Tag Archives: divorce

I Want To Thank You

I want to thank you…

Last week I dipped my toe in the pool and shared with you all the reality of my marriage.

Believe it or not I am a pretty private person. So even though every week I share pieces of me here. I have people in my life who are still trying to piece together if I’m married. No.  Or dating… I will say this.  Maybe lol.

But that’s not what this is about. It’s about the aftermath of putting such a big piece of me on a platter.

Full disclosure last week I read every last comment  on my post right before I had to pick up my daughter, I got in my car and sobbed. Heavy, shaking sobs. First my heart was breaking that so many women understood. Second, my heart was breaking because complete strangers understood when the people I loved and trusted had not.

I can not put into words how much I appreciate all the messages and kind words.

I didn’t share my story for support, I shared it in hopes of letting other people know they’re not alone. I shared it to show it can happen to anyone. I shared it because it’s important to share it.

Again and again and again.

Even though its incredibly hard to admit it happened. I have always been a strong person I still am. But even strong people can get hurt.

I was asked by someone who I care about immensely after they read it, two things:

Why I let this happen

If I am bitter

It’s like I’ve said. Sometimes you get so far in, you believe all the words. You don’t know what to do.

Becoming a Mom dug me out. I don’t make that a secret. G deserved to see what a happy Mom looked like.

Am I bitter? No. Am I guarded and private and quirky as all get out? Oh my goodness yes.

I strongly feel I just chose poorly. I also know I don’t make it easy for people to know me. I still believe in being married and someday maybe again.

But I have very high walls.

I also still live with the worry my ex will somehow see these. Which shouldn’t matter. But I wouldn’t be truthful if I didn’t tell you, he still makes me nervous. What he might do.

My hope is that someday I won’t.

My last and final share here is I am happy. It’s taken a while and things aren’t perfect but the fact that I can share any of this. The fact it’s not nearly as scary as I thought it would be, means I am finally taking me back. And you Mommas have helped me.

Thank you

<3 Caprise

Is It Too Soon For A Relationship?

After I got divorced the first thing I did was look for a relationship.  I thought that was what I should do.  I did not realize that I should have taken the time to learn about myself and what I needed.  I did not take the time to learn what I wanted.

There were so many things that I did not realize at the time.   I was recently divorce and thought that I knew what I wanted.  I went on an online dating site and met someone within months of being divorced.  At the time, I thought I wanted a serious relationship.  I mean, what else do you do after divorce but find someone else….

We dated for over a year and it was a roller coaster of emotions.   At the time, I thought this is what I should be doing. I got divorced and now I should meet someone else.  Our relationship started out great, but soon faded.  We each had kids and with our schedules it was hard to find time together. In addition, as we got more involved in our relationship I wanted our kids to spend time together.  I quickly learned how hard it was to date someone with kids when you both have different schedules.  Dating with kids is hard.  I was trying to make him into something he was not and I was also doing things that I did not want, just to make him happy.

Besides thinking that we should each spend time together, I also thought that our kids should spend time together.  They were all different ages and did not all want to spend time together.  I wanted us to do things together as a family.    When I did not have my kids, I would spend time with him and his kids. I would help him with running them to their activities or whatever they needed.  And I did not have any time to myself or learn about my own life after divorce.  I thought this is what I should be doing.

Our relationship was very toxic at the end.  We would fight, said unforgivable things, and make up so many times.  I was scared to be alone and didn’t know what I would do without him.  We ended up breaking up.  Our facebook status couldn’t keep up with all the changes, it was a daily status update.  I  soon realized that our relationship was so wrong.  I was trying to go from a marriage of 13 years to a serious relationship with someone else before knowing exactly what I wanted.

I did not know what I wanted in a partner or even my own life.  I have now had the time to learn about myself and what I love. I have time finally do the things that I love.  While we were dating, I would spend my time doing the things he loved.  I did not take time to do what I wanted.  I love to workout, hike, and be outside.

I  would put those things aside and not do them because I felt they were not that important.   I have now learned that those things are a priority to me and I put them first.

It took me a long time to be ok with not being with someone else, not spending every moment with a date or a boyfriend.  It’s so important to know what you want and what you like before rushing into a relationship.   I learned that it is important to not settle, just to be with someone.  And I am pretty sure I have learned over the last year what I do not want..haha.  I had to learn about what I truly valued in life and in a person that would be spending time with me and eventually my children.  I had to learn what I wanted from someone in a relationship and how serious of a relationship that I was looking for right now.

During my relationship, I thought I was ready for this.  I can now look back on it and I know that I  should have taken the time to learn about myself, what I want in a relationship, and what’s important to me

Snarky divorced gal

www.snarkydivorcedgal.com

Where To Begin

I am not sure where to begin, it’s hard to talk about something, rather write about something when it has been met with disbelief.

You read that correctly. The first time I told someone how my ex husband treated me, the person I shared it with looked at me and laughed, then said maybe he was just having a bad day.

After my divorce I tried again with a close friend and they told me to just get over it.

It wasn’t until I saw firsthand the reactions of people who really didn’t know me that well to how he treated me that I felt validated.

The standout was he had taken our daughter to swim lessons, somehow there had been some confusion about the times. He called me from the place she had lessons (where I also worked) and started yelling at me. Mind you we weren’t together anymore. After he left my co-workers were so concerned they called me to make sure I was okay.

My ex husband never physically hurt me. But he got in my head. He pushed my buttons. He found the soft spots, my insecurities and used them against me whenever he could.

He still tries to.

People always ask why, how? If I knew, I think I would solve a lot of problems for people.

For me he wasn’t my typical bad boy. He appeared to be the safe choice.

Appearances are deceiving and so was he. He actually enjoys that. He thought it was funny people didn’t realize how cruel he could be.

I have said this before and I will say it again. It is easy to stand back and wonder how someone can let things happen to them. But when you’re in it and feel like it’s your fault, sometimes you stay.

My ex husband wasn’t always this guy. But I think he wasn’t always not this guy either. I am the complete opposite of almost everyone in his life and initially he made me feel like that’s what he loved about me.

Then he didn’t.

He didn’t like how I looked. My hobbies. My friends. He made it clear in his body language when we were out with mine to the point where I would find reasons not to spend time with my friends. To avoid how he behaved.

There were rules about how the house looked.

Money.

When I met him, I was working three jobs and two college degrees.

He was an unemployed college dropout.

I put him through college, help him get his first job.

When I left him he kept everything- he said since it was my decision to leave I didn’t deserve anything.

Two moments that felt like lightbulbs…

We had a very small house. Our bedroom closet was teeny. He kept his clothes on our bedroom and I kept mine in our daughter’s. I had a job interview so I had put an outfit in our bedroom closet and I was in the living room and I heard him getting upset. I walked in the bedroom and he thrown the outfit on the floor.  We had hardwood floors and a dog and a toddler so my outfit yup, gross.

The second was we were out to dinner with his friends and I told them what I did for a living and my hobbies and they started teasing me for being shallow and decided I was a glorified babysitter. Rather than defend me. He joined in.

When I tried to talk to my ex about how any of this made me feel he would say “I’m sorry you feel that way, but only you can make yourself feel a certain way. Not me”

This is probably feeling rambly because if I’m being honest it’s hard to put words years of being pulled apart by the person who is supposed to be your partner. It’s hard to put into words when people tell you it’s not a big deal.

But it was

It is

Marriage is supposed to be a partnership and ABSOLUTELY there will be disagreements. It is not sunshine and lollipops twenty four seven, but I think we all know the difference.

This was my proverbial dip in the pool of sharing about my experience with emotional abuse. It was hard to write this. For all the reasons, but maybe one surprising one- my ex is still my daughter’s Dad, and while he and I don’t work he’s not too shabby when it comes to her.

Mommas this is a slippery slope. But at the end of the day if we can grow and raise a human. I’d like to think we can get through pretty much anything.

<3 Caprise

Today Is The Day

My last blog I wrote about how hard the month of October is for me. As I write this, it’s the day after the day. I’m not a hundred percent what to refer to IT as. The day my marriage ended?

I mentioned it before I recognize my ex husband was not my person. But I still feel like I failed him and my daughter.

Believe it or not that is not entirely what this blog is about. It’s about how I remind myself what I did is the right thing. For the record it garners me some serious heat and it started seven years ago.  Selfies.

It may be easy to assume and MANY do but they are my reminders.  I survived, I am growing. I made it. I am becoming who I was. Who I was meant to be. They remind me that him yelling at me is not ok. He did that and since we co- parent or try to… still does.

Initially I did like people’s reactions to my selfies especially when I started losing weight or getting a new tattoo, but when I have a run in with my ex husband it was good to look at these pictures and see who I am becoming. To remind me -him yelling at me is not ok, and that it’s definitely not now.

When we were together compliments were rare. As someone who has struggled with my appearance it hurt even my partner couldn’t give me a simple one. Instead it was lots of criticism in regards to how I looked and eventually that worked its way into other parts of our lives. Emotional abuse is something Mommas. I am working my way slowly toward being able to share more about that, but for now, I’ll just say and some of you, sadly lots of you … know. It’s something. Something not good. And hard to come back from.

When we met I wore fun clothes and did crazy things to my hair. I had just started adding on to the few tattoos and piercings I had, when I left my ex husband I  was incredibly overweight, gone was the fun hair, fun clothes and my fun spirit.

Hear me when I say this. I am not saying that appearance is important. But I am an artistic person, I express myself through my hair, my clothes, how I look. That was taken away. All the things that made me, me, I was encouraged to put in a box. Ironically not so for him. My ex husband loves Leggos and Star Wars and The Simpsons. Thanks to me he has oodles of T-shirts that let you know that. That he still wears.

During a recent conversation with my favorite aunt she said to me “I hope you’re keeping those things on your heart for later.” All the things I can’t write or say that I lost. I am, in a picture. A silly selfie. That tends to drive people bananas, but it’s not for them. It’s for me. To remind me I made it. I am making it. I survived, I am surviving. I grew. I am growing. I am moving past it. Or trying really, really hard to. I am taking parts of the old me back and starting to become the person I have always wanted to be.

 

Be kind to yourselves Momma. None of this is easy. But when it gets tough, remember who you are- a Mom and that is pretty badass.

 

<3 Caprise

The Hardest Month….October

I dread October. As a person who loves warm weather I let my Fall loving friends believe it’s because I’m not a fan of the:

Weather

Pumpkin Spice

Fall/Halloween Decorations

There’s a bit of truth to that, but really it’s because October and this week actually marks when my divorce was final. I was the one that made the choice to leave my marriage, but it doesn’t mean it hurts any less.

I never dreamed of a big wedding. Or even being married. Being a Mom yes. Always, but I never believed someone would love me enough to be with me in a partnership. That I would get the dress and cake and honeymoon. I think my family was just as surprised as I was when it happened.

I was proposed to during a fight. Which could have been a cute story, except he later admitted he was trying to make me stop crying.

We had a destination wedding and rumor was- on the flight over my ex sister-in law tried to talk my ex husband out of it among other things. Our best man wore shorts.

So many flags. Those are the ones I’m ok sharing. But when something happens you never thought would, you hold on, you fight for it.

Even when maybe you shouldn’t.

If you read my blogs you already know why my marriage ended. Sometimes you marry the wrong person because at the time they seem like the right person. Even when everything and everyone says that’s not the case.

As I’ve mentioned before I come from parents who are still married. Both sets of grandparents married until someone passed. I saw partnerships and loving your best friend. So much love. Even now. I wanted that. I still do.

Mr. Rogers said “ there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to Love once you’ve heard their story.” Except my ex husband. He heard my story and wanted to change it and me. So rather than grow together- we grew apart.

I tried. Counseling. Time apart. Time together. More counseling. But when someone has excuses for everything, who can’t say they’re sorry, who meets your tears with anger.

You can stay.

Or you can go.

I had a little person and I needed to show her what I knew. A marriage can be an amazing, love filled partnership between two best friends.

My heart still hurts I don’t have that.

This week is hard for me.

Especially October 12th.

That’s the day.

I became a single Mom with a two and half year old. I went from a little house with a big yard we loved to an apartment with a deck. We made it work. We created traditions. Like celebrating Halloween at our local Y. G is twelve now and costume planning has already started.

October is a hard month. If I tell you it’s because of my distaste for Pumpkin Spice Lattes that’s true, but it’s more than that. Now you know.

But as I always tell you Mommas and will remind you and myself… we are magical, strong, and amazing. I mean we’re Moms!

 

<3 Caprise

The Day That Will Never Be The Same

There used to be a certain day in my life that was even more important to me than my Birthday. I might even go as far as to rank it higher than Christmas. It was a day that I gave myself in front of God, our closest friends and family to the man that I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. When that day came around once a year it was always a day of celebration. It was romantic candlelight dinners, beautiful flowers, night of dancing to our favorite bands or just spending an evening at home without the kids. It was a day to honor our love and commitment to each other. Something we did for 19 consecutive years. We were just 4 months away from hitting the 20 year mark when that date just became another day on the calendar.

How does one day lose the meaning it once held? To just becoming another day on the calendar?

When this day came around last year for the first time since the divorce I found myself being surrounded by closest members of my tribe. They took me to dinner and a funny movie. I chose that day to honor me and the woman I was becoming after our divorce.

This year today I find myself sitting in a hospital room at my daughter’s beside supporting and loving on her. She had a craniotomy yesterday. She is doing great. Fast forward a few hours and now that she has been released and tucked into her own bed at my house, her father and his girlfriend are currently at her bedside. I could say a lot more about that, but that is for another story on a different day. For now I am swallowing my pride and doing what is best for my daughter.

Today on what would be our 21st anniversary, I find myself numb to feelings and with lots of questions that will never be truthfully answered by a man I thought I would be with till death do us part.

The one thing I have learned in the last several years of seeking my soul and climbing out of the depression that I found myself in is that there is a reason for everything. I now know it’s ok to have a Plan B-Z. Not everything in life goes as we have planned. It’s how we pick ourselves back up that matters.

So for me today I will vow to myself to Love & honor myself even in my worst days. To not shrink for anyone. I will no longer allow anyone to steal my joy. Today I will live for my kids and myself. Until my knight in shining armor arrives.

 

-Jeanna

It’s Hard Being Alone

It’s hard to be alone.  How do you learn to not be lonely?  I was never alone right after my divorce. I would make plans every night that I did not have my kids. I got into a serious relationship that eventually ended.  After that ended, I went on numerous dates.  However, I was still never really alone. I would never plan a night to just be at home by myself.  That initial lonely feeling after divorce is something you can’t really explain.  I would dread not having plans or having a whole day by myself.

I knew that I needed to learn to be home alone and be ok with it.

There are so many emotions after divorce and sometimes you just don’t even know what you are suppose to do.   When I was home alone, it was deathly quiet.  I missed my kids incredibly.  I did not even know what to do when I was home alone. I had been married for 13 years and I had 3 kids, there was no time to just sit and be alone.  Plus, I was a stay at home mom for over 8 years, so I was used to being with them pretty much every minute of the day..so this intensified the lonely feeling.   The constant chatter of kids to nothing.  When I have my kids my life is crazy busy and loud, and then they leave and it’s so quiet.

So where do I start…  I had not fully watched adult TV in years, I mean I had watched numerous kids programs..but definitely not adult tv.  I felt like I really had no hobbies or anything that I really liked to do.   So, after my break up I was over, I would start walking or running at night after work.  It was the best thing for me to occupy my time and not go crazy being alone.  Going from a marriage of 13 years to a serious relationship soon after, I probably had some things to work through.. Haha you would think.. So I would walk or run or do something active.

I would clean and organize, ya I know sounds crazy.  But cleaning and organizing are things I like to do. I would organize my house.. There is a lot of organizing that can be done with 3 kids.  I would save all my projects for the week so I could do them in the evening.  I made lots of lists… I’m a list person.. But seriously can you spend the rest of your life cleaning and organizing.

I would always have music on… I love music.  No kids means you can listen to whatever you want…It honestly felt like heaven.

I am pretty sure I would also talk to myself a lot, I would work through things, and it seemed to help.  We are all a little crazy.  I think we all feel a little lost after divorce and it does take time to find your place.  I knew I needed to learn to be alone if I ever wanted to be content with myself. I knew I needed this time to figure out my areas of my life… emotions from the divorce and my breakup that I didn’t let go of yet.  Ya, that could probably take a lifetime.  But it worked… the time alone got me to put a lot of my past behind me.

And then the funny thing happened, I started to enjoy my time home alone.  The more time that past, the more I enjoy my time alone and the more I was content with myself.  Honestly, now I love the days I have to myself..I love when I have nothing to do. I say no to plans and will make time to just be by myself.  I do not feel guilty for saying “no” because I honestly love being content with myself and doing things by myself.

Snarky Divorced Gal

www.snarkydivorcedgal.com

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda

I am a person who unfortunately does not sleep much. That means while the rest of my house is sleeping blissfully at 3 AM, I am on Pinterest, social media or You Tube.

There are a few vloggers I follow regularly and they are celebrating marriages and babies and lives together and taking me along for the ride.

While I recognize some of these shares are beautifully edited the emotion is there and definitely gets me emotional.

I feel like I have been carrying around this suitcase of memories from my life before my divorce and I need to throw it away.

I didn’t realize how raw those hurts still were until I started watching those videos.

We all have an idea in our head of how things will be. Our wedding, children, marriage and you either work as a team,meet in the middle, or you don’t.

I also think you forgive a lot because you think it will change.

Once the baby is here.

Once she sleeps through the night.

Once we have been apart a year we’ll get along better.

My biggest red flag was me all wired up having contractions after being in labor for almost a day and my Dad never leaving my side. My ex husband however, not only leaving several times but when he was in the room he was on his computer the whole time. Not once did he comfort me.

Yet I chalked it up to nerves.

No

There would be things later that would show me it had nothing to do with nerves.

I can dwell in regret and compare or I can celebrate the fact I have G. Remember some of the funny moments from that time in my life.

I can be determined to make sure I speak up now with my person and if it feels like a red flag it probably is.

It is incredibly easy for many of us who have been hurt to not let it go. To let it lead us. I have done an absolutely fantastic job of building a very tall wall around myself.

But maybe the tape in our heads instead of coulda,woulda,shoulda should be:

I’m here

I’m badass

I’m a Momma and that makes me magical.

I say it a lot. Being a Mom is magical. We grew people!!!

When that suitcase feels like it needs to be unpacked, kick it back under the bed and remember who you are.

You are a Momma

Much love Mommas

<3 Caprise

Healing: Raw & Ugly

Healing is raw and ugly…

August 12, 2018

Well, here I am. Have gotten through his filing, claiming that I was cruel and “intentionally caused him to lose his job”, which is laughable. As is his request for spousal support.

Now, I’m angry. I’m angry that next week, I will be sending my oldest to Kindergarten, alone. I’m angry that last week I celebrated him losing his first tooth, alone. I’m angry that God let this happen. Why?! What did I do?! I stuck by him and I prayed and I trusted that God would bring us through this, and now here I am. I am alone. I am overwhelmed with bills and with things that need to be taken care of. I feel abandoned, by God, by my husband, by my church. I feel utterly alone and forgotten and uncared for and tired.

And now, I am alone. I am so lonely and so f**cking exhausted and confused and sad and I know I shouldn’t wallow in this and I know I should be grateful for the many, many blessings I do have – I know there are momma’s out there who would give anything to send their child off to Kindergarten. I know that. But this is not how I pictured things. I imagined and planned on preparing our child for school together, to bear the load of all the new and exciting things together, to celebrate the missing teeth and the new things learned together. I imagined that we’d be a team in this. I don’t feel adequate to do it all myself. My kids deserve better. They did nothing to deserve this. I don’t know what I did to deserve this. I truly, truly believed that he and I would be together forever. That we’d have hard times, tough times, but we’d get through them. I never imagined this. Not for a second. Sometimes I torture myself and go through our old pictures together, our old memories. We looked so happy. That wasn’t fake, there’s no way. I know it wasn’t on my end, and I don’t think it was on his. We loved each other. I know we did. We had so many good, happy times. I don’t know what the hell happened. I don’t know what I did wrong or what I could have done better.”

I started writing things (in honesty … typing them – my handwriting is barely legible) a couple of months after we separated. It was a violent separation , literally and figuratively. I had to get the thoughts out, because I didn’t know what else to do, and I wanted to remember the feelings. I had hope that I’d be able to rise out of the suck and one day, look back and say “Look how far I’ve come”! I didn’t have any intention of letting other people read what I typed. BUT… I’ve been reading Brene Brown lately, and learning more about vulnerability. If what I was feeling – the rawness of it, can help someone else feel less alone, sharing is worth it.

At the time of writing my thoughts above, I was just starting to come to the realization that my commitment to our marriage was not reciprocated in any way. My ex-husband and I never worked the same shift or had the same days off in our ten years of marriage. I tried to find the positive in that – things were still new and fresh, seeing him was always exciting. However, it was dawning on me that he was able to maintain the front of being a doting husband for those few hours we had together, and that’s all it was to him. To me, those hours were precious; to him, an act to get through. (And, scene!)

If you read my last post, you know that there was a domestic violence incident and a whole lot of ugliness I subsequently discovered. The divorce was ugly. His attorney was one who would make scathing, disgusting accusations; probably to try and elicit some kind of reaction out of me (and oh, that temptation was REAL). My wounds were still fresh, and her words, baseless accusations, and complete unprofessionalism compounded the emotions and feelings, making a bad situation unimaginably difficult.

I am glad that I wrote my feelings as I was sitting in the suck, trying to navigate those dark moments. I remember how pervasive those feelings and emotions were, how deep the anger and sadness was. The level of betrayal is one that I still cannot find adequate wording for. I can sit here today and reflect on gratitude and the incredible blessings throughout the darkness, but when you’re in it… the good stuff isn’t so obvious.

Today, the darkness is a little lighter. As time goes on and you sit, experience the pain, and allow yourself to move through it, its sharpness lessens. I felt like I was stuck for a long time – I felt like I should be moving must faster, not wallowing in a never-ending pit. My faith and counseling helped me move forward, but the main thing is the willingness to work through it – not just cover it up with new romantic relationships, substances, or mindless activity. I and my kids deserve better. I have to understand how this happened, how I let it get so far, and my blind spots – this cannot happen again.

These days, I still struggle. But it’s not minute to minute so much anymore, and there are far more good days than bad. If you can relate to any of the words in the first few paragraphs, you are not alone. It is so, so hard and it can be incredibly unfair. But… you’ve done hard things before, and you will get through this difficulty. Don’t let what has happened to you define you – let it shape you into the resilient warrior that you are.

-Elaine

You Don’t Need A Cape, You Already Have Wings

I am here to tell you that you don’t need a cape, you already have wings…I am sitting in a silent house after a week-long spring break trip that I haven’t taken since “The Trip” back in April 2016. One would think that I would feel rested, recharged, rejuvenated. Well…. I was. Sort of.

Let me tell you about the flight home after an amazing trip with my two favorite teenage humans. Picture this, tribe… 3 solid hours of turbulence. I even considered if the pilot was on his maiden flight. This was enhanced by one terrified teenager who has a legit fear of flying and one teenager who does what all teenagers do best, slumped – passed out cold… the entire flight. Mix that in with several (and I mean SEVERAL) sick children who were projectile vomiting from the turbulence (Yep, you are absolutely correct – there is NO fresh air on an airplane) and the overwhelming and recycled stench of kiddy vomit… Is this real life? Yes. It was. It happened, and I lived through it this past weekend. Eventually, I ended up getting home and feeling like I needed a vacation all over again. Please do not get me wrong here… I am 100% grateful that I got this experience and quality time with my kids, and that I had the means to go on such a trip with them. I am blessed beyond measure, and I do not take one of those moments (or any for that matter) for granted.

Wait, wait, wait…. You’re wondering what I meant by “The Trip” that I mentioned above back in 2016. Ah. Yep, That. Well, I think its time to get over my paralyzing fears, stare it directly in the eye and decide today is the day that I keep looking forward, and quit looking back to see if the past is still there. It’s there. It hasn’t left. I can still feel it. I can still see it. I can still hear it. I can’t unsee it, unhear it or unfeel it. It’s now part of who I have become.

It was around this time three years ago (almost to the day) that my world completely fell of its axis. No, literally. My entire personal world that I lived in completely blew up. In an instant. It was the day I became a working single mom.

I’m not going to dig into any of the details, much of which even after three years are still very fresh to my heart and soul, and the cuts are still very deep and still bleed on occasion. I can tell you with 100% certainty that I was absolutely blind-sided and was not in any way, shape, or form ready for what was going to happen to my life. It was never something I had signed up for or wanted. EVER. After all, I had been the living fairytale. I married my high school sweetheart and at that point had spent 20 years of my then 36 years of life with him. We had been married for 13 years at that point and had two beautiful children. Was our life glitter, rainbows and unicorns? Absolutely not. Was it perfect? No way. But, it was MY version of perfect. It was my world. My life. My everything – – until it just wasn’t any longer. I came back from spring break with my kiddos (he did not join us on this trip) to my then hero, lover, best friend, my person, and love of my life… telling me he no longer wanted to be in our marriage. He wanted out, and he left me. MIND BLOWN. EARTH SHATTERED. To make it worse, I was told in public. In a bar. Yep. That happened.

Let’s take the 35,000 foot detour for a second, and get you caught up to speed – and get off the backstory train. I spent three long and painful years desperately trying to hold onto my marriage and save my family. I pleaded with God. I got angry. I got spiteful. I cried millions and millions of tears. I felt abandoned, hopeless, jaded – any feeling you can come up with – I assure you I felt them and I mastered them. I lost weight and shrunk faster than washing a 100% cotton shirt in scalding hot water and putting it in the dryer on high heat for an hour. Some days, I literally begged to die – because the pain inside of me was so much, so deep, so hard – I couldn’t stand another minute. Failure was not a word that was ever in my vocabulary – and here I was – the picture of failure right next to the word in good oleWebster’s.

Long story short, we divorced right before this past Christmas – and the holidays, well – let’s just say they were pretty much a blur. Kind of like when you squint and look at the lights on the tree. They are there, but you really can’t make out what it is, but you obviously know.

I have a point here, trust me – and stay with me because hopefully – there is someone out there just like me who was right where I was or is even now. I look at the day-to-day and I still hurt. I hurt when I look at my kids when we are now a party of 3 that used to be 4. I hurt when I go to bed in a king sized bed alone and hover on the far side of the bed – and wake up in the same position, barely had moved. I have good day and bad days.

When looking at it by the “days” or “moments – I have felt like I haven’t moved an inch much less a mile. However, when I look back at the last three years as a “whole” – Tribe, let me tell you – I have moved mountains I didn’t think could be moved. I have traveled so far that I can’t see where I started even though I know it exists. I have grown, stretched myself, and learned more about myself and have undoubtedly proved myself wrong every single step of the way. I have survived 100% of my worst days. TRUE STORY!

I am alive to tell the tale. To not only myself, but to my two beautiful children and any one of you that are reading this. I have cried myself to sleep. I have eaten completely alone in a restaurant. I have gone to a wedding solo. I have wondered how I can make it another day. However, I have smiled. I have laughed. I have found strength in the deepest places I never knew existed. Hell, all of this brought me here to all of YOUright here and now. I am walking side by side with you. Our arms are linked, and we are in lock step. I am one of you. We’re a tribe and let me tell you – we’re strong. We’re not going anywhere and despite what you feel (or don’t feel) inside – we got this, and not only do we – we’ll do it twice and take pictures to prove it. (Insert “Amen” here!)

Humor me and consider this for a few moments. I want you to look in the mirror. I don’t want you to worry about the bags under your eyes from the lack of sleep you got last night because your child was up sick all night or because your teenager had their first heartbreak. Don’t look at the extra curves that may surround your waistline because you have been working so hard to provide, you haven’t gotten the chance to get to the gym. It’s not necessary to look at the dry shampoo residue in your hair. What I want you to do is look past the refection staring back at you, and for God’s sake, don’t judge the woman staring back. Only you know what storms she has been through. Only you know where she has been, and where she is going. You’re the only one who has lived her life. You’re the expert of the person you see in the mirror. No one knows her better than you.

Every single day is a new opportunity to start again. Reinvent yourself. Try something new. Spread your wings. I encourage you to do so, even when you’re paralyzed in fear, or have no idea where to even start. If you want to lay in bed all day, hide from the world, and pretend that you are non-existent; go ahead, do it for a day or two. But remember, you don’t live there. You don’t belong there anyway – and it’s not a destination. Here’s why…

If I have learned anything, it’s this. You have smaller humans that are watching your every move. Your attitudes, your composure, your strength, and endurance. They are building their character traits based on your examples. We’re helping shape who they become. Albeit – there is this saying but man oh man is it a good one…. Show your daughters how to be treated by a man and show your sons how to treat a woman. You’re showing them this tribe… and guess what… you’re doing an amazing job. No matter what yesterday’s mascara has to say about it.

Keep chugging the lattes. Keep being that laundry warrior. Be who you need yourself to be for you and for them. We’re all here to cheer you on along the way, and to pick you up and carry you when you feel like you can’t. That’s what tribes do.

Until we meet again…

Jenn