First, can I just express how absolutely terrifying this is for me? For weeks leading up to the actual conception of this post, I cycled and recycled through so many emotions. I worried I wasn’t brave enough to say the things I really needed and wanted to say. I spent many nights spilling my heart out onto my keyboard – but ultimately unable to publish any of it at the end of the day. I felt naked and exposed, just uncomfortable, and I wondered if I would ever get the guts to post something “real.” Something that meant something to me.
It brought me face-to-face with a monster called perception. I mean – I’m no stranger to a sweet, old-fashioned Facebook tribute, but there are unwritten rules on who you can be and what you can say as a woman (and as a mom and business owner on social media.) Maybe that’s a symptom of shallow internet relationships, and a definite indication I need to purge my Facebook friends list, but still, the point… You can be the doting mom and wife with her Pinterest projects and white picket fence: That’s all fine and dandy. You’re even allowed a little cynicism and harnessed sarcasm when it comes to those womanly roles, but only in small doses, and really only at the permission of what other women feel comfortable with… what society feels comfortable with. But, frankly, I have fallen far from Stepford. So what would people think of me? Would anyone even care what I had to say, in the first place? I mean, who the hell am I? What if no one gets it? Or gets me? I sat right out on the ledge. Then, one night, one o’clock in the morning, I said, fuck it! And here we are. Free-falling into weird, rambling introspection.
The past couple years have marked a lot of loss for me, personally. Everything I thought I knew about myself, about life, about other women, my husband, my family: Everything has changed. There were moments of excruciating pain and indescribable joy, generally separated by numb detachment. And it all really came to climax one ordinary summer night, on my back patio, over a few beers with a close friend… At this point, I could really fall down a rabbit hole of gory details and triviality. (Believe me, I’ve ridden that roller coaster more than a few times.) Regardless, it inevitably culminates on the same date, months later: January 8th, 2016, the inglorious “anti-versary” of the day life, as I knew it, ended.
My husband came clean about his affair with my best friend, and I was rocked. I don’t know how else to put it besides complete and utter devastation. Maybe try 9 years of life shredded and tossed unceremoniously in the air like some sort of fucked up confetti. I had grown up with him, and I have never known a single moment without him. In my eyes, we were one singular thing. He was part of me; I was part of him. I knew him. I knew every piece of him. I knew every piece of us. He was the one steady, reliable force in my life: Oxygen. And suddenly, he just wasn’t anymore. And I didn’t know how to breathe. In one night, the perfect little house my heart kept for him had disintegrated into a pile of rubble. It took me right along with it.
My sense of self essentially crumbled. I was sick, mentally and physically. I started to question everything and everyone. I even wrestled with the thought of suicide. I sat at the cusp of hell for months. At the same time, I was pregnant, in charge of that life, and the life of another little human, and I couldn’t even take care of myself. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t get out of bed. I had no sense of worth, whatsoever. And really, all I wanted was a good, stiff Captain and Coke, but obviously that wasn’t going to happen. So, I marched on, as one does. It wasn’t pretty: It was literal, desperate survival. And eventually, I started to feel somewhat human again… Slowly stopped crying every hour, on the hour. Got out of bed and took my kid to the pool, listened to Lemonade on repeat, sat through counseling sessions, and started to read a lot.. Just did stuff. Autopilot. Then, I had a few months of nirvana after the birth of my second baby boy and finally a huge realization that I needed to get my ass up and do something to legitimately fill myself up again. I drug out the warpaint and decided to start fighting my way out of the trenches I had been wallowing in.
Therefore, many months too late, but better than never: Hello, Girl of Arc!
Believe me, I’m nowhere near the middle, definitely not the end, of that journey, but this is a start. I have forever had an artist’s heart. I have always felt a palpable propulsion to create, whether it’s with writing or cooking or photography or music. Whatever. This is how my soul refills. It’s how my brain recharges. So when I decided to start this blog, I started by having coffee with a seriously phenomenal lady-boss and writer (whom I absolutely adore), and we spoke a lot about worth. Worthiness is a huge aspect of healing that I’m still dealing with. That a lot of us freaking deal with. As moms, as wives, as friends… as women. Maybe it’s been subconsciously programmed, beat, and mocked out of us since the days of grade school recess… Maybe, the problem is we were taught to compete with each other, instead of build each other up. Maybe, we spend too much time seeking approval -apologizing for who we are – rather than ferociously seeking our own truth. Maybe, we base our worth on everyone’s perception of who we are, instead of seeing it in ourselves. These things only made me stagnant – emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Frankly, I had been putting my worth in another person’s hands. I handed them every single string, and let them be puppeteer. It kept me small. I wanted to be big. I’m starting to understand that finding your worth is less about being “nice” to look at and listen to, and more about being genuine and authentic to who you are. Honoring yourself and Who/What you believe in first, others second. Even if that process is loud or unpretty.
So that brings me to the hopelessly romantic notion of news years resolutions… Let me hang up a little dirty laundry – right here, right now – so that going forward, possibly, you can too. There are parts of me that will always be messy and untamable, but I refuse to apologize for it anymore. Even if my marriage isn’t perfect… Even if I’m not the “perfect” mom or housewife… I am worthy. Not by proxy, and not contingent on anyone’s perception of you, you matter! Just by existing, we matter, whether we’re whole or in a million pieces… So, my new years resolution? Action. Whether it’s towards happiness, peace, God, the gym, or just an extra scoop of freakin’ icecream, go get it! Girl, it’s yours for the taking. Let’s love ourselves more. Let’s set a standard for how we treat ourselves, and let that organically change how we treat others. Make 2017! And make it good!