I never thought the words leaving my mouth would one day turn from, “How could you leave me?” to “Thank you for leaving…”
It’s been a long road with still further to tread to see that it was the kindest thing you’ve ever done for me.
I was forced to do some serious growing up. Some deep soul searching into who I really was and who I may have been pretending to be.
I was left to deal with the remnants of my shattered self-esteem which I mistakenly thought rested on my status of “wife” and “mother”—of being somebody’s “other half”.
I had to face my biggest fears of navigating the world alone. Totally and completely alone. Without somebody to validate that the decisions I was making were okay.
I had to learn to trust my inner voice—the one that told me you were drifting towards unchartered seas to sail with someone else—instead of burying my head in the sand so I didn’t have to watch you go.
I had to learn how to depend on nobody but me and me alone. To pay for the roof over my head and the clothes on my back—no longer having the security blanket of a second income if things went wrong or times got tough.
I had to learn to value myself. To clearly see through the pain and the heartache that I am still a woman of beauty, grace and courage. That although I was no longer “the one you had to have”, I still am one worth having.
I had to learn patience, patience with myself when it seemed I would never stop crying and just wait… patiently wait for those moments when I could feel sparks of joy in the midst of the storm.
I had to learn balance. How to balance what I need versus what our children need. There is only one of me and two of them and I sometimes feel I can never be enough. But somehow, some way, I am doing it.
I had to learn vulnerability. How to allow other men in who wanted to love me even though I am still not able to open my heart.
I had to learn to let go of my pride, for I was forced many, many times to ask for help because doing this alone is so hard some days.
I had to take responsibility for my own choices, that I see now were ones that brought me a lot of avoidable pain.
I had to accept that people would talk about me… And learn that this is okay. A strong woman learns to walk with her head held high even when the world is whispering behind her back.
I had to learn compassion. Something I seriously lacked. Compassion for other people who make choices I may not always understand.
I had to learn how to feel whole again. There is not somebody there to “complete me” or validate that I am enough. There is just me—resilient, courageous, beautiful but imperfect me. And that is enough to feel whole.
I had to learn that I will never be okay being somebody’s second choice. I deserve to be someone’s one and only and to be with someone who thinks I’m worth that.
I had to accept how imperfect I am so that I could live a truly authentic life moving forward without having to pretend to be something I am not.
I had to learn that my heart could feel love again. And although it was for just a brief moment without me being able to express it to the person who got me there, I felt what it could be like to want to open myself up again the way I did with you.
And lastly, I had to learn forgiveness. Because that was all that was left to move forward.
So thank you. Thank you for leaving me.
Author: Dina Strada
Editor: Caroline Beaton