Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Togetherness Project


I've been feeling all sorts of emotions throughout the past few days. 
The truth is that most of these emotions have been extremely high. I have been so happy. 

But it's almost like my body was saying, "No! You can't be happy this week! This is the anniversary of the day your world fell apart." And I'd have to try and fight it off. 

Because the truth is that this anniversary IS hard and important and a big deal to me. I had my life planned out and part of that plan was being married and staying home with my babies and making more babies. That plan did not involve divorce. 

But I guess the reality is that most people don't "plan" to get divorced when they get married. 

And I guess the reality is that addiction can overturn a lot of your plans. 

The other day, a friend posted a Fight The New Drug article on Facebook. {Is it weird that it makes me smile when I see these articles being posted/shared?} If you're not aware of what FTND is or more specifically what "the new drug" is, this company brings awareness to the harmful effects of pornography. 

And maybe you know this about me or maybe you don't but I am a huge believer in what FTND promotes. 

Because not only have I studied the harmful effects of pornography for college courses. 
Not only have I met many people who struggle with pornography addiction. 
Not only have I come to know some pretty brave women who have had a great deal of marital strife directly related to pornography addiction. 

I have witnessed these harmful effects firsthand as a wife. 

And as I was a newly divorced woman, struggling to see any worth within myself, a friend pointed me in the direction of The Togetherness Project. 
And shortly after, I attended my first TTP conference. 

Since then, a lot has changed. 

When I first went through my divorce, I leaned a lot on the women in my TTP support group to help me understand the situations and feelings I was living through. 
I am so grateful for that time in my life. 
But I spent less and less time with my family and the friends who weren't a part of Togetherness. I didn't think they'd want to hear it and I doubted they'd even understand. 
I almost lost some of my dearest friends during this time. 

And since then, over the past two years, I've rearranged my boundaries of what these support groups look like in my life versus how much I rely on my friends and family. 
Because the truth is that they don't need to fully understand me to be there for me. 
And I had to learn that on my own through my experiences these past few years. 
(And boy was I lucky that they stuck around for me to figure that out!)

I no longer rely on The Togetherness Project support groups or participate in them often. 
A huge part of that can be attested to my healing process and needing to rely less on others. 

But Togetherness will always be a part of me. 
Always. 

Today, The Togetherness Project held it's very last conference in Midway, Utah. I had planned on going but then decided it wouldn't be the best thing for me right now. 
It was hard for me not to be there. 
There were so many people I wanted to see and connect with. 
I've spent a lot of today thinking about Togetherness and everything the founder, Jacy, has done for me personally by starting this foundation. 

Because of Togetherness, I was able to find resources that helped me realize a lot of missing puzzle pieces in my failed marriage, which brought a lot of closure for me. 
Because of Togetherness, I was able to be supported during some of my worst panic attacks. 
Because of Togetherness, I found another support group for eating disorders and was able to (with the help of friends, family, and a therapist) save myself at a point in my life where I was literally dying. 
Because of Togetherness, I have a whole slew of online friends who understand some of my darkest fears because they have endured very similar challenges. 
Because of Togetherness, I was able to meet many incredible women but two in particular who have stuck around during some of the messiest challenges I've faced. These two women live close to me and are two of my very best friends now. 

Because of Togetherness, I have answers and more questions and I have been able to learn some very beautiful things about myself and what I want out of life. 

When I was first introduced to Jacy's blog, I had no idea what that would spark over the next two and a half years. Some of it has been really dark and difficult but a lot of it has been life changing and beautiful. 

And I will forever be grateful to Jacy for being brave enough to create The Togetherness Project that has changed so many of our lives. 

As I've sat here today and reminisced about everything that has happened over this past two years, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for everything I've conquered and learned. 

I used to have this vision in my head of what my life would look like in my late twenties and this wasn't it. 
That being said, in so many ways, it is much better than what I had imagined. 
Vulnerability. 
Empathy. 
Compassion. 
I am so thankful for everything I have learned through The Togetherness Project. 
I am thankful for the message of hope that it sends to women who have found themselves in situations that are extremely dark and messy. 
And most importantly, I am thankful for the hope I have found in my own life to continue on despite the many times I wanted to give up.