Healing.

If I could sum up the disastrous year of 2020 and the last 15 months “post-divorce,” I’d use the word HEALING. What I have learned about healing is worth sharing because the true goal of learning is to share knowledge. 

First, healing is not linear. It ebbs and flows with time, circumstance, and honestly; the level of effort you’re applying towards healing. It is work! When the pandemic first hit last March and we shut down, I was positive about creating a rigorous schedule for myself to stay hyper-focused on healing. It all went down the tubes as the shelter in place didn’t bode too well for me. I started strong with daily walks outdoors, to-do lists, and a promise to stay productive. Depression snuck in through the dark corners of my mind and deciding to let go of the friendship I had maintained with my ex-husband was a difficult choice, but one I had to make to progress in healing. 

After committing to a “conscious uncoupling,” we were adamant about remaining friends and supportive of one another’s new lives apart. I quickly found out that was not going to work for me. I found myself regressing and wanting to reach out for the familiar comfort and closeness we shared. It left me on an emotional roller coaster of highs and lows. Frankly, it was time to get off the ride. Some people can stay connected and move forward with healing. Some cannot. I fell into that category of those who cannot. Of course, I miss the friendship and wish him well, however, I value the time I have had to let go of that anguish and pain I had been holding onto for so long. 

Second, during the healing process, old wounds crept up. It was like peeling off the layers of an onion. I realized just how much pain and resentment I had been holding onto from my childhood and family of origin. I was flailing in all directions. Combine this with the shutdown/pandemic, job responsibilities shifting dramatically due to the pandemic, and getting infected with COVID-19 pneumonia; I was losing myself. Something had to happen….and I called it a “God Shout!.”

A God Whisper is that small sign that sparks something inside of you. A God Smile is a kind word from someone that helps to instill a sense of confidence and shares a message of positivity. A God Shout is that huge thing you cannot deny any longer! It can be a message you get repeatedly from different sources throughout any length of time. It can come at any moment and from daily interactions with life and people. Mine happened to come from a longing I had been feeling for quite some time. I knew I needed to delve into some self-help books about healing, gaining more confidence, and moving on. I wanted to find my way back to the person I was before my heart was broken. I decided to start with a bible study. For 90 days, I committed to daily reading, deep reflections, and some journaling. The best part was, one of my dearest friends did it alongside me. My eyes were opened. My heart was full. The joy I experienced in reconnecting with a part of myself I had shut down years ago was profound. For the first time in a long while, I felt my heart healing. I felt myself desiring to let go of any resentment and anger from my past and the person(s) who were part of that hurt. I felt love. It was a watershed event in which I could not get enough of reading the right materials in tandem that put me on the path I am today. Bibliotherapy!

I discovered that there inside of me all along was the love I had been searching for. It was just there…waiting to be watered so the seeds could grow. I love the woman I am coming home to. I love the people in my life who are helping to grow those seeds of love and healing. I am blessed! 

GRACE

It’s been awhile since I posted and I’m not going to make excuses either. Nothing as monumental as COVID happened to me, but it has taken me a really long time to get the courage to write. Part of me felt like if I did begin writing, I would never stop. The other part of me could not bring into words the pain inside. Not one book that I read could have prepared me for the overwhelming sadness, sense of loss, and the emotional roller coaster ride of going through a divorce. Although my ex and I had a conscious uncoupling and remained friends for the most part, it does not make the loss of a decade of life spent together just disappear.

At first, I wanted to delete everything—every picture I had on my cell phone, every social media post, and every reminder that he ever existed. Then I had the revelation. Why would I want to erase a decade of my life? He was part of me and our lives were enmeshed for a decade. Part of who I am today is because of him.  So….then I started just leaving things as they were. If I saw a memory post show up in Facebook, I just looked and smiled and remembered a happier moment we shared. I stopped trying to delete that “we” happened.

What has happened during this COVID time is that I realized by remaining “friends” in good standing, I was actually halting my healing process. I was not truly letting go. I was using our “friendship” to reach out consistently for support and for connection. I also realized that to truly begin healing and letting go, I have to not be his friend for a while. What else has happened?

While I had not been working due to COVID, I was the most unproductive person on the planet. I slept. I ate. I cried. I rarely went for walks. I read some. I did depression and pity party pretty well. It seems that peeling back the layers of this stinky onion means there’s more stuff bubbling up to the surface—like my emotional eating struggles, my anxiety, my depression, and some emotional pain from my childhood. I have been treading water to take care of myself and what a chore it has been.

I came back to work this week and it was tough. I am grateful that I had a job to come back to but I felt so much regret for the time I lost at home. I decided to give myself some grace. We were/are living in a pandemic! I had to recognize that maybe this time off was meant for me to see just how much pain and hurt I had been burying for so long. I have begun to acknowledge and address it. It will be a slow process but I am finally trying to move on. It has been a few weeks not hearing my ex’s voice or his goofy laugh, but I know I will be fine. God has a plan for me and if I stick to it, I will be ok.

Letting good enough, be Good Enough!

One of my 2020 goals is to try and write and add more to this blog. Working full time, suffering through anxiety and a bout of depression–mostly due to the ending of a decade long marriage; has left me barely keeping my head above water. On evenings that I blow dry my hair instead of falling asleep with it damp, I call it a win! On mornings that I wake up just 15 minutes earlier to drink a full glass of lemon water to start my day, I am pumped! Never in a decade would I have been able to convince myself that these were small reasons to be proud of myself! I am learning to let good enough, be good enough.

It’s been almost three months since my divorce was final and there have been highs and lows. We are still friends and talk once in a while and I miss the sound of his voice and laughter. At first, I found myself deleting everything related to him from my Facebook and Instagram page and then I had an epiphany. Why do I want to erase a decade of my life when that relationship played a role in who I am today? So, I stopped trying to erase a part of my life that I am actually grateful for in spite of how it ended. Maybe that means I am finally finding some peace in this whole experience.

Learning to be single again is weird with a capital W! Of course, I haven’t been single long enough to really feel single but the aloneness has set in. I have friends who divorced and went buck wild partying and hitting the bar/club scene like they were 25 years old all over again. That is not for me. I also have friends who became a gym rat and starting dating immediately after the breakup. That isn’t for me either. And then there is the “soul searcher.” That is me! I feel like I’m waking up from a decade long coma and everything has changed around me. I’m in somewhat unfamiliar territory and don’t quite feel safe just yet. I know I probably need to invest in some type of therapy or life coaching to help me out of this funk and for now, I’m doing something similar on a much smaller scale. I’ve joined Danika Brysha’s YouYear 2020. She’s a self-care and lifestyle expert and God knows, I need that right now. I am hoping for camaraderie, inspiration, and accountability. It is a small step in the right direction in learning how to take care of myself again. I’m also doing tons of reading and I’ll be adding those books and ideas on my book posts. In the meanwhile, I’ve jumped on the WORDS of the YEAR bandwagon. What are your words? Mine are:

HEALTH

HEALING

MINDFULNESS

BECOMING

GRACE

Happy 2020!

Boundaries

During the last few weeks leading up to my divorce hearing, my emotions were all over the place and at times seemed to be spiraling out of control. Although our divorce was mutual and we took the time to consciously uncouple, it has been difficult to fathom a life without my best friend and partner of the last ten years. My emotional eating was out of control. Sugar and carbohydrates were my best friends. I was on a roller coaster of highs and lows. I felt like I was losing what little control over my life that I had.

Now….

It’s been three weeks since “the divorce.” I’ve begun the healing and moving on process. I realized once again just how important taking care of myself is; especially at this time in my life. It has been a chaotic, messy, and emotional year but I am confident that I will come out stronger and more resilient as long as I continue to stay focused on finding my happy place again. Recently, I was faced with rethinking the boundaries and self-care regimen I thought I had down pact. I was reminded that sometimes we lose sight of what we need to be doing to stay in that healthy place. Sometimes, life just happens and before you know it, you are in the thick of a tough situation and begin to feel the overwhelm creeping in.

A few years ago, a coworker walked by my desk and asked me if I made any New Year’s resolutions. My immediate response was, “I don’t make resolutions. I make boundaries.” She came back to my desk and we talked more about what that truly meant for me. It was a profound moment in my life because I had finally begun to realize that my inner work on boundaries was beginning to take hold. Like most empathetic individuals, I was always doing more than my fair share of giving. We are the peacemakers. We are the caregivers. We are the ones to be counted on by family, friends, and even in the workplace. Taking on everyone else’s problems can be a daunting task and can wear you down emotionally and physically.  For decades of my adult life, I spent it people-pleasing, being afraid to speak up, and tolerating negative behaviors—all for the sake of keeping the peace and not wanting to be confrontational. I ended up working myself to exhaustion with a serious bout of anxiety with depression.  That was the beginning of my wake up call.

For the first time in my life, I accepted that it was ok to say no. It was ok to live with limits. It was ok for me to not answer the phone when “that person” called me for a favor. It was ok to speak my mind and stand up for myself. I was not a bad person. I was a tired person who had given way too much and needed to focus more on myself and filling my cup in ways that made me a better person and eventually a better ‘giver.’

What I learned through so much introspection and therapy is that we can only give what we have to give. Setting boundaries and limits are difficult. It is even more difficult if you’re a wife and a mother. It is necessary. Do I feel guilty or bad about saying “no?” Absolutely! Do I allow those feelings to force me to give or do more than I am capable? Absolutely not! I love my family. I love my friends and even the work that I do. I love with boundaries now. I love in a way that helps me take care of myself. If you’re sensitive or an empath, please don’t ever be afraid to say no. Sometimes it is necessary.