I spoke with one of my good friends a few nights ago. She's been having a very tough time within her marriage. Her story is very common, so I asked permission to write about it without including very personal details. She, and everyone else out there needs to know that they are not alone in this struggle.
Erica* and Jack* (*not their real names) got married at a young age. The first few years were good for them, and they had two kids along the way. Slowly though, things started to change, and Erica began to realize that she was unhappy. She and Jack were not compatible any longer. They fought all of the time and were both miserable.
Erica confided in me that she wanted out. As her friend, I listened to her and supported her, but told her that her decisions were hers to make and no matter what she chose, I would be there for her. Her main concern was her two children. She didn't want them to be upset and hurt them by divorcing their father. I shared with her my experiences as a child through my parents divorce. She knew of my desire to leave my husband (I was still married at the time too), and knew that we shared the same fears.
Erica stayed in her marriage, and became more and more miserable each day. She was there for me as I went through my separation and divorce and started out on my new journey. When she called me a couple of nights ago, she sounded like she had been crying, but also sounded relieved at the same time.
"I did it," she said. "I told him I wasn't happy any more and couldn't do this anymore." I asked if she was okay, and she said, yes, she was. She felt at peace with her decision, and knew that the months ahead would not be easy, but that she could do it. I asked if she had told the kids, and she laughed and said yes. When Erica and Jack sat the kids down to tell them, the youngest, and outspoken and precocious child, said, "It's about time, you guys are always so angry!" Her oldest was more quiet and cried, but both Erica and Jack reassured him that everything was going to be alright, and that this was not in any way his fault. It may take some time for him to get over the pain, but he will be okay too.
I asked her what made her decide to do this, and she said that she was tired of being miserable and just wanted to be happy. She knew that she was not setting a good example for either of her children by staying in a situation where she was so unhappy. She decided that her happiness was important, and that in order to be a good example for her kids she needed to change what wasn't working and try to turn things around.
I am so very proud of Erica for taking that first step. Admitting that things are not working and choosing to change them and deal with the fallout is a difficult but important decision to make. It takes a great deal of courage to admit it to yourself, your family, and the rest of the world. Life changes dramatically afterward, but in my case and Erica's case, it changes for the better. Choose happiness my friends, and if you need someone to support you, I'm here for you. <3
Saturday, February 16, 2013
This week at taekwondo I got a taste of sparring. Normally in class we only do a little bit, and if the person you are paired up with doesn't have any shin or arm guards, you can't make contact with them, for obvious safety reasons. Up to this point, I had always been paired with someone that didn't have any guards. My partner and I happened to be picked for the demonstration of what we were doing. He was up first, dealing out ten reps of a two roundhouse kick combo that I was supposed to block. He was gentle. (Maybe because I'm a girl?) Then it was my turn to kick while he blocked.
Maybe it was a little bit of nerves at being in front of the class combined with a little bit of annoyance at him taking it easy on me, but I wasn't easy on him. I had the chance to make contact, and I kicked hard. Not full strength, but hard. And I loved it. There was something about being able to actually kick an opponent and feel like I was using some of what I have been learning these past few months that was so very appealing.
I discovered something about myself. I love combat. Not emotional, in your face argument style combat (that sends me running for the hills), but physical, hand to hand combat. I've always loved watching martial arts movies, but doing it is so much better than seeing it. I feel like I had to have been some kind of warrior in a past life, because now there is a hunger, a driving need, to engage in sparring and combat to better my skills. I remember feeling something like this before. In my late teens, early twenties I had taken up kickboxing. Sadly, because of my schedule it was very shortlived. I do remember working on one of the punching bags and getting lost in the rhythm, intensity, and emotions that were pouring out of me as I was punching and kicking the bag. Hitting the bag was oddly therapeutic for me. Combat is, apparently, part of my being and something that I think is good for me.
So, this is going to be me in a few weeks:
|image from http://digitalfragrance.deviantart.com/art/Taekwondo-Vector-Illustration-63332189|
Sunday, February 10, 2013
It's that time of year again. The big day is Thursday. You know the one, filled with roses, chocolate, declarations of love, and maybe if you're lucky some actual lovin' going on. (You know what I'm talking about).
This is my second year being single for Valentine's Day, and I'm okay with that. I repeat my sentiments from last year(see here). I don't think that we should have just one day where we tell someone that we love them. That should be an integral part of a relationship, and is something that should be said often.
Being single at Valentine's Day isn't so bad. Instead of reflecting on the fact that I'm not in a committed relationship, I reflect on all of the good things I have going for me. I have two beautiful, healthy, (mostly) well-behaved children. I have a job that I love in a school that I love even more. I have friends that I cherish, a wealth of life experiences behind me, and even more to come. I'm surrounded by love, and for that I consider myself lucky. I won't be single forever. The time will come when I am able to celebrate my love for someone else everyday, and what a magical time that will be for me.
I leave you with some quotes about being in love:
"I love you more than I have ever found a way to say to you." -Ben Folds
"Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it's cracked up to be. That's why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more." - Erica Jong
"Let this be my last word, that I trust in your love." - Rabindranath Tagore
Enjoy your Valentine's Day everyday. Celebrate love!