It’s been another year on Earth. Another birthday. Another trip around the sun… I think back to where I was just 12 short months ago, and I barely recognize that girl. I wish I could hug away some of her sorrow. I wish I could ease a little bit of her pain. I wish she would have known then, what I know now. I have so much I wish I could tell her.
Stop keeping secrets that were never yours to keep. Your body is not a closet for another person’s guilt. Their consequences and perception are not your burden. Realize this is how they control you, how they imprison you. Holding onto their guilt only breeds shame inside you, only keeps you small.
You don’t need to apologize for suffering, for healing. Acknowledge that, sometimes, you are just going to be too much. Too honest. Too real. Too brilliant. Too unusual. You are going to make people uncomfortable. These words aren’t meant to cuddle anyone. Your testimony is not meant to rock anyone to sleep at night. Don’t apologize for your rough, unsewn edges. Embrace them. Say what you need to say.
Because you will learn your shame cannot survive being spoken. Everytime you give words and life to this experience, you will feel this load getting lighter. A sort of cleansing taking place. Your demons will become much more human. So you have to stop being afraid of people. Being held back by the grasp of their judgement. You have to start practicing self-compassion. Protecting yourself. Replenishing your soul. You are allowed to tell your story. You are allowed to speak your truth- not because you need help or sympathy to move on – but because this is how you reestablish control. This is how you take back your power. This is your magic, your medicine. Let it be.
And, at some point, you are going to be able to own your role. And you are going to have strength to own what happened in your life, without blaming yourself. To swallow your pride, without losing sight of your worth. You will learn affairs don’t happen in a vaccuum. That your home was in decay. There were shingles missing. There were cracks in the foundation, holes in the floor. I am humble enough to admit now that I am not perfect. I am not a perfect wife. I didn’t always love my husband well or the way he needed me to. I wasn’t always kind. I didn’t always treat him gently. This acknowledgement does not make his mistakes any less abhorrable. It doesn’t excuse his crimes against our marriage. This simply levels the ground again.
This is where you start to rebuild. By admitting your wrongs. By practicing humility. By falling to your knees, looking into another pair of eyes, and seeing brokenness in their reflection too. Then, by giving him kindness when you can. Giving him empathy. By saying, “I see you, and me too.”
And you’re going to want to give up. It would be easier in a way… To cut your losses. To move on. But, one day, sooner than you think, you’re going to look at him again and not immediately see her. Reconciliation is going to be possible. His hands will weave back together again what he tore apart. He is going to say sorry a million times, and then a million times again. He will speak it, and you won’t always hear it. He will show it, and you won’t always see it. But everytime you see another ending, he will offer a beginning.
You just have to realize that there is no right way to do this. There is no simple resolution. You are damned if you stay, damned if you leave. Both of you: Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Just go with your gut. Follow your instincts. Do what you need to do. Have sex. Or don’t. Cry. Laugh. Scream. Be alone. Put yourself out there. This is all going to come in waves. You’re going to do something one day, and something totally different the next. Your feelings will change day to day. You are going to second guess yourself a million times. That’s okay. Let yourself off the hook. You will not figure it out right away.
But, more than anything, I want you to know that through this loss, you will find yourself. So, in the end, that is your win. That is your retribution. Because you will move forward with better boundaries. You will learn to say no and stick to your guns. You will realize you bring something special to the table. You will learn to let go of things that aren’t for you, people who don’t value you, situations that aren’t healthy for you. You will learn to forgive yourself for what you didn’t know.
And you will do it on your own time. At your own pace.
So that this next year will be about…
Loving yourself as much as you want a man to love you.
Loving yourself, instead of asking someone to do it for you.
Bathing yourself in scripture, in words, in the vibration of a song.
Making a home in your heart that you never want to leave.
Wrap yourself up in a blanket of people who see your light and want it to envelope them. So let it.
Shine on other people.
Find likeness with other people.
Grow from your differences
Love your people well. Call them, instead of text them. Let them hear your voice. Your intentions. Listen. Lean in. Let them lean on you.
Celebrate each other.
Be fucking weird.
Run with the wind in your hair.
Hug your babies.
Swing as high as the sky.
It’s going to get easier.
Just keep going.