Dec 29, 2015

Dear Badass Single Mom Warrior

Attitude is everything.  That's what I tell myself.  I believe that the attitude I decide to have will set the tone for whatever I am doing, experiencing and living.

One morning, I woke up in a dark place.  It was lonely and cold - and it was a place that I created for myself.  I isolated myself from my family, my friends, my social circle and myself.  It was a coping mechanism that I chose for myself while I initiated and completed the divorce process to spare myself from pity, sympathy, judgement and embarrassment.

I finally had to step back from this double life I was leading - one where no one knew what was actually going on in my life and I was just floating around as if everything we normal - and ask myself WHY?! Why do I have to fear those negative things?  Why has divorce been categorized as a negative thing that I would be victimized from?  I didn't want to feel like a victim.  I still don't. Afterall, it was a choice I made - and I was happy about it, so why wouldn't other people be too?

When I first realized that my marriage was on a divorce path, it was so sad to me.  All of these dreams and wishes I had surrounding my marriage and the family we had made together all came crashing down around me and along with that came a lot of sadness and disappointment.  After that, fear.  So much fear.  Fear of being judged, of being pitied.  Fear of being not only the first in my family, but the first in my social circle to even consider breaking my marriage.  It was hard to face.

But, then, I realized - the sad part was that I was willing to stick it out despite how my entire soul and heart felt trapped and suffocated.  Some relationships are just not healthy and mine was not.  There is no amount of commitment and love that can change an unhealthy dynamic.  Marriage is not one-sided.  I pulled the weight alone for three out of seven years.  One sided efforts, turning the other cheek, you name it and I did it.  I gave everything I had until the day I realized I had nothing left.  So I was either going to fall into a deep depression and stop having interest in being a person, a mother, and everything else that I was doing - and just remain being a wife or I was going to stand up for myself and advocate for my children and be a warrior.  The ring I once wore with pride and joy started to feel like a constant reminder that I didn't matter anymore.  I didn't have a voice, an opinion and my feelings did not matter.  I was a burden, an inconvenience and I was the last thing on his priorities list if I even made the list at all.  No wonder I felt embarrassed.  That's a sad reality to face and certainly not one I wanted everyone to know about.

I then realized something I should have known all along but it got stomped and trampled on along the way.  I let fears and stigmas paralyze me and overtake my thoughts.  That's what I was a victim of: my own thoughts and fears.  I realized that I am worthy!  I am worthy of getting back what I give in a relationship.  I am worthy of not having someone become angry at me for showing or sharing my emotions.  I am worthy of being valued, loved, cared for and appreciated and how dare I think otherwise.  I didn't deserve the treatment I was receiving and I was the only one that could change it.  Then came the moment of feeling empowered.  Once I changed my attitude, everything else changed too.

So, fellow single Moms - here is my letter to you.

Dear Badass Single Mom Warrior;

Good for you.  Stand tall and proud.  I ask you to be proud not because of whatever struggles led you to this place, but because you are here and you have got this.  Who cares if there are people around us who don't agree with how we are now choosing to live our lives because they can't understand that the negativity and pain were toxic to you and your health, wellbeing and those of your children too.  Forgive them.  Sometimes we don't know what we don't experience.  They don't know how you felt.  They didn't explore those dark corners of your mind and heart that you were forced to venture into.  So, if you're faced with responding to criticism- I encourage you to say: I am so happy for you that you have never been forced to explore this option.  How amazing for you to not have to know how it feels.  Then smile, and move on.

You did not fail.  We do not hold the power to a successful marriage in our pockets.  It requires equal sacrifice and effort.  Failing would have been to look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you are unworthy of being happy and valued.  So, that one decision you  made however many years ago will keep you imprisoned forever regardless of how dangerous and unhealthy it is.  Failure comes the moment you decide that you are not important.  Think about what you've probably heard from flight attendants over the years - if this plane goes down, put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others.  Because you can't help them if you aren't breathing. I don't know about for you - but for me this was true.  All of my effort was being sucked into keeping myself breathing and I was starting to degenerate as a mother and with all of my passions. I couldn't breathe anymore.  Well, I can now and I hope you can too.  Breathe it in.  Let go of the failure you've got tied around your neck.  It is strangling you.

It's okay to enjoy your new freedom.   I know that when I first started dating, I felt irresponsible.  Here we go again with me dooming myself with feelings of others expectations.  Are you doing the same thing?  Stop it.  It all goes back to us feeling like we don't deserve to be happy and we do!  Of course parenting comes first.  That goes without saying!  But you have free time now, and it is okay for you to use it to do things that make you happy.  It's ok to safely put yourself out there and try to find love if that's what you desire.  Feel the feelings again that you have been missing for so long!  You deserve that.  Just be safe, and be careful.  You know the drill.  You can't sit in your empty home while your kids are with their dads and just cry forever.  Do it long enough to get it out and then move on from it.  You are not taking anything away from your kids by not sitting home and crying about it.  In fact, adding some happiness to your life will add it to theirs.  They pick up on your energy and emotions!  You'll miss them and love them no matter where you are.  So, be somewhere where you can have fun too.  Shop, dine, date, whatever that place is for you - go there.  It's okay!

Heal. You have to do this.  The longer you delay it the harder it will be.  Face yourself.  Literally.  Stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself everything you are feeling.  Get it out.  Cry.  It's okay!  Then follow it up with all of the great things about you.  You are beautiful, strong, smart and courageous!  Tell yourself these things.  You need to hear it and it means the most coming from yourself anyway.  See a counselor if you need to.  Talk to someone.  Figure out what you need, and get it.  I think an amazing part of healing are to realize a few key things. #1- you didn't fail. #2- you are worthy and nothing can stop you now and #3- who cares what other people think.  They don't understand so you can't imprison yourself in their thoughts and judgement.  Your thoughts are the thoughts that matter.  Repeat that to yourself until it sets in.

LIVE! Live your life!  Yes single parenting is hard.  Yes you had to give up on some dreams and ideals of being the perfect tv family.  Yes, it's hard.  I get it.  But you know what - you can't lose sight on the fact that you didn't have that perfect tv family anyway so you didn't lose that.  You just lost the dream of having that for now. It wasn't going to happen if it hadn't already.  Don't forget how hard it was for you to be in your marriage.  Don't forget about the pain and trial and just get caught up in what you think you lost because it's hard at times now.  This happens so often!  Stop looking at other couples and families with envy and sadness.  You don't know their lives and they are probably not what you think - but even if they are, be happy for them.  Be happy for them that they have that and feel hope or inspiration that it's in the cards for you too.  There is only one way to find out!  Stop being sad and start living happily!  You have that power, and only you.  Make it happen, girl!

We need to stick together.   Married, divorced, single, whatever we are.  It's just a status!  It is not who we are.  It's a part of our identity but it does not identify us!  Being a woman and a Mom is a sisterhood.  Surround yourself with women who offer unconditional love regardless of your marital status.  It's superficial to judge someone by this and if you're being judged- it's probably not a healthy friendship anyway.  We as women need to remember and realize that we are all on our own journey.  We all walk our own walks and we can't judge one another.  Love makes the world go round!  Love each other.  Love yourself.

Sending love from one single mama to another!  You are victorious.  You are facing something that society has not made easy.  Disconnect from that.  Disconnect from what society says and just do what your heart says.  You have to face yourself at the end of the day.  We can't hide from ourselves and the world.  We are strong.  Are you kidding, look at how much strength it takes to walk in our shoes!  You have got this.  You do.  And, so do I.

With LOVE,
     A fellow Metro Detroit Mommy

Now, blast this and do your victory dance. It's ok to feel victorious and successful.  YOU ARE!  Do not let other people judge you. Do not judge other people!  Just live, love, and be happy.  Be you.

Edited and published by Metro Detroit Mommy for you, me, and single parents everywhere by MDM Guest Blogger Harmony May

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