Friday, September 19, 2014

Breathing, Living, Learning, Growing

I am a huge fan of music. Music helps me cope with a lot of things in my life, especially this past year.
Lately, I've been going back to the same two songs most days.

Colbie Callait's 'Try': I have been listening to this on repeat as I sit in the carpool pick up lane at my daughter's school and start to feel anxious because that 20 minutes in the carpool lane is often my only quiet time to think about life. I turn it on when I look in the mirror and realize I was brave enough to fight my eating disorder and get myself in recovery months ago and now I'm here---and it seems like just yesterday I was there. And then I start to worry because am I good enough? Am I pretty enough? Am I smart enough? Am I a good mother? Am I worthy of someone marrying me and taking on the responsibility of my children? Will I be wonderful enough that a man would choose to do that when he could marry someone who doesn't have kids and an ex husband?

These are real thoughts and they run through my head a lot. A lot.

"You don't have to try so hard. You don't have to give it all away. You just have to get up. You don't have to change a single thing."

I feel so unworthy of dating. I feel so unworthy of love. But Colbie helps me remember how hard I'm trying and how I don't have to do that. The right guy and the right friends will love me not for how hard I try but for who I am---for who I am right this very moment.

Christina Perri's I Believe is also at the top of the list. Everytime I hear the last line of the chorus, I can feel in my heart the exact words being sung.

"I have died so many times but I am still alive."

Because I have died. I have felt loss and abandonment and insecurity times a thousand this year.

But I am still alive. I am still fighting. I am still moving on with my life.

I'm trying to be the mom my kids need and the provider they need and still be me and do things for myself.

If you're wondering how well that's working for me, refer to my mention of anxiety above...

But this is life and I'm fighting through it. I'm still breathing. I'm still waking up every morning.

These past few weeks have had a lot of hard moments intertwined with the normal busy chaos. I was planning a trip to Las Vegas with some friends and in that same week, Spidey started having meltdowns that I was leaving him so much.
I tried to spend quality time with both kids before leaving but as I drove away that night, I felt so much guilt. Because although I knew I needed some time to myself, I felt like the worst mother for walking away at the worst possible time.
I was having an incredible time. The days were some of the best I've had in a long time. But each time Spidey would call and cry, I would feel so torn between relaxing and just getting back to him and holding him.
Each day, I was laughing and relaxing and having some of the best conversations with some of my favorite people and each night, I prayed so hard that Spidey would feel comfort and that he could just enjoy his time with his dad.
Just leaving on this trip was brave for me. I have never been on a girls trip that didn't involve family members. I knew that when we started planning this, it would be tricky. Because although I have a few friends I tell everything to, I have so very many friends who mean so much to me and I've never been a fan of "clicks".

But it ended up being totally fine and I'm grateful for that because I worried about it. And I'm not the only one who worried about it.
These girls have been through a lot with me. Three of them spent the evening at the temple with me the night my husband left me. The other two have been equally incredible this year. I know this trip wasn't just planned by me and it definitely wasn't for me alone but it certainly was a perfect way to remember where I was a year ago and look at where I am today.
These friends were some of the first to know what was happening as my separation turned into divorce and they have checked in on me, even when I just wanted to stay in bed all day and cry.
Visiting the Las Vegas temple was high on my list and I'm so glad we fit it into our weekend because it was one of the highlights. I had the opportunity to really feel peace and relax and I stopped worrying about the kids for a while and think about what I needed in those moments.
Did I mention I was brave enough to wear my Porn Kills Love tshirt as we walked down the strip of Las Vegas?

The second we decided to go to Vegas, I knew I wanted to wear this shirt because this subject is something I believe so strongly in.

This is something I will never back down from. Ever.

As fearful and intimidated as I get around people, I just cannot take a back seat when the subject of pornography is brought up.

This week, in my Philosophy of Sexuality class, we watched an amazing video by the XXX Church about how porn kills. It was powerful and yet, I already knew what most of my class would think about it. As the video started, so did the snickers. The girl in front of me kept whispering to her neighbor, "That's so dumb. Porn kills what?!" and I wanted to shout, "PORN KILLS LOVE! IT KILLS MARRIAGES AND FAMILIES AND CAREERS!"

I could feel my heart beating all the way from my forehead to the tips of my toes. I felt like the video was going on forever and I wanted it to end because I knew what would happen next.

When it finally ended three hours eight minutes later, my teacher asked what our thoughts were and without another second, my hand shot up in the air. I took a deep breath and said something very similiar to this:

I know that my opinion won't be very popular among this class. I could hear the snickering and the confusion of what porn kills. I could see the eye rolls and the shaking heads. And I get it. Before last year, I didn't quite understand what pornography was capable of either. But my marriage was ruined because of pornography. My husband left me last year and my kids have had to endure our divorce and all of the pain that comes with their feelings of abandonment. Porn kills love and even if you think that statement is dramatic, I am living proof that it can be a true statement.

Pornography addiction has caused enough trauma in my life that I no longer am willing to sit in a room and not share my opinion if the subject is brought up. I knew I would not have an audience of people who understood what I have lived through but I will never regret that opportunity I had to share a part of my story with a room full of young college students.

I used to view pornography as bad mainly because of my religious beliefs but I never really knew what an addiction to pornography is capable of doing to an individual, to a marriage, and to a family.

There were some hard moments, walking around Vegas and seeing pornography and a lot of other things that made my heart so sad. This really is the world we live in.

I guess if I could just have one wish come true from all of the things I've learned it would be that each and every one of you who decides to click on my posts and read my words will do whatever you can to protect your families from pornography. And also that you'll love the people around you and have compassion. We can't understand everyone's situation but we can make a goal to try and remember that everyone has a story and everyone has trials. Try not to be hard on the people around you.

I am still alive tonight, friends. Although I've been so broken for so long, I see healing and the possibilities that come with moving on. When I look back on everything I've done this past year, I am hopeful that this next year will be full of even more growth.

God stretches me and teaches me and I am trying my hardest to learn what He wants me to learn.


URFAVE5 said...

I love how brave you are! Your one awesome and courageous woman. You are so right we never know what someone is going through. A lot of people come off one way but it's because of the trials they've gone through. Thank you for that reminder as well as the reminder to guard against pornography. It does kill!
You keep hanging in there, I know that your future sweetheart is out there! Your an amazing beautiful woman.

Love Ya,

Jean Walsh said...

You are surrounded by a wonderful group of people. True friends really stick with you through thick and thin. I have read a huge part of your blog, and I have come to know how strong you are for sticking with your beliefs. Music is great company, and I'm glad Colbie Caillat's song helped remind you how beautiful you really are, even without trying. You're going to get through that, and after all the emotional battles, you're going to come out of it happier than ever. All the best! :)

Jean Walsh @ Romanowski Law Offices