The ten year challenge has been super popular on social media lately. I am not normally one to jump on one of these challenges, but this time? For sure. I took time to reflect on all the has changed over the past 10 years…..and there is a LOT! Here’s a list in not specific order: – 4 kids graduated from high school. – I got divorced (that alone took YEARS to accomplish and years off my life!) – represented myself Pro Se in court several times – I moved 2 different times, downsizing each time! – bought and sold 3 cars of my own (one of my proudest moments was negotiating these deals on my own) – wrote and published a book – started, and currently run, 3 different businesses – ran 9 marathons and countless other races from 5K’s to half marathons – said goodbye to 2 dogs and hello to another – survived a pandemic (and am still playing Frogger with the virus!) – got my CCL (and have since requalified and renewed it!) – got certified as a coach in several different areas – created a support system of women who have surrounded me with love, guided me with wisdom and blessed me with friendship – gained financial control and independence – created a peaceful home and space where people enjoy spending time – developed deeper, more authentic relationships with all 5 of my children – found my own center of gravity, my heart and my soul
There are so many other things to add to the list but these are the biggest changes of which I am most proud. So much can happen in the span of a single year and even more in the span of ten years. When I look at the calendar, a decade does not seem long. But when I look at myself, I realize how long it has been and how far I have come. I cannot change the events which occurred in the last 10 years of my life but I can look back at all the lessons learned that have made me the woman I am today. If someone would have told that overwhelmed, trapped, woman who had lost herself that the next 10 years would lead to the biggest and most dramatic transformation of her life…..she would never have believed it. I lost a great deal over the past 10 years but one thing that never got lost was my hope and my faith. My hope and faith in a higher power, as well as faith that there was a plan for my life have guided my every step so for in my life. I may not always understand that plan nor like it at times, but I trust and believe that the universe has my back. The next 10 years have 120 months and over 3650 days. I intend to make every single one count. Peace #tutulady #forwardisapace
Divorce. That was not a word that was used in my family. It was a dirty word. A word that was whispered. A word that was for others. A word that was like a scarlet ‘D’ on the chest of those “other people”. I was born and raised Catholic. I went to Catholic school and even Catholic College. I devoted my life to teaching my faith to children, other children and my own. I was taught, at home and through my faith, that we do not divorce. We pray. We talk to the priest. We go to Mass. We say the Rosary….we DO NOT divorce. Divorce is a sin. My family does not “do” divorce. No one got divorced. No one talked about problems either. People stayed married in my family. That is what I wanted when I got married. I was made to believe that divorce was for quitters. People that did not do the work before or during marriage were the ones that got divorced. So I planned to do everything right. I was going to pick a man that was ready to do the same. I dated lots of guys but when I found “my Guy”, I looked at his family. Everyone was married and no one divorced. Yea….good role models. When I got married I was in it for the long haul. I was dedicated to my husband and would soon start family. As the family started to grow, my dedication and activity level grew too. I was “that” mom. I took the kids everywhere. We went to zoos, museums, sports, dance….you name it…I had my kids doing it. What I didn’t realize was …it was just me. I was the one doing it all. I excused it all because my wasband was working. He was always working (Or so I thought). So I did what good moms do….I “mommed”. I worked and I “mommed”. I lived for the nights my wasband was home for dinner with the family or nights he would treat me like a queen by taking me out to dinner. Years passed and the kids grew. People always say that the wife is the last to know….that is so far from the truth. The wife is the FIRST to know. She is usually the last to admit it to herself and others. That was me. I knew. I knew the first time it happened and I listened to the excuses from my wasband. I let it go and thought that it was a one time thing. The second time it happened….I let it go hoping it would go away…and it did. The third time? Well..that was enough. I had had enough. My kids were older and other people knew about this affair. I knew about the affair. What I didn’t know then was that this was not number 3. This was, well, let’s just say a number more than number 3. I knew for over a year before I was ready to admit it to myself. I knew. I knew and I knew I was done living like this.I knew and I knew both my kids and I deserved better. I knew and I knew that I needed find the courage and strength to leave this toxic marriage. I knew…And soon it was time to let my wasband know what I already knew…..D Day was upon us. Here’s to soaring again…..
re·build rēˈbild/verb 1 .build (something) again after it has been damaged or destroyed.
In order to rebuild, there has to be something rebuild to begin with. Something that has been damaged. As the definition states, it is to build again after it has been damaged or destroyed. So what was damaged? That would be me. My children. My family. My faith. So much has been damaged that rebuilding will not be easy, nor will it be fast… but it will happen. I am starting to find my way. I have been collecting the tools I need for this project for a long time. It is finally time to put them all to use and build something stronger and better for the future. The telling of my story no longer makes me cry….at least not as much as it used to and for entirely different reasons now. Thus I know I am on the road to healing. I am ready to share this rebuilding process in the hopes that it will not only help me but help others as well. The journey will take twists and turns and the road may not always be without danger, potholes, and other nastiness but what is life without at least one wild roadtrip? So …here’s to soaring again….
6 years ago I attended a benefit event at the Drake Hotel for Girls on the Run. I would be presented with the Superstar Award for Outstanding Coach at the event. What I did not know is that it would be a night that would change my life forever….just as Girls on the Run has changed the lives of countless girls. Several weeks prior I had bought a dress on sale. The dress was a total splurge….even on sale for $30! At that time, I never bought things for myself much less a fancy dress! I was not allowed to spend money of “frivolous” things. I felt so good in that dress, so beautiful and powerful. That dress still hangs in my closet waiting to be worn again. I did my own hair and then my daughter and I drove into the city to Barney’s to visit one of my best friends. My friend is a makeup artist and had never done my makeup before, heck, I had never had anyone do my makeup before! When she was finished, I felt so beautiful! She also did makeup for my 16 year old daughter, who was my date for the evening. My daughter, who was my first girl on the run and the reason I started coaching the program. My daughter who deserved a fancy night out with her momma. We arrived at the Drake greeted by valet parking and cocktail hour. I felt so special….and out of place. I felt like I didn’t belong. I was instantly transported back to the grade school girl who never fit in and was always teased. The girl in high school that struggled with her looks and never felt like an “insider.” The college girl that drank to forget feeling left out. I took a deep breath and, like a gut punch, it hit me. I was everything I was teaching girls NOT to be…….. I was a woman married to an unfaithful, abusive man. I went to the bathroom to catch my breath and fix my makeup. I put on my new lipstick, plastered a smile on my face and headed in the the event to join my daughter. I was going to make the best of this night, celebrate Girls on the Run and this accomplishment. During the day and into the evening, my wasband was texting me. He anger and jealousy was palpable. I was not “effectively managing” my children by going out for the evening, leaving my oldest daughter (18 at the time)in charge. He had been invited but had refused to take the night off work. Seeing me get an award was just too much for him to handle. And, looking back, I am so grateful he was not there. My daughter and I had a wonderful dinner and I was able to teach her how a live auction works! She tried mightily to get me to bid on things that were well out of our price range but a girl can dream, right?! After the auction, it was time for the presentation of awards. When my name was called, I walked to the stage, feeling weak in the knees. I straightened my spine, smiled, and stepped up to accept the award, graciously thanking the presenter. As I walked back to my seat I made a decision. It was a decision that would change the course of my future and the future of my children. I made a choice to be done. I wanted out but didn’t know how to get out. I wanted to leave my marriage but didn’t know how or when it would happen. I was sad and lonely and in pain. I really was done. I wanted to find a way out and that night showed me that I needed to find a way. I could not preach self love and empowerment to others all while living a lie of abuse and self hate. I went through the motions in my marriage for a few more months. Soon enough, the lie I was living exploded. I mustered the courage to confront my wasband. I asked him to make a choice….our family and marriage or his “other life.” He wanted both. I knew that would never work so after a few weeks, I secretly met with a lawyer and filed for divorce. Don’t get me wrong, I did the “pick me” dance for weeks, begging him to give us a second chance. I waited up all night for him to come home night after night only for him to ignore me or fight with me when he finally arrived. His contempt and indifference was something I will never forget. He taunted me repeatedly with, “I will never agree to a divorce…”, “You will never go through with it….you don’t have the guts….”, “Shut up! You will wake the kids….” and “Think about others would you?! She has small kids! Keep your mouth shut….” Over and over…..night after night….until he was served. For years, every week I taught my Girls on the Run teams lessons in empowerment and self-esteem. What I failed to realize was that I was the one that needed those messages. I was the one that needed to learn to love myself and have confidence in myself. I needed to find the woman I had stuffed down deep inside me. I needed to be my own outstanding coach. We never know what will turn the tide in our life. We never know when we will be faced with a moment of truth. We never know what moment will be the defining tipping point. However, when that moment does arrive, we need to be brave enough to face an uncertain future and be prepared to ride the waves of change. We have it in us! We just need to dig deep and find it! We need to be our own SuperStar…..Our Own Outstanding Coach! Peace #tutulady #forwardisapace
Sometimes I get so confused and overwhelmed. I am a person who needs answers. What I have realized is that not everything has an answer. Not everything is going to make sense. To be honest, some things will never make sense, ever…and I just have to move on and move forward the best I know how. Sometimes we don’t get the closure we need so we have to create the closure by saying goodbye to what we do know, and just let the rest just go. Something that helps me with the release is thinking of all the good things I have learned from whatever it is and why I will be better off putting that energy elsewhere. Here’s the thing…when we hold things in our hands, waiting until they make sense to let go, our hands are full. We have no room to accept and hold the new things that are waiting for us. So today, let go of something you have been holding on to looking for that closure. It is not coming anytime soon so let it go. We are ready. We can do it. I believe in you and in me! Release. Peace #tutulady #forwardisapace