2019…the year my life imploded.
What started out as hopeful year, progressively turned into my own personal hell—which I helped create. Just admitting that makes me realize how we are all in charge of our destinies and just how important it is to accept responsibility for the things we do instead of asking, “why me?” There were actually moments when I would say “if I had only done x, then y and z wouldn’t have had happened.” I found myself doing that a lot, and man was there absolutely no point in doing that. There is a saying in Spanish and it goes, “el hubiera no existe,” translating to “the ‘should haves’ do not exist.”
Without getting too much into the details of my marriage and what life was like back then, I will say that my husband and I had reached a point where we weren’t happy with one another anymore and decided to separate. I know that sounds so easy, “yeah, we just separated,” but it definitely was not that easy. At all. There were some “things,” we’ll call them, that tipped me towards wanting to separate indefinitely, but again, out of respect for my daughter and our privacy, I will not get into what they were.
Unfortunately, my world began to crumble right around my birthday in October, which then meant that my holidays would also be somewhat somber. Although they were less than ideal, it was surprisingly OK. I bought two pink Christmas trees, decorated one for Maxine, had them lit at all times, blasted Christmas music, watched The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Grinch and other holiday favorites to my hearts content; I threw myself into present shopping for my entire family and focused on my daughter. It was OK. We were OK. I was OK.
When I rang in the new year, I decided that I wasn’t going to have any resolutions to get fit, fall in love or become a better version of myself—no. I simply vowed to be gentle with myself because I was doing the best I could as a single mom who was working full time, living with debilitating heartbreak. All I cared about was my providing for my daughter and making sure she was happy. That was it. Little did I know that being gentle on myself was exactly what I needed to do in order to propel me into a better version of who I was becoming, someone who had faced humility right in the face, stripped of my ego. I began therapy, I listened to podcasts, read books—both of the self-help kind and for pleasure. I started walking and doing things that boosted my happiness and self esteem. Most importantly, though, I started to accept that this was my new life. I was thrown into a new way of life, no partner, no one to help when the baby throws a tantrum in public, no one to help me with late night changes, no one to help with bath time, no one to help pick up dinner—and I embraced it. I became more than ok with this new trajectory—I saw no other options. Once I started to accept that this was my new life, I felt less like a victim and more liked an empowered single woman who was doing a damn good job on her own.
I had always HATED mornings. this was a thing for me ever since I was a child but now I had to get up and get it moving because I had a human to take care of. I started going on walks to get the day started and lost some weight. Once a terrible cook, I began to peruse Pinterest for recipes that I wouldn’t usually have the energy for and I got to work. I make a mean green Thai curry, as a result.
Anyone who knows me knows that I have a guilty pleasure: Facebook groups. It was in there where I had once vented, sought support from other women in my position. Sometimes when I still get a comment here or there from a past post, I read what I wrote and find that I am almost unrecognizable. That woman doesn’t exist anymore and so I want anyone who is in my shoes to know that—although it is FUCKING annoying to hear, it is true: THIS TOO SHALL PASS. There will be a day when all the little pieces will start to fall into place, the silence you traded turmoil for will be so peacefully deafening and you will come out on the other side with so much damn confidence of what kind of life you want to lead and the things you will and will not sacrifice for your happy ending—whatever that may look like for you.
Also worth noting is, there is no real ‘right’ answer for what you should or shouldn’t do. Take it day by day, feel what you need to feel, take note of those feelings and how you feel about feeling them. Listen to your gut, it never fails. Isn’t that so strange?
I hope that, if you have come across this post and are in a heart wrenching situation, that you remember to be gentle with yourself and that you WILL be complete once again. You will look back and maybe even be in complete awe of what it was that you tolerated compared to the strong woman you will become and who will take no shit.
So I wonder, is anyone else in my situation? Are you separated? Thinking about it? Does anyone coparent here like normal, civil adults? If so, feel free to sound off in the comments.