Monday, August 1, 2016

So Maybe I Failed

Sometimes it’s hard or weird to reconnect with people through social media or in real life that I haven’t seen or heard from in the past 4+ years.

Because my first thought, my initial fear, is that they’ll look at the facts of my life and believe that I have failed.
And this is probably irrational because nobody has come up to me and said, “Hey Suzanne, you really failed miserably at that whole marriage thing. And now you're overweight with purple hair, a tattoo, and a nose ring. Sounds like the problem is YOU.” 
But more so than this being a rational fear, I’ve come to realize that it’s an internal fear.
And it’s not an internal fear because I just have this belief that people are critical of me. It’s an internal fear because I used to be that condemnatory, judgmental person. 
I cringe thinking about how I once was that person. 
Because if you just pray more or work harder in your marriage, those things don’t dissipate.

I've learned a lot these past few years and one thing I've really come to know is that you can't judge a book by it's cover OR even by it's prologue. 
Because you won't get all the facts. 
And in truth, you may never get all the facts. Ever. 
Although I've talked about the "why" of my failed marriage, there are actually so many "why's". There are so many times we fought for each other and there are so many times we fought against each other. 

And as my husband was piecing his puzzle back together, I was also changing. I was growing and molding into this person that I very much liked---a stronger and more opinionated Suzanne. I started asking questions and learning more about why I am the way I am (Although, all that really did was give me a list of "disorders" on my medical records)

I struggled with this love/hate relationship against myself because on the one hand, I've had a hard time with self-esteem and believing in myself but on the other hand, when I really sit down and think about it, I love the person that I am. 
It’s been a really hard summer for me. Finding babysitters for my kids and missing out on so much time with them has not been easy. Struggling through and then quitting my job teaching dance was not easy. Co-parenting is not easy (Will it ever be?). The anniversary of being on my own is coming up and that isn’t easy. Summer school was not easy (and I failed a class for the 2nd time in my college career)

There have been nights where I feel like I'm back to square one, where I lay in my bed and feel the anxiety take over like it used to when I first became a single mom. 

I feel all of this pressure to be a good mother and a good student and a good coworker and a good friend and one any given day, I'm sure to drop the ball in at least one category. 

And then some days, new conflicts arise and I think, "But it was already hard yesterday without this new conflict!" and I wonder how I'm going to keep going. 

But I do keep going. 

Although this summer has felt pretty messy, today in particular was not my best day. My anxiety was winning and I was just letting it win because I was tired of fighting. 
I was letting other people dictate my emotions and I was feeling really low when I pulled up a blog post (here) from one of my favorite public figures, Glennon. 

And as I read about her separating from her husband, her words hit me with such strength. 

There is a excerpt from her post that I wanted to share here because she says it far better than I could ever describe.

"But what can happen over time is this: You wake up one day and realize that you have put yourself back together completely differently. That you are whole, finally, and strong – but you are now a different shape, a different size. This sort of change — the change that occurs when you sit inside your own pain — it’s revolutionary. When you let yourself die, there is suddenly one day: new life. You are Different. New. And no matter how hard you try, you simply cannot fit into your old life anymore. You are like a snake trying to fit into old, dead skin, or a butterfly trying to crawl back into the cocoon, or new wine trying to pour itself back into an old wineskin. This new you is equal parts undeniable and terrifying.
Because you just do not fit. 
And suddenly you know that. And you have become a woman who doesn’t ignore her knowing. Who doesn’t pretend she doesn’t know. Because pretending makes you sick. And because you never promised yourself an easy life, but you did promise yourself a true one. You did promise – back when you were putting yourself back together – that you’d never betray you again." 

As I read this, I just sat there, nodding my head. Because this thing that I was so worried about---the silly critics and their uneducated judgments---does not need to exist inside of my mind, even if it exists in reality. 

Because I have put myself back together differently. I am a completely different person than I used to be. 
And when I put myself back together, I did it more carefully. I thought about what I wanted out of life and what I felt the point of life even was. 

And after every messy thing I've been through, I've learned that the person I need to stop betraying is myself. 

Because when the kids are in bed at night and I'm sitting all alone, I'm all I've got. And I need to be able to trust and love this person that I am so that when things are hard (which is inevitable on occasion), I can rise up like the warrior that I am and fight for myself. 

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