January is gone

Today starts a brand new month, February.  I like to think each day we get to turn a new page in a small chapter of our lives.  Some go by quickly, while others seem to drag on.  I want to explain how every day is a blessing and how I got to rewrite my story, thanks to my divorce.

After my divorce was final in March of 2015, there were many emotions going through my sensitive brain and my worn out body.  There was such relief that it was over, grief because it was over, anxiety because it was over.  At the time I was so overwhelmed, I went to the doctor’s office and got put on an anti-depressant.  It seemed like I failed at being in control of my body and mind and part of that was because of my ex’s stance on mental issues.  He was a former member of the military and thought that mental illnesses weren’t real.  He thought that I just needed to “get up and do something” instead of trying to find out what he was doing all the time.  It was deflection in its finest, and still to some degree, the things he used to say to me still affect me from time to time.

The relief of having to wonder about if he wanted me back, if we were going to try and make it work, if there was a chance he was going to change his mind started to slowly subside.  I am a forgiver and a lover by nature but once I know the door is closed – it’s sealed shut.  Forever.  Being without him was so hard, even after 4 months of being away from him, the finality of it finally sunk in.  That is when I started to make decisions – what do I want to do with my life?  Where do I want to be in a year or 5?  Who the heck am I?

I thought about what it was like being with him and being without him.  When we were married and things were good – it was amazing.  I know in the beginning and up until the last 7 months we were together, he was a great husband.  We did everything together – cooked, cleaned, worked inside and outside the house, camped, fished, hunted – everything.  We were always each other’s sidekick and biggest supporter.  The bad times were few and far between and I can say that we only really had a handful of really bad disagreements.  More often than not, it was when we were drinking and his demons came out and played, or it was my deep down insecurities I carried with me my entire life.  I mostly worried that our future children would be confused with having a Catholic mother and a Methodist father.  I didn’t want turmoil and apparently I was the only one worried about that.  His issues had to do with deployments and being in combat zones in all of them, losing men, missing family, and the emotional heartache that comes with it.

Being without him was hard, but it got better a tiny bit each day.  I went from crying every single day, to a month or so later to only crying every other day.  Then it was crying maybe a couple times a week then finally I stopped crying.  I don’t really remember when I finally quit crying consistently but my parents mentioned it and there was a sense of pride.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I still have my moments to this day, but it was an amazing obstacle that I was able to overcome.  I had lost some weight during all this time and I started to notice it in myself.  I was looking good and feeling good – that was something I hadn’t felt in a long time.  I signed up for the color run that summer and a veterans run that fall.  I worked out, lifted weights, and ran – I was feeling great!

Those first few months after I was divorced seemed to drag even though I had so much going on and so much love around me.  Every day was a struggle and I know that the medication plus all the working out was doing wonders.  Every month I would think – I made it.  I don’t need him anymore.  He used to be a great person for me, but he’s not God’s person for me.  I don’t know why I chose to ignore my family’s opinion and even the little voice in the back of my head saying “slow down” – I don’t know.  I am as stubborn as a mule and hard-headed as they come; I’ve always had to learn things the hard way.  I now realize that I’m not always right (tough pill to swallow) and that my framily and relatives are warning me, I now stop and listen.  I want to make sure that I’m doing the right thing and that I’m not clouded by lust and infatuation.

I loved so hard and so deep it scares me sometimes to think that I may never love like that again.  I truly felt he was it, he was my person, he was mine and I was his.  I know that God has great plans for me, I know he has my person waiting, somewhere.  I don’t know who he is, what he looks like, or where I’m going to find him.  But I do know that whoever he is – I’m sure I’ll be ready for him because God always has a plan.

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Hey Y’all!

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This is me in my natural state.  Hair in a ponytail, unpainted nails, cup of coffee with way too much creamer, and just mascara.  Mom hardly ever wore make up growing up and she and Dad always said I was beautiful just the way I was.

At the moment I should be finishing school work but I can’t stop thinking about today at school and one of the classes I took.  Its a medical ethics class and we had to do a paper on a current event that has an ethical issue.  Practically everywhere you turn there are ethical issues – politics, science, religion, people in general.  I chose to write about the Women’s March and the March for Life.  Both of these marches did lots of things for a lot of people – some were inspired, some were enraged, some were just downright making fools of themselves.

Feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.

At the Women’s March there were feminists in the street topless with children around, boobie hats, hateful signage about staying out of our beds/uterus.  I don’t understand what that has to do with equality for all, maybe I’m missing something?  I do believe the message that was intended was that women want equality in the work force, to be able to taken care of in a way that doesn’t infringe on their ability to live their lives sexually, and to be respected.  In my opinion, that isn’t how it turned out.  I was disappointed, but not surprised, how these women thought it was okay to get naked and scream with signs to people they didn’t know and don’t care to understand their policies.  Again, maybe I missed the point.

At the March for Life there were families that marched with their children and didn’t have to see nakedness around them.  There were some signs that had babies in-utero and even some that showed babies that were victims of abortion.  There were also feminists there that were able to say what they felt without showcasing their precious bodies to the world.  There was the march for everyone has a right to live.  Some people say it was about being pro-birth and not pro-life.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with letting a child survive and make their own way in life.  I was raised that if you were adult enough to lie down and have sex, you are adult enough to be pregnant and raise a family.  If you don’t want a baby – don’t have unprotected sex.

As I went into my ethics class I knew there were going to be some discussions about things that I don’t agree with but I can respectfully disagree and still be friendly with that person.  I’m one of the oldest in my class and I’ve matured a bit since I was fresh out of high school.  There were stories of stem cell research, brain dead individuals in comas, and women’s rights.  I would love to live in a world where everyone gets equal opportunities but I know the world just doesn’t work that way.  Are we oppressed as women? Absolutely not.  Are we mistreated? I don’t think so.  We live in America and are very fortunate to have what we have.  I don’t have an arranged marriage, I don’t have to worry about getting stoned to death because I looked at my husband wrong, I don’t have to worry about getting sold off as a child to a man 3 times my age.  I have the opportunity to go back to school at 30, start a career, own my own home one day, be able to get remarried if I find the right guy, I can do what I want when I want because I live in the land of the free!

I also have the legal right to kill my unborn baby.  Yes, I went there.  I stated that in my class and they didn’t like it. At. All.  “Its a fetus,” “a lump of cells,” and the list went on and on.  I began to shake so bad I thought I was going to knock my water over on my desk.  That is what they called their babies, the most innocent, the most vulnerable of our kind.  We were once those phrases that they so clinically called babies.  I asked them if there was a stray dog on the street that was pregnant with a litter of puppies would it be okay if we aborted that litter because that dog was miserable and didn’t want to have them.  I got death stares and comments thrown at me that would make your momma blush.  “Its not the same!  That’s so inhumane!”  So you can kill your own “clump of cells” but if that dog has had 3 litters in one year that could be severely damaging to her, we can’t help her?  The double standard is mind boggling.  Our teacher intervened and started the daily power point on the principles we were supposed to be studying.  It took me a half hour to get my heart rate down and my red face to subside.  Inside I was destroyed.  How can those mothers say that about what was once, their own baby?

I know that going into the medical field my faith will be tested, over and over.  I pray that I will have the strength to help people and not judge them for what they are doing.  I hope that some people’s minds were changed when they saw the little coverage on the March for Life.  I hope the girl going to the abortion clinic will turn around when she sees those “crazy religious people” praying the rosary for the babies lost at the abortion clinics.  I pray that God will lead people back to the faith and have their eyes opened about what a precious miracle lies within those beautiful round bellies.  Every. Life. Matters.

The attempt to move on

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March 2015.  What a month.  This was the month of my life that changed my course forever.  I remember waiting for the court date to arrive.  What was I going to do?  What was I going to wear?  What was he going to say to me?  Is he going to speak to me?  I was riddled with fear and anxiety of what my life was now going to look like, without my husband.

After we separated in November 2014, it was so very lonely.  I hadn’t been speaking to my parent for months prior to the separation because they suspected that he was having an affair.  I stood by his side and denied it, over and over.  I had refused to see what they had been seeing.  When I finally decided that I deserved someone better, after fighting the battle of “don’t give up,” and “stick by your husband,” I made the call.

It was a very humbling experience having to call your family to let them know that they were right and you needed them now, more than ever.  I called Dad at work and asked if he could take a half day, and that we could talk to Mom later that night.  I had called and texted with my younger brother throughout the night because he worked 3rd shift.  Next, was my older brother, who had been through a divorce a few years before.  I was met with vehicles ready to help me move, loving arms to hold me when I cried, and fierce protection from them and my few close friends.  I had never been more loved, but I instantly felt the sting of loneliness.

That chilly weekend in November, I moved into my parents house, into the spare room.  That weekend I slept on an air mattress with sheets I had from childhood.  Alone. In a new room, without the comforts of my own home I had built just 4 years before.  I cried a lot that weekend and didn’t sleep but maybe a few hours over those 3 nights.  I thought God was punishing me, for what I wasn’t sure, but I blamed God.  I didn’t want to blame Tex, (that’s what we’ll call my ex-husband), because I never stopped loving him.  I didn’t want to take responsibility, I stayed faithful, I remained in a relationship that I knew was dwindling.

I tried to figure out what I had done wrong, and in hindsight, that accomplished nothing.  I thought maybe he would come back and would leave her for me, his wife.  I thought that he would get over it, he would come back.  A lot of thinking and blaming myself for nothing.  Nothing. But I posted about it on social media.  And then something happened.

I had support.  I had friends that I had lost over the years that came back and wanted to help take my mind off everything.  I went to bars, I went to dinners, I went to the gym, I started to see that I was going to be okay.  Now, don’t let me fool you – this was a several month process.  Those people slowly coming back into my life and it was great!  They didn’t let me sit around and have a pity party, they knew me and who I was before I got married.  They started to put me back together in a new improved version of me.  They let me cry with them, laugh with them, sweat with them, drink and eat with them.  Breaking bread does amazing thing when you’re in such a lost and lonely state.

My court date then started to creep up.  I had been hitting the gym hard – at that point I had lost about 20 pounds due to stress and getting my gym therapy.  I started to look better but I didn’t really feel better down in my heart.  My neighbor, that I had lived next to when I was married, had recently gone through a divorce a few months before my separation, and wanted to do a class at church called DivorceCare.  I was very hesitant about it because, after all, I was Catholic.  We don’t do those sorts of things…. Or so I thought.

After a while of asking me to go, I gave in and we went.  It was the best thing I had done since separating.  The short version is this – its a 13 week class that goes through the stages of grief when dealing with divorce.  Its a safe place to go and let your feelings fly with people who know exactly what you’re going through.  I would not be where I am today without it.  I knew God was tugging at my heart that first night and I surrendered.  It was a night of thinking, “God you got this because I’ve been lost for too long.”

The days leading up to my court hearing were a blur, to be honest, I don’t remember much about it.  Tex wanted us to go to the hearing alone and I told him I would have to think about it.  The day of, my parents took off work, and drove me to the courthouse.  They were by my side the whole time.  Waiting for our case to be heard was hard because he was sitting less than 15 feet from me and he was staring at me.  I wanted so badly to walk over to him and beg him to change and leave her and stay in our marriage.  But all he could say was “I thought we agreed we were going to do this without our parents.”  Heart. Breaking.

It finally became our turn and it was over before I realized.  I only looked at the Judge and had tears streaming down my face the whole time.  Once he declared our divorced dissolved, we left the courtroom, and I headed to the stairs with my parents and collapsed in tears.  I don’t know how long I sat in that stairwell, or how I managed to file the paperwork to become a Smith once again.  If it wasn’t for my parents, I don’t know how I would’ve gotten through that day, those months, and even up until now.

I kept going to my DivorceCare class because it was my one constant – it was there for me every Thursday night, no exceptions.  Those people let me cry, vent, and eventually, laugh with them.  That class, my parents, my neighbor, and my best friends got me through.  They loved me the whole way.  God loved me.  God brought them back to me, God led me to them and back to him.  I started going to mass again, going to confession again, taking the Eucharist again.

My life was hard at that moment, it was a season of heart ache, grief, and sadness.  But the sun had started to peak from behind the clouds and the light was starting to warm my face.  A new day was dawning and I just needed to wait and see what He had in store for me.

Where it all began

What can I say?  I’m a newbie to the world of blogging and have almost no clue what to do with all of this.

I can start with who I am.  I am a 30 year old, single, Catholic girl looking for God to lay out his plan for me.  You can say that I’m in love with tradition, the romance of the Church, the part my family plays, and my framily.  I’m a dreamer and goal chaser, best friend and sister, auntie and playmate.  I’m wandering through this life trying to achieve my goals and attempt to keep my sanity.

My life began in 1986, when I was born in Louisville, Kentucky.  My life had humble beginnings and thanks to my parents, I would learn how to overcome many obstacles put in my way.  My father worked 2 jobs from the time my older brother was born until my younger brother started junior high.  My mother worked part time so she could be at home and raise us outside of the childcare setting.  They were workers – in their jobs, as parents, as teammates in this thing we call life.

I went to a Catholic grade school and learned my faith.  I learned how to make friends, work hard, study, and believe in God.  I learned how to work hard and make good grades, practice with everything I had at my sports, and pray like Jesus was going to walk into the room at any moment.

I always remember thinking that I wanted a relationship like my parents – find your love young, start a family, send them to sports and school, and be the best mom/wife/friend ever.  I didn’t realize my parents were the exception to the rule.  They met each other at 17 and were married 2 years later – thanks to my brother being born.  They now have been married for 32 years and it amazes me.  32 years – no affairs, no scandals, just tough love, working on their relationship, working through the storms, deciding to love each other even when they wanted to walk away.  I wanted that – but my story is just a bit different.

I didn’t have a boyfriend until after I graduated high school.  I was the tomboy, the one that was like your sister, I was the little sister.  I had major crushes but it never happened for me until I was out of school.  My first boyfriend was just that – a first boyfriend.  Long story short – he didn’t have a faith, his mother hated me, and we broke up after 9 months. We weren’t good for each other.

My next serious boyfriend I had known for years; we met when I was 14.  He had a crush on me, I had a crush on him, and we didn’t realize it until we met up at a friends house about 7 years later.  He asked me to a wedding and I accepted the invitation.  It was love from there – until I wanted more.  We dated about 2 and a half years and I wanted to get engaged, he wasn’t ready, and I walked away.  He was a good guy and I broke his heart, I apologized about 2 years ago about what a jerk I was – he was gracious and accepted it.  Again, he’s a good man.

Then there was the next man.  He was a charmer, devious, mysterious, smooth talker, and, of course, my Achilles heel.  I met him through working at an outdoors store and at first I hated him – with a passion.  He grew on me slowly, and we got closer as each day passed.  We worked together about 3 months and then started dating.  I moved in with him after being together about 3 and a half months.  I was passionately and wholeheartedly in love.  We were together about a year and we got engaged.  We knew this was it – the one that was going to stick.  He had been married before and he convinced me that this was the most amazing, wonderful, grand, blah, blah, blah love he’d ever been in.  He was sure I was the one – I never doubted him for a minute.

We were together for 4 years before I noticed things changing, and it was the end.  There was another woman and I was heartbroken.  Devastated.  Future shattering.  My dream was over before my very eyes.  There was a culmination of things that led to his affair – I lost my spark, the never-ending want for me to have kids, I had changed.  At the time, I thought, “it’s all my fault.  I should’ve been more, done this, done that.”  The truth is, he changed.  I didn’t notice because I was consumed with wanting a baby, a more comfortable house, making sure the landscaping was perfect, wanting my marriage to be like my parent’s.

We separated the week before Thanksgiving 2014 and it was the hardest months of my life.  We were divorced in March of 2015 and my “dream” was over.  I was 28, no husband, no children, and living in my parents spare bedroom.  And that is where my story really begins…