I don’t think I can call it sudden. It was a series of challenges and difficulties over the course of several years that I was married to the wrong person, of course. I just was in a place where I felt like holding together my family was the most important thing by far. Even more important than my own wellbeing. And really, more important than my kids.

I sensed there was an overall undercurrent of unhappiness in my household but I felt like holding my family together was more important than handling that situation.

I stayed as a lot of women do. I stayed and stayed and stayed until I was absolutely certain I had done everything I could do to save my marriage.

It wasn’t sudden. It was over the course of chipping away at myself for many years.

I wanted my kids to grow up the way I did and I had kind of an idyllic childhood. I wanted peace in my household and it wasn’t there but I hadn’t attributed it to my marriage. I thought I was doing the best that I could and if I continued to do the best that I could that I would be able to fix it. I just had it in my mind that I was going to be able to make it better and okay and fix it and run the type of household that I wanted my kids to grow up in.

I’m only realizing now how I failed at that now. I’m only now realizing the magnitude with which I failed. Even now I’m still realizing components that I was unaware of.

It’s challenging to look back at the things I should have noticed.

My sister is a huge influence in my life and walking with her has been my savior through this whole thing. I have a really strong support system and a really great family.

My coping mechanism is art and using my support system.

Art has taken on a really interesting place in my brain and in my heart. Creating is really keeps me sane and keeps me grounded and keeps me connected to my roots. I just have really focused on noticing and utilizing that the best I can.

Just the process of creating is really therapeutic for me and way more than I ever thought it would be.

Using creativity to get through difficult times and to clear my head and to move on and all those things have become really valuable and really critical.

The same day my ex told me he would pursue divorce my teenage daughter told me she was pregnant. Just a couple of weeks later I lost the job that I had had for twenty-five years and I was devastated. As things started to settle, rather than being devastating those things became part of the healing process.

Because of my job I’ve really been able to blossom and shine. That was the foundation of me being able to move on effectively and strongly.

My grandson was born and he’s just completely amazing. I was just able to focus on those things and be rid of the negative influence my marriage had over me. All those things that were devastating became the most incredible blessings that I could imagine.

The universe gave me the foundation I needed to proceed. It has been a long process, I don’t want people to think it was an awakening because it wasn’t. It was really slow and I’m still finding things that I had lost to my marriage. I’m still finding parts of my being that I had just lost.

I realized that I can fix this by myself. I realized I needed art more than I really ever imagined. During my marriage, I lost my ability to connect and I think that’s one of the things I do best but I couldn’t do that within my marriage.

I became more suppressed. I was losing pieces of myself.

I’ve discovered that I really do love myself. I hope that it doesn’t sound arrogant, but I have reconnected with myself and love myself, and notice that I have talents and gifts that I had lost and that I can forgotten about and suppressed. Refinding myself was the best opportunity this situation could have afforded me.

I feel like I’m just at peace with who I am and where I’m going and how I’m moving through the world.

It’s important that people find their own level of peace with what they’ve been given and just stopping. I think we hear this message of never give up and if you just try a little bit harder it will be okay but I think that message needs to be balanced out with it’s okay to just stop and take another path. You don’t always have to be forging forward against all the odds. Eventually, you have to find peace with stopping.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My daughter came into the house and said, “Can you get the rug out of the truck for the new house?” I was like, we’re moving? That brought about a whole bunch of other conversations and it was amazing to find out that way that I was suddenly single.

I came home five days later and the movers had moved everything out of my house except what was in the basement which was where I’d been living because we weren’t on good terms but we didn’t have the money to go separately.

I went upstairs and there wasn’t even a bed left for me. Later that day the movers came back with a bed because it was taken by mistake.

She moved right around the corner for a while and it was nice because the kids could come back and forth during the integration period.

Shortly after that, my son stopped talking to me and that’s been ten or eleven years.

We had been together since we were teenagers. It was a shocking blow to me and it really hit hard.

I processed it with a lot of alcohol. We’d been in the house for eighteen years and now the house was quiet.

I painted the walls to get a lot of the feelings and emotions out.

It was all about finding something to do with the chaotic energy that was going through me. TO have the quiet time to go into my own thoughts, to figure out what my thoughts were and how I was feeling and how I was doing.

I did a lot of riding on my Harley. Did a lot of hanging out with friends and finding those little tranquil things that could help keep me calm.

The one thing that I really realized was I had become very reactionary. The relationship had gotten to a point where things that were happening that were out of our control.

I really lost myself and my path in being responsible and feeling responsible for everything that was happening. With being reactionary I wasn’t in the true essence of myself. I found myself doing things that were so out of character.

It really made me look at my actions and how I was responsible for things.

In the future, I want to do better. I did everything that I knew at that point in time that I knew how to do. Now I’ve learned different things and different tools.

There’s nothing better to bring out the truth in yourself than going through hard times.

I ended up moving home and shortly after my mom passed away.

I had the reiki session and it changed my world. That created a whole new path and a whole new way for me to release all the pent up anxiety and energy that was within me.

I’ve become a lot more harmonious and a lot more laid back again and moved back into the essence of my truth.

It’s really nice coming into being more of myself and understanding myself, but every relationship has its hiccups, it has its hurdles and one of the things I’ve learned in this relationship is how to communicate as a man to a woman.

Let’s think about the words we’re using and how we want to leave our partner after we’ve gone about saying everything so that we’re building each other up instead of tearing each other down.

I find myself always looking to better myself and define the standards within myself to make myself that person I still want to be.

It’s okay for me to be emotional too. So much of the time I would be stoic. I wouldn’t share my unbridled emotions. I’ve learned how to understand myself better and say what I want to say and get the emotions out.

Just letting it all come up and not engaging it will let it fall away. Self-perception without any judgment upon it.

My mom used to say, feelings are feelings, emotions are emotions. Don’t judge yourself for having them. Instead of letting them come and go, we shut them down out of judgment.

Now’s the time to really just let yourself be. Have compassion for yourself. Have the feelings that come and go. Try not to go into your own perception of what they are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am a romantic at heart. I think sometimes that gets me into trouble.

I saw this incredible person across the room and we immediately fell in love. It was incredible and wonderful and beautiful. It was fantastic but then life happens.

I met someone else during a very trying period of my life and he seemed really really nice, very caring, just the kind of person you need when you’re going through a difficult time.

We got married, however, it didn’t turn out very well. To the public eye, it looked like the most incredible relationship but behind closed doors, it was the exact opposite. It came to a point where it was, if I don’t get out I will die.

I set about saving some money. I had a friend help me get my stuff and I left. However, the hard part of leaving a long-term relationship or marriage isn’t just leaving. That in itself is hard, it’s what comes after that.

I ended up with a nervous breakdown and through a lot of depression, and anxiety and PTSD because of what happened in the relationship.

My ex did not accept that I was leaving him so he continued to stalk me for a number of years.

Then I ended up with chronic fatigue which is a lot more than just being tired. I then had a flare-up of endometriosis. All of this related to the trauma of the relationship and the leadup of my life form benign in love to ensign up in a marriage that was anything but happy.

It’s being able to stand in the mirror and be proud of what I see.

It was going, I’m not giving up. I could have given up and I knew very well if I’d stayed in the relationship I wouldn’t be here today and I thought, there is no way I have fought this hard to now lay down and do nothing, I’m still kicking and screaming and I’m on the other side of huge challenges.

I’m not going to be defined by an abusive relationship. I’m not going to be defined by an illness. I’m going to be defined by what’s important to me.

Since then I’ve decided to use the pain I’ve gone through and convert it to something constructive.

In all honesty, there are times when you want to give up. I definitely wanted to give up.

I do have animals that I look after and I just thought, that’s not fair to them. I made a promise to them to be here, to look after them, and give them the best life possible and I hadn’t delivered that.

By shifting it away from myself it gave me a better perspective.

Am I going to really leave this place because of what someone’s done to me? And I thought, no that’s not okay. If I’m going to do something that harsh and dramatic it’s going to be on my terms and I’m sure as hell not ready to go anywhere.

It was just taking baby steps, little steps…one day at a time. What is going to help me today?

You need to journal, you need to express, you need to look at the bigger picture, you need to tap into what’s important.

It started very much with just be honest. How do I really feel? Take the judgment away. Take away all this pressure that had built up over the years and go, what do I actually want? What will make me happy? It was just working it from day-to-day.

There are days when it’s hard and you feel like I’ve taken one step forward and ten back but you still keep going because when you look back over six months of twelve months you see you’ve come a really long way it’s sometimes it doesn’t’ feel that way.

It’s just finding another way and another way to just keep going.

I’m naturally very creative and at the time I had zero creativity. My cognitive function was minimal and I couldn’t’ focus. I was barely able to do one thing at a time.

You have days where you relapse and you can’t get off the couch but focus on the bigger picture and not being hard on myself on those days. They were tough.

We give ourselves a time frame that we have to get this done by this date and I think that just sets us up to fail and I’ve learned just remove the time. Don’t worry how old you are, don’t worry if it’s this year or next year as long as you get to it that’s all that matters.

I felt like I had gone full circle.

Coming through all of this and the role that I was playing and being the wife none of it was me, none of it was authentic, none of it was true. I came full circle and just stripped it back.

I’m weird and quirky but that’s okay because it’s who I am.

I would do very weird things for creative purposes and I’d lost that part of me. That reckless abandon of just exploring life on my terms and I just got so stuck in, but socially I have to do this.

I’d lost me. The only way I could come out was with me…to find my voice and be me and know that it’s not about perfect.

I learned that I’m fine right now and that was a really hard thing for me to come to terms with.

Take that pressure away. The guilt and the overwhelm. Strip that away and always be honest with yourself. Doesn’t matter if it’s pretty or if it’s messy.

A lot of the things I did, the basis of them was about being loved. It sounds so simple and yet it’s so not. I wanted to be loved. I just wanted to be loved.

If you don’t like me that’s okay. Not everyone’s supposed to. But as long as I like me. It’s easy to do that professionally but it’s when it becomes personal that’s when it becomes real.

The takeaway for me is not to be defined by what happens to you. Not to be defined by what people do to you. Be defined by who you are. When I think of who I am I based it on my core values.

Make it about you. Not about the relationship or family or the guilt or the pressure. Be honest about what you want and look in the mirror when you do it because you can’t hide that way.

Don’t settle. Never, ever settle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was married nearly 43-years to a man I met when I was 14-years old. We dated for 7-years, all through high school and college, and then got married and had 3 children and had a typical life. I worked, he worked, and then as my children started going off to college things started to change.

In 2013 when my daughter was graduating from college she discovered that her father was having an affair. It still took me years to actually ask and make a divorce happen because it was just so hard for me to let go of how I thought my life was going to be.

I’d never lived on my own and I was leaving a house that I created.

Once I decided I was doing it, it happened pretty quickly.

He wanted the house and I needed a fresh start.

I knew there was a date at which my whole life would change, but I had no idea what that change was going to be.

The first thing I had to figure out was where was I going to live?

I had a whole list of what I wanted.

It took me a long time. The things were more important than me.

I went back forth and for 2, almost 3 years. At some point, I had the self-realization that part of the reason I was attached to the things were the memories of raising my children. I don’t need to have the things to have the memories.

When I could finally let go of the life I thought I was going to have, then I didn’t really want to take anything except my clothes and this one chair.

How did I want to feel? In some ways, it was counter to how I was feeling in the life I was in.

I got really clear on how I wanted to feel.

I learned that you don’t die from the things you’re pretty sure you’re going to die from.

Being alone was really one of my nightmares. I am a very people person.

I was always very involved through people with people. Some of it was probably driven by a fear of being by myself. Something I’ve learned is, while I’m not always very comfortable being by myself, I won’t die from it.

I wasn’t sure I would survive by myself which was one of the reasons I didn’t ask for a divorce, even from a man who betrayed me. I didn’t know I could do that.

I often think the reason I don’t carry a lot of anger towards my former husband was because I’d worked through a lot of that before we actually got divorced, which for me, was helpful even though at the time I was pretty hard on myself.

Life has phases, and each of us has a unique sequence of those phases, and I think we need to learn to have some self-compassion more than I’ve had for myself for the fact that there are phases that start and phases that end, and even if they’re not what you expected, it’s okay. There’s still another phase. If you’re alive there’s another phase even if you can’t see it or feel it.

I’m not good at endings, never have been. I’m much better at beginnings.

I didn’t expect to be divorced at 63. I didn’t expect to be living on my own at this point in my life. I didn’t expect to be navigating this period, this phase, the way I am.

Be kind to yourself. Have the confidence that there will be another phase.

We need to learn to give ourselves a lot of compassion when we’re in those places and one piece is done and there’s another that will begin, whether we can see it or not.

I encourage you to really spend some time reconnecting with who you are.

The courage for me came from getting clearer and clearer about who I was at that moment as opposed to who I had been or who I thought I was going to be.

Is who I am consistent with the situation I was in?

Whatever has changed, it just is.

Get clear on who you are in that moment. Figure out who you are right now because that’s the only thing that’s real. Everything else is an illusion or a memory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After 36-years it was a week after our 33rd wedding anniversary. When I say those numbers it makes me think, “did that really happen?”

We kind of grew apart. The relationship was tired, we had a lot of stress through businesses.

We worked together and we lived together so I think that was the biggest shock.

Can I get through this on my own? That was one of the biggest fears.

It was a bit daunting to become single again, especially at 58.

You don’t know what is ahead of you. That was the daunting part.

Once I came to that clear decision it was easier because it started to feel like a new adventure.

I always look for the more positive outcome.

We’re expected to stay with this person until death do us part but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way.

Getting over that I’d failed was the hardest part.

I realized I was codependent, I had no boundaries, and I was a chronic people-pleaser.

I started to see it in a different light. I hadn’t really failed, it was just a part of me growing and growing up.

I realized my needs were not being met because I’m a chronic people-pleaser. I always make sure everybody else is okay and quashing my own needs and that builds up over time.

Now, I put me first.

I feel very positive for the future.

Life is not over, it’s just a new life beginning.

It hasn’t been plain sailing, there have been a lot of things to sort out.

I think we’re both grown up and that is very empowering as well.

Our values were different.

I’m not the shadow of my husband, I am a person in my own right.

If we were taught as young girls about our boundaries, about our needs, about our values we would start our relationships in a much stronger place.

That’s the biggest mistake all of us are making, we have to make ourselves happy. Only we can make ourselves happy.

I have a love for life. There is this drive in me to live life to the full.

Freedom is something I’ve always been looking forward to.

The future for me is something that is sustainable that gives me pleasure, income, and a certain amount of freedom. Travel is always high on my list.

Now there is no one to edit what I do apart from myself.

Before rushing into making any decisions, get to terms with your values. Look at your needs as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was in a workout class with a breast cancer shirt on. Being big into health and wellness I also am big into advocating for myself.

The technician put the sonogram to my breast and I could just tell on her face. From that moment on my life changed drastically. It was off to the races with surgeries to place a port for chemotherapy. They pulled lymph nodes to see if the cancer had spread and I was in a chemotherapy chair within eight days.

During that time, I was in my ninth year of marriage to a man. We were an active military couple.

Cancer revealed the cracks in our marriage

We fell apart. I got through everything. There were some situations with honesty and loyalty and at the end of it when I returned to work more things were revealed.

You say in sickness and in health and I think when you say those words when you’re young you’re envisioning the sickness when you’re older. When it’s faced in your early 30’s, during these invincible years, it just really hit that those words that we had spoken to each other he wasn’t able to uphold. I didn’t want to move forward with my life with someone that wasn’t willing to stand by that commitment.

I kinda sent an old-school Dear John letter.

It was kinda like this extreme rebirth. He was kinda the only man I knew in my own life. I lost my hair, my skin, my fertility, my breasts, you know…everything that’s feminine and ideally thought of as a woman and I was only 31-years old and now the man I had committed to was out of my life.

I had taken a break from work and now I had to reinvent myself with my career. It was very symbolic as well as quite literally a rebirth.

I had to rest on that core and find my way again of who I was who I wanted to create myself to be. I dove into the support network I had as well as that grieving and allowing myself to process everything that had changed. It occurred to me, get to know myself again.

My grief wasn’t really linear and it didn’t come with one face. My grief came in waves. There were times when I felt so much relief and so much joy was back in the home which was very strange.

I was grieving this dynamic change that had occurred in our home, but at the same time, all of a sudden finding so much joy, and laughter, and freedom so it was really this weird up and down up and down roller coaster ride of grief.

When you’re going through the fight that is cancer and even divorce you’re in the thick of it.

In the military there’s a saying to get through boot camp, it’s meal-to-meal, Sunday-to-Sunday, month-to-month. Little milestones that I had to kind of focus on. I fell back on those tools that I knew. I had to slowly rebuild every piece.

I had to just lean into I’m no longer a wife or a friend or a partner, but I’m still a mom and this is my home.

I found joy in realizing the mom I want to be without the anger that I used to have as a wife. I could let that baggage go. The driving force behind me was what kind of mom do I want to be.

I am notorious for feeling all the feels and allowing myself to when they occur. I’m the crier at the wedding. I give myself that space to feel, and I mean fully feel when it’s happening to me.

When I was going through this I journaled immensely to be able to get it out.

Through chemo to chemo, I didn’t think I would be able to get to the next one. I’ve allowed myself to grieve and process. I’m big into therapy. I joke that I was such a mess that I had two therapists at one time. One for the cancer…and then I had a divorce/family therapist who helped me through that whole process.

I gave myself a mohawk and wore it for two weeks. My name’s mo so of course I had a mohawk and my son thought I was just the coolest.

Find those little pockets where you can still laugh and be silly despite and almost in honor of the sadness and despair going on.

It’s built with these tiny little tools that you do consistently and that you respect and you honor daily and they may seem trite but I stayed consistent.

I was able to take help for the first time. Sometimes people are too prideful to take help and that taught me so much to take help. You’ve got to accept what’s happening to you but you don’t have to surrender 100% to what’s happening to you.

You’re not alone. You’re not the only one. A lot of marriages crack under that pressure and you’re not doing anything wrong. You can make it out the other side.

If you get this perspective that there’s got to be more and it has got to be better, then I encourage you to seek a better way and a better life and know that it’s okay to mourn, to grieve, to feel the feels, but you’re gonna come through the other side and find a community where you feel like you’re not alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My wife died of cancer after 10-years. It spread really, really fast.

I was the only person that was there for her through that entire two years, so I fed her I cleaned her, I shopped for her, I took her to all of her appointments, I gave her pills, I had to give her shots in the stomach every 12-hours. It was life-altering.

It built a super-strong bond that was going to break no matter what. That was a hard reality to face.

No matter how strong I was, no matter how perfectly I did anything and everything, no matter what happened, no matter what we did there wasn’t a way out.

She had things that she voiced that she wanted me to go do. It’s hard to hear at the time. It’s hard to hear your partner telling you to move on when there’s nothing in the world farther from your mind. I wasn’t sure what to do with that. It took me a long time to figure out what to do with that after she died.

I did everything wrong. I immediately jumped into a sexual relationship after she died. Parly it was good and partly it was bad. The emotional toll it took on me was unexpected even though it was a sexual relationship…it was not emotionally attached. It was more of a distraction. That made me feel guilty.

As much as I was feeling guilty, I knew nothing I was doing was wrong. Coming to terms with that was difficult. I live a whole new life now. When she died I gave up everything.

After she died it taught me how short and precious life really is.

The beautiful things I used to take advantage of any more I can’t take advantage of anymore.

I don’t have any choice but to see those beautiful things in my life in a new way now because I have fundamentally changed. Her death showed me something very precious in life that I had never experienced before and that experience opened up something in me as much as it closed off other parts of me, it opened up new ones. I’m a new me.

I have more compassion for people who have gone through and experienced death in a way that I never did before. I’ve spent a lot of time in the last year crying but it was good crying. It wasn’t bad crying. I didn’t spend any time crying absolute remorse. I spent a lot of time crying in beauty.

The two years of my life I spent taking care of her with every piece of my soul are going to stick with me forever but they were beautiful. As hard and as terrible as they were, they were still beautiful.

I miss her cooking so much. I miss her food. I miss her wonderful food and I miss taking her coffee in the morning. That was part of our morning routine. That morning routine was rough after she died. I did not know what to do.

I couldn’t stay in our house with all of our stuff, sleeping in the bed that she died in. When I let it all go it changed everything for me.

I can’t think of one thing that isn’t different now.

It has specifically shown me how much I want to be in love with someone. I don’t really want to be alone. After she died, I did.

One of the things she specifically asked was for me to try to move on and find someone else to be happy with. I spent a lot of time thinking about that.

I started dating again which was weird and hard and awkward and uncomfortable but at the same time, it’s proof that I’m moving forward.

After all the years my mother and I could never get along, my mom has been really amazing through all of this, really amazing.

Neither of us was the same person and I needed to give her the opportunity because life is too short. I needed to fix a lot of things with a lot of people in my life. I’m just a different person now. I’m so different from top to bottom and inside and out. Those relationships have value to me now that they didn’t have before because I was so caught up in life that I didn’t really care about the value of those relationships.

Never give up. As much as it seems like it may be the end for some people. You just don’t know how you’re going to possibly go on, all of a sudden, magically you will have moved on and you won’t even know it, but never give up.

You can love again. I didn’t know if I could and I can. I can love again. It’s not going to hurt Vera because I chose to love again. Don’t be too hard on the people around you while you are going through this. They only care, they only want to love you and make your life easier in any way that they can, so try to accept some of the help that those around you give you. Don’t worry, you’ll never forget her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had been married for about 12 years. We had 3 sons. I started to feel like something wasn’t right in our marriage but I couldn’t quite future that out.

I asked my husband to go to marriage counseling with me but he wouldn’t go because I didn’t know what the problem was and he felt like everything was fine.

Another year passed and at that point, I started to figure out that I was gay and I struggled with that internally for a few months before I talked to anybody about it and I finally came out to him and together we talked about what that meant for our family, and for us, that meant getting divorced.

It was a very difficult decision for both of us.

I had to feel like I had done everything that I possibly could to try to save my marriage, even though part of me kind of knew.

If you’re gay, you don’t have a loving intimate marriage with someone of the opposite sex the way that both of you deserve to have.

Part of me knew but part of me really loved this man and he was wonderful to me and he was a wonderful father and I just really had to feel like I had done everything I possibly could to make sure that this was the right decision.

To say that I was attracted to women wasn’t new to him. To say that I was gay was definitely new.

I grew up in the ’70s. I didn’t have anyone who was gay or lesbian to sort of know that was a possibility in life.

It wasn’t that my family was homophobic or against the gay community, it just wasn’t something we talked about so it didn’t really even occur to me as a young person or really into my early 20’s that that might have been an option for me.

Looking back I had a massive crush on my middle school gym teacher but I didn’t know that at the time. To me, I just really looked up to her and admired her, and thought she was a great teacher. All of those things were true too, but really it was kind of my first crush.

Looking back there are definitely some signs, but like I said, I just really didn’t know that that was a possibility as I grew up.

It was really hard. At that time I was also in graduate school, working full-time, raising our three kids…it was a very very difficult time. I think what helped me in the very beginning was all of that and how busy I was. I was kind of forced to keep going.

I knew, as a budding therapist, that the thing my children needed through all of that change was for me and their dad to focus on them and keep them on our minds as what we needed to take care of the most so that’s what we did.

I slowly started to come out to a wider circle of our friends and family and I received amazing support.

My immediate family has been immensely supportive from the beginning. My oldest son has been my number one ally. He has been just amazing. That has given me a lot of courage through all of this.

I was nervous that I might lose some people, and I did lose one person, but everyone else has been incredible over the years. I really couldn’t ask for anything better.

I also developed a new community of friends. People would probably be surprised how common this situation is that people get into a marriage and later realize they’re married to the wrong sex.

The biggest thing it taught me is that I’m a lot stronger than I ever realized.

That period of coming out was so difficult. Even telling my husband that I was gay was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do in my entire life because I knew it was going to crush him. I didn’t want to hurt him. I also knew that I was not loving him the way he deserves to be loved.

Some people have called me selfish over the years because I broke up my family to make myself happy and that kind of thing but the truth is none of us would have ended up happy because I would have been so unhappy. My husband wasn’t getting the kind of marriage he deserved. My kids were not getting the kind of full, fulfilled mother that they deserve. I had to make the decision I felt was best, really truly, for all of us.

If I can’t show my kids that it’s best to be your authentic self, what am I teaching them about themselves?

I think I’ve grown in every way. I genuinely believe that I’m a better mother. I’m a better communicator.

It was important for me, once I really figured out what was going on, to be authentic for myself. Living an authentic life is really vital. It was becoming a matter of life and death for me. I was getting so hopeless because I started to feel like things were never going to feel better for me.

I had to show my kids that being true to themselves…how important that is. If one of my kids is gay or transgender or wants to do something in their career that we wouldn’t expect or anything they need to know that that’s wonderful and they should go for it. For me to be able to live my true life has been so freeing.

The journey is going to be very difficult in the beginning. There might be some difficult decisions that have to be made depending on individual circumstances and it’s worth it. There may be some consequences even, depending on the people that are in their lives and how they feel about the LBGTQ community. I would still say it’s worth it to come out and to be yourself.

It’s really important to represent who we are and represent the community so that people can start to see how wonderful and vibrant the community is, but even more importantly, for ourselves. Be true.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am divorced. I’ve been divorced 5-years now.

I didn’t want to leave my marriage, I wanted to work on things, but I knew if worst-case comes to worst if we did decide to come back together some time apart would help. If it’s meant to be we’ll end up coming back together but our separation ended up being permanent.

It took a lot. There was a lot to be said even before we got married. We met and fell in love very quickly.

Even before we got married I’d seen signs and huge red flags that I totally ignored. Why I ignored them? Out of love.

If I were going to be that ultimate partner and wife that any challenges would of course be expected in a marriage so anything that came up prior to was just the beginning of a long-term relationship. I figured I’m in it for the long-haul.

Neither one of us could be our best selves. The love was there but neither one of us were happy so it ended.

At the time I felt like it was a sacrifice but I also felt like well, this is just marriage. We all get our perspectives of what a marriage should be from other marriages that we witness. Part of my education on marriage and relationships was that when things get hard you stick it out. You don’t give up.

Universally, spiritually, it worked out for the better because I am in a better place now.

Thankfully it didn’t kill my love or the gift I see from marriage. Marriage can be a real gift.

I need to be true to myself. When I see red flags, don’t ignore them. It was ignoring and brushing them off that caused the suffering because I didn’t trust myself enough or maybe love myself to believe or trust those gut feelings that I had. I just wanted to put all my faith and energy into my marriage.

I did actually start therapy while I was still married, for myself.

I did definitely find solace in my family, thank goodness for my parents for just that support to get through. I did find solace through close friends who were a huge support. I’m a Buddhist, I chant. I found solace through my readings, through other spiritual references as well. Over time I did finally get to a place of not blaming, not being a victim of my circumstance, just accepting responsibility for my actions. Even though it’s a hard word sometimes, forgiveness. You can’t be your best self and move forward in life if I carried that baggage.

It took a lot of self-work to look at the situation from outside myself and realize it’s not about you, it’s about what is there to learn. How did you grow? How did you change?

We each deal and accept forgiveness in different ways.

See people as you see yourself. I’m just as capable of falling off track.

I had to get rid of that feeling of that ego-based mindset, that fear-based mindset that we live in.

I didn’t want to exist and live in a negative energetic field. I wanted to exist and thrive in a high vibration.

Spirituality was always part of my life before I got married but it grew more after my divorce.

You have to act yourself into a new way of thinking.

I didn’t want to be a victim. I wanted to be better.

Do I want to be this person who is still miserable? Who is still complaining? I didn’t want that to be my story anymore. I wanted to be someone that overcame that.

I wanted to focus on my power of forgiveness. That’s how energy moves.

If you’re asking for honesty be prepared for it.

No more ignoring red flags, no more not speaking my truth, no more of that because it didn’t get me anywhere.

I can’t keep believing I can get what I want out of this relationship.

Any type of love or honesty and respect I want outside of me, I have to have it for myself first. That has to be a promise. I’d forgotten that promise I’d made to myself about loving myself and respecting myself. I just wanted to be kind, I just wanted to be patient and you want that of other people too.

Ask yourself deeply about what kind of person you want to be. Remind yourself how good of a person you are.

Self-esteem, I’ve learned is feeling good about yourself. Self-worth is about comparing yourself to someone else in your world and not betraying yourself. Don’t ignore red flags.

It’s not worth it to keep the peace if there’s not peace within you too.

Know your worth and know your value because you are exchanging that to someone else and hopefully getting back what you’re worth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found myself suddenly single in a not super sudden fashion about 5-years ago.

It took a couple of months of recalibrating my life, getting my things in order to move away. I moved back with my parents and sort of hit reset on what felt like a well-developed life and path that I was on.

Not a lot of people talk about big breakups and big divorces pre-thirty. They happen and it’s not just breaking up with a boyfriend, it’s a life reset.

It was a really scary reset. I had chosen many of my life paths based on how they would be mutually beneficial for the two of us.

In a word, I didn’t deal with it well. I spent time not coping and effectively in denial for almost three years. Out of sheer stubbornness, creating a holding pattern for myself rather than trying to move forward.

It took me more than a year to be able to call it a breakup. I would call it our split and I just couldn’t cope with the fact that we were really broken up from each other.

Something really horrible happened. You rarely get big moments of clarity in life because nice things happened.

I had created an I am strong and moving forward and keeping my stuff together sort of image and persona for myself with my close friends.

I was no longer able to be in denial about what my story might be because basically, thinking back on it now, the narrative that I was living and the narrative that he was living had diverged about 6-months before we broke up.

It was an intense end to three years of denial.

I’m so grateful I had and still have really supportive friends that were listening to me repeat my story over and over and over and were happy to be my sounding board for the thoughts that we all have.

I was seeing a counselor. It was not a strong method for me to support myself. In retrospect, I paid a lot of ex-boyfriend taxes for the relationship. Sometimes going to a therapist isn’t going to solve the problem. You can’t necessarily give them that kind of credit. It’s always worth a try. I certainly hoped I was buying a magic cure and it wasn’t.

I signed up for all sorts of obscure weird dating websites which has been fun and interesting and how I ended up with the guy I’m with now.

I used the relationship stuff to take the lazy approach to the other parts of my life like a career.

I’m definitely grateful to have that ability to self-direct that way. It’s sort of like I create an exercise for myself rather than trying to make it into some sort of lifestyle.

The most important thing and we hear it all the time but you have to internalize it in whatever way applies, the most important thing is your own mental health and we can only control ourselves no matter how incredibly frustrating and unbearably problematic that seems to achieve our own goals. Focusing on what you need.

Taking your own steps to keep yourself together is the most important thing because you’re not going to be on the market for a new partner or supporting your own life if you’re not well. You can’t keep moving without that.

I have had the most unbelievable empathy from friends and family that don’t necessarily have a sympathetic understanding of experience. They just understand that everybody goes through hard times. Everybody struggles. Things are not easy. It is such a relief to talk to people and have them go, life isn’t easy.

Give friends an opportunity to support you like that even though it feels like that’s giving them an opportunity to judge you. It makes the love cycle feel stronger.

Young people can be hurt too.