Am I Blog-Worthy?
When I was thinking about starting a blog, I had a lot of self doubt. Why would anyone want to read what I write? Why would anyone be interested in hearing about me? What have I done that is “blog-worthy”? Back in January I started a Facebook page called “My Best Self”–recently changed to “Finding Your Best Self”. I wanted a meeting place for myself and my friends on Facebook that would be all positive. A place that we could support each other’s health goals, cheer each other up, and to share my inspirational aspirations and get feedback. It was on this page that one of my friends, Lisa H., someone I have seen only a couple of times over the past 10 years, but who has remained a friend thanks to social media posted:
“Tracey you are amazing, beautiful and have always been a go-getter for as long as I have known you. You accomplish things most people won’t even try yet you do it even if it seems impossible at times. I may not be a part of your every day life but even all the way over here in Elk River I know that you are a first class Mother and friend. I wish you could see just how much awesome sauce you really have inside you because I know I see it. You have been through so many things in your short life and here you are still keeping your head above water and nothing is going to stop you. Your drive alone makes you someone most people want to be around. Then add in your beautiful smiling face, bubbly personality and BOOM you have the perfect recipe for the BEST friend anyone could ask for. We all have flaws and we all make mistakes but its those who don’t let anything stand in their way of happiness that succeed in life. You my friend will go to FAR places in this world. Don’t ever doubt the greatness you hold inside.”
As Women We Are BAD Receiving Compliments
Of course I teared up. What a beautiful thing to say! Now my first reaction, because I am a female, was to discount what she had just said, and to diminish it. But I paused for a moment… Lisa used to do childcare for my children, she knew me and my family very well. She helped me out a couple of times later on, during my divorce. She knew me before and after (not many people have). Her observations were educated, and, I am not arrogant enough to say they were accurate…so, I will say that they have a ring of truth.
Respect My Authority!
So here is why I feel like I am someone who has a right to share on the subject of overcoming obstacles in life, not to mention running a business from home, parenting (especially parenting alone, self-help, motivation, etc.)
I was shy kid who was bullied in high school but still took some risks as even then I knew only risk takers could get ahead. I played sports despite not being naturally athletic, or my parents being “important enough” in my town that I would ever really be played. I was on the fringe, not a jock, not a nerd, not a burnout…just me, and I had some really great friends! So I survived those dastardly years. I had a crush on the cutest boy in school and a year after we graduated high school we started dating and then got married. We shared 15 tumultuous years as I followed him to the Navy and back again, had two beautiful children, and made a life. He supported me leaving corporate American and staying home with our first child while I ran my already successful business with Home Interiors and Gifts. Soon after that I launched Little Ruby Designs and he helped in my business while he pursued his own career. Well, he helped for awhile. After a few years he grew tired of caring for the children on Saturdays so that I could work, and in a fit of rage and flying candle accessories, he declared that he was done. I struggled with a back injury at the time, and without the heavy lifting help, I was done too…so I tearfully shut down my website and said goodbye to a dream. I also ran a daycare and loved being with those little people all day long. My doctor advised a career change, so I did that too… I said good-bye to my babies I had raised and sent them off to other caregivers. It was a dark time, all of my dreams seemed to be in dust, and I was terribly depressed. I spent a brief time in a job as a private investigator only to be “fired” according to them but in reality the company was in trouble and they closed my office even before the judge ruled that I was not let go for cause in unemployment court.
Depression Is Not Just In Your Head
I was so miserable during this time. It is hard to even think about now, it seems like it was another lifetime entirely. I stayed in my pajamas all day. I spent hours of the day in bed. I had two small children and they were always supervised and safe but I would pop in a movie and go hide in my room more often than I care to admit. I thought about how much better off they would be without me. They were dark dark days. I would always try to put on a happy face and have dinner ready for my husband when he got home. We still had date nights and laughed together and shared everything. He was my best friend and the center of my world. But he knew how depressed I was and how much time I spent in bed. And he did not like it. I started selling Avon with a great group of ladies and those events got me out of the house. I was very successful with Avon and rapidly built a strong team. I started to get my groove back a teensy bit. But I still had to work so I got a job managing a convenience store. I worked 60-70 hours a week, early mornings and late nights. My husband had to take charge with the kids most days and on off days I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I would spend as much time with the kids as I could, soaking up every moment I could be with them. It was a huge shock to my system to be away so much after being home with them for the better part of 8 years. And that separation from the only two things that kept me anchored to the earth for so long was not helping my depression in the least.
The Beginning of the End
And then something changed at home. My husband stopped getting angry at me for napping. He wasn’t always home when I called from work to check in with him and the kids. And he stopped really talking to me at all. Friends started asking me about his relationship with our daycare lady. They thought something might be up. I told them they were crazy. We were a rock solid couple. Look at all that we had been through. We loved each other! But I was wrong. After a night out with friends where I caught them together in an embrace, we decided to work it out, but things got worse instead of better. My husband, who never raised his voice to me (except for the day he quit my business) was yelling at me and the children almost constantly. He came up with a long list of reasons why he hated me and he started pushing me to move out of the house. I was never leaving without my children. I consulted an attorney who told me I would lose a custody battle with the job that I had, and that I should take my kids and go before things got violent. So I did exactly as he said. I quit my job, took my kids and left the home that I had made for my family, with the few possessions he would allow us to take. I was jobless, essentially homeless, and my marriage was over.
Starting a New Life
My parents rented a house for us or I would have had to find us a nice refrigerator box. I will tell you, it was not good times, but I made a deal with myself. I would allow myself 30 days to wallow. I could stay in bed (while the kids were at school) and feel terribly sorry for myself as much as I wanted for 30 days. And then… I had to be done with it. I enrolled in school, I tried to make the shitty house we lived in a home, I got us a big goofy puppy, and every moment that my kids were home I was centered on them. When they were gone, as I still sometimes do, I focused on taking care of myself…taking long hot baths, reading a juicy novel, and yes, taking big long naps. I have never gotten used to being in my home without my children. I hate it as much 7 years later as I did the first weekend. At the end of my 30 day grieving period, the 30th day in fact, I went on a date. It was kind of a disaster but it was a major fear that I overcame that night. From that moment forth, I refused to look back. My (now) ex-husband decided to build a life with our daycare provider. While they are still together and seem to be happy, we are not amicable in any way and I regret how my hurt and anger contributed to that status. I have sole custody of our children after over two years of fighting and court and custody evaluation and attorney fees. He sees them every other weekend and whenever else he wants to …I have never wanted to take anything from my children, least of all a relationship with their father. And here is the thing I realized almost immediately when my 30 day grieving period was over… I have never been happier. While I definitely miss being a family and sharing all of those moments with another adult, it turns out I was much more unhappy with my marriage than I ever could have admitted. While he was my best friend, and I loved him unconditionally, it turns out that when the blinders came off that he wasn’t a good husband. The best lesson that I learned is that I am 100% responsible for the way I feel and how I react to those feelings. Do I still have some dark days? Sure! But these days I can always find the light in a situation. And I believe that I have the power to create a life that I love. I hope that you believe that you can too and I would really like to help you do it!
Thanks for sticking with this until the end…I would have liked to make a long story short but… Thank you for coming along with me for my journey. If you have questions for me, or if you have your own obstacles to share, you can post them in the comments below, or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time…