Saturday, August 25, 2018



That number sounds so large. 

I distinctly remember Hayley turning FIVE and wondering how I was gearing up to have a Kindergartner in just a few short months. How was she old enough for that? How was I old enough for that? 

She is now in the FIFTH grade.  

And here I am, kind of kicking ass and kind of failing at this single mom thing. 


My WHAM basketball jersey number all of the years I played basketball as a child, thanks to my ASU basketball idols, Eddie House and Ike Diogu. 


The number of children I planned on having. Before the days where I realized you can't necessarily plan those things. 


The number of years it has been since my husband left me---my d-day, if you will.

In that time, Hayley has doubled in age and Andersen is close to tripling his age. They were 5 and 3 when their dad left.

And today, that feels a bit crippling to me. It feels like, in some way, I have failed them by allowing them to grow up for the majority of their childhoods without a father figure living in our same home.

I know that isn't true. I know that I've done everything BUT fail them these past five years. I know they will someday recognize how much work I've put into keeping their lives as normal as possible.

Today is a day that I don't mind sinking a little lower than normal. It is a day I allow myself to feel the negativity.

Because five years ago today, in the early morning, I kissed my husband goodbye and sent him off to work, not knowing that that would be the last time he would tell me he loved me and have me believe it.

Five years ago, I spoke pretty directly with my Heavenly Father, as He told me to recognize how beautiful my life was---not knowing that He was preparing me for an utterly devastating heartbreak hours later.

And then five years ago, I heard the words, "I don't love you anymore." over the phone and I knew it was already over. I knew, deep down, that he was never coming back. I knew I needed to prepare to become a single mother.

I just knew.

The words "I think we need a separation" were no different than if he had said, "I filed for divorce" because my gut told me he wasn't coming home.

It's been five years since my world completely shifted. And when it did, I became a completely new person.

If you were to ask me now whether I'd choose to go back and do things differently, I'd tell you no. I wouldn't. Because I know that my marriage was supposed to happen. And I know that my divorce does not negate how right my marriage was. 

In turn, I don't know if I feel right about saying that my divorce was part of the plan---I don't know if it was---but I do know that Heavenly Father has a specific plan for me post-divorce.

I know that plan includes continuing my education and devoting the majority of my time to my children. I know that plan includes so many deep friendships and taking in children who may live in my home for a month or may be here forever. I know that plan includes happiness and sadness and anxiety and more knowledge than I ever could've asked for.

The thing is, my divorce taught me a lot of stuff. 

Some of it bad---people really CAN leave deep scars by making crappy decisions.

Some of it good---you really CAN do anything you set your mind to.

In the past five years, I've wondered what life would look like now if I were still married and sadly, I can't see the same happiness I currently have. I can't picture a life with Leo in it or Hayley dancing like she does or Andersen getting the help he needs in school.

My divorce pushed me to do hard things that were the right thing. In fact, it still pushes me.

I am more patient and empathetic with the people around me and have become much more sensitive. I am not afraid to speak up about things that are wrong including pornography or abuse or being honest with the people you love. I am also not afraid to talk about my own struggles that include an eating disorder and anxiety.

I live a pretty authentic life. 

Or at least I try to. 

I try to give my anxiety it's place because heaven knows it ain't going anywhere! So I may as well embrace that it is a part of me. And my OCD and ADHD? Might as well give them their space here as well because why not?!!

Five years ago, I was living a very unhealthy life as I obsessed over my food intake and exercising. I gave my ex-husband's decision control over me because if he left me, chances were it had something to do with my imperfect body. 

And in those darkest moments of my eating disorder, I learned so much about myself as I begged for Heavenly Father to just loosen the grips my addiction had over me. I learned that I want to live a life I love, not a life the world tells me I need to be living.

I will probably never be a size 4 again. I am more overweight now than I was five years ago. And although sometimes that is still hard, the majority of my days are spent realizing how beautiful and amazing I am AS IS. Not beautiful IF I lost 50 pounds. Not beautiful IF I had less pimples or if my eyelashes were just a tad fuller. Not beautiful IF I could figure out a way to get rid of the stretch marks and the larger stomach that have accompanied my two pregnancies.


As is. 

I wouldn't change the events that transpired five years ago, even if I could. Because I never would've become who I am without those hardest moments. I never would've taken as many leaps of faith.

I never would've learned just how brave and resilient I can be. 

The events from five years ago have not only shaped me but have helped me as I've walked through other dark times in my life.

I really CAN do hard things. I really, truly can.

The moments of despair and trauma I experienced five years ago have left lasting effects that I still deal with today. I am afraid of loss most of the time.

It doesn't matter how amazing things seem to be going. I can convince myself that I am about to get fired from a job where I know I'm appreciated just because my brain sends broken warning signals that tell me I'm supposed to fear the world.

BUT---I don't let that stop me. I still do the things, despite knowing there is a potential for heartache involved.

I no longer put my life on hold just because I am afraid of new experiences. 

I still get scared---and then I face my fears by allowing new experiences anyway.

Five years. 

Wow. It feels somewhat painful that it has been a whole five years and yet, in so many ways, I am beaming that we are five years out. Because trust me, I'd rather be here than where I was on this day five years ago.

I am continuously healing and growing from those awful events that happened five years ago and all I can really say today is that I am extremely grateful to be living the life I am currently living.

And because I like this new authentic life way more than I ever could've imagined. 

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