Self-love. What would you do if someone else treated you the way you treat yourself? How would you react if someone criticized you the way you criticize yourself? How would it be if someone forced you into the same self-defeating behavior that you choose to do on your own? What if someone else prevented you from enjoying life as much as you deny enjoyment to yourself? You would, no doubt, be outraged. If you would never let someone else treat you that way, why do you allow yourself to do so? You have control over your own actions, your own thoughts, your own feelings. Stop defeating yourself. Allow yourself to live, permit yourself to succeed, let yourself enjoy life. Be good to yourself. You deserve it. Peace #tutulady #forwardisapace
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
Four years ago, at 4:19pm my high conflict, 748 day divorce battle was officially finalized by the judge. Happy 4th Divorcery to ME! Each year on this day, I celebrate the end of my over 20 year marriage and beginning of my new life. If someone had told me on that day in 2017 how much would change in my life, I would never have believed them. I actually laughed that day and thought that freedom just felt good enough for me. Over the course of our 20 year marriage, my wasband was unfaithful numerous times and I always looked the other way. I knew it would never last long, and truth be told, I was focused on my kids and did not have the time or energy to deal with his nonsense. I have told my story many times now and continue to tell it as to educate and empower others. Earlier in the week I wrote a post about an event in August of 2014 that put things in motion. He yelled at me in public. He was comfortable enough and empowered enough to demean me in public…..and that was pivotal. I spent the following month questioning everything. October of 2014 was our 20 year anniversary and we went to dinner (his favorite place not mine) and midway through dinner, several of his buddies joined us. Yes, I was celebrating my anniversary …3 men and me! As the days and weeks progressed, I started asking more questions about money, bills, and changes on credit cards. I started asking questions about work hours and over time. I started looking for proof that the cheating was not in my head this time….that I was not “crazy” (as he called me over and over) Christmas that year lead to physical battles over checkbooks, bills and cashflow. I was not allowed to have access to the checking account because I was “bad with money” and given an allowance even though I was a full time working professional. Spring brought more bills, more utility disconnections, more unexplained (lies) charges and more fighting. I continued to compile evidence. May of 2015 was D-Day. I confronted him which led to a huge fight. I moved his things down to the ‘extra’ bedroom. We lived in a war zone for weeks until I went away for a few days with the kids. When I got back he had taken several plastic tubs of clothing and left. July 23, 2015, I filed for divorce and he was served. 748 days later, our divorce was final. 1,461 days later, I am free. The past 4 years have not been easy. I have done a lot of work on myself and made a great deal of changes in my life. I have given up on worrying about other people’s expectations of me. I have given up carrying baggage that is not mine to carry or is just too damn heavy for me to carry alone. I have given up the feelings of shame and failure that often accompany being divorced. I have given up the anger that I was not enough. I have given up the sadness that I wasted years of my life. I have given up regrets. I am slowly reclaiming parts of the woman I once was and rebuilding my life. I am creating new and better relationships with each of my children as well as my friends. I am finding new things I love about teaching and returning to my roots in education. I am realizing that I have gifts and talents that need exploration. I am constantly being reminded by those that love me that I am worth my own time, effort and love. That I am worthy, I matter and not to devalue myself. I was asked recently if I would date/love again. The answer is complicated. It is not a simple yes or no. I am in love with my life (even the shitty, difficult, uncomfortable parts) and enjoy my own company. I would love to share my life with someone, however, that person would have to add value and not complicate the life I have and am creating for myself. That is a tall order but I believe that person is out there. I have not given up on love! Each day of this new life is a gift and I do not take even one minute for granted. I try to live it all to the fullest. I take chances and make mistakes. I learn from my mistakes and move forward…one step at a time. This 4 year Divorcery is one of the best yet! I continue to grow and make progress! Each day brings more joy, more love, more happiness! So today, just like each year on this day, I remember the courage it took to free myself. I remember how hard I fought to save my family. I remember how hard I fought to save myself and create a better life for my children. I remember the mistakes I made and all the lessons I learned in the process. Instead of focusing on the pain, I find comfort in the good times and growth. I know, deep in my soul, that I am stronger and capable of so much more than I ever imagined. I am moving forward, focused on the future. If I can do it, anyone can! I am here to inspire, assist and support you in any way possible! I am courageous. I am brave. I am empowered. I am free. And you can be too! 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…..
In the June of 2015 I filed for divorce. That was the beginning of what would become a long, drawn out, high conflict divorce from an abusive narcissist. The divorce was final 2 years later on August 9, 2017. That was not the and and there are battles being fought but those battles are few and far between now. I digress. Prior to the divorce I was seeing a therapist. I continued to see her throughout the divorce and long afterwards. Those visits were, and still are, a sanity saver for me. She encouraged me to write it all down to hep me process my feelings. I kept a paper journal and still do. In 2016, about year into the process, she suggested a blog. Her suggestion was to keep it as a private blog until I was ready and strong enough to share my story. I needed to heal a lot more before I could open up to others. I recently got a notification that the blog was going to be archived. So I went back and read some of the entries. I was triggered all over….but in a different way. I no longer was overcome with fear and anxiety. I didn’t start to hyperventilate. I smiled. I realized that that woman no longer exists. I have come so far in my healing process that the trigger is pride. That is not an emotion I am used to or comfortable with in my life. But I am getting used to it! So, I decided that it is time to publish those blog entries and some of my journal entries. Why? I didn’t know what I know now and didn’t have anyone to talk to about what I was experiencing. I thought that what I was experiencing was ‘normal’. I thought I was alone. What I have come to realize is that my experience was not normal and I was not alone. It was just that no one wanted to talk about it. If even one person is inspired by my story and chooses a life of freedom, then it will have been worth it. The next few entries will be dated and posted exactly as I wrote them in 2016 Peace. #tutulady #forwardisapace