GUEST POST BY KATIE
This past Memorial Day weekend, as I was participating in a workout honoring our veterans past and present, the fact that it had been a year since my “journey” began hit me like a ton of bricks. It felt like such a long time ago, but you know how the saying goes “time flies…”, except I wasn’t having fun. I thought back to the turmoil in my life and who I was just a short year ago. In all things social media related nowadays, I posted one of those vague “Wow, what a difference a year can make in my journey.” My long time friend, Natalie, texted me a snapshot of it and said it’s time to write about it… So here it goes.
Rewind to a year ago for a quick background. My husband and I had a seven month old son. We had been living with my parents for the last couple months of my pregnancy and then his birth while our new dream house was being built. The last month before we closed on our house, he blindsided me with the “I’m not happy” conversation.
I thought it was just a rut we may have fallen into. I mean, look at all we were dealing with – pregnancy, newborn, building a house – not ideal living conditions conducive to a relationship. But after nine years of being together with three of the last of those married, I thought it wasn’t anything we couldn’t overcome. We closed on our house the last weekend in May. What should’ve been a joyous time decorating the house was instead filled with counseling and living in toxic conditions. Six weeks later, I was moving my son and I back into my parents house. A divorce was imminent and, ultimately, did happen. I also discovered his vows to me had been betrayed, which left me even angrier.
So, what’s a girl to do? I can tell you for months afterward I felt like melting into the floor in a sobbing mess, but no 32 year old with a career and baby can do that. My main focus was, of course, my son. He was literally my only light in those dark times. For him, I plastered a smile on my face every morning. He was the reason I got out of bed. My second light was working out and my health.
There’s a stigma that after a breakup/divorce, you stick your butt on a couch with a tub of ice cream watching “Sleepless in Seattle.” That was NOT an option for me. For years prior to this, I had been heavily involved in CrossFit and loved the transformation and health it provided me. It was my release, my therapy- not just because of the endorphin release, but the “family” I have in the coaches and members. The people that surrounded me there were amazing. Of course, I had the enduring support of my blood family and friends, but these people shared a very special part of that journey. So I kept at my normal workout routine as if nothing had happened.
Throughout the last year, I can tell you the one general phrase that has been told to me repeatedly is this: “You are one of the strongest people I know.” I like to think they are speaking in two senses- both physically in my continued dedication to CrossFit, and mentally in toughing out the storm the last year has been. Physically, I have morphed into the athlete I haven’t seen since my high school competitive sports. Mentally, I have morphed into a woman who is capable of handling anything life throws at her because I’ve been at the bottom and back up.
I can tell you I’ve learned the following the last year:
- Be true to yourself. God, be so true to yourself. Reflecting on what went wrong in my marriage, I learned that I settled. It was such an epiphany to me and I felt so guilty speaking those words aloud the first time. I would’ve loved him the rest of my life happily, but in retrospect I think I knew I settled all along. And, perhaps, in that settling I wasn’t the best partner I could be.
- I live for my son. He was my saving grace in those early days. I learned to cherish his many milestones and accomplishments and focus all my energy on enriching his life, despite my turmoil. He is my constant. Everything I do is for him.
- Be positive. I need every bit of positivity in my life. It’s what keeps me sane and peaceful. To cut all the drama and negativity out is so refreshing. I’ve had to be cut-throat about it, but eliminating those negative people/things out of my life is a must.
- Remain open minded. Always. I’m still learning this to this day. When I decided to start dating again, I naively had this “plan” that I should be able to find a good match within a year. Ha! Joke’s on me. In order not to settle again, this is going to be a much longer and arduous process.
- Divorce does not define me! I’ll be honest that this one is still a bit of a struggle with me, but I manage it well most of the time. I used to refer to it as the “Scarlet Letter D.” I felt like nobody could love or accept me with that letter on my chest. But I’m realizing that there are so many others like me out there – divorced, working, single parents – and I’m not alone. Everybody has their own story and their battle scars, but that’s what makes us “us” and unique and beautiful and enriched (if we cared to reflect on our journey along the way and where we, as an individual, went wrong). Divorce is now part of my story and I’ve come to accept that, and I’ve only come out stronger because of the storms I’ve been through.
Some days it’s hard to believe in true, life long, everlasting love. I’m not naïve enough to put a fairy tale spin on this kind of love. I just want a real, accepting love that comes from within. Sometimes the unknown future is scary. I’m being honest with myself when I say I fear not ever finding somebody to share the rest of my life with (because my son, inevitably, will grow up and move out…yikes!). I’m not going to pretend that I’ve got my life all figured out, but really who does? But I do know, for an absolute fact, that I can do LIFE!
A year ago, I was a scared, ever so small girl who saw her seemingly perfect life crumble in a heap at her feet. I’ve weathered the storms with my mental and physical STRENGTH and become a strong woman who can handle anything the world throws at her because I’ve survived this and come out the other side still in tact and happy, yet vulnerable and still loving.
Katie is an everyday warrior who fights her battles with hugs, kisses and determination. You can find her at the gym ready to flash you a brilliant smile… just because.