Obviously, if you know me or have read any of my blog, I did get divorced. And I can tell you without a shred of doubt that it's the BEST thing I ever did. It didn't happen to me. I chose it. I decided. And you know what? I found out so many things about myself I never knew before.
Seth and I got married young. We met in high school, moved to Arizona in '98, got married in 2000, and the rest was history....well, it is now.
I found out that I really didn't know myself. Not really. The choice to move away from my family was mine. No doubt about that. I LOVE them, I really do, I just knew I wasn't meant to be in Iowa, it's so cold there and I just can't handle those dark winters. Give me SUN and HEAT any day. So, I thought I was doing good, following my dreams. But life gets hard. I wanted to go to school, but you have to have money to live. We were making good money working at the post office, we paid off my student loans from my 1 year of college within a few months, and then paid off my car as well. We had goals...I think.
Looking back, I'm not sure what his goals were, we didn't really talk much about that stuff. We were just trying to get through the days, work was pretty unpredictable so I guess planning things sort of went out the window. We did buy a house, in 2001, I remember we moved in at the end of Jan, I became a regular carrier in June, and then 9-11 happened that September. What a year.
Over the next 10 years we made a ton of mistakes; money, cars, tools, furniture, toys, all the stuff normal people do. My biggest mistake (I think) was not being my own person, sure, I had hobbies, that's not what I mean. I lived day to day, going to work to help pay the bills, taking care of the kids, and doing what needed to be done. But I never put myself first. I never really thought about what my goals were, I just didn't want to work at the post office my whole life. That really means I had a dream. That's all it was, a dream. I didn't know what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be when I grew up, or how to get there. It's tough focusing on yourself when you've got 2 (really 3) kids to raise.
Seth started drinking the year we got married, and there were a few times I really wanted to leave before we even had kids. I wasn't strong enough. I didn't WANT to be divorced. I didn't think I would survive on my own and I didn't want to move back in with my parents like a failure (even though I knew they would totally support me.) I tried to get him to stop, for me, for us. After 13 years, 2 trips to detox, many "attempts" to quit drinking, AA meetings, an Al-Anon meeting or two, I finally realized that it wasn't my fault. I couldn't fix it. No one could fix it except him. It was his problem- IS his problem. He later admitted that all those "attempts" were solely for the purpose of pacifying me so I wouldn't leave. It worked....he's a really good liar.
There's this thing people say, it's like a switch flips, and when it does, there's no switching it back. For me the "switch" flipped after I had decided to put myself first. I didn't like how I felt, (I was NOT healthy) I was so out of shape that I was always having some kind of ache or pain. I hated how I looked, I didn't put much effort into it though. But, I thought I was happy, (should be happy) despite being tired all the time, stressed, always walking on eggshells around Seth trying not to set him off. We had just moved into my dream house about 6 months before, met the most wonderful neighbors, and became friends. The kids were doing good, loved their new friends, we were always busy, always playing, talking, laughing, like a big family. I LOVE the friends we made there. I am convinced everything happens for a reason, in it's own time. I woke up one day. That day I decided that to really be happy I needed to take care of ME. I started going to the gym, even signed up for a personal trainer which was A LOT of money (but, hey, he spent so much on beer, I DESERVED this). I really did it. I went to the gym. On my own. I worked out a decent schedule of going after work, before the kids got home from school. I started eating better. Do you know how HARD it is to eat healthy when your spouse will only eat fast food, and you have to pick it up and drive it home?! UGH.
After about 8 months of working out I had lost almost 30 lbs. I looked and felt great. I started wearing makeup again. I started realizing something else though. No matter how GOOD you feel (or look), and no matter how much you work on yourself, and CHANGE yourself, you can't change other people. They are who they are. And given that, choices have to be made. I started looking at my hopes, dreams, goals, and I couldn't see any way to achieve them with an anchor around my neck.
I had a business that I started doing around 2009. My goal was to eventually be able to quit the post office and work from home. He was so supportive....talked me into buying my different machines (he was always good at spending money). But when it came to actually trying to DO work on my business, impossible. I wound up working in the middle of the night to finish things a lot because I was working during the day, taking care of the kids, cleaning, cooking during the evenings, and if I DID try to work in my sewing room he would usually come in to "hang out" with me, but then I had to work around him.....annoying. Co-dependant...
Today I'm starting my business back up. I'm about 3 months in, and it's going better than I could have hoped. I am making goals for myself and trying new things. I've been reading and investing a lot of time into the business side of it, realizing my worth, and that making things and the ideas are easy, it just all takes time, which is so limited and valuable. I'm also trying to remember that success doesn't happen over night. Success is excellence over time.
Today when I compare how things are now to how they WERE, it's not because I'm dwelling on the past and the bad stuff, it's because I'm SO THANKFUL for everything I've got and the way my life has changed for the better. I lived through years of stuff that most people wouldn't live with for weeks. After I left, I thought it would be better, but it was worse for a LONG time. I finally figured out how to deal with it. That's a post in itself. I would do it ALL again though. It's worth it. I know myself better. I found out how strong I am. I LIKE myself and who I've become as a result of all that I've been through. I also figured out what boundaries are and how to keep them from being violated. It feels good. Really good. Now...ANYTHING is possible.