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! 

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. 

Letting go.

I’ve waited a long while to write this because every time I began, I started to cry. I read a quote somewhere that when you can tell your story and not cry, you are on your way to healing. For the last several months, I have been going through a divorce and honestly, I’m not on my way to healing just yet. This was the second biggest event I have ever gone through and although it was amicable and we chose to consciously uncouple; the pain and heartache was and IS still there. How do you let go of your best friend because your marriage sucked?! I couldn’t even begin to understand how hard it was going to be to adjust to so many little things I had become accustomed to over the decade of our relationship. The first week I slept alone was awful. I hardly slept more than a few hours each night. All of the little things we take for granted in relationships will be the things you miss the most when they’re gone. Even so, I am grateful for the years we had together.

I’m not sure of the stages of divorce but mine was anger at first. I was mad as hell. Once I calmed down and was able to think with a more rational mindset, I began to understand and accept that this was for the best for both of us. We both deserved to have peace and for a long while, we had none. I used to have this idea of marriage as something we just “did” in spite of how wrong it felt or how difficult it became. Now, I believe differently. I resort back to my youthful belief that “good love” makes you both stronger, a better person, and you grow together. Is love always easy or good? No. It can be hard and sacrificial as well, but in the end, the good should always outweigh the difficult.

And now begins the WORK….

I am beginning to realize the dynamics that played a negative role in our marriage. Everyone brings their “stuff” into their current relationship. It is part of human nature. We bring our family of origin. We bring our past experiences with love and relationships. We bring our current mindset of what we believe our version of love to be. In the end, it is truly the uniting of two lives and all of your past experiences that shaped you into who you are today. It is important for both of you to be aware of your “stuff” and be willing to work on overcoming it. You have to be a united front going in because you will face so many challenges as a couple and if either of you are not fully embedded in the success of the relationship, it allows cracks to seep in and over time, those cracks will break you apart. I was listening to a podcast the other day about the topic of divorce. Two things I arrived at after listening to it—nonnegotiables and dating. What are my nonnegotiables going to be when I begin dating again and when will I feel ready to begin dating? I kind of have an idea of what my nonnegotiables will be and as for dating—two puppies sounds more up my alley right now! I need to spend lots of time on myself (self- care) and in nature when I can. Nature, water, friends and family fill my cup!

Keto

I’ve officially been doing the Keto Diet for the last few weeks. Why did I choose this diet from all the others? Simple. I needed to see results fast and I realized that carb restriction is what my body needed to transform into a fat burning machine again. Is this an ideal way to transform my eating habits? No, it is not. I acknowledge that fully, however, this is what I need now. I plan to transition back to the Paleo lifestyle once I begin to feel like I can get back into a regular workout routine. In the meantime, I feel less bloated and have less cravings. I still think of peanut butter sandwiches now and then, but I’m not having a meltdown over it. The first few days were HARD! Sugar and carbohydrate addiction are real! Headache, nausea, lethargy and an overall feeling of doom were at the top of the list for symptoms.

I’m doing this diet with two family members so that we can be supportive of one another in reaching our health goals. What’s different this time around for me than the other “diets” so far? I am staying away from the scale. The scale and I have a toxic relationship. It was time for us to break up once and for all!

I used to have the mindset that I needed to get on the scale every single day. It was a barometer for how I felt about myself and my eating habits. I used it as a form of torture or reward. On days I saw the numbers get lower, I felt positive and wanted to reward myself with a treat. On the days I saw the numbers go up, I was filled with disgust and shame. This time, I decided it was time for a change. I needed to focus on being my healthiest self, versus hyper focusing on the numbers. Yes, I know the numbers will go down with due diligence, however, I cannot subject myself to daily or weekly weigh-ins and set myself up for discouragement or worse—failure! I have weighed in at the doctor’s office recently and so far, I’ve dropped almost 15 pounds. I found myself happier and more appreciative of ANY weight loss.

I recognize now just how carb sensitive my body is. I try to limit myself to less than 50 carbohydrates per day and the carbs I do eat are of nutritional value. I hope to become a true fat burning machine by the end of this journey! My family and I have had some real conversations about food and health lately. Making life changes is difficult but it’s easier with someone who is sharing those changes with you. Is my goal to eat this way forever? No. The best way for me to eat is to be mindful of what I am putting into my body by reading labels for additives and words I cannot pronounce. I thrived after doing my first Whole30 and it truly taught me how certain foods affect my body. I know for a fact that without sugar and grains, my muscle and joint stiffness ends in about a week! I know that when I eat white potatoes, I feel bloated and gassy. I learned that I like many more veggies than I originally thought. I also learned that I love to cook healthy meals a lot more than unhealthy meals.

The journey to health has been a long and tedious one for me.  It is also one I have to do for myself to keep me on track with living the best life I can live. I am experiencing much change and growth this year—some of it painful and some of it hopeful, but I am learning that self-care must be at the top of my list.