“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” ~ Buddha
In this present moment I realize that life is good. Actually, my life is great! How long did it take me to get here…to realize what everyone around me already knows? Forty-five (almost six) years, one marriage, a divorce, and five years “alone.” It’s been an epic journey.
I remember being five years old, alone in my room. I was standing in front of my mirror, brushing my hair when I said aloud, “I’m so ugly.” Since the dawn of (my) time I have struggled with insecurities, demons, and a sense of never being good enough. I grew up thinking everyone was prettier than me, cooler than me, and happier than me. I survived anorexia and bulimia. I survived deep, dark depressions. I resisted plastic surgery even though I had wanted new boobs since the age of 15.
I believe I married for security. I struggled financially even as teenager, foregoing trying out for the dance team because I knew my parents would never fork out the cash for the uniforms. I was attracted to men that were not good for me and ended up marrying a man who was as bad for my self-esteem as my father at the time. I strived so hard to be beautiful and thin but I never gained the praise I so desperately needed. At 35, I had never been so miserable.
After my son was born things started to change. Age and a child had begun chipping away at my wounded, stone heart. I drew my family closer and pushed an emotionally abusive husband away. At 40 years old, I was a divorced single mom scared of what my future would hold.
Initially, I was on the husband hunt. I felt so naked and alone out there all by myself. It didn’t help that I was laid off four times in three years. How could I keep surviving? Could I do this all by myself? I felt I needed a man, a partner, to support and take care of me. I dated…and dated…and dated. And then one day, I stopped.
In searching for what I thought I needed I found the one thing that brought me true inner peace and, for the first time in my life, unbelievable happiness. I discovered forgiveness. It washed over me like a hot, viscous liquid penetrating every crevice of my heart and mind. The anger I felt towards the men in my life, past and present, disappeared. I wrote my ex-husband a letter apologizing for everything I did that caused him pain during our marriage. He, in return, apologized too. I made peace with my father and enjoy a relationship with him to this day. I dug deep into my inner psyche through yoga and meditation and confronted the demons and the pain I had been carrying around my entire life; and then, I let it go. It felt like a two-ton weight had been lifted off my shoulders. The days became brighter and the air, crisp and refreshing.
I became present. Present in every minute of every day, accepting and honoring how and what my life was at each and every moment. I stopped asking and began being grateful for what I have. I became present as a mom, turning out the rest of the world and technology during our evenings together to learn with each passing moment how to be there for my son…how to treasure each tick of time. I immersed myself even deeper into yoga and meditation. I read. I took time to be alone. I learned to be my friend.
All this took time – forty years after the first day I told myself how ugly I was and five years after my divorce. But what I found radiates from me; it has made me truly beautiful. I now look in the mirror at my less than perfect self and realize that I am beautiful. This is me right now, in this moment and it’s exactly where I’m supposed to be. I’m the perfect me; a kind, patient and giving person. I feel proud of my journey and where it has brought me.
Now, I’m okay with being single. I don’t “need” a man. I can do this on my own and I’m doing a damn good job! I do desire a partner one day, but my standards are much higher along with my patience. I love my life just as it is and I’m relishing this moment.
I finally realize that I am pretty enough…that we’re all pretty enough in our own unique and amazing ways. I am happy. And the toxic, drama-filled people that used to take up residence in my life have been evicted. There is no drama in my life whatsoever, just peace and tranquility. I have achieved a state of equanimity.
I do it all. Alone. As a single mom. But, of course, I’m not really alone. I have my family, my friends, and all of you. We have each other and we must love, forgive, and support each other. Because without those things, life just isn’t what it should (and can) be.
Check out Michelle’s blog Scarlet Mom for more stories and insights.
image: distant distance, rennett stowe, creative commons usage