On Instagram, everyone’s life looks perfect. We see people’s best version of themselves displayed on perfectly curated little squares.
My life is perfectly imperfect. I’ve encountered and learned so much, more than some people experience in an lifetime (I’ll spare you and save some of these for a future post – haha!).
These opportunities and my trust in God have allowed me to grow as a woman and individual. I’ve become more independent, more caring, and more in charge with what I want out of life.
My life was drastically different just a few years ago.
I got married young. While in college, I met someone who treated me like a princess. He would write me daily love notes that filled up the front and back of Hallmark cards. He planned out the most thoughtful and amazing dates. He was there for me when I was sad and inspired me in ways I’d never known before. Unfortunately, I was young and never really understood what it took to make a relationship and marriage work. I constantly “took” from the relationship but never “gave” – I forgot how important it was to make sure that he was happy, too. He had to travel a lot for work, and eventually asked me if I would consider moving overseas with him. I didn’t want to leave my family and friends behind. I had a sick parent to care for and my job was here – what would I possibly do overseas? I didn’t think twice before I told him no. And so the time apart became longer and longer, and he became more and more distant. I suspected the worst, and the worst turned out to be true. He was cheating on me. I was completely blindsided. Devastated. The man who held me on a pedestal for so long, no longer had eyes for me. The relationship that was envied by my friends for so long, was now a lie. I never knew what depression felt like until that point. I had no appetite and I remember it was difficult to even stomach a spoonful of soup. I weighed 80 lbs and my clothes were falling off me. I had to call my best friend every night to hear her tell me that everything was going to be ok. I slept at my parents house because I was afraid of sleeping alone.
I went to Malaysia to meet him and see if there was anything left in the relationship. I ended up staying in Asia for 3 weeks while we vacationed in Thailand, Korea and Bali. It felt like the honeymoon phase – everything was perfect. We were happy. We found each other again. I returned back to the States by myself because he still had to work, and that’s when reality set in. We were different people now. A few weeks later, I flew back overseas and met him in Tokyo and that’s when I knew we were both too far gone. My husband asked me to forgive him, but I knew that we could never be the same again. I filed for divorce, despite how afraid I was to be alone. The truth was that I didn’t know how to be alone. I couldn’t even ride a subway by myself without help. I was terrified.
The divorce was finalized quickly and we went our separate ways. Dating again was difficult for me. I felt like it was a whole different ballgame, and this time around I felt older and uglier. Who would want to date me? My self-esteem plummeted and so did my love life. I constantly compared men to my ex-husband, and if there was a single thing I didn’t like, I would immediately move on. Men would ask me to be in relationships, but I couldn’t commit. I became disinterested too quickly and always had a wall up because I was afraid of getting hurt again.
Fast forward to today. I met a man who changed me for the better. I eventually let (most of) my walls down and found love again. I wasn’t looking for it, as cliche as it sounds – love found me and us. He makes me feel comfortable, safe and loved. He selflessly wants me to pursue all of my wildest dreams and desires, and is happiest when I am happy. Life is chaotic and stressful at times, but he helps ground me. It’s a caring and positive relationship where we each put in equal effort and love.
I can honestly say that I learned so much about myself along through all of the pain. I’m not ashamed to admit that I went to therapy during and after the divorce, and that also played a large part in giving me strength and building my confidence. I’m independent and do not depend on a man or relationship to make me happy, but know that the relationship I am in supplements the joy in my life. I’m proud of how far I’ve come and the person I am today.
Life and love is a very beautiful thing. Don’t be discouraged when you hit unplanned bumps in your life. Even in the darkest moments, know that life and God will never give you more than you can handle. I can without a doubt say that despite all the pain I went through, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat to have the same outcome.
What is something that happened in your life to help you become the person you are today? I’d love to hear your story!