn't trust anything I felt. And I felt so alone and confused. I didn't feel I could talk to anyone because I couldn't even make sense of it all myself. Was I making everything up? Was I over reacting? Or being too sensitive? I felt as if I was lost in themiddle of the woods with no compass.
To find comfort I would eat in secret, often times getting not one but two Mc Donald's meals and eating them in a dark parking lot, finding bliss in those moments before the fear and anxiety of going home would set in. Home was not a safe place. I had recently become self employed and I hid behind working long hours to avoid going home.
On the outside everything was great, we were a happy, smiley, charming couple, behind closed doors everything was different. I was exhausted. I couldn't find rest.
I was terrified to leave. I had a few attempts but I always cameback to promises of things being different.
But it was more than that. Leaving to me equaled judgement, shame, and embarrassment. It meant failure. I've never done well with failure. I was scared to hurt my husband. I believed that he really did love me despite our unhealthy relationship. And I loved him. Sometimes it's easy to believe that couples no longer love each other by the time they separate. For me, a part of me will always love him, I'd be lying if I said he doesn't hold a space in my heart. I did marry him after all. Clearly it's not the same love but I do think of him time to time, and hope he is healthy and happy.
It makes me cry as I write this (and each time I reread it as I edit) remembering one of our last hugs. Both of us crying on each other's shoulders. Not wanting it to end but knowing it had to. I felt guilty for abandoning him. We had a shared dream for our future, and that was all coming to an end. We weren't just grieving the loss of a relationship or person it was a loss of our future. Even the song I walked down the aisle to lyrics were "till the end when we part I will give you my heart, and I promise to love you with all that I am, and I promise to be there when ever you need me because you'll always be my best friend". I had meant those promises and it still pains me to know I broke them.
The clear vision and dream that I had of my life, the wife and mother I was to become, children I would have, had vanished. And with out a clear vision of what's ahead I had no idea how proceed in life.
I tried multiple times to leave. In the end I left shamefully and cowardly. I had to make it my fault. I needed to set myself free. I didn't feel I had enough reason to leave that I had to turn it on myself. It was easier to make it my fault. I left with my head held low.
Unfortunately the next relationship I entered into after my marriage was of a similar disfunction. I had low self esteem and little self worth, my divorce was fresh and I believed I was damaged goods. I unconsciously sought out someone who would confirm my worst thoughts. Thankfully that relationship ended much quicker.
I wish I still had hope in the love, that as a little girl, I dreamed about. I miss that naive belief. I miss that innocence. And despite that all, I wouldn't trade where I am now to go back. But to be completely honest, I sometime envy the ignorant.
So now, I see grey everywhere, I ask a million unanswerable questions, and I don't believe in black and white mentalities, I can't after all that I've been through.
I am happy to say that I now have a loving partner who is patient and kind. He believes in me when I don't believe in myself and He loves me even when I try to push him away. When I get scared or overwhelmed he calms me. He knows how to give me the space I need to gain clarity and he accepts me for every part of what makes me me, all of my past, each of my bad habits, and even my lack of domestic skills. 😜 He is everything I wanted and what I thought I could never have. (Even what I was told I would never find) I didn't believe I deserved another chance, and on our first date I tried my hardest to make him reject me. I tried to get him to judge me, to shame me or tell me I was a terrible person, I wanted him to confirm my beliefs about myself. But you know what he said? Something to the effect of "You know what? It's really neat to hear you talk about all you've encountered in life and see how hard you're working at the being the person you want to become"
He met me with love, grace and acceptance. Something that felt so foreign. The irony of it all is that without my past I would have never considered going on our first date. But I am so thankful I did.
So as today marks 8 years since I was married it also marks 8 years of growth into becoming the strong and courageous women I am today and am still working at becoming.
I'm sharing this with you all because I believe we are all worthy of love and acceptance no matter what our pasts hold, others have told us or what we believe about ourselves. The purpose behind my business has always been to be a safe place for women and to let them know and feel their worth and value. That no matter who you are, what you've done or where you've been (that's almost a Backstreet Boys lyric, and you all know how much I love the Backstreet Boys) You, just as you are, in this exact moment, are worthy of love.