Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It's Okay To Believe In Love Again!

Today's the day. One year ago today the Judge signed her approval and legally declared me a free woman!!!!  You know me, I'm always reflecting on the past, present, and future. It's so important to me to maintain "me" and always be reminded of the beauty in my life...even if things feel a little $%!^^y at times.

I've been asking myself over the past couple of days, "Am I where I thought I would be this time last year? Am I where I want to be in life?" No and a big, fat YES!! This time last year, I was in my rebound relationship. It was so emotionally charged at the time, I could hardly enjoy the fact that I was divorced. Looking back, I think I lost my marbles for a few months thinking I could actually make a relationship work so soon after my marriage. However, make no mistake, I have absolutely NO regrets being in that relationship. Come to think of it, I have zero regrets for the decisions I have made this past year.

I'm sure some would look down on me, disapproving of the choices I've made. Many would even judge me if they knew how far my wings spread this year. But the idea of becoming a liberated woman, confident in myself, comfortable in my skin, and content in my heart is euphoric!! 

 I read a quote yesterday that resonated so deep in my soul. 

"All your life experiences have made you into the person you are today, and if you like the person you are today, then hold no regrets for yesterday."

I often tell the hot boyfriend that we are the sum of all of our experiences. I am in love with who he is today...so why would I judge or question or make him feel guilty for choices and experiences he made before we were together? The same goes for me. I LOVE who I am today. There was a time when I could not honestly admit to loving me. But this year? This day? This moment...it does my body good to be happy with who I have become.

AND!!! My relationship with my kids has deepened and grown stronger because I set out to find happiness, contentment and, most importantly, validation within myself. I pride myself on not needing the presence of a man to make me feel better about myself. Don't get me wrong, I have hit the love-lottery when it comes to the hot boyfriend. His touch electrifies me. His whisper melts my heart. His silent presence comforts me. But never, ever, will I find my validation in him or my relationship with him. 


He is the reason I am not where I thought I would be. When we started seeing each other, I was dead set on being single for the long haul and never, ever, ever getting married. I'm still not convinced I want to be married, but I am convinced that I want this man in my life for as long as God allows me to have him. He has made me a better version of myself, but not a complete version of myself. He has made me smile and laugh more than anyone in my life has, but he is not the source of my inner-joy...I am. He has validated my ideas, my thoughts, my fears, my joys; but the validation of my identity, my hope, and my self image comes from inside of me.


I can't help but wonder if maybe, just maybe, that's what he finds attractive in me. Who knows, ladies. Maybe the "good ones" are more concerned with inner peace, confidence, and determination than we give them credit for.  

All I know is, I'm living my own little version of a Christmas miracle. I gave up on love, but I am living proof that it's okay to believe in love again. It doesn't always hurt. Just as the cells in our bodies regenerate and have the ability to heal, the cells in my heart and my mind have found the healing and wholeness I have longed for all my life.


I am me. Finally.


I hope this Christmas, you too will find the peace and contentment your mind and heart crave. But hear me on this, you won't find it under the Christmas tree or in the arms of another. Those two gifts, although incredibly important, are an empty void if you don't start loving and appreciating yourself. Do it for your kids. Do it for your partner. They deserve the version of yourself. YOU deserve the best version of yourself. 

 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Could This Be? Dare I Hope For This To Last?

Posted on July 6, 2011 on my FB Notes page:

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I was recently asked by a very dear friend, "How, after your husband left, have you been able to be content with where you life is and be happy again?"  I wasn't sure how to respond to her and put off giving her an answer for almost 2 weeks.  To sum up the last 10 months and give an explanation of the peace I had found seemed impossible and daunting.  After forcing myself to answer the question, I realized this was something I had not shared with anyone but probably needed to.  Below is my response (with a few additions); I hope that you, too, will seek to find happiness and contentment in the crazy world...

Ok, so I honestly don't know where to start with this. I guess it would help if I gave a little background on what happened in the months after I left Kyle.

When I left him, a HUGE burden had been lifted off my chest. I felt like I could breathe for the first time in many, many years. But the unknown scared me...a lot. I DESPERATELY wanted to be in a loving relationship but didn't know if I'd ever get the chance to experience one; being 34 with two kids didn't seem (in my head) to be very attractive to men, attractive enough for one man to want to share that intimacy that I craved.

Well, an oooooold boyfriend (Dean) came out of the wood work. We dated when we were 15 yrs old!! For the first time in my life I experienced all the kindness, love, and support, that I had always longed for. But unfortunately his mom became very ill and he had to suddenly move to Seattle. My heart shattered when he left. I had never felt such emptiness. I had found the love of my life, and in a blink of an eye, I lost him. (More on Dean later)

About 3 months after I left Kyle, I started having severe panic attacks. My family finally convinced me to get professional help. Turns out I was experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from stresses in my marriage that I had not divulged to many at the time. I started taking meds and going through intense therapy sessions (twice a week) to be able to function on a daily basis. Getting out of bed was a huge challenge for me at times.

I didn't like being on the meds, I really wanted to be able to be me and function on MY terms, not with the aid of medicine. So I started setting some goals for myself: 1) Find my own place to live (I was living with my folks) 2) Get off all meds 3) Restore smiles to my family (when the kids and I started family therapy, they told our counselor that we didn't have a happy family...it BROKE my heart).

So how did I accomplish that? I'm honestly not really sure. There were several little epiphanies that happened along the way.

Dean and I maintained a long distance relationship for several months after he moved to Seattle. During that time, specifically between January and March I accomplished two of my goals. I moved out of my folks into my own home and I got off my meds. Being the first time e-v-e-r to live without another adult in the house, it was then that I realized there was something I had not addressed deep in my heart...being alone. Dean and I had had a connection that blew me away; he made me come alive and see the value I brought to the world. He made me believe I was beautiful...and talented...and worthy. But as time went on, we both recognized the geographical distance between us was destroying our love. We weren't working anymore--we both knew it but neither of us wanted to end it.  I was hanging on to my relationship with Dean purely out of fear of being alone. When I realized that, I could NOT believe I had become "that girl." Don't get me wrong, I loved Dean with every fiber of my being...still love him dearly to this day.

When I finally gained the courage to let go of him in early April, I can't explain the dread that ran through my body the night I broke up with him. I was so worried I was going to start having panic attacks again, stop sleeping, constantly worrying. But I got through the first week unscathed. It was a couple of weeks later that I truly realized I could get through this life without the presence of a man. I was a whole person as I was. I didn't need a boyfriend to validate my confidence, my independence, or my sanity.

It was around that time I started doing stuff for myself. I started working out more, buying myself new clothes (ok, so I admit my favorite store is Savers, but hey! A new top is a new top, right? I don't care that it came from a thrift store). And I started finding someone to watch my kids once a week. Usually it's my parents, but not always. On that night off, I do the adult things I don't get to do with the kids around.

But I think the most important thing that happened was a paradigm shift in thinking...I stopped caring what everyone around thought about me. I stopped making decisions based on what my family thought, or what my friends thought, or what anyone for that matter thought. When I started making decisions based on my terms, my heart started to feel good....reeeeeally good. I finally felt like I owned my own life.  It was breathtakingly beautiful!!!!

At our last therapy session for the summer, our therapist asked us the question he first asked us: do we have a happy family? And the kids excitedly said, "YES!" The relief in that moment validated the hard decisions I had made to create my own path, despite the disapproving nods from people around me, I had forged ahead with what I thought was right....and I won!! My kids were finally healthy and happy. And thus my third goal was reached....we had smiles on our face.

If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be to live on YOUR terms. Do what makes YOU happy. Single moms sacrifice soooo much, it's critical that you take of yourself FIRST. If you don't, your unhappiness and discontent will filter through to your kids. Remember, you don't need a man to validate you. You are an AMAZING woman as is. Find the beauty within yourself and grab onto it. Believe it with everything that's within you. I did, and I can't tell you how wonderful life is now.

Please don't misunderstand me and think that I don't have bad days where I want to mail my kids first class to China. But I've learned not to sweat the small stuff anymore.  What matters in life are me and my kids. Period. End of discussion. I won't compromise anymore with anyone who thinks they can put me in a box.  I built my own box that I dance on everyday.  The view is beautiful from my box.  I have everything I want in life (and if you can keep a secret....I'll tell you the most beautiful change that has happened...I am finally at a place where the idea of having a man in my life? Ugh, let's not go there!! Don't need one, don't want one heh-heh).  Although, I've been told a thousand times lately that it's when a person reaches the space I've reached, where a relationship isn't desired, the "right one" comes along.  So now, every time I meet someone new I have a new chant that I say to myself, "Please don't be 'the one'....please don't be 'the one...please don't be 'the one.'"  HAHAHA!!!

Oh bothah....I digress. Love you. Love life. Love those in your world.  Life can be breathtaking if you slow down enough to love yourself.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Pain That Keeps On Giving

Tis the Season...for all things hurtful?All week I've been throwing around ideas for my next post. So many wonderful things have been happening, I couldn't decide. New love...new dreams...new hopes....new plans. Then, all hell broke loose. The ex decided to do his best to ruin my Holiday.  And ruin it he almost did.

Have you ever cried till there weren't anymore tears to cry? Has your heart been hurt by another so deep you wondered if the wound would ever stop bleeding?

Since I left my ex-husband 15 months ago, I have refused to let him hurt me anymore. All of his stupid antics have mostly angered and frustrated me. But this time? This time, his actions cut to the quick. In an instant my heart was broken and the tears started flowing. How could someone be so cruel to another person??

I tried showering to shake it off. More tears. I tried laying down to sleep away the sadness. More tears. I tried playing with  my kids. More tears. Nothing I did took away the pain in my heart or the realization that I was on the verge of having my Christmas completely ruined.

There was a moment...several actually...I had so many thoughts racing through my mind as to how to handle the situation and yet I was clueless as to where to begin. Talking to my mom just made cry harder. My 7 yr old diva caught the tears in my eyes and demanded to know why I was so sad. At that point I was crying so hard I was gasping for air.

In a beautiful moment of clarity, I reached out to the one person whom I have learned loves me...for me. Not out of selfishness. Not out of personal gain. Simply out of love. I wasn't scared to tell him what was going on, but I was heartbroken to tell him our Christmas was in jeopardy of being thwarted by the ex.

In one phone call, I was reminded how strong, yet sensitive I was; how important it is to remind myself of all the reasons I left my ex and the odds of him changing are slim; how, no matter how hard I try to do right by my kids, the ex will always do what he can to maintain power and control over me.

It occurred to me in the middle of our conversation, there was a dynamic I had not considered when entering into a new relationship. When I left my ex, I was making the choice to a lifetime of strife and disagreement with him. Ok, so this wasn't any different than when we were married; except now I was dragging a third party into the situation. It was a sobering moment as I listened to him bring love and reason to a loveless and unreasonable situation. I was falling deeper in love with him yet at the same time, I was saddened to think that I was asking this amazing man to accept not just me, but my kids and yes, my ex.

I know there are so many families who have made this work (but my ex wasn't a piece of their puzzle). There's so much to learn as we build a new family. The bright side? There will be new love...new dreams...new hopes....new plans. I have no idea what we're going to have to endure as this progresses, but I'm excited to see where it goes. Mostly because, for the first time ever, I'm a partner, not a possession. A friend, not an employee. An inspiration, not a burden.

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Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.