I have tried writing this in my head for days now, because it’s important to me, now more than ever, that I live my life without feeling like I’m hiding something. The funny thing is, I’ve been hiding for years and the same can be said for Stephen.
Everything is fine.
Until it’s just really, really not.
Stephen and I have been married for just over 10 years, together almost 12.
Which is why it feels weird to say we're done. It feels hard.
But I'd be lying if I said it didn't feel more right than a lot of things I've had to do in this life. Because I'm done.
I’m done trying to be someone I’m not.
I’m done feeling guilty.
I’m done attempting to make people treat me with respect.
I’m done not being a priority.
I’m done biting my tongue.
I’m done sacrificing who I am for people who don’t even care to know the real me.
I’m done dampening my fire.
I’m done trying to control the hurricane.
Because I’m not going to sit here and try to teach my children how to be strong, kind, independent people who aren’t afraid to speak up and go their own way while I live a life that’s a lie in complete opposition to those ideals. For a long time, I’ve stayed because I felt like I needed to stay for my kids, but I’ve finally come to the realization that maybe there’s an even bigger lesson for us all to learn in the strength it takes to finally say “enough” and walk away.
My kids are my heart. They give me life. They make me a better person. They make me want to be a better human every single day, because I can see each day how they’re becoming such cool little people and there’s nothing like watching them and wondering exactly how incredibly beautiful they may one day be. They make me strong.
But because they love their daddy, they make me confused too. I can’t look to them to be the answer to all the questions, because there are some questions they complicate.
But I’m lucky, because I also have some seriously badass, fierce people in my life. People who call my bullshit. People who I can't pretend around. People who have, over the past ten days, picked me up off parking lot pavement when the tears overwhelmed me, stayed up all night with me and raged with me, held me and refused to let me go, sat in Waffle House at 4 am with me, hate-watched Food Network and HGTV and TLC with me, smoked too many cigarettes with me, let me crash on their couch. People who have called the cops (no, I'm dead serious, life's been cutting up) and helped me speak when I couldn't even find the words to say anything.
People who finally took my bourbon from me and reminded me I can’t run from life.
People who have literally reminded me to breathe.
People who have reminded me I am strong.
When it rains, it pours.
But I’m done trying to stop the storm. I’m done trying to pretend I’m not a hurricane myself.
For right now at least, the kids are staying here in the house and Stephen and I are going to be the ones shuffling in and out. We wanna try to limit the chaos in their life. So the only thing that really is going to change is that when Stephen isn’t traveling, he’s here and I’m just not. I’m not naive enough to think this will be the perfect arrangement right off the bat, so I know there’s going to be bumps to figure out how to deal with.
Honestly, one of my biggest concerns was something happening to Hooch while I wasn’t here, and whether Stephen would know how to handle all his needs. I laid in bed for hours 2 nights ago worrying about him, with him snoozing in the chair at the foot of my bed, and the very next morning, yesterday, when he couldn’t get up….I don’t know how my dog knew he had to go, but he knew. And he looked at me with eyes that told me he was done, and that I was going to be okay. That damn dog. When he went to sleep, he snored a deeply peaceful snore and somehow it was exactly what I needed to hear. Peace. I needed to HEAR that peace.
I’m gonna be okay.
I may need some of y’all to shake me periodically and remind me I’m gonna be okay because I know I'm going to beat myself up and tell myself I can't do this…but I’m strong enough for this because I have to be. Because my kids depend on me being okay. Because I DESERVE to be okay. Because I’m stubborn as hell and I’ll always root for the underdog. And this time the underdog is me.
I’ve avoided the hurricane that rages in me for a long time. But it’s time. It’s time to back off and let the floodgates go.
Because some things have to get completely wrecked to build them back up.
And the rain has just begun.