I have been working at this “learning” and “growing” thing for a long time. Seemingly forever I was striving to get…there. To some destination where “happily ever after” started and all of the bad stuff just dissipated. Where I would fall into my lover’s arms, be independently wealthy, have a rockin’ wardrobe and live where the sun shines all the time.
It turns out, reality doesn’t quite look like that fairy tale. For me, it’s been many years of slowly realizing that if I want to live happily ever after, I’m the one that is going to write the story.
Searching for happily ever after has been quite a journey for me. At first I thought it was about the prince. My parents got divorced when I was young. I was raised by my mom most of my life, she did a wonderful job, but still I was missing the attention I would have received if I saw my dad everyday instead of holidays and summers. Starting in junior high, I was mesmerized by boys (normal at that age I think). But what I didn’t realize until later is that I wanted to have a boyfriend in part so that I could feel that admiration and affection that I felt I missed growing up. My dad is a good friend these days but those formative years still made an impact.
When the fellas didn’t give me the attention I wanted, I turned to food for comfort. That was something I could control and could bring me comfort when I was feeling down. I soothed myself with food for many years, until I was much heavier than I am today and I realized that food didn’t bring me happily ever after either.
I got married and had kids.We had three kids, got divorced and we haven’t seen him since. It turns out he wasn’t prince charming after all. This was the toughest thing I have ever been through. I had a brand new baby, two toddlers, and no income because I had been a stay at home mom until the divorce . Maybe sometimes to you have to hit bottom so that you can figure out how strong you are. I am stronger than I ever imagined. It turns out no prince was needed, I figured out how to save myself.
One of the most important things I have learned along the way is that we are the only ones that can give ourselves whatever care and love we felt was missing in our upbringing. It’s that “self-love” stuff. That sounds easy but really it has been one of the hardest lessons I have ever (and continue) to learn. I’m an extrovert, so I talk about whatever is going on in my life. With a partner, friends, etc. Talking and expressing myself is how I hear what I think. While this is great, we can’t rely on others for our self care. That is something we have to discover for ourselves. So, I am slowly discovering what that means, like getting up early before the kids to write, to light candles just because, to make healthy, colorful food because I deserve it. Self care is learned, practiced and a work in progress for me.
The story continues, today I have a great job, the kids are much bigger, playing sports and super amazing human beings. Recently I ended a 5 year relationship with a guy I thought was a forever guy. It turns out, nope. So, the kids and I moved into a new home, we are making lemonade out of what could appear like a somewhat sour situation.
Our new house is so sweet. Our dinner table is filled with delicious healthy food and bubbly laughter. Our days are full of moving into our lives and this new start. It’s not perfect or even particularly easy some days but it is real and not the fairy tale version.
As it turns out, happily every after is possible. It’s not somewhere you arrive someday, it’s a journey and you have the option of creating it every single day.