“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” – J.P.Morgan
These little stories and reflections form part of my story, I share with you successes, thoughts, emotions, and raw celebrations of the wins to deep exhales. They speak of who I was and who I have become and the excitement of who I am becoming.
I didn’t see an alternate way to exist outside of marriage until I was in my early 30s. The role I had taken on was one I pretty much fell into, role modeling my parents to get married to the first person I dated seriously and make a life together. Looking back, I had not found my purpose, nor did I understand what it was until well into my 30s when I decided to invest in myself, which I realized as further education. I had seen others succeed in their careers and climb the corporate ladder, use fancy language in meetings and talk about all that had been accomplished; little did I realise this was different for everyone, and why should I be comparing myself. I feel like we are taught to reach from a young age, which creates some kind of false competition and unnecessary pressure, as a dear friend would call “the invisible whip.” I allowed this whip to subconsciously lead me on a path that was not truly mine but caused me to get lost in the purpose of others’. After acknowledging that I had to act on this, I started writing viciously. This gave me sense, a reason to continue, and provided a distraction from my runaway thoughts at work and home. At work, I felt I fit in with the rest of the team; I felt confident in my delivery and was well respected by my peers. I just didn’t know how to move up the ladder, I was seeking validation from my senior peers who were not responding, and after 7 years, I felt my self-worth drop when I was moved into a role that was of equal pay. Still, less responsibility. This demotion caused me to set out on a trajectory that would force me to invest in myself and lose myself all at once. After completion of my bachelor doors began to open, my confidence grew, and opportunities that I would have never considered presented. I was meeting people I would not have otherwise crossed paths with, and it’s because I was so unhappy in my role that I started applying almost obsessively just to prove my own worth. When the first offer came in, I went for it even though it was temporary. I felt an instant shift in my persona and energy, which gave me the ability to continue saying yes to further opportunities. As for my marriage, It had ended officially after 13 years, but deep down, I knew I had disconnected long before then, and a new journey running solo had started. I felt instant liberation to be in my own apartment that I thought no one would lease to me especially being on my own with children. The universe proved me wrong, and it was beautiful.
Deciding to leave did not happen 1 week before or 6 months before. At or around the 7-year turning point, I felt the relationship no longer served its purpose. I remember getting a custom ring designed for our 10th wedding anniversary with 5 diamonds embedded for each family member and telling my grandmother about it. She paused and said, “Wow, you made it to 10, imagine what it will be like at 20”. At this point, my inner voice spoke and responded there would not be another 10; I was done. I was emotionally exhausted and probably detached already, but I hadn’t thought about this deeper. This conversation enacted my deeply buried thoughts and brought them to the surface, making me realise that I had already lost so much time in being silent, and I started to question my future. I continued to exist and be the best parent I could be, supporting and providing for my children and ensuring all their needs were met while I was profoundly crumbling inside, knowing that the future would not be how I had dreamed it would be. I entered a state of mourning for myself and started to think about how life would become. These thoughts would come and go as sometimes I felt I should just stay and exist in this role I had forged for myself, and then sometimes they had me thinking about liberty. Music and running became my comfort and I searched for meaning in lyrics and would catch myself blasting the stereo and dancing in the kitchen. Thinking back this was me getting my spark back, there was so much life to be had and it got me excited when I allowed it to creep into my thoughts. Little did I know that it would be another 3 years before the physical separation would occur.