#sorrynotsorry

Why do we live in a world where we constantly feel like we need to say sorry?

“Sorry I’m late”

“Sorry I missed your call”

“Sorry for if what I said offended you”

“Sorry for telling the truth”

“Sorry I made a mistake”

“Sorry I’m not good enough”

“Sorry I can’t afford that”

“Sorry I can’t make it”

I mean, the list can obviously go on and on.

Why do we say sorry so often? Why has this become a core factor in our communication?

The Bad Day

I started thinking about this the other night, Monday night, after I had an epically frustrating and awful day. It was one of those days where everything seems to go wrong, and the universe seems particularly focused on making you suffer. Things had also been building up for a few days that had been wearing on me, and finally it just broke me.

Because of everything seeming to go wrong, and that had built up, I ended up being in the worst mood. I was easily defeated and frustrated, and had the worst attitude about everything. I snapped at people. To say the least, I was not the most pleasant person that day.

After such a day like that, I felt like I had been an emotional tornado ripping through everything and everyone I had crossed paths with, and I felt this intense guilt and need to apologize for being in such a foul mood and having had the worst attitude.

Later that night, I was hanging out with a few girlfriends and one in particular brought up the subject of how we as a society, especially women, feel the need to apologize too often and when its not even necessary.

She said something so simple yet so profound, and I thought about it so much since then:

Don’t apologize for being human, and for what you’ve done. Embrace who you are, accept what has happened in that moment or in that day, learn from it, and move on. Own who you are, own your choices and your mistakes, and let them refine you.

So no… I did not in fact owe anyone from that day an apology. It is only human to have a bad day, to be in a grumpy mood sometimes, and to every once in a while lose my cool.

In essence I did nothing wrong, but why did I feel such strong guilt about needing to apologize for the way I handled it that day? In reality I just had a bad day, and everyone has bad days. Instead of feeling sorry or saying sorry, I needed to adjust my perspective and just learn from the ways I reacted and move on.

Tired of Being Sorry

So the truth is, I’m tired of being sorry.

Why am I allowing society dictate how I should feel? How I should act, or what I should be doing?

I don’t believe I was given this life, just to have to apologize for it constantly. Should a fire apologize for burning? Or the water for being wet? No. So why then, do we feel like we should apologize for being human?

I’ve made a resolution that from now on I will live unapologetically as my authentic self. At least I will try my best!

No one gets to decide when I’m “too much”; no one gets to tell me when I’m “too loud” or that I’m “wrong”, or decide my passions in life.

It is my humanly given right to make mistakes, to have control and ownership of my choices, to be messy and sometimes reckless, to be a bit wild and untamable; and I won’t apologize for it anymore. This is me, take it or leave it.

That being said, though, of course this does not include instances where I do end up making a choice or mistake that does hurt someone else. Then of course I will own that and apologize to them. I’m not a monster, people ūüôā

Things We Need to Stop Apologizing For

I’ve compiled a list of things I think we all need to stop apologizing for, especially we as women. I’ve also included some examples to help clarify the points behind them:

01. Your Personal Priorities

They are yours, and you get to decide what is important and what is not. The end.

02. Your Flaws

We are all uniquely made, and given unique purposes and skills. So something we end¬†up lacking or failing at, shouldn’t be something we have to be sorry for. It just means¬†we are one step closer on our life path to discovering our true selves. So flaws should¬†be celebrated because of that, and not something we should be shamed for.

03. Following Your Dreams and Passions

Just like 01, your dreams and passions are not up to anyone else. You get to decide! So¬†never allow the world to make you feel sorry or ashamed of what you want and how¬†you’re going to achieve them. You want to put your blood, sweat, and tears into¬†starting a new business but your friends/family are giving you grief because you’re¬†‘never around anymore’ or ‘never return their calls or texts’? Tell them you can’t keep¬†people in your life that don’t support what you’re working your booty off to achieve.

Ain’t nobody got time for negativity!

Or, someone tries to tell you the thing you want most in life is stupid or not worth it?¬†Or that you’ll never be able to reach it? That’s not their decision, and not their right to¬†dictate to you how you should spend your time and effort. It’s your life, it’s your¬†passion, and your dream; never be sorry for going after what your heart wants. Even¬†if you fail, at least you tried, you learned, and you will continue on your life path.

04. Saying No

This one is a big one. People always try to convince to me go do something I don’t want¬†to, and then make me feel guilty or bad for not wanting to. Why has this become OK?

If I don’t want to go to a party or an event, no one has the right to make me feel like I’m¬†a ‘bad friend’ for not wanting to go. Doesn’t that seem hypocritical, since they’re¬†technically being the bad friend for trying to shame me into going to something I don’t¬†want to?

Its OK to say no! Never apologize for standing up for yourself, and saying no. Say ‘yes’¬†to saying ‘no!’ You will feel so much more in control of your life and your happiness¬†when you stop allowing others to choose or tell you what you should do.

05. Telling The Truth

Just like the saying goes, the truth hurts sometimes. But in the end, the truth is more¬†important than sugar-coating things or telling white lies to avoid offending or hurting¬†someone’s feelings.

Now, don’t go around purposely being mean or nasty, but stop lying. Lying never leads¬†to anywhere positive or good. Just tell the raw, honest truth but do it in a nice way. I¬†promise it’s better! But… stop saying sorry when you do it. The truth needs to be said.

06. Loving Someone

And here’s another popular saying, “It’s better to have loved, and lost, than to have¬†never loved at all.”

It sucks, but it’s true, people. We need to allow ourselves to be open to loving others,¬†even when it ends up breaking our hearts, because that is also a continual rite of¬†passage and path of growth as humans that we must travel on.

Yes, we all have at some time or another loved someone we maybe shouldn’t have.¬†Me? yeah, I’ve done it twice. But I won’t apologize for it, even if the world¬†wants me to feel bad or even stupid for doing it. “Well, you should have known¬†better,” the world might say. Or, “Don’t make that mistake again.

But, in all honesty, I don’t regret anyone I’ve loved, even though both of them hurt¬†me tremendously and broke me down to almost nothing. I don’t regret it and I will¬†not apologize for it. The beauty about choosing to love, despite the potential of¬†rejection, pain, heart-break, and sometimes trauma; is that it opens us up to love on¬†new levels that we only can reach through choosing to love someone. It’s the¬†necessary evil our hearts need to experience.

So, even if it ends in a heart break, it is always worth it to love someone, and it’s never¬†something you should apologize for.

07. Standing Up For What You Believe In

This has been one I’ve felt like I need to apologize for my whole life. I am a member of¬†the LDS Church, or better known as, I am a Mormon. I grew up outside of Philadelphia,¬†where the members of my church were far and few between. In high school, my twin¬†sister and I constantly dealt with feeling ashamed or having to apologize for what we¬†believed in because of our religion. “Sorry, we don’t drink.” “Sorry, we don’t have sex.”

Etc, etc, etc….

It’s ironic that as a society we all want to believe in something; yet if that something¬†we choose to believe in is not up to “society standards”, then we feel like we should¬†apologize for it.

Why are we being so straight up #savage to one another guys??

If you believe in something (granted it’s not something hurtful to others, extremist¬†and/or violent, hateful, or anything of that nature,) don’t let the world make you feel¬†sorry for it.

One of the most beautiful things about everyone on the planet is how we all believe in different  things, yet we can (sometimes) find ways to coexist and support one another.

If we all believed in the same thing, conformed to the same ideals and standards and thoughts, this world would be a boring, awful place.

08. Being a Strong, Intelligent, Confident Woman

Historically, we as women have been apologizing since apparently the apple situation¬†with Eve. We’ve needed to apologize for having voices, for wanting power, for wanting¬†to show some more skin, for having emotions, for wanting to vote, for wanting to not¬†need a man in order to have worth.

In more modern day scenarios, we live in a world of business tycoons and a world¬†catered to men, who want us to live in a certain check-listed set of ideals or else we¬†need to apologize for not being that type of ‘woman.’

Just like the whole feminist supportive uprising and #metoo movement that has¬†recently been gaining momentum, we are finally standing up for being assertive,¬†powerful, intelligent women; and we don’t want to apologize for it any longer.

There is nothing wrong with being confident, feeling sexy and beautiful in our own skin, and being a go-getter business woman. Stop apologizing for it.

Ladies, we need to stand up for ourselves, speak our truths, and go do the damn¬†thing! We do what we want, we work hard for what we want, and we won’t¬†say sorry anymore about it.

09. Having Emotions

For some reason, it has become socially normal to make people, especially women, feel ashamed for having emotions.

Personally, in my ex-marriage I was told I could never show my emotions in front of¬†my ex, and that if I needed to cry I could do so in our closet upstairs with the door¬†shut. You’re probably thinking I’m making that up, and I wish I was!

The world, just like my scenario, wants us to hide our emotions as well. If you cry¬†you’re weak and vulnerable, ¬†or if you get upset or angry you’re a crazy bitch.

Emotions are another beautiful part, built into our DNA, that allows us as humans to love, to feel, to enjoy, and to grow. Feeling ashamed of them and apologizing for reacting a certain way or feeling a certain way is literally going against the way we are designed. We have emotions for a reason!

So if you want to laugh at something inappropriate, do it. I do all the time! Cry if you’re¬†sad or hurting, and get upset if you need to about that guy that just broke up with you¬†after a year in a weak, selfish text message (because hellloooo that’s so lame!)

Emotions are beautiful, they are cleansing, and they are necessary. Stop saying sorry for them!

10. For Not Being Perfect

We all seem to be trying to live up to impossible standards, and then feel the need to apologize for not achieving them.

“Sorry I’m wearing too much makeup,” “Sorry I’m not skinny enough,” “Sorry

I’m not smart enough,” “Sorry I’m too feisty,” “Sorry I have too many opinions.”

It’s a¬†vicious and exhausting cycle of empty sorries and never met ideals.¬†This one definitely correlates with 02, and quite honestly anything I’ve listed here, but¬†sometimes it is the hardest one to break the habit of.

If we make a mistake, we feel shame and guilt, and feel like we are no longer good¬†enough. If we can’t reach a certain standard we feel defeated.

We have to stop feeling and saying sorry for not being “perfect”, and instead embrace¬†ourselves the way we are, and celebrate the things we do achieve and the things we¬†do have. Comparison is the true thief of joy, and we can’t keep measuring ourselves up¬†to the social media picture perfect agenda that is constantly shoved down our throats.

Life is not all kittens, rainbows, donuts, and incredible vacations like we see on our feeds; its messy, dirty, painful, and awful sometimes but that is why it is amazing.

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So how do we avoid saying sorry? It seems kind of hard, but that’s because we have¬†habitually been saying sorry for everything. An easy way to try and break yourself

of the habit, is to replace a “sorry” with a “thank-you.”

¬† ¬†– ¬†Instead of saying, “Sorry I’m late,” say, “Thank you for waiting for me.”

¬† ¬†– ¬†Instead of saying, “Sorry I missed your call,” say, “Thank you for understanding that I

¬† ¬† ¬† have a busy schedule and needed to call you back when I had time.”

¬† ¬† – Instead of saying, “Sorry I made a mistake,” say, “Thank you for understanding I am

¬† ¬† ¬† not perfect, and for helping me learn and grow from my mistakes.”

 

See? I dare you to try it.

I’ve been doing it since Monday and I’ve noticed a HUGE¬†change! It’s very freeing to not feel so constricted within this awful apology society¬†we have been living in.

If we keep saying sorry, even for the things we aren’t even sorry for, we are continuing¬†to enable to societal problem, and digging ourselves deeper into this shame/guilt¬†culture.

Like are you really sorry Carol, that you’re late to lunch? I don’t think so, because

you’re always late! If you were sorry, you would change your behavior and not be late

anymore. How about instead of apologizing every time you’re late, just embrace that

you’re an always-late-kinda-person and just show up when you can and say, “Thanks

for waiting guys!”

Don’t be like Carol, guys. Just own who you are an stop handing out empty apologies.

#SorryNotSorry

Back to my original story about this past Monday, and my awful, terrible, no good mood.

I decided that night as I laid in bed and replayed everything I had done in my head, and all the stupid reactions I had had, that I wouldn’t feel sorry for it.

Instead, I contemplated how I could have better handled the stress, the frustration, and the maddening amounts of flights I had to change and angry emails and texts I was getting blaming me for things that were not my fault… instead I would choose to react differently next time and just let it go and move on. I would learn and grow from it, but not be sorry for how it played out.

 

The only thing I will be sorry for from now on, is not being sorry. I own who I am, and I unapologetically embrace and love the woman I have become. I didn’t walk through the hellfire I’ve experienced just to be sorry for the incredible strength I’ve gained and the places it has led me to. This is me, and I’m not sorry for it.

maybe one day we’ll finally
learn to love ourselves and
stop apologizing for the things
that make us who we are
-r.m. drake

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A Cold & Broken Hallelujah

 

Do you ever have those days where there’s a song stuck in your head? And I literally mean days… the same song has been playing in my mind over and over since last Friday.

It’s a song I’m sure you’ve all heard, or at least a version of it anyway (because it’s been covered many times.)

This version in particular I have loved since 2004, the end of my freshman year of college at USU, when the first season of the iconic teenage drama show The OC ended its’ first season. The song , “Hallelujah” plays in the background in the season finale in a really dramatic and emotional ending (… seriously watch it if you haven’t…) recorded by Rufus Wainwright. Or it’s in the movie Shrek, which I’m positive all of you have seen.

It randomly came up on one of my playlists on Friday night, and it’s been stuck in my mind ever since. Especially one line in particular has haunted me ever since:

It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

A Mother of a Weekend

I knew Mother’s Day was coming, because for the past 3 years I’ve been counting down the days until it arrived again with growing dread and mounting emotions.

It never gets easier to celebrate a day for mother’s without mine. Memories rise to the surface, good and bad, and drown me again in the familiar deep pool of sorrow.

It’s not that I don’t want to remember her or celebrate her; I love thinking of all the fun memories and how much time we had with her despite her cancer.

The hard part is when so many others get to go see their moms, or call them or FaceTime with them; I’m driving to the cemetery with flowers and a Diet Coke. I wish I could get just one last hug, or one last phone call. Boy would she just get a kick out of all the dating stories and mishaps I’ve had lately! And the advice she could give me, or support through these strange dark days of re-building my life after my divorce… I miss it all and wish I could have that with her.

But, she’s gone. And so after visit her grave, and spending some time with my sister and her kiddos, I went home to be once again alone with my emotions and thoughts.

And right on cue that familiar song of ‘Hallelujah’ played in my head again. Especially that one line.

And isn’t it funny how sometimes when something is happening in our life, a song will pop up that perfectly correlates with what we are thinking or feeling?

Praise

The word Hallelujah¬†is a translated from a Hebrew word, which can be an exclamation meaning, “God be praised!”

But in our moments of deepest heart break, pain, and sorrow, is it often our first instinct to still praise God?

Honestly, sometimes its not. It’s those times that we tend to push the heavens away, feeling disconnected and alone, and wanting to blame whatever and whomever we can, especially our heavenly parent.

In our painful times we question everything; the who’s, the why’s, the how’s, and the what’s. It’s part of our nature to do so, and as I have been working through my own grief of losing my mom I have seen a different perspective of this side of it all.

Why, in the moments that we need God the most, do we tend to push Him away and lose our faith? Maybe because it’s easier in the moment, and helps put some sort of bandaid over the giant, gaping, bleeding wounds in our hearts.

The thing I’ve realized so far in my life, is that it’s always easier to trust the process during the sunny great times… but when it comes to trusting in the dark times, that’s when true faith is tested.

Cold & Broken

The night that we lost mom, after we had all driven home from the hospital and I was laying in my bed, feeling completely numb and outside of my own life, I remember fighting the inner thoughts of being angry about it.

Her trial that was placed in her life to have cancer, was a long and painful for her. She was such a warrior, fighting through excruciating pain and constant sickness, not to mention hours upon days spent in hospitals at doctors appointments and undergoing treatments.

It was hard for us too. And many times I felt angry that someone so wonderful, and someone that I loved beyond words, had to go through such agony.

That night, as the realness continued to sink it’s sharp blades deep into my splitting heart, I fought the urge to be angry with God, and instead went in the other direction. Feeling to tired to actually get out of my bed and kneel like I normally do when I pray, I closed my eyes and in my head I prayed:

“I’m sad, and my everything hurts, and I’m too tired to even make sense. Thank you for the time we had with her.”

And that was all that needed to be said. It was my own cold and broken hallelujah. I was incredibly sorrowful, and parts of me were angry and questioning about it all, yet I still reached out what I had left to God and gave him the smallest ounce of praise that I could muster. And it was just enough to bring me some much needed inner peace, that in in that moment seemed impossible to feel.

Faith in the Darkness

The beauty of it all, that I’ve come to discover over these 3 years since losing her, is that if we offer whatever we have to God (even if it feels like nothing) He will fill in the void with His grace. Circling back to my favorite metaphor of Kintsukiroi here, God’s grace will fill in the gaps that we can’t ourselves, to make us whole.

And it’s nice to know during those times we struggle in the darkness, that we are never alone.

I was reading some of my favorite quotes on Sunday from C.S. Lewis, and these few in particular struck harmonizing chords with what I was sorting through internally:

“Always pray to have eyes that see the best in people, a heart that forgives the worst, a mind that forgets the bad, and a soul that never loses faith in God.” – C.S. Lewis

“Hard times, bad times, or tough times, I still have faith in God.” – C.S. Lewis

Honestly, I’ve never lost my faith. Sometimes it has definitely been tested to the extremes, but it’s never been lost.

I do have faith in the plan and the process for me. But as a human, an especially inquisitive one in particular, I have the tendency to sometimes question the why’s and the when’s on my path.

And it can start to escalate quickly: through missing my mom, onto being divorced and alone in my thirties, and even the heartache of not being a mom yet (and possibly never being one due to my infertility issues we discovered during my marriage.) You know, the whole “why me”¬†pathetic¬†thing that we all do.

But if you wallow in the negativity, you’ll eventually be drug out to deeper waters by the emotional undercurrents, and you’ll never be able to swim back to shore without drowning.

The funny thing is about these dark trials we go through, is how deceiving they can be. The darkness wants us to stay there, struggling for as long as possible, and to us we may think it is impossible to come out of it because we can’t see the light at the end of it in the distance. When really, if we just reach out we are already to the other side of it and we just haven’t realized it yet.

For example, when I was 7 my family went on a family vacation to The Outer Banks. We were there right before Hurricane Andrew decimated much of the Florida coastline, as well as further north towards the Carolinas, so the waves were larger than usual and the currents were stronger.

I remember playing in the waves with my sister, and I got knocked over and pulled under a wave. The current was strong and I struggled, and I remember panicking thinking I was going to drown. Then I reached my feet down and felt the sand there, and stood up…. in a few inches of water. I was already out of it, and safe.

Although I may never fully be out of the dark trial of losing my mom, I have faith and hope that I will be able to get through any others along the way.

One Last Hallelujah

As I have been playing this song on repeat the past few days, I looked up the original lyrics to it, which was written by Leonard Cohen. There were some secret verses he would sometimes perform at live shows that were not a part of the original score. This was one of them:

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Sometimes that little Hallelujah, all that I can give in that moment, no matter how broken or lonely or cold it is, is all I can give of my faith. ¬†And it’s enough. And these hardships and trials I will keep facing are just shaping me and molding me into the person I am meant to become. At the end of it all, I will be a better person for what I’ve gone through; the good and the bad!

And on days where I miss my mom (which is everyday) I’ll just keep holding onto everything I learned from her while she was here, and give thanks for the time that we did have. And I’ll let all of these trails and experiences help me become a woman, maybe even a mother one day, just like her.

“God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons that we could learn in no other way.” – C.S. Lewis

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Photography: Amy Bischoff 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Measure This Year

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes.
Five hundred twenty five thousand journeys to plan.
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes.
How do you measure a life of a woman or a man?

In truths that she learned,
or in times that he cried?
In bridges he burned,
or the way that she died?

It’s time now to sing out,
though the story never ends.
Let’s celebrate remember a year in a life

These song lyrics, which are from the amazing broadway show Rent, have been running through my head since yesterday. I can’t believe today is my divorce-aversay! You know, the 1 year anniversary of my divorce.

This has certainly been one of the strangest, most challenging, yet most freeing and rehabilitating years of my life.

Just like the song goes on to say, how many ways are there to measure a year of your life?

Tears that were shed
How many nights I stayed up to see the sunrise
Dance parties to just ‘dance it out’
Books I read
How many words I have written
The new friends I’ve made
The old friends I’ve reconnected with
The songs I’ve belted out in my car or the shower
13 full moons
The miles I’ve run
How many rock walls I’ve climbed
The millions of texts I’ve sent back and forth with my twin sister
How many times I’ve laughed until I’ve cried

I mean, this list could go on literally forever. There are so many ways I could measure this past year. So much has happened, and I have learned from it all.

Getting Back on Solid Ground

Today, literally a year ago, I started at my first day at a new job. I needed full time work after going through a divorce (and you can forget the alimony pony rides because I didn’t get any of that!) I had a wonderful job working in the athletic department at UVU, but they wouldn’t move me full time; something to do with all the weird interdepartmental politics that go on there. So, very sadly, I had to find a new job.

This is where I found myself a year ago, sitting at my new desk at my new job at a company called IdealShape knowing literally no one sitting around me. It was one of those hip kind of office settings where all the desks were connected and there were no cubicle walls, but I had never wanted privacy more than that day. I felt really awkward and just felt like the dumb “new girl” who know no one and talked to no one. I was still feeling so broken and alone and all of these changes were a lot to take at once.

As I was going through some training for my marketing content position, I got an email from my divorce lawyer. We had officially filed all my paperwork that previous Friday, and while we had filled out the 90-day-waiver to let things go through faster, he estimated that the divorce would not be finalized for at least 30 days. Then the email came, and the words said:

Aly, I just received an email this morning showing that the Judge has signed your Decree of Divorce.  You are now officially divorced.

I remember staring at the screen and just feeling this weird sense of relief and anxiety and sadness all at once come over me. It was official. I was free, and it was finally done.

Immediately I went into the bathroom because the room started spinning and I felt like I was going to throw up. Thankfully I didn’t, but I did end up sitting in the stall for about 20 minutes crying. It felt good to cry, to release it all. Again, I felt dumb because I figured people probably thought I was crying because it was my first day at work and I was having a hard time; but I decided I didn’t really care and they could think what they wanted.

I was finally and officially free and that was all that mattered. Solid ground was finally forming underneath my feet again. And little did I know that a few people at that company would become very important to me, and help me through some of the hardest parts of the beginning of the year. I will forever be grateful to them, even if they’ll never realize how much they helped me.

Extinguishing the Gas Light

Of course, it wasn’t that simple to be completely done and free from it all, because nothing ever is. Things take time to heal, to move on, and to feel normal again.

There were many moments where I missed him in the beginning, where I wondered if I had made a mistake to leave him. I thought about all of our good memories, and my heart was broken for losing the man I had originally fallen in love with. But that was the major problem; he was never really that person, and he would probably never be him again. He gas lighted me to believe my reality was something different with him than it really was. I think I’ve mentioned the term Gas Lighting before in a previous post, but I will explain it again.

Gas Lighting is a form of manipulative abuse, when one person feeds another lies and deception to literally alter their memories, feelings, until they will begin to question their sanity and their reality.

Down to a ‘T’ I am a classic case victim of gas lighting. There are moments I literally can’t remember, they are blacked out from my memory because they were so awful and terrible, and my mind was trying to cope with the trauma by just covering it up. I also recall some moments when he manipulated me into thinking things were different than what they appeared, and there was one night in particular that remains so etched into my brain that even typing it about it now sends searing hot, painful memory buzzes down my spine thinking about it. This night we had a fight, probably about the 5th night in a row, and once again I accused him of drinking because I could literally smell the whiskey on his breath. He grabbed me by the shoulders, and shook me hard, and screamed in my face that he was going to take me to a mental institution and have me checked-in to treat me for being insane. He kept saying over and over, “You are clearly ¬†going crazy, making things up to the point where you think you are smelling alcohol on me and creating these drunk symptoms in your mind.” I pulled away from him, and collapsed on the floor in hysterical tears. I believed him in that moment, and I literally thought I was going insane. I thought maybe I was making it all up in my head, and then I felt like a terrible person and wife for doing this to him.

Yeah… gas lighting is real and it really sucks.

I am thankful every damn day that I am not in that situation anymore. I was being abused in every sense of the word, and I don’t think I could have survived much more of it to be honest, and that thought sends chills into the very marrow of my bones. One way or another, I wouldn’t have lived through that. But the gas light is extinguished for good.

But, just letting go and moving on right away is impossible. I struggled a lot in the beginning with crippling loneliness, fear, and even guilt. But I knew I needed to keep IMG-1683moving forward. So to start, I bought the cutest journal I could find at Target, and I decided to write a very honest and candid letter to myself.

This letter was to serve as a reminder that I could re-read whenever I needed it. In it, I wrote literally everything horrible I could remember that had happened. Like I said, a lot of things are blacked out for me but the things I could recall I wrote down.

Even without the things I couldn’t remember, this letter is 30 pages front and back. 30 pages of abuse, manipulation, lies, adultery, dishonesty. My personal hell written on those pages, written with the blood from my own heart and the thousands of tears I shed trying to make it work.

I won’t really share much of what I wrote down, because a lot of it is too personal and much to painful. However, I will share these small excerpts, because I’m hoping someone somewhere out there who reads this will feel more courage to leave whatever toxic situation they may be in:

“You know that you have so much goodness and joy ahead of you. The next few weeks will be some of the hardest of your life, but you know that only good things are waiting in the future for you…”

“… you are so amazing and you deserve so much more than this. This is why you left. If you ever feel weak and regret your decision, re-read this letter and remember why again. If you miss him and wonder if you’ve made a mistake, re-read these words and re-open these wounds and feel the excruciating pain again. Remember the pain so that you know why you deserve so much more…”

“… I love you and I will not stop until you are happy again, and back to your old self. Love, Me.”

After re-reading this letter for the first time in months, I cried reliving so many things that my mind and heart have forgotten. But the amazing thing was, I finally am feeling OK to leave it all behind. I don’t miss him, and I don’t find myself looking back and wishing we could have made it work. I trust in the path fate and life have taken me on, and I am excited to find what’s waiting for me.

I also began writing a new letter to myself, one that will replace the first letter. I think it’s time to tear out those pages, burn them and release them forever from me. Maybe in a post soon I’ll share some of what I’ve written in my new letter.

What’s That Ahead?

Literally what I have craved the most during this year of rebuilding myself, is to really get back to the bare essential parts that were my true ‘self’ that had been lost.

However, there were also parts that I knew I would never get back; and honestly I probably didn’t really want them back. What I mean is, sometimes its better to leave the past behind us and just keep moving forward. Holding onto things that can’t be changed will drag you down and eventually inhibit you from moving forward to anywhere.

I know that sounds cliche, but it’s something I constantly need to still remind myself daily. In fact, this past Sunday I heard this very quote (from this talk) during church that resonated so deeply inside me, and clearly I was meant to hear in that exact moment:

“The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead and remember that faith is always pointed toward the future” – Elder Jeffery R. Holland

This was a hard lesson for me to learn in the beginning, because honestly I did find myself constantly looking back into the past of all the what if’s and what could have been’s¬†or the why did I do that’s. But that’s a destructive way to live your life, and if you can’t let go of the ashes you’ll forever be trying to hold onto something that will continue to disintegrate in your hands.

Once I started to let myself leave my past behind, I realized I could start to move forward. And even more, I also realized the parts of my I could leave behind too; because not everything needed to be recovered.

Sometimes Failure is an Option

This past weekend I saw the new Star Wars movie, “The Last Jedi.” I won’t give away any spoilers I promise. There was one line that stuck with me, and I won’t even quote it because quoting it word for word would for sure be a spoiler. So, here’s my version of it:

“Failure is the best teacher”

The rest of the day after I saw the movie, I kept thinking about that line and what it meant to me.

Failure really is such a great teacher; we learn the most from the moments that we fall and fail, because it’s in those moments we realize the strength and courage we have inside ourselves to climb back up and move forward.

When we fail, we fall back to rock bottom where our roots are buried and we realize we already have that solid base there to build back up from.

I may have had a failed marriage, but I didn’t fail at trying to make it work; I did everything I could have and should have to try and revive it. The failure brought me to where I am in this very moment, and I would never go back to where I was ever again.

Most importantly, failure reveals to us our true selves. Because in the end, it’s not what you go through that particularly defines you; it’s what you do after that truly shows your true character.

My true character? She’s a survivor. And she learns from her damn mistakes and failures and makes them into her strengths.

I’m proud of the woman I am today,

because I went through one hell of a time becoming her

 

Measuring Up My Year

So, how can I truly measure up this past year?

With my two feet, planted firmly on solid ground; and I am in control of where they go and when. I may not know where that is but all I know is I’m moving forward and never again will I be looking back to sift through the ashes of my past.

And for 2019…

I wanted to add on to this previous post, since I knew this already expressed perfectly anything I would have wanted to say today.

But as I hit the 2 year mark of my “divorce-aversary” I am even in a different place than I was a year ago today. And it may not seem like a lot to onlookers, but for me I know I am making progress forward.

I am progressing towards the life I want to live, doing the things that I know will make me feel fulfilled.

But mostly, I am feeling content with where I am at because I am in control of my life. I was imprisoned for so long in a controlled and toxic environment, and I know I still have ¬†some ways to go to get back to feeling completely healed and myself; but the good thing to focus on is how far I’ve come from that dark place.

I am excited about what is ahead for me, and feeling hopeful about my future. I truly believe 2019 is going to be one of the best and most fulfilling years of my life.

I can’t wait to share with you all the plans I have for this year!

I’ll leave you with a positive/powerful affirmation I wrote for myself, and have been reading every morning for the last few days; it embodies where I feel I am at now, and what this coming year has in store for me:

You are stronger than you think.

You are beautiful, brilliant, and brave.

You are in control of your life, and you own whatever choices you make along the way.

You are powerful because even though you might be afraid, you keep going anyway.

The things that tried to break you forever have rebuilt you and made you even better than before.

You are kind despite everything that’s happened, because you will always believe in love.

You face the impossible with a humble heart and faith that you can do anything.

You are wiser because of the mistakes you’ve made, and the new paths you’ve chosen to take.

The past is your lesson, the present is your gift, and your future is your motivation – and everyday you are becoming a better version of yourself.

 

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PS. Check out some of the amazing pics taken by my talented friend Michelle Madsen! I had this idea to take “divorcals” like women often take bridals before their wedding. I wanted to celebrate my life where I am now, with some beautiful photos of me

PC: Michelle Madsen Photography

MUA: Makenzie Peacock

Dress: Dress Collective

Flowers: Me ūüôā

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