We loathe change.
We fear it, throw little fits against it, and dig our heels in to prevent it.
We cling to fleshy folds of the same like the skirts of our mamas. We grip onto “the usual,” even when its ugly, stale, and full of dog hair, like an old security blanket your best mate has stolen.
Yet, we need change, despite our latching onto sameness. Change comes to us whether we like it or not; it comes to us at work with new policies, new staff, new equipment, new laws. It comes to us at home, sometimes at the least expected time.
I had been away from my husband and two young girls for 10 days.
I was attending an educational clinic for horsemanship in Texas—it was my reward for being the sole breadwinner, mom, wife, worker, insulation-putter-upper, and design consultant while we built our apartment on our property. I had asked my husband early on if he was okay with it, and he said yes, but I probably would have gone even if the answer was no. The clinic was a dream come true for me.
I thought frequently of them while I was away—I tried to call when I could, although the phone signal was patchy. When I wasn’t on the phone with them, I relished in the joy of having such a great life—great husband, kids, and our place was almost finished. I felt like I was on top of the world. I felt sky-high—even when I noticed my hubby was cold over the phone and hard to talk to the next time I called. He wasn’t much of a phone person, so I wrote it off.
When I got home, though, we fought. Then, things got better for a while, but that fight, and the next, and the next were the start of a long spiral down toward a divorce. I numbed myself to the pain I encountered while trying to survive in the marriage. We never could get back on the same wavelength; he would want to try, and I would pull away. I would want to try, and he would pull away. Sometimes two spirits repel each other.
I finally left when, as usual, I was feeling criticized and like I was never good enough. I decided then and there that I was good enough, and did not go back.
I spent a lot of time wallowing in misery, especially after the divorce finalization. Our hearts sometimes tolerate a lot of pain to try to avoid any shift in reality. I think we believe the known evil is still a friendlier one than the unknown. Some days, I thought about going back. I was afraid of what was to come.
I knew that at some point, I would have to hitch up my drawers and move forward; I knew that I would have to embrace this revolution, but I could not do it on my own. I went through a number of things to help me transition through this period.
I went to counseling. Guidance from an outside source helped me recognize the good things about myself; I was able to build my self-confidence again and make goals for myself instead of allowing the blackness of depression to eat me alive.
I journaled. Writing down what was going on helped me to recognize what it was I was feeling, what caused those feelings, and how I could work through them.
I made a huge goal and worked toward it. I signed up for a 100-mile ride in California with my horse and got her ready for it. Having a goal helped me to take my mind off of the acute pain of the situation.
I worked on educating myself. I took an online course on Understanding Men–I wanted to learn about the opposite sex so that I could avoid repeating my mistakes in future relationships. I also started reading a lot of about positive psychology and success stories. I wanted (and still do) to rise out of this pile of ashes like the proverbial Phoenix. I’m gonna fly, damnit.
I forgave myself. This piece I think, was the toughest of them all. We all make mistakes. And it’s okay—we never intend to. Learn from them and move on. Mistakes are merely lessons wrapped up in life’s ribbons and bows.
If I had stayed in my marriage, I would have continued to numb myself instead of working on improving myself and—most importantly—getting right with myself. I would have continued to exist thinking I was not good enough. I would have stayed in the cocoon I existed in.
Looking back, I don’t know that at the time I would have chosen to go down the path I was lent had I known that it would lead to such a route. In the journey since then, I have accepted myself. I love myself now, and can pass that love more fully to others. I have made and accomplished goals: my horse and I did do that 100-mile ride! She is my hero!
Knowing where I am now, given the choice—I would absolutely do it again; the butterfly has emerged. I embrace the transformation that I was given the chance to experience.