Preface: I've recently realized in the more than 3 years I've been blogging, I've never told the full story of my “full awakening” moment. This particular moment was pivotal in not only changing my own life, but opening the door to help coach other women to live their own best life.
Growing up I had a pretty uneventful childhood. No major life-changing or heartbreaking events to tell you about. For me, that part waited until I was all grown up.
When I was 17 I started dating my first husband. He was tall, quiet and handsome and somehow we managed to stay together for 10 years before we decided to get married. When it was great, it was really, really great. But, when it was bad, it was really, really bad. I knew in my gut he was not the right person for me. I knew deep down he didn’t treat me like I deserved, he didn’t bring out the best in me and that I should move on. But, I didn’t. I was so insecure that I was terrified to leave that relationship. I didn’t know who I was without him and I couldn’t imagine throwing away my dream of having a husband, kids and the rest of the “dream” (of course I didn't realize all of this until much later). I ignored my intuition, married him and did my best to settle into married life.
Two years into the marriage, just as we started talking about conceiving our first child, I got suspicious that he was having an affair. You know those articles in magazines such as Cosmopolitan entitled, “10 Signs Your Man is Cheating”? Yep, I could check off all of those. I confronted, he denied. After a couple months of this, I thought I was going completely nuts. It was so painfully obvious after about 6 months of this I moved out. We still talked and saw each other (*ahem*) during that time and I thought we could reconcile.
Then the bomb hit.
February 13th, 2006. I was shopping at Barnes and Noble. I called his cell phone to see what time he was coming over for Valentine’s Day since we had agreed to have dinner together for that special day. A woman answered his phone. I asked who it was and she told me her name. I responded, “Are you sleeping with my husband?” She said, “Oh my God. If you’re asking me that, we need to talk”. There was some commotion on her end, and the phone hung up.
I walked out into the parking lot and called a friend. I got her voice mail. I left a message telling her what happened and that I wasn’t sure if it was real or not. I literally felt like I had left my body and that I was looking at myself from above. I didn’t cry until 2 days later.
I had been with him for more than 13 years. Devastated doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. I was so lost and had no idea how to cope with the pain. You would think it couldn't get any worse, but it did. About a month later I got news from a mutual friend that my husband and his girlfriend were expecting a baby.
I remember laying in bed and wondering if I could die from the heart break. Some people told me, “Time heals” and I wanted to punch them in the face. I spiraled deep into my eating disorder. It was the only way I knew how to cope. I didn’t know what else to do. So, I did what any woman with low self-esteem does: I decided to find a NEW boyfriend to heal my broken heart. Because god forbid I try to figure out what happen so I could avoid it again. No way was I going to look at MYSELF and take any responsibility for what happened. It was so much easier to point the finger at him and everyone else.
I dated some nice, normal guys, but quickly walked away from them. I found myself a completely dysfunctional guy. For 8 months we dated, I distanced myself from all of my friends, again ignored my intuition from the SECOND DATE when it told me to RUN LIKE HELL. At the end of the 8 months, I found out he had lied about having cancer (seriously), conned me out of $8,000, lied about EVERYTHING, cheated on me, talked me into quitting my job and getting out of my lease so we could move to another city and the kicker: He was addicted to pain killers. He agreed to go to rehab and I held onto the notion that he would get clean and we would live happily ever after.
He fell in love with another addict in rehab and we broke up. The End.
This was my “What the FUCK?” moment.
What the fuck was I doing? Who had I become? What had I allowed to happen? Somewhere years before I had handed over all my power. Handed it out for a man to come along on a white horse. I then realized I had esteemed myself through other people, especially men. If I wasn’t being validated through other people, I hated myself. If I was feeling loved by someone else, everything was okay.
I was essentially setting myself up for disaster.
I vowed that I would change. I knew there was a glimmer of an amazing, confident woman deep inside me. My tiny spirit had always told me I was destined for greatness, but I didn’t know what that meant and I pushed it away in fear. Now, I held on to that glimmer. A big part of me felt uncomfortable with this feeling of “greatness”, but I soon came to realize I was doing a disservice to everyone by keeping myself small and hiding my light. I also realized it was no one’s job but my own to love me, make me happy and make my dream life come true. I realized no one could destroy me but me. I took responsibility for the fact that I had ignored my intuitional voice that warned me all along, and that I had allowed these things to happen to me. I forgave the people that had hurt me, and I began the journey of moving on.
I knew these things had happened to me for two reasons: One, apparently I needed a brick over the head to start being the woman I was meant to be. I know the Universe was sort of tapping His foot waiting for me to step into my greatness, and I continued to play small and hide. So, that Universe dropped the bomb. Secondly, these major life lessons I’ve learned through these experiences were meant to serve other women.
Maybe your story looks nothing like mine, maybe it does.
But, we all have a painful story of some sort. Life is too short, too precious and too awesome for you to not know that you are fundamentally worthy of love, to live your life confident, to accept yourself exactly how you are and to love yourself unconditionally. You can have all that and more. I know because I came from a place of the worst self-esteem I could imagine, hated myself and what I had become, was so ashamed of everything to a place of complete and total self-love. And my purpose here on Earth is to show you how I did it.
And I'll tell you one last thing I know for sure: It's not about luck, it's not about privilege, it's about choice.