A year ago I made the bravest, and at the time, one of the saddest decisions in my life when I finally said, “Enough!” and ended my 30-year marriage 15 years after I knew it was already over. Never one to be a quitter, I continued to try to make the best of a horrible situation until my soul finally convinced me to choose life.
As I look back now on a journey that took me from being essentially homeless for 3 months to celebrating my 60th Birthday in Paris and on the French Riviera just a year later, I marvel at the power of the mind and intention.
Growth and Transition can be both exhilarating and exhausting.
My initial hope was that we would “remain friends” and have an “amicable uncoupling. “ What I realize now is that the person who I left is not someone that I would ever choose to be friends with. Despite living the lesson of, “when someone shows you who they are, believe them”, I made the decision to tell my story without telling his.
My cautionary tale for anyone who makes the decision to reclaim their lives and their joy is that everyone will not be happy for you. I was shocked and saddened that people who I had cared for and supported for years were not at all happy to see me chose what was best and healthy for me.
I walked away from an impressive on the outside, yet oppressive on the inside, home that was larger than our budget. I found a lovely condo where I feel safe and joyful and most importantly, financially secure. I loved the joy and solitude of being on my own in the first few months of living in my home.
There has been “collateral damage” as a result of the divorce, including our daughter’s health.
The stress of building a career in Hollywood and her anger and unresolved issues with a father who she was never close with took a toll on her body and spirit. She gave up her home in Los Angeles and moved in with me as she figured out what “next” looks like.
This was an unexpected adjustment in the middle of my own healing and evolutionary process. While it wasn’t always easy, I am grateful that her health has steadily improved, and I am so proud of the strength and resilience that she has shown.
Becoming My Own Best Teacher and Coach
In addition to my daughter, I have an adult son with special needs. Years spent in pediatric intensive care wards only reinforced my natural proclivity to being a caregiver, and heightened my natural inclination to “sacrifice and serve.”
I made the choice to focus on caring for my family and creating as much “normalcy” as possible having an infant transported to the emergency room by paramedics almost every other week and explaining to my then 3-year-old daughter what was happening to her brother.
Interestingly enough, years later it would be my work as a Transformational Strategies Coach in the areas of Personal and Business Development that ultimately set me on the path to total healing. As I was coaching and challenging my clients, seeing them have great results and amazing breakthroughs from working with me, I finally had to say, “Physician heal thyself.”
I finally chose to listen to my body as it was manifesting dis-ease and acknowledge that my marriage was killing me.
I was finally ready to let go of what I believed was our shared dream and accept what my now “wasbund” had been showing me for 30 years. I knew it, and I had taught it, “behavior is real”, and yet I continued to protect, cover, and make excuses for someone who, with or without malice, was not willing to honor his word or follow through.
I had to take responsibility for my part in the dysfunction in our marriage and accept that the only person that I was responsible for was me.
I chose to walk away.
And even in that, I did all that I could to make sure that the transition was seamless and as amicable as possible. It turned out that wasn’t going to be the case, and, concerned for my personal safety, I was forced to leave sooner than I had planned.
Hopeful despite being homeless.
What was amazing in that time was that I really did get to see for myself that the foundation that I had built my life and my teaching on was indeed solid. Gratitude and Joy grounded me as nefarious plots and secret deals gone bad were revealed to me as I worked to establish myself as a single individual.
Even when my friends who were trying to help me find a new home became discouraged, I continued to speak words of faith and encouragement to both them and myself that my perfect new home was waiting for me…we simply hadn’t found it yet.
Fast-forward to, after months of looking for a new home and the homes that I applied for going to “more traditional” families, I ended up having a choice between a lovely home situated on a golf course, or a beautiful condo in a gated community with gorgeous views of the mountains. I chose the latter.
What I didn’t even realize at the time that I chose my condo was I had the added factor of safety being in a gated community. Given the circumstance of my departure, this was indeed an added blessing.
After staying with family and friends and living in hotels for 3 months, I joyfully slept on the floor of my new home for 4 days until my belongings were delivered from storage on the 5th of July.
As I reflect on this journey and continued to experience the fallout of betrayal and broken relationships I am intentional in considering my own personal narrative. I’ve heard the distorted versions of what happened and why. I’ve had friends literally cry because they believed that we were “the perfect couple” and they had somehow placed their hope in marriage on whom they believed us to be.
I am intentional in my decision to cast myself as neither the victim nor the martyr.
I made the choice to stay for numerous reasons: my commitment to honoring my word, my belief that healing and change is always in the realm of possibility, even pity, or perhaps it was ego that bad would go to worse if I left.
What I know to be true is that the narratives that we choose will either serve us in moving forward, or imprisons us in roles and stories that don’t serve us, or our highest good.
I choose the narrative that allows me to love myself enough to say “Enough!”
While everyone saw me as this strong, vibrant and joyful woman, I realized that I was serving others in a way that didn’t honor who I am. I now understand that I was in relationship with people who only wanted what they wanted from me, but they didn’t want anything for me.
I gave clear and fair notice.
I owned that I had created a dynamic that caused others to be reliant upon me in a way that was not healthy for me.
I offered options and opportunities to join me in creating vibrant and healthy ways in which to move forward.
I embraced the mantra that I was teaching my clients, “No is our friend.”
I declared and stood firm on my position that one time is a “mistake”, continuing the same behavior is “a choice”, and holding those accountable for their choices.
I made a brave and bold decision to choose “a healthy selfish” and I walked away from imbalance and abuse.
In my narrative, I am my own Shero.
I became again that strong, vibrant, resilient woman who I’ve always believed myself to be. I gave myself permission to stop trying to serve an ideal that wasn’t real or worthy of my gifts, energy, and fierce loyalty. I am now living my best life, doing for myself what I have done for others…serving the ideal and principle of living and becoming the highest version of myself.
What do you do when your gifts become your weaknesses and you realize that you have become that which you never thought you would be?
I chose to embody the powerful lyrics written by Dianne Reeves:
“I am an endangered species but I sing no victim’s song. I am a woman. I am an artist. And I know where my voice belongs.”
Growth and transformation happen from the inside out.
There is an indescribable joy and freedom that comes from owning and growing from your own choices. When you release your attachment to your expectations of others you are free from self-inflicted suffering, and you are able to give them the gift of fully experiencing the outcome of their choices.
In this wonderful season of growth and renewal, I can say with a deeper sense of gratitude and knowing…”I wouldn’t give nothin for my journey.”