Never in a million years did I picture myself divorced. And certainly NOT with seven children in tow. But here I am. It’s my new reality. How I got here is a very longgggggggggg story that I will be sharing in pieces. The story will make you cry because it is real life—my life. It’s a life I knew I didn’t like deep down, but I was too scared to be honest with myself; let alone the world. I came to a point where I couldn’t hide it anymore. It was eating me up on the inside. Deep down I knew in my core being something was wrong in my own home, yet I couldn’t put my finger on it. I blamed for so many many years. I was convinced I was thankful enough, I wasn’t patient enough, I just simply wasn’t enough. All this shame and guilt led me into depression. I would smile on the outside, but inside I was very very broken.
I realize this comes to a real shock to anyone who knew me while I was married. I was always smiling and speaking positively about EVERY challenge I faced until one day I woke up to the fact that all of the positivity in the world won’t change another person. I can only change me. And change me is exactly what I did. So here goes somethin’…………….
Sometimes unexpected things happen to us. Life throws us a curve ball. That is what has happened to me. It's been almost a year since my kids' father and I split up. I was lost, overwhelmed, and unsure of who I was and what the hell I was going to do. My eyes were opened to so many new lessons on this particular journey I would like to share with you. I hope my story gives you the courage to keep moving; baby step and baby CRAWL when times get tough because that is how I survived the grief when it had swallowed me whole.
I had a really hard discussion with myself. I had to decide…do I want to do another 17 years like I’ve been doing life OR do I want a chance at happiness? I chose the later and I don’t regret it. The period of transition was excruciating (if you have any birthed a human YOU know exactly what I am talking about here) and if you haven’t….I hope you get to experience it. It’s like NO Other intensity. I surprised myself what I am capable in that moment of discomfort….and then I did it 6 more times. Yes I am crazy and extremely proud of my accomplishments. The female body is fascinating!
Back to the story: I got married at 18.5 years old. I thought I knew what I wanted, but looking back I was looking for love in all the wrong places. You see…love comes from within and until one finds it within themselves it can become very toxic getting it any other way. Toxic relationships come in all ages, shapes, and sizes. No two look exactly the same, but the common denominator is that it is NOT healthy for either party involved.
You see, I just came out of a season of so so so much pain. The pain I felt was unbearable. I thought my life was over. I did not believe I had the strength or ability to heal myself—but I do and so do you. I didn't know how to recover from my heart being ripped out of my chest, diced into many pieces and then stomped on. My dreams of a happy marriage and family burned up like a hot flame. The reality of a broken home was settling in and divorce was apparent. I felt sad for myself but the grief I felt for my children was even more so.
Step by step I made progress. I threw “perfection” out the window because honestly, it doesn’t exist. And all those who think they are perfect…they can go ….themselves. First I started counseling. Before I knew that my marriage would end in divorce, I realized that I needed to reach out for help. I knew that I wanted to go to next level that I could achieve and I knew I had gone as far as I could alone. Counseling was a godsent to me. Over the last year a few months I have learned, layer by layer, what makes Mindy tick, why I respond how I do, as well as helped me process my own feelings.
Next, I put my 5 oldest children in counseling. The coping skills they have learned are priceless. I am so happy they are able to learn these valuable skills now. We are could benefit from them. Then, I went through the hellish process of the court system. Hurry and go to court and then wait. And repeat. But finally, it came to an end. No one can force you to stay married to them; no one. Custody was solved. And lastly, I was given the official paper returning me to the “Single” status. It was the end of something…..the entire life I knew and yet, it is the beginning of something new and beautiful.
The stress, anger, frustration, and deep sadness and complete sorrow took a toll on my body. I felt like a failure. I developed pneumonia for the first time in my life. I was treated in the hospital and begged to not get admitted as I didn't have health insurance. My body was in utter shock. It was overload. I went from being a die hard Christian, stay at home, and giver to everyone, to a clueless, lost soul working full time, taking care of the house and balancing 7 children on my own. My identity was stripped away from me. My dreams of happily ever after—vanished in an instant. But deep down I knew the only way to true happiness and healing was to crawl through the pain. I was so wrapped up in being the perfect wife I didn't know what to do or think now that I wasn't one. I completely lost myself in religion. I dove so far into putting everyone else’s needs in front of my own and “loving” them that I died to myself. Literally. I was not taking care of my primary needs. I would skip meals, keep working when I was exhausted, and tell myself I didn’t need fun, that I could survive. Being overtired was a way a life and I knew no different.
The last year was a long painful road. It was filled with fear, tears, panic, anxiety, what ifs, failure, and total overwhelmedness (that's a Mindy made up word). So many emotions. I found myself in a dry dead land, alone with 7 little kids looking to me for comfort and strength, but I had NOTHING left to give.
There were many days I wanted to give up. I wanted to quit. I wanted to disappear. I wanted to redo the past. Days I just didn't have any strength left as I lay face down on the floor holding my pillow and would just whail. I cried out to God, wondering what the hell he was doing and if He was listening. I have NEVER cried like this before in my life. I’ve endured a lot of pain in my young life, but this was a whole new level. The pain I felt on the inside was so deep, so dark, so stabbing. I didn't have a clue what to do with it. I found comfort through therapy, through friends, relatives, books, art and a whole lot of writing. Why am I sharing this with you? Because during this last year I just wanted to know I wasn’t alone. That there was someone, anyone, on planet earth that had felt this pain, experienced this pain, walked through it and arrived on the shore of the other side. So today I sit here writing this with a heart full of thankfulness. I am here to say I have walked through the fire. I thought I would die. I’ve been drowning in the ocean, but now I have arrived on top and can breath. My mindset has changed. My perspective: Brand new. I've experienced so much healing and will continue on my journey. Fun and love and now part of my daily rituals. There is no more striving to be loved. No more striving to be accepted. The day I was able to accept myself...mind, body, and spirit...set me free. I don't need to impress anyone. I don't need to change in order to be worthy of love. And it's never my job to make someone else happy. I am 100% responsible for me and my own happiness.
I am in the process of discovering exactly who I am and who I want to be. It's an amazing adventure. Learning what I like and what I don't like is beautiful! I have found my voice. I have my own opinions and they matter most to me. I can say how I feel; even when it is uncomfortable...I can now do it. I am so proud of me and all the hard work I have put in the last 10 months. I have no intention of slowing down. I am ready to rock my dreams, manifest the shit out of my life, and be FREE to be the best version of Mindy that I know I can be. I have been liberated and if my story, my mess, my sadness, my pain can liberate YOU than it was worth the fight. I have so many people I am thankful for who stood with me during this messy season, many I said good bye to a few I said nice to meet you. I am thankful to all of you for being part of my story.
I am here to say point blank......if I can walk through this pain, this darkness, and I am now able to see the light....YOU can too. It is not easy at all, but it is something that has been and can be done. Give yourself more grace than you would give the human you admire most. Love on yourself. Pick one thing to try that you have put off for years. Talk kind to yourself and keep baby steppin’. I have been liberated and if my story, my mess, my sadness, my pain can liberate YOU than it was worth the fight. You got this!