I’m going out on a limb here and am getting straight up vulnerable with you guys because to me, it’s important, and I feel like we need to have more conversations and topics discussed about real life situations that more of us can relate to. There are sooo many topics that people sweep under the rug and hide away and that makes it so difficult for others to open up because they feel like they’re the only ones to ever go through it.
Well guess what? It’s not always sunshine and rainbows and despite what you see on social media, everyone struggles with something. We are all human, I don’t care if you post the most beautiful, staged pictures on Instagram, I know for a fact that behind closed doors you probably deal with the same shit we all do. When we only show one side of our lives we make it pretty damn easy for comparison to start and feelings of low self worth to creep in and overwhelm us. It’s time to get real and show that’s it’s OKAY if you don’t live a perfect life and that we can actively talk about our fears, failures and short comings without worrying about receiving backlash for it.
Being transparent is scary, I get it, but it could also be the one small step that opens doors for so many other people. When people go through a rough patch, are experiencing loss or are looking for ways to rebuild their lives, they more than likely want someone to relate to. Someone who has gone through the same thing and came out okay. They want to be able to connect to another human and say, “I know exactly what you’re going through”. As people, we crave those kinds of connections and desperately want that reassurance. We want to know that we’ll be alright when everything is said and done. Even if what we’re experiencing in the moment is the hardest thing we’ve ever dealt with. So when people open up, share their experiences and give a platform for conversation, it can make all the difference. So here it goes…
Most of you know that I went through a separation/divorce in 2016 and it was one of the hardest things I’ve had to maneuver through. The decision to leave was easy, but it was the after effects that really did me in. I was back living with my parents with a 10 month old baby, I had no job, no idea what I was going to do with myself and was full of a lot of emotional grief. Nobody tells you what it’s like when something like that happens or how you go through so many stages of healing or the fact that it can take YEARS to get that shit sorted out. You go through all the feelings of devastation, anger, sadness, hopelessness etc. and things can get pretty dark pretty quickly.
I remember I used to dread going to bed at night because that’s when allllll the emotions would hit me. Of course being a mom and being around people you lock that shit up and carry on because there’s no time for tears! Not to mention it’s difficult being openly emotional in front of others (I’m working on that by the way) What would end up happening is that I’d basically cry myself to sleep and exhaust myself because I didn’t know how to properly deal with not only what I was feeling, but also with how to heal and move on properly. Again, it’s not something that people actively talk about so I was at a loss for available resources I could open up to. So many people go through divorces and they all seem fine! I couldn’t figure out why it was so hard on me, especially given the circumstances and that it was an obvious “good” choice.
Nobody tells you that after something like that happens that you can easily fall into a depression and not even know it. You have to force yourself to get up and shower and put on a brave face because hey lady you have a kid to tend to! Nobody tells you how emotionally wiped you’ll be and how you try to ignore it and pretend that life is good! I’m happy! All while having this sinking feeling in your stomach that you’ll never get your shit figured out and you don’t know how you’re going to manage things on your own. And the best part is that nobody tells you how it will affect you when you enter a new relationship, even if it’s years later.
Which brings us to my current situation. First, let’s be clear, I’m very grateful for this relationship and am genuinely happy with it. I feel like the stars aligned and that this was supposed to happen at the exact timing it did. But recently, after a few things happened I was triggered by past feelings and events and it was both shocking and scary at the same time. I really thought my past was finally far enough behind me and that I had neatly dealt with it and packed it away. But I was wrong. I panicked. I started looking for an out and was overcome with these intense emotions that I was going to repeat the same pattern and end up in the same situation I was in before (even though this came nothing close to it, and I am in fact with a very great guy) I felt like I had worked so damn hard to get to where I am that I wasn’t going to make the same mistakes as before. My walls were up before I even realized it and I completely shut things out.
I overreacted, I can see that now, but at the time I was overcome with straight up panic and fear. Which I wasn’t expecting. I was scared that I had let my guard down and that heaven forbid I had allowed myself to get close to someone. It was a weird thing to go through and honestly made me take a good look at my reaction and dig a little deeper.
Obviously I now know better than to tolerate the negative things I had dealt with in my failed marriage, but it’s crazy how quickly a person can shut down because of them. I had to reflect on it A LOT and make peace with my past AGAIN. The thing is, you never really know what’s lurking beneath the surface and you can’t fully prepare yourself for what’s about to show up. Things were going great and it was as if one little event triggered a whole emotional response from me. It just goes to show that when you think you’ve fully dealt with something, you could be wrong. You might have some residual baggage left to tend to. And it ain’t pretty. It’s a process I’m telling ya.
Thankfully, communication lines are very open with this person and he’s been extremely understanding and patient. I’m going to be a work in progress, which is no surprise given the history I have, but I feel like this little speed bump opened my eyes up to allow more healing to happen. I need to allow myself to be open, to let someone in and to not run at the first sign of real life issues. Everyone is different and just because your ex acted a certain way DEFINITELY doesn’t mean others will do the same. Relationships take work, duh, and I’m committed to trying this whole being with someone thing again, even if it means I have to work on my own shit along the way. Past relationships don’t have to define your current ones and if you take the time to dissect why these feelings are coming up, then you’re more likely to carry on a lot more easily and can build up the relationship you have now. You can’t bury those feelings away and hope they’re gone for good. Face them head on, get real with yourself and look at the bigger picture. It’s difficult to do but if you want to create a better foundation for what you have now then you need to be willing to get past those old fears and doubts. It’s uncomfortable, that’s a given, but once you pick away at the layers it eventually gets easier and soon they will be old memories you won’t have to revisit.
So here’s to me pouring it all out for you guys and hopefully giving someone somewhere a little glimmer of hope that you can have a fulfilling relationship after divorce. Talk it out, understand that some things can resurface and that you have to be willing to work through them when they do. Being alone isn’t always the answer, and if you have a good thing going then I highly suggest you do your best to find a way to communicate and express what you’re going through. It’s so worth it.