There is definitely an art to rediscovering yourself. It’s done in pieces and when it comes together, it’s a magical thing. You feel as sense of relief – a sense of triumph. All of the things I ever wanted out of life have suddenly come to light and now it’s time to take action. I think the biggest obstacle is maintaining confidence in yourself and believing that you are capable of greater things; especially if you’ve convinced yourself for years that you aren’t. As I’ve mentioned in my recent posts, I’ve made many changes in my life. Admittedly, when making these changes, a sense of doubt crept in making me question everything. I knew that getting a divorce was necessary, but could I be a single mother and maintain a career all on my own? It was overwhelming at times. There was really no choice but to move forward and that in itself helped me see that I could. Although I have the support from those I love and care about, I knew I had to make things happen for myself. I came to realize that I needed to restructure my thinking and focus on what it took to build my new life –not dwell on things I had no control over. I’ve gone through the hardest part and I know I came out successful in the end. In fact, I like who I am a lot more and believe I’m a better person because of it. However, this is a long process. And while I’m in a better place, I know I’m never quite “done.” Change is constant.
As it relates to the things I want out of life, that was a little more challenging. I no longer have to sacrifice my goals because of someone else. It may sound like an excuse I keep using, and perhaps it is in a way. In hindsight, I didn’t realize I was a victim of mental abuse by someone who saw me as inferior. I didn’t recognize how much of myself I had neglected. This marriage started to deteriorate because I was figuring all of this out, questioning why I let someone have such control. Our life was in a constant state of uncertainty. Almost every single problem we faced financially and emotionally was because one person didn’t want to do their part. As a result, I became withdrawn. I no longer voiced my thoughts or what I wanted. That’s no way for a marriage to survive. Now that I have separated myself from that, I am the only thing that can hold me back and that’s not going to ever happen again.
My days are now filled with what I want and I’ve never been happier. I’m still looking for that dream job, but at least I know what it is. And, I’m not waiting around for it to happen; I’m actively pursuing it. The best part in my entire rediscovery process is that I’ve surrounded myself with those who support me unconditionally. The most important person in my life genuinely cares for me and has always encouraged me to be my own person.
Given everything I’ve done to redefine my goals in life, I’m no longer afraid to take a chance. I can’t lose. I can only learn more about myself. That’s truly what it’s all about. No longer am I worried about what others will think and curb who I am to appeal to them. I don’t pretend that my world is absolutely perfect. Shit happens, and that’s life. However, what I chose to do after that makes all the difference.
Someone once said “Whatever you’re willing to put up with is exactly what you will have.” Hence the need for boundaries as they are a reflection of the respect you have for yourself and the respect you want from others. Whether it’s your children, family, friends or co-workers, you have to know when to say yes and have the courage to say no. Most important is your commitment to these boundaries. When you start making exceptions, those lines get real fuzzy. Ambiguity becomes the norm. I know from experience—having no set boundaries in place—it can be a difficult challenge once you get started. However, think about how you feel when they are ignored. You may feel resentment, or perhaps you get overwhelmed. I know there are times I felt helpless during my divorce when boundaries were repeatedly violated. Now, through experience, I now have learned to respect myself and my feelings.
Boundaries are defined as something that shows where one area ends and another begins. A demarcation point, if you will. It’s a point (or limit) where two things become different. I will loosely apply the definition to getting a divorce as nothing could further define what was happening. I became different. I was rediscovering all of the things I wanted to be -- who I wanted to be. My husband felt the changes I was making pushed the limits of his own boundaries. My wants and needs were constantly, and blatantly, being ignored. At the start of the separation, I was highly advised to set boundaries for not only my ex, but for everyone in my life. This was a most difficult task. My emotions and stress levels were reaching an all-time high. I was dealing with someone who felt he wasn’t accountable for his behavior. As anyone who has been through a divorce will tell you, boundaries are extremely essential. Almost two years after the initial separation and one year after our divorce, I am still receiving calls near midnight. I can promise you that no good can come from answering a call from your ex at midnight. Ever.
Life is all about boundaries; whether they are your own or what we have to live by. However, they aren’t all about limitations. They can be lifesavers as well. Equate them to traffic signs – they tell you when to go, when to stop, when to yield, and what speed to travel. You can also apply this to signs that read open or closed. I have close friends and family with whom I am open and readily share myself. Conversely, I have flipped the sign to closed for those with their own agendas that endangered mine. Learning to say no in any form is something we should all practice if that’s what you feel. Whether it’s a question you don’t want to answer or something you don’t want to do. Be honest with them and yourself. Then we have “friends” who drop into your life when the spirit hits them. It’s never about you, but about them and the attention they want. That ex-boyfriend who’s in town wants to get together for drinks. Remember there’s a reason they’re an ex. The girl from high school who you haven’t heard from in five years needs a ride to the airport. Yea, that’s not going to happen. Take a close look at people in your life and see if there’s a mutual friendship there. Or, are you the one maintaining it.
It’s time to reflect on what your boundaries are. We all have a few in some form or fashion. I perused the internet and read books to get ideas of the boundaries I needed to make when getting divorced. But, I also reflected on what I wanted and expected from others and myself. Being a single mother required me to change my approach with my kids and my family. I found I am much more confident in knowing that I am ready to speak up for myself having established boundaries in my life.
Every woman that finally figured out her worth, has picked up her suitcases of pride and boarded a flight to freedom, which landed in the valley of change.
~Shannon L. Alder
There comes a time when you have to sit down, blow the dust off your keyboard and just write. The dust isn’t there because of perpetual writer’s block; which happens because you’re actually involved in the act of writing and your mind is a blank. I’m talking about just stopping altogether. Any writer will tell you that you have to write something every day, even if it’s nothing special. But, what happens when you don’t want to do the one thing you love? You find out why.
So, it’s time for me to pull it together and blog my mind. It’s been too long really, and it definitely isn’t because I didn’t have anything to say. I had a lot of things to write about; and given the fact I have gone through a divorce since my last post, you can probably guess it wasn’t very nice. So, to say a lot has changed is an understatement. I am not the same person whose blogs you’ve read in the past. I have morphed into another. My true self has come to surface. When you’ve come to realize you were living with someone who is undoubtedly afflicted with a Narcissist Personality Disorder, you have to get out as quickly as you can. They are controlling in ways you don’t even realize. The process of divorcing such a person was downright awful. And because we have children together, I am not completely liberated from him. He still sees me as inferior and will never accept the reality that I don’t want him in my life. Well, that’s too bad for him, isn’t it?
In the book Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Professor Dumbledore, in all of his wisdom, said, "Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light". In late 2013, this was true for me. Except all the lights I turned on were being consumed by my husband. He was (and still is) the eternal black hole in my life. Fortunately, I was able to escape his event horizon. Call it selfishness or self-preservation, but I was fighting for my happiness--my life; and I had to get out.
I think we tend to become complacent in life as we let go of what we really wanted to get out of it -- settling for what we think will do at the time. We feel the need to compromise when others are involved like spouses or children. However, I’ve learned we don’t have to compromise everything we wanted for ourselves. We don’t have to lose who we are and we don’t have to give up our dreams for someone else’s.
I realize my mistake was to allow someone else be in complete charge of my happiness. I need to maintain control over that. This definitely isn’t to say someone can’t be the reason for my happiness, because I know now that’s absolutely possible. A lot of my happiness can be found through writing and I plan to do a lot more of it. I plan to share my experiences -- both good and bad -- no filters. Hiding who I am and curbing what I want to write about no longer has a place in my blog. I’ve made a lot of self-discoveries over this past year and I’ve become someone I am proud of. It’s been quite a journey and I plan to share it.
I am a woman-child at heart; continuously evolving to find my place in life. I am a mother, a daughter, and a sister. I am a lover and a dreamer--an explorer and a traveler. But it's my passion for writing that allows me to explore my ingenuity. This is something that undoubtedly carries over to the many roles that make up the ever evolving woman I am.
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