Courage is not having the strength to go on: It’s going on when you don’t have the strength. Theodore Roosevelt
I look around my house and see the home I have created. My home is in a suburb of Los Angeles near the ocean. It is my refuge. I have worked hard for this house. I have sacrificed for this house. And my strength in maintaining this house has been challenged on many occasions. \
Courage, strength, and confidence.
Living in LA is not cheap. It’s all about the real estate values. I got a lot of side-eyes from people when I decided to buy a house shortly after my divorce. How could I do that on my own?
Why would you take on that burden with two small children?
But in my gut, I knew it was the right thing for me to do and it was the right thing for my family. I knew that as soon as I moved us in it would start appreciating. And it did. It was the best investment I have ever made short of my children.
But it is not just a house. It is our home.
The woman I am.
I remember when I was married I would dream about the kind of woman I wanted to be. The kind of house I wanted to have. The kind of life I wanted to lead. I wanted to be strong, and confident. I wanted to be a power dresser who knew who she was. A woman who had a slightly bohemian mind and a contemporary, liberal outlook. A woman who could be admired for her strength and also for her kindness.
I didn’t really think that I could be that woman when I was married. Everything was so heavy. And everything seemed so hard all the time.
The smallest decisions required months of contemplating. The biggest decisions were always a long and arduous exercise of fear. While I was married I realized that I had lost my sense of spirit, spontaneity, and even power.
I let myself idle inside my marriage.
It wasn’t a bad marriage I was in. I was fine to just keep on keeping on. But it was an unconscious marriage and it needed nourishment and attention. In our own individual ways, we needed nourishment and attention.
But we never talked about such things, and we just let ourselves idle on. As the responsibilities of building a life together carried on, the passion for life was almost nonexistent as a couple. I developed hobbies and activities that were only for my enjoyment. And I wasn’t invited into his activities either. We came together when a family was necessary as if we were a cohesive unit. And in many cases, I suppose we were because we just knew how to do it.
The funny thing is, as I look back over my shoulder to that woman I once was, and as the years went by I started to not even notice what was missing. My nature is that I tend to see my glass as half full anyway. I just live my life that way. My parents and his parents were both married for over 50 years. The models we saw were hitched forever. Or so I thought.
Though I hated (and still do) the way in which our marriage ended by learning of his affair, I think it was supposed to happen. No… I know it was. But perhaps I could have been a little kinder. But I am certain our marriage would have ended eventually. We were both growing up and growing apart. And in the end, it wasn’t he who came to me and said he wanted out, it was me finding out and telling him to go.
Learning about the affair was not as hard as saying the word “leave”. I was angry. I was hurt. I was humiliated. And I really didn’t mean it.
I had just had a baby and I needed him in ways we knew all too well. Let’s just function without real love between a man and a woman. Let’s function because we have to. Because we know how to. But he called my bluff and concluded that he had enough.
He wanted out and had for a very long time. In my subconscious mind, so did I. but I was afraid of those thoughts and my half-full glass was still hoping it would all come back. That we would find each other’s value again. But we both knew it wouldn’t. It couldn’t. Infidelity had come into our family, and it would never redeem itself.
I am who I always wanted to be.
So here I am. All these years later … I am strong. I am confident. A slightly bohemian thinking liberal woman who still loves to power dress. I am who I always wanted to be when I was married. I am who I knew I could be if I had just felt empowered.
I am a professional executive woman by trade. But I am also a woman who loves to write. And I am a woman who has found her passion. I found that long lost bookmark I had been hunting for. It was always there. I just couldn’t see it.
The journey to get here was far from easy. I have been lonely. I have been scared. I have been sad at times too. But I am here now. And I am happy again.
For any divorced mom who has taken a moment to look back over her shoulder on her married self, know this. There probably were times when you too felt like you wanted to break out and be someone else but were committed to your marriage, so the thought of change was not even an option.
Or perhaps you were just committed to the word marriage as I was. For some reason, I thought being married was some kind of exit from yourself. I was wrong. But I had to learn a way back on my terms. So will you.
There may be some bumpy skies ahead but believe me, you will handle the turbulence and find yourself landing at a place in your life where you too are once again confident and happy. And when you do, smile, and welcome her ho0me. It feels really good!
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Eleanor Roosevelt
I’m a Roosevelt fan! This quote has been in my desk drawer for the past 30 years as I climbed my way up the career ladder under a very male-dominated industry leadership. I wanted my seat at the table. And still today, Eleanor reminds me of my worth. Never stop dreaming. Never stop reaching for whatever you want. Whatever that is. Go ahead and look in that rearview mirror.
There may be a woman standing there feeling very disempowered and confused at first glance. But now look in your windshield and see a woman who is exactly who you envisioned her to be. She’s there! Be the strong woman you always knew you were. And know your children are watching and will be better for it too! Trust me on that!