Divorced. Damaged Goods. Where do I go from here?
During the process of the divorce...if you can believe it, I managed to graduate from Nursing school. I was president of my class. It's a day and an accomplishment that would define the next ten years of my life. You see, not only did the idea of my future kids rescue me... my Nursing career too saved my life. I knew that with this career I could support myself and make an impact on the world, which deep down is what I dreamed of doing. I have to admit that I left the life I had known behind. All of it. But I didn't want to waste the hurt. I believed in using my pain to lift others in their time of need. So, it was a seemingly perfect fit. We will chat more about that later.
My mission became giving of my whole self. I gave and gave...to a fault most of the time. And although I thought many times of moving on to another career, my loyalty kept me serving my community as a Nurse. I was good at it, technically with my skills, but mostly with my compassion. Strangely, after all my tragedy, I found a way to love others more than I loved myself.
In these next few years I entered and exited another abusive relationship. This one was verbally abusive. I'd like to tell you different, but it wasn't glaringly clear at first what I had stepped into. Understand that when you've been abused in any capacity it's almost like sub consciously you attract these types of personalities. I felt like it was normal for me. These years were almost worse than my short lived marriage. Why? Well, in addition to feeling so small, it was because I was determined not to fail. Have you ever lived in complete and utter fear?? If so, you aren't alone. I see you. It's not something I would wish on anyone. I had already failed once and that wasn't happening again. Not ever. However, we were always a wrong fit. We had different goals and dreams...and I stayed 2 years too long because of that fear. I take full responsibility for that. He decided to move on with another woman, without telling me right away before we were separated. At the time, I was in complete shock. Devastated. Rejection by choice of another...Remember that failure?? Yeah, it was front and center and really there was nothing I could do to stop it. And I am ashamed that I even wanted to. But that's how little worth I saw in me. Note that over the few years I was with him I truly lost myself, again...I gained 40 lbs, became a functioning alcoholic, buried all emotions until I exploded into episodes of behaving as an uncontrollable mess, lost good friends, made terrible decisions, lost my self worth, and all for the sake of chasing a love that wasn't mine to begin with. The wrong love. But really I was running from the failure more than anything else.
Nursing was my only escape. It is what kept me from completely drowning. At work I could push my problems aside and tend to everyone else. I began to excel at it. This began the unhealthy relationship with my career that wouldn't come to a head for several more years. Often what things appear to be on the outside are merely a shield...a cover. Nursing was my cover.
Shortly before the breakup, I had a visit with my Dad. It had been almost 3 years since I had seen or spoken to him. It was a surprise, one that if I had known about before hand, the visit wouldn't have happened. I was still running from the past with a vengeance and didn't have time to stop and look into a mirror. However, I am forever grateful that my Uncle dragged me there. That night Dad and I had the best conversation. One that I carry with me in my heart. It was hours long full of many special moments. There were tears, laughter, and apologies...oh and so many hugs and eskimo kisses. Now that he is gone, with crocodile tears in my eyes, it's these moments I reflect on...not the bad. That night, he was the Dad I remembered from Colorado and I was his everything. I began to feel Jesus and redemption moving in me. Restoration was coming, but it looked completely different than what I had planned. In fact in that moment I had no idea the reckoning that was coming.
Then, I hit rock bottom.
The one relationship I thought I had protected against failure, was broken into a million pieces. I was alone. His life had become mine and when "we" ended I lost everything. Well, what felt like everything at the time. But the beauty isn't in what I lost through this breakup, it's what I found, but that didn't come right away. A few things did. That extra 40 pounds came off in a couple of months. I'd love to say I did that in a healthy way, but that's just not true. I barely ate. Slept very little. I continued drinking because I needed to drown my thoughts...to be honest I had no idea why I was alive. My once vibrant and huge heart was limp and cautious. I kept showing up to work but I was a zombie. I was broken. Again. I thank God that resiliency is my strong suit. In my life I have found that I may not be a lot of things...but I am resilient. He had a bigger plan for me, once more this wasn't were my story would end.
It took several months and countless God moments, but I began to rise. I could feel my heart beating again. Unfortunately, neither Dad nor I kept our promise to stay in touch. I believe that sometimes things are so bad for so long, that when you find or create moments you can cling to...you don't dare disrupt that. Part of me knows that we both still suffered from deep wounds and thought of each other often, even if we barely spoke.
As I started to come alive again, the hits kept coming, but I was determined to find myself again and nothing was going to stop me. God started moving mountains, and please know that when we stop and let Him work, we really learn to believe in miracles again.
25 turned to 26 then 27. Those two years changed the course of everything...