* NaBloPoMo: Day 17 *
Looking back to one year from today, I still find it kind of surreal, the life I’m currently living. A lot has happened. A whole lot. Some really shitty stuff and some really great stuff and a crap ton of just general life stuff in between. My life right now is good. It’s not perfect. It’s not amazing. In some ways it’s better than it was a year ago. In some ways it is really, really, really bad. I have amazing days and I have horrible days. However, the one thing that is different from the amazing and horrible days I have now, compared to the amazing and horrible days I had then is this: I like myself and where I am going.
A year ago I was not in a great place. I was probably the unhappiest I have ever been in my life and at that point had been pretty damn unhappy for a very long time. I was at potentially the lowest point I have ever experienced it took me getting there to finally grow the balls to say to myself: “Hey dumbass … you don’t have to continue to live like this.” Now, this was a conversation I’d been having with myself for a long while. And I knew that at some point, I would make this change and do the thing that needed to be done for my own sanity. But I continued to put it off. Mostly out of fear. Fear of how I’d manage it. Fear of what everyone else would think about me. Fear of what my kids would think. A whole fucking truck load of fear my friends. It was holding me back and keeping me in a sad and unhappy and very ugly place. I was becoming withdrawn (more than my normal low swings) and just plain angry. I didn’t like my life and I certainly didn’t like myself. I was living in that space that many people live in, the whole “sticking it out for the kids” thing that we tell ourselves is the right thing to do. But there came a point where I was noticing reactions in my kids that indicated their own personal unhappiness with life in the current situation. And the day that I saw that reaction from my son was the day I decided that shit needed to change. My Mama Bear instinct kicked in at the first sign of unhappiness and displeasure in my youngest. I could rationalize keeping myself in a bad situation, but I could not fathom keeping my kid in a place that made him look at me and react that way. That was my trigger. After that switch was flipped, I realized that the “staying for the kids” mentality is really kind of bonkers. I found a great quote:
“Divorce isn’t such a tragedy. A tragedy is staying in an unhappy marriage, teaching your children the wrong things about love. Nobody ever died of divorce.” ~ Jennifer Weiner
And it’s true and it’s what I told my son when I sat him down to tell him what was happening. The situation we had was not good for anyone and was NOT a good example of what a healthy relationship should look like. I owed him much, much better than that. And as unhappy as I was, that was my main reason for finally doing something about it.
And now, here we are. I’m 8-ish months out from being on my own again, for the first time in 20 or so years. It’s scary as hell and some weeks I’m not sure how I”m going to make it, but so far I’m 100% on surviving my days, so I’ll just keep at it. It’s not easy, but it is better. Now, when I feel lonely, it’s because I’m actually and literally alone in my house. And being lonely still makes me very sad, but somehow it’s a much better sad than a year ago. If a better sad is a thing. By and far though, the best thing to come of this is that I have come to like myself. And I’ve started to accept myself for who I am. And most importantly, I’m learning to not give a rat’s ass what anyone else thinks about that. The only people right now I worry about accepting me are my kids. As long as they are cool with me … I’m golden. And I ask them. All the time. My son, the non-confrontational, non-decision making, emotion hiding teenager that he is probably hates me for it. But I ask him if I’m doing okay by him. He always says yes, which is his way, so I try to watch for signs. So far I think I’m doing pretty okay at all of this.
Life is different than it was a year ago. We live with less, but we laugh a whole lot more. The time we have together is precious and I treat it as such. Life is different. But life is good.