Thursday, April 10, 2014

It isn't much, but it is My Messy Beautiful

This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!

Have you ever had those days when you wanted to be witty but you end up sounding well, stupid?  That's me, most days.  My friends will often tell you that I am the funny one; perhaps to some degree I am.  In truth I am the one standing off to the side, hand up in the air, jumping frantically while bellowing out, "hey, you, yeah you, LOOK at me.  Here, here I am!"  Some people are good with being in the shadows, while others are good at being in the lime light.  Honestly I see little difference between the two.  Nope.  Both people really, deep down, want to be validated - they want to know that they are here for a reason.

One of the quickest ways we find validation is through the relationships that we hold.  For some a good solid friendship is all that is required, others need to know they have hundreds and hundreds of "friends" on Facebook or some form of social media, and others still don't need a friendship, but an honest to goodness relationship.  Me, I'm that person.  It's quite ironic how I stumbled across this in my feed.  I have been a blogger for a few  years now.  Nothing of noteworthy acclaim, more just musings of a woman going through her average, ordinary life.  Every once in a while my brain will allow my fingers to put something worthwhile on the blank space of the Internet, others times words are typed for the sheer desire to have words on space.  What started out as a way for my family to track me and keep up with my travels evolved into something more.  Had I known then that this forum would become my therapy, my solace, and my engine for release I would have laughed at myself for even having the idea. 

I'm a 35 year old mother of three.  I suppose I should throw in there that I am a "single" mother.   I mean it is what some use to define me.  Gasp, the horror, I am a single mom.  At first the stigma of it scared me.  I was petrified.  I would sit and wonder who was judging me.  Who has time for that?  It got to the point where I wouldn't even use my child support card in public because I was afraid others would judge me for using my state issued card on things for me or trips to the ice cream shop with the Littles.  I've since gotten past this, I am not on unemployment (my state uses the same card for everything) and that money is for us to use.  I'm surely not the first, nor will I be the last woman on this Earth that has traveled this road.  However, that wasn't it.  That alone wasn't the reason.  No, I worried because while I knew the truth of the circumstances no one else did.  While I know why I am raising three little girls alone, all others see is an unwed female with three Littles in tow. 

And that is it.  That is what has filled the bulk of my pages since October 2012.  The ex-Mr. he walked away from us.  He doesn't see it that way and adamantly states that it was me he left, not them.  I'm still trying to figure out how to distinguish between the two and not point out their connection.  At first I was devastated.  I was distraught.  I felt as lost and helpless as one could possibly get.  I mean half of my identity had just evaporated.   Except it hadn't, not really, he was still a very real, solid person living just a few miles down the road.  He had moved on and I was still hanging on.  I hung on for months and months and months.  I have, in some cases, still to let go - completely.

We were married almost 11 years, together almost 12.  We have three children together.  I'm an independent woman.  I'm very self supportive.  I have always held a job and in fact, everything we ever had as a couple was mine before we were a couple.  He moved into my house.  I bought him a car.  And over the years I worked while he, well, didn't always.  He does now and has a very good career; one his new missus really benefits from.  I am sure there is a bit of this that comes across as bitten and bitter.  Perhaps, if I am true to myself, I am.  I am quite upset that I have to begin over, but the reality of it is that I'm not.  I'm not starting over.  I am starting a new journey with all the tools I already  have intact.  It's a new adventure. 

Yet, there is the part of this journey that I have to learn, for myself.  The one that I have never quite learned over the years.  I am a woman that has always found her worth in another.  I didn't realize this until the divorce.  No one likes to admit that they have no clue who they are, but it is true.  I received so much "advice" when he left, more than I could even type out.  Some of it was good, great actually, and some left me questioning the reasoning of those giving it to me.  Regardless, I set out to prove to all those advice givers that I knew what to do.  I think I had even convinced myself that I knew what to do.  I was wrong.  Epically wrong.  You see, the thing that I failed to really do was define myself.  When you are in a long term relationship the lines of yourself tend to blur - right or wrong. 

That was my first mistake.  After many months I felt I was ready to date again.  Why not, I was single and ready and wanting.  I was WAY wrong.  Not only had the rules of the game changed, I had changed.  I didn't know who I was.  I stumbled from one wrong choice to another (not in all cases did I invade my personal space).  I met man after man that I strove to make a connection with.  After a few whirlwind dates and a horribly wrong-for-me boyfriend later I came full circle to the emotions held the day the ex-Mr. walked out.  I was lost.  I really had no idea what to do or where to go.  Then my best friend, who like all really good best friends would do, told me that my problem was that I didn't know my worth and I look for my identity through others; that I assume their personality and loose what is mine.  WHAT?!  How does  a woman my age do this?

It was then, just August of last year, that I decided what I needed was one man and one man only.  The one I looked to in the beginning, but lost sight of while on my sightless journey.  I decided to turn back to the faith that had once been my cornerstone.  We do that, don't we.  We tend to only look for things that are lost.  So I looked.  I sought.  I dove into the Word and prayed.  And that is it, God doesn't make mistakes.  Each one of us are hand crafted for a reason and because of that we are purposely unique.  God designed me and that alone is my worth.  He doesn't make junk.  Nope.  I just had to realize that all the quirks that are me, the face that stares back at me each day, and the place I am at is all by design.  No choice in life is without its lesson and no lesson without its student.

As the student for this lesson I learnt that:
  • I  don't mind a messy house, no need to stress over it daily. 
  • I have three uniquely beautiful Littles who I get the honor of helping to grow into upstanding women who know their worth. 
  • I don't really enjoy reading love stories, but true stories - there's something magical about books that inspire you. 
  • I love the outdoors.  I always have, but during this time I learned to live in it, to experience it, not just pass through it. 
  • I am a runner.  I'm not an Olympian by any stretch, but I'm working to be better than I was the day before. 
  • I am capable of doing more than I ever thought. 
  • God does have a ministry for me and He is forming me for it. 
  • My name, which means "worthy of love" was given to me because I really am - but I only learnt that after I learned to love myself.
  • Time isn't always the easy answer, but patience does reap good returns.

The surprise to all of this?  Last summer, while I was going through the torment and pain, I happened into a store that I never go to.  I heard my name called.  I just kept walking, then I heard it again.  I turned around and there was a man smiling and saying hi.  Me, in all of my "dear in the headlights" awesomeness just stood there wondering, do I know this person?  Apparently yes - from 17 years earlier. After he reminded me of his name and I still had no clue he reminded me of when and where.  I would like to say we hit it off, but the truth of it is it was a few months later before we ever started really talking.  Now, we have a good relationship; one founded on friendship and built on the knowledge that I know exactly who I am and what I am worth.

I know it isn't much, but it is my messy beautiful life.

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