By the time you get to be my age, you learn a few lessons in life. One of the most important lessons I have learned is that everything that has happened to me has made me what I am today. I have been married, divorced, abused, treated well, addicted, cheated on, lied to, taught, protected, loved, shamed, adored, and hated. Each and every event shaped my personality.
I’ve had three husbands, two long term relationships, and at least five serious boyfriends. Each one of those relationships shaped the one that followed it.
My first husband was an abusive drug addict who left me for dead with double pneumonia so bad that I was barely breathing when my mother found me. My oldest daughter was not even six months old.
My second husband was a decent man, but he didn’t really like to work. He was not much of a provider, and had issues being faithful. I left him and jumped directly into a 10 year relationship with my youngest daughter’s dad. He was great for the first few years of our lives together but then his once dormant crack addiction returned and our lives went to hell. He was abusive, addicted, and militantly unfaithful.
My third husband was an amazing man – my true soul mate. He was an alcoholic, but he was never, ever abusive or mean. We had an amazing life, a great home, and were working toward a bright and beautiful future together. However, we both got distracted. I allowed his drinking to make me bitter and my eye wandered. I did not cheat physically, but I did connect with another man. He allowed his drinking to take over as a result and for months he lived by the bottle. I left for a week, and then determined to work things out, went back home. One weekend my mom got sick and I had to go visit her. A woman I had counted as a friend knew this, but told him I was with another man, and moved in on him. He cheated – I left.
I moved on with another 10 year relationship – the one I recently ended. I think this was more a relationship of convenience. I did care for him and his kids… but I was never really truly in love with him. It was the easy thing to do. We were friends… but the love just wasn’t there for me. I know that he loved me, and that’s what made leaving so damned hard. I hated to hurt him… but I didn’t want to end up hating him. Now, it’s the other way around and he hates me. That’s okay – it’s what I deserve for how things ended.
What no one knew, not even my husband, at the end of my third marriage… was just how damned devastated I truly was. I had friends who encouraged me to leave him – because of the drinking, and because he wasn’t always nice to my then 15-year old son. They allowed me to give up, gave me a reason to just leave. I couldn’t let them know just how much I was hurt because he cheated. How heartbroken I was because I had lost my soul mate.
I have been the step parent to emotionally disabled children. Two of them severely. Those kids have taught me lessons that I would never have learned anywhere else. For that I am truly grateful.
I have had my turn with drugs… doing things I’m not exactly proud of… but things I did learn valuable lessons from. I learned that I was stronger and more determined than I ever thought possible.
I am a survivor. I will move on through this turmoil as I have every other in my life. I will grow, and become stronger for it. I will learn lessons, earn respect, and move forward as I always do. I will live each and every day to its fullest capacity. I will let love in when it comes, and I will allow it to grow and bloom into the fullest extent possible.
I am fearless, fierce, and beautiful. All that I have seen and done has made me What I Am Today.
What about you, what has made you what you are today?