In 2012 I was pregnant with my first child, struggling to save a dying marriage, and about a year into a post-graduate school funk that left me adrift in my own life. The goals I had created for myself simply had not worked out. I had accomplished many of them, but I was incredibly unhappy. I knew I needed to change my life, but I didn’t really know how people managed to do that. Besides, even though I was miserable the idea of change was even scarier than staying in the mire I was already stuck in. At least I knew what that was like.
So I did what academics do best: researched, wrote, thought, and synthesized information. I logic’d the shit out of my problems. I logic’d myself so hard I stayed right in that terrible marriage and funk for another 2 years. I had reasons, which is what every person in the history of the world who doesn’t want to do what they need to do possesses in their little pocket. A whole list of them.
But it was too late. In the process of realizing my own unhappiness and trying my damnedest to “fix” everything, I tuned into two very distinct “let’s fuck you up (but in a good way)” frequencies: personal development and spiritual growth. I leaned into both of these areas of study and eventually life led me to a point where I had a clear, split-second moment of decision. I could stay married to someone who was not right for me and live a life that would never feel like my own or I could leave and start over.
On August 18, 2014 I started a new life. My divorce took two years and it was a true trial by fire. I chose from the beginning to use it as a growing experience without an understanding of just how much growing I’d have to do. I moved to a new town, found a new job, joined a new church, and committed myself to a new faith (that I have since done the slow back-away from to some extent). I read voraciously. I looked at the mistakes I made in my previous marriage and life, accepted them, and forgave myself. I grieved a life I believed I would never get to live. I fell in love. I tried to talk myself out of falling in love, failed pretty hard at that, and got married in 2016.
These are all things I’ve done in my new life, but none of them are who I am. I’m still learning that, because I AM STILL GROWING. I will still be growing ten years from now. I’m really content with my life, but there is always a part of me reaching outward to pull myself a little more down this path of knowing and being.
Photo credit: Kristen Terlitsky, 2016