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.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you very much for sharing this and for the wonderful advice.

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