Not too long ago, I was working a job that kept me in my car driving around a lot. This job was a steppingstone on to a new life path and I was grateful for the long breaks alone with my thoughts or listening to audiobooks. Occasionally I’d click on a YouTube video and let the auto-playlist play. On this day in particular, I was listening to Steve Harvey. His candid advice always makes me laugh. A woman was telling her story about how a man she had given her all, just wasn’t reciprocating. He said, never let a man tell you twice that he doesn’t want you. That was it! That was the statement that sent a flood of tears down my face. My story isn’t about a man, it’s about life.
The two years before this had been a complete and total shit show. It all started with a conversation with my husband in which he told me that the emotional toll his job had taken had become too great and something had to change. Prior to this, I had been a stay at home mom, happily enjoying all that this life had to offer. I spent a majority of my days at an aerial arts studio, which I loved. I volunteered at my kids’ school, which I loved. My life was filled with countless adventures with my best friend and traveling with my husband. I loved this life. I didn’t want anything to change — except the desire to see my partner truly happy again, my life had been meticulously placed exactly how I wanted it. As I watched the stress my husband took on and literally tear him apart, I couldn’t not do something.
I quickly found a little part time job, that part time job quickly became full time. I soon was unavailable for volunteering at school. My time at the studio abruptly ended. My adventures were replaced by mad dashes across town to get my children to destinations as quickly as possible so I could get back to work. My husband left his job and with that, the social circle that once felt so secure became a distant, and often painful, memory. I moved up with my job and took on more responsibility, requiring more hours. Any sibilance of a life that I had, was replaced by an unbalanced work and home responsibilities. The list of things I aspired to accomplish, folded and tucked away, as I focused on the survival of my family.
My husband found a client in another state, he left for a week. That week turned into 5 months. Shortly after he left, our lease came up and I had to move. Disrupting my children from the place they had called home for the past 7 years. Adding on to the already, massive disruption that Mom just wasn’t around anymore… and either was Dad… and either were the people who we had so whole-heartedly introduced into their lives as family. Chaos. Chaos everywhere.
I had an epic meltdown while unpacking our tiny apartment, alone. My husband didn’t even know where we lived! My kids had frequent meltdowns, that night was no different. I had finally got both kids to bed and started working on boxes and I came across my vision board. In a fit, I destroyed it. Meticulously shredding the pictures of aerialists, pictures of my dream home, dream adventures, things that represented happiness, and represented my most valued relationships. This was not my life anymore. This was not my path. I was angry! I was in mourning for the life I really enjoyed. I had lived in a fairy tale where I felt completely loved and supported by the people and interests I had surrounded myself with but when the curtains came down and the show was over, none of the people that I thought would be there were there.
What did I do? Well, me being a nurturer and have this deep-seated loyalty to my friends, I tried to make it “better.” Trying to pour from my empty cup, I’d set reminders on my phone to reach out to the friend who felt neglected. I tried to force myself to engage in the activities that had been my social structure. Trying so hard to make people love me the way I loved them. Craving the happiness that I had once felt and trying so hard to fit into the life that didn’t want me anymore. Anxiety ensued. We’re talking the anxiety that keeps you up at night that convinces you that if you go to sleep, you will never wake up. The type of anxiety that tells you that you are not lovable, and no one cares. Then the anger came, in the form of rising from the ashes like a phoenix engulfed in flames!
When the dust settled and I put on my big-girl panties to face the world with a new fire, I realized the disappointment I felt. Not just the disappointment toward people who I trusted, but the disappointment I felt with myself. For as isolated as I felt at the end of this traumatic moment in my life, I realized how much I had fenced myself in with selfishness and how I isolated others with my relationships. That disappointment brought about an anger in me that I was very unfamiliar with, but I welcomed her.
Thank you for disappointing me!
We are growing. We are healing. I am more in love with my little family than I ever imagined was possible. I am more in love with my husband than I ever imagined was possible. My parents and siblings have been and will always be my loudest cheerleaders, my best sounding board, and the safest place for laughter (after my kids and husband, of course) and I lost sight of that for a moment. I finally have a job that I love! I finally allowed myself to have friends again. I can still do the activities that I loved and am capable of finding new things I love, too! I have an infinite number of adventures ahead of me and I am excited for each one.
So, thank you, Steve Harvey! I stopped fighting for the life that didn’t want me. More importantly, I stopped fighting for the life that I outgrew. In doing so, I’ve found a happiness that I didn’t know I was capable of.