Since I started writing, the honesty with which I’ve shared my life has made me a soft place to land for women suffering from infertility, pregnancy loss, loss of self-image, marriage difficulties. The connection to so many women who I get to know, who know me, who confide in me when they haven’t shared their stories with another soul, that level of trust has warmed my heart and overflowed my cup.
When we are going through our darkest days, we aren’t looking for advice and we are certainly not looking for judgment. Sometimes we are just looking for company in the darkness. Being so open frequently cultivates an opportunity for others to view inside and plant their opinions; when walking through the darkest hours, we only need LOVE and SUPPORT.
When I announced our separation, there were so many difficult comments shrouded in the anonymity of the internet. So much judgment. And with all that we were enduring, my skin was too thin to not feel each and every negative viscerally. So many of the things I have experienced in my life – infertility, using medical science to conceive, lamenting my body after conceiving, leaving my husband – evoke strong feelings in others.
It has taken me a long time to realize that what others have to say about me has more to do with them than me. If your heart causes you to lash out in judgment, I ask that you look inside yourself and find out why.
I have had a hard time protecting myself while being open. Finding a balance between honesty and the parts of my life that are sacred. I’m a chronic over-sharer. In a world of social media realities, life can feel really abnormal even when you are living it wide and deep. Sharing has CONNECTED ME TO PEOPLE. And finding the balance between connecting and penning a tell-all isn’t easy.
For a long time my fear has kept me from sharing. My own insecurity about being a divorcing mom of four — two with special needs, one newborn. Gosh, I felt so embarrassed over the choices I made that got me to that place where I was that woman. And I walked in fear of judgment, because I judged myself.
In addition to my fear, I have walked in so much anger. I have been angry and unforgiving. Toward so many people, but most of all myself. I hold so many people to a standard of unattainable perfection because I hold myself to that same standard. Letting go of perfection. Letting go of expectation. Letting go.
It has been a journey. (I haven’t arrived yet.)
I’ve been doing some ME work over the last year. You know, that really hard stuff where you have to dig deep down into the places that make you gasp for air, to try and unlearn your bad habits, try to quiet the voice that’s inside of your head that says “you’re not worth it.” Moving through the muck. Gosh, that’s not fun.
I have spent months trying to understand what my purpose is – there are nights when I get to the end of the longest day possible, and I feel like I have nothing to show for it but an empty bottle of wine (don’t judge).
Kids, schools, work, kids, errands, dinner, baths, bedtime, laundry, cleaning, bills, lunches. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
And I start to think, is this all there is?
Over the nearly two years since I told Joe we were over, I have spent more of my life waiting for the part that gets better, easier, than I have spent enjoying the present. Then I think, again, what is my purpose? And I still have no idea.
I’ve cried. (A lot.) My tears have come out of nowhere, sometimes privately, sometimes at the most inopportune time – during a hard run in a public place, or while lying in savasana. I have so many tears stored up in this body, and when they start to come, I am quite sure I will drown.
I have spent so much time lamenting the life that I fought like hell to have. How many days and years did I pray to be a mother? How many days and years did I fight to save my marriage? All to be here, at 36 years old, holding the pieces of my life in tiny broken fragments. I pushed so hard to create the dream – all of the things that I wanted my life to be – and in the end I had to look at everything I had ever wanted and be willing to throw it all away to save my soul.
In those darkest days, I judged myself enough without any help. In the darkest days, you do not need advice, or judgment. You need to be held up. You need to be loved.
Recently, I got to the end of a day, and it was a long one, and I thought to myself, again, is this all there is? Why am I here? What the hell is my f*^king purpose?
The next day I met a complete and total stranger. This woman and I got to talking, and I did what I always do, which is say too much, share too big. And somehow we ended up hugging. And trading phone numbers. And I realized that maybe it’s my job to share? To connect. To normalize.
Maybe the reason I have to walk through fire is so that I can give someone else the strength to do the same. And in the process we can all laugh, together, at what a shitshow this thing called life truly is.
Is this all there is? Yes. And it’s like this for everyone.
Cause it’s a mess. We are all a beautiful mess. Living full and wide and deep and wondering is this all there is? So I ask you, friends, as I share the parts of my life that are honest and open and raw, for this…
Resist assumptions, and please try not to ask me for details that I haven’t shared. Even as a chronic over-sharer, there are spaces that really are just for me, Joe, my kids, Eric.
Do not stand in judgment. It is so easy to make decisions around someone else’s life; I implore you to take pause. I have suffered enough at my own hands; I am trying to outrun the shadow of my own shame. I don’t need yours too.
Just love. Love yourself. Love your people. Stay close. And if you have love left, send it this way through your support. Because lord knows I could use it.
I have come out of this mess broken and battered, but with a resolve to get better. TO BE BETTER. The amount of courage it takes to be vulnerable and open and willing to try again. If you’ve held this space then you know. You know.