I’ve been wanting to share about this topic for quite some time now, however, I could never muster up the courage to do so. Today, I feel confident and ready to do so. Here goes nothing!
This blog will be a little different from my other blogs, in that, it is more personal to me. I normally do not disclose this much about myself, but here is why I decided to do it.
-It is a topic that I am passionate about and I think MANY people can relate to it.
-It is therapeutic for me to talk about and share with others.
-Stepping out of my comfort zone to share more of my personal life and a chance to be vulnerable. I try to practice what I preach.
-Showing that I am human too.
-Last, but not least...I am ready to share it!
Throughout this experience I’ve learned so much about myself and about life. I have recognized so many faults in my own thinking and throughout my work, I’ve noticed many people have very similar struggles when it comes to this topic -- the topic of fitting into the mold. Feeling as though we do certain things because we feel like we HAVE to. I am here to tell you, you absolutely do NOT.
By 31 years old, I was married and divorced. I was married for just over a year. Not only was I one of the last of my friends to get married, but I was the first (and only) to get a divorce. This is also the case with my family, I was/am the select few who is divorced. So much shame, guilt, embarrassment came with all of this. What would people say? How would they react? How would they view me? What about future partners? What if I lose friends along the way? So many thoughts ran through my mind. I passed so much judgment on myself.
Fast forward to the present. I am 33 years old and newly engaged.
With the help of my therapists, friends, family, and other support systems, I began to grow and heal. From the wedding planning (first go ‘round), to the divorce process, to the single time period, to the dating process and being in a new relationship and now engaged, I’ve learned many things. I’d like to share these with you.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
Talking about it helps.
Being honest with myself and my therapist, I was able to truly feel those uncomfortable feelings and work through them. There is so much strength in vulnerability. Regardless of my recent past and/or my childhood past, I learned I am NOT broken (and neither are you!).
I realized what this truly meant and learned (and am still learning) what it means to honor myself. What is best for me and what I need and want. I had (and have) to constantly remind myself that this is MY life and no one else’s.
People are going to have their own biases and assumptions.
Having different conversations with people over the last few years, I noticed that regardless of what you share with people and your reasoning, they will still have their own biases and opinions. I’m not going to lie, this is difficult for me at times, but I ultimately know that I know what’s best for me. It is not up to me to change their minds to be on “my side.”
Setting boundaries is important.
I had to learn to know when I needed to set boundaries. I needed to check in with myself and see what I was comfortable doing. Many times, I found myself overexplaining myself to others. I wanted them to see that I had every reason to do what I did. What I didn’t realize is that it was none of their business what my reasons were. If it was best for me, then that’s all that truly counts. Yes, I wanted to share with certain loved ones, however, I know now that I am allowed to share what I want, with who and how much. (Catch up on my previous blog HERE about setting boundaries.)
While we are on the topic of boundaries, I’ll just say it. The lack of self-awareness people have with major life events, questions, and judgments surrounding that is incredible. The intrusive questions are cringe-worthy and downright rude. Here are a few examples of such:
“Divorced already!?! But you just got married!!”
“Are you going to get an annulment?”
“Are you going to wear white to your next wedding?”
“WHEN are you going to have kids?”
“Why don’t you want kids? Is it because you can’t have them?”
“What about your finances with your new spouse?”
“Are you changing your name? Why? Why not??”
Medication isn’t always permanent.
During the divorce process I was introduced to anti-depressants and anxiety medications. As many people, I was hesitant and nervous to start taking them. Does that mean I will have to take these for the rest of my life? The answer is no. They helped and worked for me during the time when I needed them. While taking the medications I was attending therapy, which created the best recipe for me to heal. I am happy to say that I no longer need anti-depressants to help aid me in my mental health journey. Thankfully, I had a doctor who was conservative with my medication regimen from the beginning and when it was time to get off of them, we were both in agreeance (as well as my therapist). Not only did that experience help me through my own personal time, but it also helped me in my profession, and I now have my own insight into that journey.
Reflection is key to growth and healing.
I concentrated so much more on personal reflection in the past few years than I ever have on myself. I knew if I wanted to heal from this, I’d have to be uncomfortable and take a look at myself and my life choices so I wouldn’t make the same mistakes again.
MY timeline is not YOUR timeline…and that’s totally okay!
There’s no ending date or deadline on life events. I don’t have to get married or have children by a certain age. Hell, I don’t have to do those things, AT ALL, if I don’t want to. My point is, it is MY choice to make and no one else’s. People may give their opinions, but at the end of the day, I am not living for them. I am living for myself. They may never understand my choices, but it isn’t for me to worry about. They make their own choices and so will I. I navigate my life and making my own choices is just as important.
This is what ultimately inspired my previous blog which focuses on living in our own timelines. Click HERE to read the blog.
Finding My Voice
As I previously mentioned, I am currently engaged. I feel more confident in my decision at selecting my life partner. I feel more confident in making my own rules. I feel more confident in having a relationship where I can communicate with my partner and we can come up with our own rules for our relationship. We don’t HAVE to do anything we don’t want to do. We don’t HAVE to follow the status-quo or do what is expected of us. Who made those rules anyway? Well, don’t answer that. You know why? Because that’s irrelevant. What matters is MY rules.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I accidently stumbled upon painting. It gave me an outlet to practice having less control, letting go and just going with the flow. It also gave me an opportunity to have fun with bright colors and glitter (my two favorite things). Below is my most recent painting; it’s also one of my favorites. I painted it in less than an hour, from start to finish. As I was looking at it, I began to see what it represented of myself and my life. I noticed how the bright and vibrant colors are coming through the white tones. It represents me and where I am in my life right now. I named this painting "Finding My Voice."
I am finding MY voice and MY way. I am working on figuring out who I am and what my authentic self looks like. I am working on how to be more confident with myself, my decisions, and my rules…even though they are vastly different than the people in my life. It can be a struggle to do this and express myself in a way that I am 100% confident in, however, I don’t think I can go back, nor do I want to. I want to be my true authentic self. I choose to continue to work on being my authentic self. I hope this blog inspires you to do the same.
In case no one has told you, it is all OKAY! Be different if that’s what you want. Do the same things as others if that’s what you want. The point is….do what YOU want…whatever that looks like. It’s OKAY!! There is only one of you…let the world see the true authentic YOU.
As I wrap this up, my last parting words to you are:
Do what is best for you, other people will adjust.