Stop

I used to be really embarrassed about telling people that I was divorced. I used to be mortified to walk around my community. Why? My wasband chose himself and infidelity over our family. 
But then I stopped giving a shit.
Unless you have been cheated on, you have no idea what it is like to trust again.  Unless you have been abused, you have no idea what it is to deal with that kind of trauma. Unless you’ve been divorced,  you have no idea what goes into making a decision like divorce.
No one just wakes up and decides to get a divorce for no reason…especially when kids are involved.  Divorces are really, really hard.  Your whole life gets flipped upside down and you have to start all over again. 
Let’s be real, no good marriage ends in divorce.
I tried….for years. I tried everything to make it work but then I realized I was the only one doing the work. I was the only one changing. I was the only one being faithful. I was the only one being abused. I was also the one showing my kids what to expect from marriage.
So I made a decision to save myself and my kids. I stopped feeling embarrassed or guilty and so should you.  
I realized that the people who are passing judgement have no idea how hard it was for any one to have to make the decision to divorce. They have  no idea how much work gets put into the marriage to try to make it work before coming to the conclusion that divorce is the only option. They have no idea how difficult it is to deal with lawyers, courts and the legal system. They have no idea the financial and emotional toll that divorce takes on the entire family.
Not everyone is going to understand your divorce.  Not everyone’s going to agree with your divorce. It would be amazing if family and friends supported us and our choices.  It would be awesome if people kept their opinions to themselves. However, sometimes those things are just not possible.
People are going to be judgmental regardless. So let them judge! 
That is on them and not you or me.
I stopped giving a shit…and so should you.
Peace.
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Broken

On January 18 I turned 55. 
What did I get for my birthday?
I got…
An off leash dog
A missed curb
A wipeout
A drive to the ER
1/2 a narco(my choice)
A hematoma block
A closed reduction
A splint 
An appointment with an orthopedic doctor 
An appointment for a minor surgery 
A covid test
An ekg
A full blood panel
Anesthesia 
K wires
Another splint 
More narco(which I chose not to take)
Gummies
The first dose of a Moderna Covid vaccine 
Another appointment with an orthopedic doctor 
A cast
And I’m not done yet….
I’ve had more medical care in the past few weeks than I have had in years. Do I like it? No. Am I grateful? Yes. 
Medical care and taking care of of myself was not seen as a priority during my marriage. Taking care of of my physical and mental health was seen as a selfish and weak expense that we could not afford. When I did visit the doctor, the bill was never paid and I could not go back so I stopped going all together. It was not worth the embarrassment. 
But now? Now I’m learning to take care of myself. Im learning that taking care of myself is worth every penny. I’m not self indulgent but I go to the doctor when I need it. I go to regular therapy appointments. I take care of this vessel that holds my heart. 
I’m learning… sometimes the hard way… to take care of myself. And it is so worth it. 
Peace
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Different

Six years ago I made a choice to no longer accept infidelity, abuse and disrespect in my marriage of over 20 years. I was terrified to leave and even more scared to stay.
Over the past 6 years, I have gotten divorced, lost a home, a job, my self respect and had my kids walk away from me…. BUT…..I have also gained 2 increasingly better jobs, 2 increasingly better homes, 2 increasingly newer cars, became an author and regained the respect and return of my kids.
I have realized that I missed the person I used to be before I got married. When I got married, I left behind goals, dreams and parts of myself. I am regaining the strong independant woman I used to be. This time around, she is sooo much better because she is seasoned with life experience. The woman I am now is smarter, stronger, more determined and more focused than ever before.
Did all that happen overnight? No. It took time and work, along with professional help. I have made a lot of mistakes in the process, which is why I chose to become not only a life coach, but also a divorce coach. I want others to find themselves, to see and plan for the bright future the awaits as well as avoid the mistakes and missteps that I made along the way.
There are still days I get down and anxiety takes over and that is ok….I do not stay in that place for long. I am moving forward…and you can too! One foot in front of the other. One day…one step…one breath at a time.
If you need help or just a place to vent, reach out! I am here whenever you are ready!
Forward is a pace!
Peace,
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Healing

Healing is not linear. It is a process. People would love for you to move on NOW. Why? It makes life easier for THEM. Healing from pain and trauma is not about THEM….it is about YOU.
Coping with trauma takes many different shapes and forms. Some people stuff it down and bury it. Some people choose to smother it with addictive behaviors like alcohol/drugs/food/gambling/etc. Some put on the mask of happiness telling all ask that they are “fine.” The problem with those and other unhealthy responses is that they are just that….unhealthy. The trauma is always still there, just under the surface, waiting to rear its ugly head at an inopportune time. Moving on is not fast nor easy and those that tell you it is are lying.
Time does not heal old wounds. Healing takes work and dealing with trauma is work. Offering ourselves the same grace we give to others is not easy. It is difficult learning to create and hold boundaries. It is emotionally exhausting to do the painful work of growth, self improvement and self love. Grieving the loss of dreams of the future is often overwhelming. Processing all the emotions can debilitating. Sounds like a super fun party, right?! Not really, but the time invested in healing from trauma is worth all the pain, making us stronger and healthier humans.
One vital part of healing is sharing our story. Sharing our story, is not only empowering to us but also to others. Giving a voice to our experience validates our pain, our process and our healing. Sharing our story helps others in similar situations. It allows others who may feel alone in their trauma and pain to find a safe space of validation. How we share our story is ours to decide.
Not everyone will understand your process or have the patience to endure the time involved with your healing. Some will be critical of the choices you make in your healing process. Some will listen, leaning in, offering a place of grace sitting with you in your process. Some will love you through it all without judgement. People’s opinion of you, your choices and your process is …well….none of your business. You are on a healing journey from victim to victor, from survivor to thriver. You are in charge of your future and you decide who is a part of that future. This part of your life’s journey is invitation only. Choose wisely.
Peace
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Domestic

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month, which first began in 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. It was designed to raise awareness and empower others to speak up, speak out, and get help. Nearly three out of four Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. Now is time to take a stand. Support survivors and speak out against domestic violence.
Domestic violence is more than physical violence. It is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. Ending the harm, shame, and stigma of domestic violence requires an understanding of the behaviors that define it. It affects millions of every gender, race, religion, culture and status. It’s not just punches and black eyes — it’s yelling, humiliation, stalking, manipulation, coercion, threats and isolation. It’s stealing a paycheck, keeping tabs online, non-stop texting, constant use the silent treatment, or calling someone stupid so often they believe it. The mental wounds of Domestic Violence are invisible and run deep, with recovery often taking years of therapy.
Domestic Violence is:
Physical
Psychological
Financial
Verbal
Sexual
Digital
Stalking
Spiritual/Cultural
Damage to property
There are so many other forms of abuse and control, many that utilize the children. Once a victim has the courage to leave, they are often not safe and nor free, especially if there are children involved. Abusers use the children and the family court system in a variety of ways to continue the abuse.  The family court system is slow to change, thinking that ordering the abuser to attend anger management classes will address any issues thus correcting the abuser’s behavior. This only angers the abuser more thus empowering them in new ways.
To be clear, abusers never start out that way. They slowly, insidiously destroy the boundaries and self esteem of the victim. In a relationship with an abusive partner, the future-abuser has an agenda. And future-victim will not be aware until it’s too late. Those who abuse others are skilled manipulators who play on the fears and insecurities of others. They feed on the victims need for love and acceptance. They dish out kibbles here and there to keep the victim in line and coming back for more…..just like a casino! Lose every time you visit the casino? You stop going. You need the hope and promise of a win to continue going back. Victims always hold out hope that the abuser will change. Abusers groom victims to trust them, they learn the victims’ weaknesses and use that knowledge as fuel for further control.
What does Domestic Violence look like? It looks like the neighbor who wears a lot of makeup and long sleeves to cover bruises and then lies about how she got those injuries. It looks like the friend that never can go out with friends or when he does, he has to share a location with his partner at all times all the while his phone is blowing up. It looks like the lady in the checkout line who will not speak without looking at her partner first. It looks like a teenager who changes their whole personality for a partner. It looks like the friend who is isolated from friends and family by their partner. It looks like the depressed anxious person who can nor seem to focus, fearful of doing/saying the wrong thing, forever walking on eggshells. It looks like the one that is posting about how perfect life is…..It looks like me.
People who haven’t lived through this kind of trauma will always ask, “Why don’t they just leave?” It’s not that easy — if it was, they would. Choosing to leave an abusive partner is arguably the most life-changing and empowering decisions a person can make, especially if children are involved. Finally, the victim chooses to become a survivor. Victims live in fear and shame. The decision to leave is one that they will ponder many times before actually being courageous enough to actually leave. A nonjudgmental place of safety is what every victim craves. .
What can others do to support victims of Domestic Violence?
Watch for the signs. Start a conversation. Listen to them. Just listen. Do not pressure them. Do not tell them what to do. Do not blame them. Although your natural impulse may be to “rescue” someone from domestic violence, the person being abused needs to make the ultimate decision whether and when to leave and get help. Support them no matter their decision and continue to provide them with a loving and safe place. Once they do feel supported and safe, they will eventually make a life-changing choice. Always…
LISTEN TO THEM!
LOVE THEM!
BELIEVE THEM!
BELIEVE THEM!
BELIEVE THEM!
BELIEVE THEM!
We need to break the cycle of violence. We need to continue sharing stories, listening, supporting and loving, all the while raising awareness, empowering victims to become survivors and thrivers. Lives depend on it!
Peace.
#tutulady
#forwardisapace