I had been hiding for a long time.
Those closest to me at the time knew my struggles and frustration with being a single mom but they also understood and accepted my conflicted yet undying love for my ex-husband (thank God for them). Then there were those acquaintances that watched from the outside with judgement and personal biases that I bought into and often encouraged at times. In order to stay hidden, I engaged in this destructive behavior myself.
Throughout the beginnings of our marriage, I hid. I was no longer myself. Neither was my husband. We had to put on this facade that matched our new titles of husband and wife and mom and dad, even though we had no idea what that even meant.
We were a product of our environments. We had unresolved baggage from our early beginnings. And that baggage got thrown out on to the front lawn over and over and over again. We’d pick up the pieces and shove them back in our suitcases before the sun would rise and anyone would see our mess of dirty garments on the front lawn. It was a taxing process. Constantly pretending all was okay and that we weren’t falling apart at the seams.
What led me to write It Doesn’t Have to be That Way?
Sitting in church, I heard a voice say to me, “tell the story; you need to tell the story.” I brushed it off but it spoke to me a few more times. Enough to make me pursue it. I couldn’t disagree, the story needed to be told.
What the story wasn’t…
A means to call out blame on anyone or to point fingers; if anything I realized during my writing process that I was responsible for my part of the marriage, even the part that failed. My biggest fear was sharing my husband’s darkest days and the raw emotion that came from that.
That raw emotion created a sensitive response for some; and that’s okay. Again, while it was not my intention to subject insensitivity to anyone, this story belonged to us. It was ours and ours to tell. Maybe the story could’ve been written another way but that would have required me to continue to hide some parts of me. But that just didn’t feel right. Especially hiding from emotions or utilizing fear-based decisions. I had finally learned how to stop doing that so I couldn’t remain true to myself while letting those fears guide the story.
What the story was and is…
The story was/is a spark of hope that through awful, unfathomable destruction – addiction, poverty, abandonment, distrust, divorce, and so much more – resolution and healing can happen and our story is proof of that. Marriages don’t have to fail. They can be mended. You can be #betternow!
Writing and publishing our story was a means to explore and embrace the greatest obstacle I’d ever have to overcome in my life – my own fears and insecurities – those very things that I let define me and build my self-worth (or lack of) for so long. I had to be vulnerable and courageous enough to confront, acknowledge and resolve my internal fears in order to transform my external existence. Many years of counseling had prepared me for this excursion but in no way could it have primed me for all that was to come. I exposed myself, my heart, my raw and healing but still bruised and damaged heart.
I can’t expect everyone to understand this, for some just can’t and haven’t come to terms with what they are hiding and that’s okay. My one and only hope in sharing our story is to help them find courage to do so or the courage to want to do so.
Lastly, I firmly believe that each and every one of our stories should be embraced and shared. They should be set free in the world in order to free ourselves, to free others and more importantly, to develop genuine empathy – something this world seems to be lacking in extreme numbers today. You may think your story isn’t that important or worthy but someone else may need to hear it. #setyourstoryfree
Whatever your story is, please set it free.