Why Leaving My Husband is Still the Best Thing I’ve Ever Done – Three Years Later

AB-10It’s been three years since I boarded a plan from Germany, back to the States. It’s an anniversary I’ll always remember. While my friends surround me and celebrate the anniversary of their weddings, their children’s birth, and the day they bought their house, I’m reminded that my anniversary, this anniversary is just as important.

I may not be where my friends are in their lives, because I took a much different path to end up where I am today, but I’m so grateful I did. While it was not an easy road, and it’s still quite bumpy at times, it’s one I needed to take.

For years I tried to make my relationship with my then husband work time and time again, and time, and time again, it failed- yet at the time was failing to see that the relationship I needed to work on the most, was the one I had with myself. There were numerous times I wanted to leave, wasn’t happy, and was lying to everyone around me. I did this for so long that it became comfortable, it became normal, and I feared what was on the other side.

It was a place of the unknown.

Every time I wanted needed change, doubt crept in. Fear was at the forefront of my brain and all of the reasons why I shouldn’t ended up being the reasons why I did.

Being comfortable is something we all strive for. Whether it’s in the form of financial stability, job security, or in our relationships with others, and it’s a feeling that we tend to let lie around (in certain situations) for far too long.

Right before we’re supposed to take a leap of faith everything seems uncertain- it’s scary, and often paralyzing, yet we know it’s something that must be done in order to take the next steps.

I speak candidly when I say leaving my husband was the best thing I’ve ever done, but it wasn’t easy, by any means. To this day I struggle with commitment issues- that spans from where I’m going to make dinner reservations to my personal relationships with others. I still have anxiety over the unknown, and have a difficult time trusting people. I’m still in therapy (thank God), and truly fear loss. When people say that they’ve made the right choice, that doesn’t mean that it comes without baggage. It simply means that the choice they left behind, the one that didn’t make the cut, was far worse than the choice that they’ve made to move on.

Looking back I would have been in a relationship that I was trying to make work which ultimately never would have, but now I’ve learned to be in a much more open, honest, and genuine relationship…with myself.

I’ve learned so much about who I am, who I was, and who I no longer wish to be. I’ve become something I never thought imaginable and I have myself to thank, honor, and applaud for making a choice that seemed nearly impossible but oh so necessary. Whether I was still in a relationship with my ex, or where I am today- they all require great work and continuous effort.

Three years “sober” and free (I will use that word loosely) of my past, I’m a living testimony that we must leave what may seem comfortable for the mere reason that it no longer serves us in a way it once did.

The people that tell you it’s easy, are lying, but knowing you have a choice will set you free.

 

Rabbit Hole

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It’s not always easy to be transparent, in fact it’s rather difficult at times, but it’s that ability that reminds yourself as well as others that you’re human. Being “healthy” used to be a hobby of mine. Now I can’t seem to say health without wellness. In most peoples opinions there’s a vast difference between the two, but truthfully the two ought to go hand and hand.

Over the years, I’ve learned that being healthy, and well, is truly the only way I know how to live my life. That’s not to say each day isn’t a struggle to find the perfect balance, but as long as the pendulum keeps swinging- I feel like I’m coming out on top.

A few weeks ago; September, I was in a really, really rough place. It’s something I chose not to discuss with many people, but I’m certain my actions were doing most of the talking for me. In life there are ups and downs, highs and lows, this was one of my memorable lows. September was the month I was married in, where I said my vows; for better of for worse. It’s a period in time that I often reflect back upon, but also a period in time that a part of me wishes never existed. This September happened to also be the month that three of my very close friends said “I do.” I was as much a part of the wedding process as I could be without feeling like I just couldn’t do it.

When I first got back to the States I had several friends that were getting married, all of which I hadn’t seen in some time. Although happy for them, I chose not to attend those weddings- not because I didn’t want to be a part of their commitment to one another, but because it was too soon, and too difficult. This September I wanted to be a part of my friends’ weddings, I wanted to show them how happy I was for them that they found “the one” and I wanted to show myself, that despite my marriage ending in divorce, love still existed.

Seeing as wedding planning begins far in advance, I knew what I was getting myself into (emotionally) and I knew that it would not be an easy road ahead, but I also knew that it was one I wanted to conquer. Being the happy and bubbly person I typically am is great, but when I’m not in the mood to be that person, or have personal demons that I’m struggling with it’s really hard to play the role of “normal” me.

Each wedding I attended was beautiful, heartfelt, and fun. It was the days leading up to the wedding/s, and after the wedding/s that I struggled with feeling that my perfectly swinging pendulum had stopped. I was depressed to say the least. I didn’t want to train my clients, I didn’t want to put on my happy face, I didn’t want to workout or do anything good for myself, I didn’t put my health and wellness as a top priority (which I absolutely should have), and I didn’t count calories in my late night take out orders, or my goblets filled with red wine. Instead, I sulked, I cried myself to sleep, and prayed I wouldn’t feel like that for long.

The feeling of not being in control- something in my career and in my personal life I’m somewhat used to- having the ability to control certain situations. Although these situations of loss were mine, and mine alone, I wasn’t able to control how it was making me feel, so I thought. I felt hopeless and as though I was in a rabbit hole. The people that I usually turn to for support were the same people that were getting ready for their big day, were beyond excited, and happy. I couldn’t be that person, or that friend to not attempt to share in their happiness with them.

It wasn’t until wedding season came to an end that I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. At first you feel sorry for yourself, because life seems to be moving on without you, people in your life seem to be moving at an increased speed while you’re still trying to put yourself in drive. Truthfully it’s all relevant. As I reflect back on each wedding, each situation, and each couple, I have to remind myself that they’re not me. I have to remind myself that true love does exist, and that although it doesn’t exist for me at the moment, it doesn’t mean it never will.

For me, it’s making myself a priority. As the saying goes; you have to be happy with yourself before you can be happy with someone else- it speaks volumes. Knowing that you are worthy, and that timing is everything will be your saving grace. I have to practice self love before I can think about loving someone else, I also have to remind myself that despite not feeling my best, I am so blessed to have been a part of such an unforgettable time in all of my friends lives. Although difficult to see at the moment, I’m reminded that love conquers all.

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Let That Shit Go

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During my last visit with my therapist I realized I was so frustrated because I was angry. Anger for me, is an emotion that I’ve struggled to connect with for such a long time, but as of late, it’s found its way to me. It catches me off guard, creeps into my thoughts, and unintentionally plays a role in my actions. That’s when I began to realize that I’m angry. Anger usually originates within me through sadness that sticks around for a long, long, time.

It took me awhile to connect the dots, to see things for what they were/are, and allow myself to admit that my sadness has in fact turned into anger. It’s not so much my ex-husband, or ex-boyfriend, but more so myself. I’m angry because looking back, I allowed someone to treat me with such little respect, for making a poor decision, for falling for the type of person that doesn’t deserve my energy, and that I should have been able to see right through.

I’m a very strong person, both physically and mentally, but this wasn’t something I always knew to be true. It wasn’t until my world came tumbling down that I realized I have the power to be as mentally strong as I want to be.

These past couple of months have been filled with nuptials, love, and bliss. More so for my friends as they said “I do” – just as they were saying “I do” a switch went off that said “I did” … Although I was happy to partake in the festivities it was a constant reminder of my “failed marriage” and through those reminders I was able to see that when I thought I was angry at Michael, (my ex-husband) I was really angry at myself.

Have you ever heard the saying “If you want to fly, you’ve got to give up the shit that’s weighing you down?” Well, if that’s not the truth, I don’t know what is. We, as a collective hold on to so much…because it’ easy…it’s easier. It’s something we think we’ll just live with and endure, so we go through the same emotions, and same sad tune, over, and over again.

We’re stuck because putting in the work it takes to escape from these emotions seems far more daunting than staying stagnant and in a place of welcomed comfort.

For me, this is when the real work comes in. When I have to constantly be ready to fire at my emotions that are still slightly confused, where my heart wants to take over my head, where I have to tune out my own cyclic thoughts…

I asked my therapist; “When do I start to feel like a success, that I’ve come out on top, that my past relationship/s don’t have as much power over me…?”

Her response; “When you choose to.”

Although that may sound quite simple, and easy it’s actually quite challenging work. Yet, it’s work that I must choose to take on so that the alternative won’t control me. Although still a very difficult and emotional task, it’s much easier once removed from certain situations to see how your own actions can in fact control the situation at hand. It wasn’t until leaving certain people, places, and/or things, that I began to fly. That I was able to see my own potential. Not through the eyes of others but through my very own actions. I’m a big believer and advocate for allowing people to see that they have a choice, although certain options may be easier than others, putting in the necessary work will most likely lead you in the right direction.

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“Are You Dating Anyone?”

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People always tell me I should date, that they have someone to set me up with, or question why am I not interested in being in a relationship.

Here’s my answer in short; I’m not ready, and honestly, it’s not a priority of mine (right now). I’ve spent a good portion of my life relying on others to make me feel complete, a sense of fullness, and feeling that I always had someone to fall back on- while that sounds amazing to some, it no longer sounds as appealing to me as it once did.

You see, my marriage was a cultivation of my own insecurities. They say you gravitate towards people that are similar to you. I met Michael at a time in my life where I was vulnerable, wanting to feel whole, and longing for someone to complete me. I’ll never forget a conversation I had years ago with my dear friend, Ashley. I shared with her the doubts I was having, and how I didn’t know what to do with all of my overwhelming emotions. She told me that in order for things to work I had to be a whole first, not a half, or a quarter but a whole. That clearly went right over my head, and I wasn’t able to absorb the realness of what that truly meant.

I’m in the current state of growing pains, much later in life than I expected but nothing ever really works out as you plan. Michael was my lover, and friend, but also my comfort zone and my crutch. When I didn’t feel good about the direction life was headed he would always console me, when I would question him about the possibility of him being unfaithful he’d reassure me that wasn’t the case-do you see the trend here?

This is something I began to believe in. Not because I truly believed it, but because I wanted it to be the truth. It wasn’t. As time went on it left me feeling even worse and questioning what I was capable of “feeling” on my own.

My emotions were slightly distorted and for a period of time I was ok with that because I was conditioned to not know any better. I took his word and allowed it to have more value than mine.

In today’s day and age people often use the terms ‘better half’ or ‘they complete me’ – to be honest, now that I get it, and understand it, I almost despise those terms of endearment. Not because I don’t think it’s sweet, but because in the present day, I understand what it means to be whole. What it takes for a relationship to work, and run on all cylinders. Yes, my marriage failed because my husband cheated on me and I never fully recovered, but my marriage also failed because I was so insecure that I allowed myself to feel that Michael made me whole, and that despite our rocky relationship, he completed me.

He didn’t, by any means. I never went into our relationship as a whole person, I didn’t know who I was, where I was headed, or what I wanted out of life…so I settled for someone else’s dream.

I wont do that again. I have my own dreams, desires, and aspirations. Yes, it would be wonderful to share that with someone but I have to know that I have a solid foundation that I’m continuously building myself upon, otherwise there will be cracks, there will be falls, and everything will once again come crumbling down.

We need to stop putting so much emphasis on other people building us up to be who we want to be, but rather taking more ownership in building ourselves up.

I used to think that getting married would change everything I didn’t like about my relationship, but the truth is, marriage will only change the title. I went from Ms. to Mrs. yet it didn’t change the person. It was naive of me to think that we could build a solid relationship on a broken foundation.

When you allow yourself to be open, and reveal who you really are, you begin to grow. You begin to transform from what the world has made you out to be, while finally having the chance to become the person you were always meant to be.

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