The past several years have been trying for me. I keep saying “This is my year!” and “This year I am going to THRIVE!” When in all reality, it has been about tuck and roll survival style. How is it that one can been in survival mode for so many years?
I look at where I am now and realize that I am so far from where I started. I will stand firmly that I would never want to go back to who I was then. I was not happy. I was not who I wanted to be. However, I do feel that my identity was pretty firmly planted.
I was was married. I was a stay at home mom of three adorable kiddos. I had a really good group of friends. I was in a wonderful ward full of people who loved me and tried to understand me. I spent my spare time crafting, and was rather good at it. I took pride in the fact that people thought that I could do just about anything and that they would come to me to alter prom dresses, make Halloween costumes and make just about any craft that you could possibly imagine. I mean, I was featured on TV for my abilities for heavens sake! I spent my mommy time playing with my kiddos, going to the zoo, play dates, making cookies and watching Dora (Oh heavens!) That was my life… and I blogged about it. I blogged about it almost every single day. I was the typical Mormon SAHM, and aside from my incredibly tumultuous marriage, I rather enjoyed it.
I then went through my divorce. This extremely long, painful, expensive and exhausting process led me to a new identity. I was a separated woman doing her best to stay at home with her kiddos and work out the best circumstance for them. My children were so young when their dad and I separated. We had the “incident to end it all” two days before Kaeson started kindergarten. He was only 5. Kyra had barely turned 7 and Toad wasn’t even 2.
The most important aspect of my life was that I was a stay at home mom. I needed to be. It was in that first year that I learned of Kaeson’s Asperger diagnosis which started us out on a path that is still being forged. It was also during this time that I discovered Kyra’s allergy to gluten, dairy and soy, changing the way that I had to cook and feed my family. I NEEDED to be a stay at home mom. How could I handle all of these changes with my sweet children and not be with them as they went through it. I remember praying my heart out that if the Lord would just grant me that one desire of my heart, I would be willing to do anything else. I would be willing to live in the humblest of circumstances if I was allowed this one seemingly righteous desire of my heart. This lasted for 2 years while I was going through my divorce.
My identity changed. I was a stay at home, separated, divorcing mother of three children. I didn’t really fit in with the marrieds, I certainly didn’t fit into the singles, as I wasn’t even going to think that way. I lost some friends. I gained some new ones. I dealt with rumors and falsehoods. I had a myriad of miracles that happened as well. I tried my best and I did the very best that I knew how to live my life as absolutely virtuously as I possibly could. I knew that I would be blessed if I did what I thought to be the right thing. I am a huge believer in Karma and I wanted to have only good Karma in my life.
After two long years, my divorce was legally finalized, although not financially finalized. It is what they call a bifurcated divorce. It is not common, but then again, nothing was in my life at that time. My identity changed once again. I was now a single mom. A full fledged single mom. I was still blessed to be home with my children and I relished in that. I was with them all of the time. Their dad didn’t take them very often at all. Wednesday nights, Friday nights, and Saturday afternoons. I had them the majority of the time. I loved having my children around me. However, I knew that eventually, they were going to have to stay with their dad. It was hard on them and it was hard on my to have them away from me. I remember the first night they stayed at their dad’s house, I couldn’t sleep. Neither did Kyra. It was a hard transition for all of us. It took a very long time to work up to two nights a month, but it was good for all of us.
My identity at this time… I had lost 20 pounds, I cut my hair short, I was single, I was a stay at home mom. For the first time in a very long time, I felt pretty. I felt thin. I felt rejuvenated. I felt liberated. I finally felt like I was becoming who I wanted to be. I was strong.
Six months into my singlehood, I started dating the man of my dreams. I had known him for several years. He was the brother of one of my best friend’s husband. I had known him to be a kind, understanding and loving individual. He asked me to a Christmas party and I was smitten. Completely smitten.
I decided to leave my home and move to a rental in a neighboring town. My ex held the deed to the house. I guess I could have stayed there longer, but I really wanted a fresh start. The home I found was close to another good friend. It was literally 60 seconds away. I packed up my home and my belongings. I signed the rental agreement on the new home. I found a storage unit a block away. I figured out a budget. I moved. It was hard. It was taxing. It was scary… but I did it. It was one of those moments that you look back on and say… YOU GO GIRL!
As liberating as it was to do all of that on my own, I felt downtrodden. I felt like a failure. I was embarrassed. I had moved from a nice, big, beautiful home to a tiny little rental. Yes, it was an amazingly empowering experience, but I all of a sudden felt sub par. I felt that I had done a disservice to my children by taking them out of the only home that they had ever known and moving them to a tiny little place. I had never rented before. I had always owned. This time, I felt like I didn’t quite measure up.
Almost immediately after I moved to my little place, my beau and I decided to get married. It was a whirlwind romance that went much quicker than I, my family, my friends or anyone could have expected. I was thrilled. I had never been so completely enthralled and in love. I was head over heels. I knew that he was the one for me. I have never been so confident of anything in my life. In addition to my thinking that he was amazing beyond words, he came with the highest of all recommendations from my best friends…. his family. How can it get better than that.
We were married in August of 2012. It was a gorgeous wedding with a gorgeous garden party reception. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Between the two of us, we had 7 children. Funny enough, they all look so much like each other. All have the same hair, the same eyes, the same cute attitudes and they all got along famously. I can not even being to express how exciting it was for me to add to my family. I was totally in love with these children.
My identity changed once again. I was now a married (again) mother of 3 bio kiddos and 4 step kiddos. I loved the look that we would get when we would tell people that we had 7 children. I loved when they came to town. I loved talking to them on the phone and over Skype. I was still living in my tiny rental. I was ready to start a brand new life with a brand new man with brand new children and I was ready to accept my new identity of being the luckiest woman on the planet.
Here is where it gets sticky. I was so completely thrilled by the thoughts of my amazing new life that I was caught completely off guard when shortly… very shortly… very very shortly into our marriage things changed drastically. I found my sweet prince charming turned very quickly into an insecure and rebellious man who seemed to be mourning the abrupt loss of his bachelorhood. Instead of working as the cohesive pair that we had talked and dreamed about before we married, I found that I was left on my own in many ways. Emotionally, mentally, financially, spiritually. We had an incredibly rocky start. Thinking that this was just a passing phase, I dealt with it in stride thinking that at some point it would turn around for good.
We were stuck on a roller coaster of marriage. Our goods were absolutely amazing. The best that I had ever experienced in my entire life. I loved this man with all that I was. However, the bads, were bad. We fought like nothing that I have never experienced. It was very hard. I wanted to see it through because I loved him. I loved his children. I loved his family. My children loved and adored him. Shortly into our marriage, he lost his job which only added to the frustration and tension in the home.
In May, a bit of divine intervention was introduced into my life and I was able to move again. This time to a much larger home with a gorgeous yard in an amazing neighborhood. I was thrilled that the payment on this house was the same as where I had moved from. It was truly a stroke of pure divinity.
In May things proved to be too much. We separated, but was still entranced by his amazing charm. I loved him. I wanted so badly for things to work. Things would never work the way things were going. There was too much pride. There was too much jealousy. There was too much mistrust. There was no security. There was too much secrecy. It would never work that way.
My identity… I had no idea. I didn’t fit in with singles…. I wasn’t single. I didn’t fit in with marrieds… I was married, but not really. I had cut myself off from my family and friends because I was embarrassed to talk about my situation. I didn’t want to tell people of the travesty that had become of my marriage. I was alone. I had my children and my pretend marriage, but I was alone.
In July I made one of the biggest changes of my life. I decided to go back to work. With my marriage dissolving before my eyes and my husband out of work and without prospects, I saw no other alternative. I had to take care of my family. It was the hardest thing that I have ever done in my life. I decided to go to back to work on a Tuesday, revamped and submitted my resume on Wednesday, interviewed on Thursday and by Friday I had a job. I started working the following Monday. WOW! It couldn’t have gone quicker.
I found myself suddenly thrown into a new life. I was a working mom. I was now in the place that I had plead with the Lord to keep me out of. On the good side of things, I was doing what I liked. I was teaching. I was teaching the grade that I wanted to teach. I got the coveted track that everyone wants. I was able to bring my children to the school where I taught. My good friend was available to babysit Toad in the afternoons after he got out of Kindergarten. For working, and being a mother, it was the best possible scenario. I only feel bad that my best energies go towards other people’s children and not my own. I feel like a bad mother on a daily basis.
In September, my marriage took a final blow. I made a choice that was initially fine with the both of us. It was a little strange, but it was the right thing to do. He knew it and I knew it. I decided to fly back East to see his children and photograph a wedding. Long story short, a few days before I was to fly out, he couldn’t handle it and filed for divorce. However, it wasn’t just filing for divorce… he completely slaughtered my character to anyone that I was close to. I was devastated. I was completely broken. I have never been such a mess in my entire life. There is so much more to the story… but that is for another time.
At the end of October we met to finalize things. I shook the entire time. I don’t know if I was scared, nervous, hurt, devastated, confused, or a combination of all of the above.
So… now where in the world am I? I am a single woman going through a divorce. I have a soon to be ex that is telling me that he has been to the depths of hell through these past few months. He was the most repentant person that I have ever seen. He is trying, I think, to change his life around. He is going to counseling and therapy. He is trying to be kind. He wants to reconcile.
I am stuck now in the mother of all identity crisis breakdowns. I am now a single mom. I am going through my second divorce. I am working full time in a job that requires more time than I remembered. I am getting sick on a weekly basis because my immune system just isn’t strong enough to deal with all these little mucky germs that my cute little second graders bring to class every day. I ignore the needs of my children because at the end of the day, I am just too exhausted. Thank heavens for Little Caesars pizza and Cheetos. I am trying to deal with my feelings of loving someone who is repentant, but crushed my spirit and my soul. I am trying to figure out where my feelings lie with that one. Do I set aside a part of me that eventually wants to work things out or do I want to wash my hands of it saying that too much has been fractured. Is it true that sometimes things are too broken to fix? If it is fixable do I want to fix it? I just don’t know. All I know at this point is that I am broken. I can not be part of anything if I am broken. I need to fix me first. I don’t know if all of the pieces will come together as they should to ever have anything in the future, but I need to put me together.
I have resigned myself to dealing with trying to find me. Who am I now? What do I want? What do I need? What parts of me are missing? What parts of me are strong? Is it wrong of me to put everything in my life on the back burner and just concentrate on me and my children? I want to get myself back to the place that I was at 2 years ago when I knew who I was. I was self confident. I felt pretty. I felt important. I felt talented. I liked me. I was happy with me.
Now my job is to find that kernel that has to be still buried in my soul. I need to find out who I am. I need to get past my insecurities and trust issues. I need to get past my fear that I am failing everyone around me, including myself. I need to learn to embrace who I am and recapture the life that I want. Is it possible? I don’t know. All I know is that I have some pretty amazing examples of women out there that have done just this. This is what I want.
If you care to link back to way WAAAAY past life…. CLICK HERE.