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Independence Day.

Let’s just say that the last several months haven’t exactly been blissful. We achieved our 10th Wedding Anniversary in December…there wasn’t much to celebrate. If we’re being perfectly honest. We were STRUGGLING. We were living in different states due to work circumstances & we don’t do well apart. Never have. Not to mention when we were we were not connecting even prior to having to live apart.

Love makes shit SO damn hard! EVERYTHING becomes more complicated. Thennnnnnn…you add in the fact that you have over 12 years together, 2 kids, 1 house, 3 dogs, a fuck ton of dysfunction, intense history, family backgrounds, etc. We already know each other’s orders at EVERY damn restaurant to exist (even those not already in existence), favorite toilet paper (the shitty kind just doesn’t work for me), what my MUSTS are at the grocery store, how I like my egg sandwich on Sunday mornings, my favorite brand of ice cream even though I probably haven’t eaten it in 2 years, the ability to reference the VERY creepy idiosyncrasies about shit nobody else should really know, how much I DESPISE hearing him or anyone else (even my own babies) chewing ANYTHING-even soup! He automatically knows how much of a bitch I am regarding waiting in lines, how obnoxiously I drive & become (VERY often) the subject of random “visitors” following me into my driveway due to my less than desirable choices while on the road with other drivers & somehow we’ve still managed to equally admit that we really do love each other despite it all.

We all have bumps in the road & no relationship is perfect, blah blah blah. This was different. This was a disconnect. I couldn’t put my finger on it but we were growing apart. I was angry, raging, unapproachable & hurt. He was distancing himself because it was easier. We were (as my therapist says) in our “dance”. It’s not a pretty one. It’s the dance of me acting out to get his attention, him resenting my acting out so he pulls away more, I act out more & he moves further from me. It’s this figure eight. We were trapped. Drowning in it. Staying beyond stuck. We weren’t even moving in reverse at that point. It was hell. But nothing could stop it! We both knew we wanted to change it but couldn’t get out of our own damn way!!

It’s REALLY hard to be hurt by the one you love the most in this world. The one you’re to feel most safe, most protected, most loved by & most valued. There are different levels of hurt & everyone has their breaking point. We had reached ours.

On July 3rd, I turned 38. I also went to meet with a divorce attorney. It was most definitely the absolute worst day of my life. In fact, it makes me nauseous the second I think about it. I NEVER want to feel that way again. EVER. It was the lowest of lows. I couldn’t stop shaking. My teeth were chattering. I couldn’t breathe or stop crying. It was awful. I was so alone. So empty. My world as I knew it was destroyed. I had failed. Failed my babies, my marriage, my family, my husband & worst of all, myself.

I am NOT some quitter. I am a stubborn mule whom believes VERY strongly in my vows & I meant them with every cell in my body. The issue becomes more about what you can forgive and what you can’t. It becomes whether or not you both genuinely want to change & how you both proceed in doing so. It’s what’s ultimately best for your babies and for you.

July 4th…Independence Day. I became free. We became free. Not in the way you are thinking. Nope. Actually, polar opposite. Something came over me. Over us. We became free from the jaws of life aka our anger, our resentment, our blame games, our mistakes, our pasts & had this complete epiphany that it was time to move onward. It actually felt like the past had died. It was buried. Not numb. Not denial. Nothing of the sort. It was pure acceptance. It was WEIRD. It was doing absolutely nothing but wrecking havoc on our present. Why stay stuck? Why live in that lonely, sad, horrible place? If we do, we know where that leaves us. It’s not worth that. It was time to take a wrecking ball to the concrete wall that was like living in a coffin. Enough. We were both raw. We were both vulnerable. We were finally seeing each other as actual human beings with feelings & feelings that we both cared deeply about in each other.

Becoming free from the past is as instantaneous as a car accident happens. This is something that was ENTIRELY necessary whether or not we are together or separate. It’s toxic to hold onto those things that ultimately make us lesser to ourselves & to those we love. ENOUGH. PERIOD.

I can’t tell you what or why or how this all transpired but it was as though we were pushed to the edge of a cliff & had the choice of either nosediving or scooting back a bit to reevaluate the view once more. There’s no defining moment. There’s no recipe. It happened so organically. Less than 24 hours prior, I was meeting with a divorce attorney. Maybe it was the fireworks, the summer air, the fireflies lighting up the front yard, watching our kids running to catch them? Maybe it was the idea that all of those moments were no longer going to be shared by our family of four & this was the last memory we’d have of them. Maybe it was a plethora of the conversations of those who most influence me from my grandparents in their mid 80’s to my mother at nearly 60 to my Fairy Godmother (you know who you are) to my best of friends both married & not to the sweet 20 something girls in my life who are like little sisters to me? Maybe the stars just so happened to align just above those beautiful firecrackers lighting up the night? Hell, maybe it was all of the above?! I don’t really care why but I am eternally grateful for that unforgettable evening that will forever shape our future.

Again, whether or not we are together, the past needs to remain there. We can’t possibly be healthy individuals to our babies or for ourselves if we are prisoners to the past. I am not saying to ignore it but to accept it. It cannot control our every move or our every decision. It was.

REALITY CHECK.

Now, don’t confuse my words with the fact that we are not some Disney story with a happy & perfect ending. We don’t know our ending. We don’t even know an hour from now! We only know that it’s time to stop doing what wasn’t working & head down a different path. We can only hope that we will maintain this current state of mind & that the old habits will die…eventually. What we’re looking for isn’t perfection. It’s not searching for the seamless fairytale that doesn’t really exist. That’s unrealistic. The fairytale is your version of what you accept, what you choose to allow, what you know you deserve, how you decide to create your own Cinderella story!

What it becomes is what you realize you each deserve & what your children deserve from you. My husband & I have ALWAYS said that if we fell out of love we would NEVER simply stay together for our kids. That still remains 100% accurate. The fact of the matter is that when you actually do remain very much IN love with one another even following dredging through some of the shittiest, deepest & nastiest trenches created to inflict anything & everything other than remaining in love-it serves as this awakening that jolts you into this new abyss. One you’d swear couldn’t, wouldn’t & shouldn’t arise. Just at the very moment you are certain of it never coming back up for air-don’t ignore the lifesaver that may be floating right beside you.

Sometimes independence isn’t strictly a solo act. It doesn’t have to carry the same definition as a Kelly Clarkson or Beyoncé song. Sometimes independence is actually freeing yourself from the vice grips of yourself! Perhaps, independence of & from ourselves is exactly what we need to achieve so we can finally be free enough to allow the best version of ourselves to seek the best version of another soul we choose to love and allow to love us? The individual whom is strong enough, healed enough, rational enough, secure enough & most importantly confident enough to trust herself enough to be loved by someone again-even if it happens to be the one who once nearly broke you. What if it’s the greatest chance you ever take? What if it’s the most devastating? Ultimately-it’s worth the risk because regardless of how much love can hurt us, isn’t that what love is? One enormous risk? I’ll take it. Similar to our country gaining it’s independence from it’s past in order to gain it’s own independent, much greater future-I am free and independent of the past now. The work isn’t over but rather it has just begun.

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