From one strong woman to another

Dear J,

I know that life is hurting right now. Every waking breath you take hurts. You hurt for what you have lost, for what you will never have. For the dreams that you held and then watched slip away from you because of someone else’s decision.

You feel out of control, like you can’t put the pieces back together. That maybe you were meant to be stuck where you are right now, because that’s where he put you with his choice.

That you can’t go back and you aren’t strong enough to move forward.

But you are and you will.

He left, true. But he left because of a deficit in him. Whether it was a restless soul, a lack of being able to commit, a want for something that he didn’t think that he had where he was.

But, the bottom line here is that he left because of a fault of his. Because he couldn’t hack it where he was and he decided to leave.

I know that you loved him and that your future seems so dull without him. I know that it hurts you when you wake up in that bed and realize that he is not lying there beside you. I know that it feels weird to do things around your house with no expectations thrust upon you by another person.

All of those things make you feel lost. All of those things, maybe, make you feel weak because you wonder what he would think about the new curtains that you hung, or the dust catcher that you bought.

I understand. I understand all of what you are feeling and what you are going through. I know how hard it is to stand on your own without that idea, that feeling, of someone being there at your back. I get it. It makes you think that you aren’t strong enough to stand on your own.

But you are.

You are strong enough. You can stand on your own.

Look at you! You’re already doing it. You’re doing it and didn’t even realize that you are.

He left and you didn’t fall down in a ball on the ground and die. You lived! You chose to live without him. You chose to have a life that didn’t include him. You are strong.

You are strong enough to get up every day. You are strong enough to do the things that need to be done: go to work, shop for groceries, do the laundry, take a shower, shave your legs (never underestimate the power of a smoothly shaven leg. They do wonders!).

You are strong enough that you make plans with your friends for the future. You are strong enough that you plan a menu for the month, to start shopping for Christmas gifts in June, what you want to do for your summer vacation.

You are strong enough that you are looking to YOUR future. Where you want to go, what road you want to take, things that you want to experience.

And here’s the cool thing about that: THE SKY’S THE LIMIT! You don’t have to wait for anyone or anything to do these things with you. You can do them on your own.

You can take those cooking classes you’ve always wanted to take, the dance classes you thought would be cool, the water aerobics class that you’ve been eyeing for months.

You can do all of these things. Why?

Because you are strong.

Strength is not about being bold and flashy. That kind of strength is fleeting, forgotten as quickly as it came.

Your kind of strength is the strength that moves mountains. It is quiet, fluid. Like water, it may not work quickly, but it is powerful, carving valleys out of solid rock. Your strength is the kind of strength that everyone wishes they had because it will carry you through all of your days. It will flag, sometimes, this is true. But it will come back, stronger than ever.

Nothing can hold you back. You are a force to be reckoned with.

Keep getting up, going to work, doing laundry, shaving your legs. Keep doing these small things. They are the foundation upon which your strength will stand and assert itself. Sometimes when you least expect it to.

That quiet strength will take you through the rest of your life, with no room to look backwards because your future is taking all of your energy and concentration.

You are strong. You inspire me, and everyone around you, with your strength.

Don’t ever doubt it.

Sincerely,

Miss Independent (formerly The Forgotten Wife)

PS: Demi Lovato has a great song called “Skyscraper” that I think pretty much sums it up. And with a much prettier singing voice than I could ever have. I’ve included it here for you. I hope you like it and that it helps strengthen your resolve. Listen to the words. You are a skyscraper. Don’t forget it!

The Rough Road

I started graduate school in February with my alma mater UMUC. All the classes are online, which is how I did most of my Bachelor’s Degree, so I knew that it wouldn’t be an issue.

The way that the graduate program for education at this university is set up you take one class at a time. The classes are 6 credits and run for three months. I’m currently in week 8.

When I started the class, I was thinking to myself that this was going to be a piece of cake! I was taking 4, FOUR, English classes at the end of my undergrad, going through a divorce and finding a place to live and I still passed all of them. One class will be a breeze!

Instead:

See how the room looked around him? That’s my house.

Between class, hunting for a job, dealing with my youngest son’s horrible behavior and a myriad of house problems (like leaky pipes), I’m that guy that just went nuts.

On the upside, I’m pulling an A.

On the downside, it’s 10:22 pm and I’m writing this as I take a short break from working on my next project which is due in a week and for which I have no idea what I’m doing.

Yes, just like them - fabulous, but Clueless

Yes, just like them – fabulous, but Clueless

Yeah, it’s going to be a long week!

But even with all of the challenges and hurdles I have to jump, I’m in graduate school. That’s nuts to me. I never, truly, thought I would get here. I never thought that I would be on the road to earning my Masters in Education. I never thought that I would be able, for various reasons, to take the first step of achieving the dream that I have held since I was 12.

Yet, here I am.

Despite the divorce, three layoffs in the past two years, the fact that my trailer seems intent on falling apart around my ears, my son’s lackluster performance in school and his attitude issues, I am still on the road to my dreams.

reaching for dreamsI could have thrown in the towel, walked away from the kids and gone my own way in life because it was the easy thing to do. People do that all the time (i.e., my ex). But I didn’t. Sure I have had days where I just have curled up in a ball and bawled until my eyes felt like they were going to fall out.

I have had days where I just wanted to walk out the door and never come back. Who doesn’t?

But that’s the cowards way.

I’m a lot of things, many of them not favorable, but I’m not a coward. I’m not afraid of hard work and hard times to reach my goals. I’m not afraid of rolling up my sleeves and doing what needs to be done to make things work out the way I want them to.

socks Except for laundry. That’s why God created laundry baskets, so you wouldn’t have to fold the socks and they could still be considered clean and out of the way.

Where was I? Oh, that’s right. The rough road.

The easy road will seem so perfect. It will be filled with sunshine and light, and unicorns pooping rainbows overunicorn pooping your head. Angels will sing and all will be good.

Until you hit the bump in the road.

Because, it’s a fact, folks. You will always hit the bump in the road, no matter which road you take: easy or rough.

The difference between the easy road and the rough? On the rough road, you will learn to overcome and even greet your fears and your problems. You will develop coping skills that will allow you to not curl up in a ball and cry every single time something goes wrong.

rough roadThe rough road teaches you how to put on your big person britches and move on. It teaches you that a hurdle is just a hurdle and not the end of the road. It teaches you that you have the strength to move forward, even when all seems hopeless.

The easy road may get you to where you THINK you want to be with minimum challenges and everything coming up roses.

The rough road will allow you to prove to yourself, and everyone else, that you are worthy of the goal that you have reached.

And after a trip down a rough road, nothing in the world is sweeter than reaching the star that you had the audacity and courage to reach for.