Last Friday would have been an important anniversary for me, had my ex-husband chosen repentance and my morning was rather reflective that day. I debated posting about it at all since it ultimately seemed so calm and then I realized that is exactly why I needed to write about it.
I had actually prepared for it to be a trauma laden day. I prepared for the day to be triggering. The days leading up to it were. I was preparing for it to be a very sad day or a venom spewing kind of angry day. I was leaving for a trip and was genuinely concerned the date on the calendar would cast a dark cloud on my weekend away. I wasn’t expecting to have the desire to drive by the church where I had said “I do” 10 years ago, to the day, almost to the hour in fact, and I really wasn’t expecting to feel peace. I really, really wouldn’t have expected pulling over to look at the church but with an odd mix of nostalgia and respect, that is exactly what I did. I looked at the steps I walked up 10 years ago and remembered the fear that was captured so accurately in one of the wedding pictures. I could remember my throat tightening and I could remember talking myself into walking down the aisle. I wasn’t there this time though. In my trauma and PTSD in the aftermath of the discovery of my ex-husbands’ infidelities and sexual addiction, I have relived that day so many times and each time I was propelled back in time, to the back of that church like I was literally there again. This past Friday I wasn’t though. I could empathize with the younger version of me, standing alone and scared in the back of that church, but I wasn’t in the back of the church this past Friday.
I was a 10 year older version of me, looking back at a younger me. The me looking back is wiser and older, with more wrinkles and less hair; different issues and way more scars but also much kinder and way smarter. The me looking back is so much calmer and takes the small things in life way less serious but at the same time appreciates the very small things in life in a way like never before. The stress monkey days are long gone. The me looking back has to fight against the jaded on a daily basis but also somehow, despite everything she has been through, still believes love conquers all. The me looking back has some rougher edges, no doubt, but she is stronger. The me looking back smiles so much more and her laugh is so much louder. The me looking back is afraid of more things but also knows there isn’t a single thing that fear can take from her. She knows fear will never win. The me looking back has such a tender heart that hurts for so many people. She is a Warrior. She is softer because of her strength. She will never fail because she has been to hell and she clawed her way out. She has a tribe now. A tribe of (dare I say) badass Warriors just like her. Men and women who fight monsters and demons and are rough around the edges and choose vulnerability and choose to stand together.
I often get asked if I would choose differently if I had a time machine. The answer is no. I can honestly say I wouldn’t. My marriage ended, I ended up with a few new diagnosis’ and was suicidal for a time but I still wouldn’t choose differently I loved my ex-husband wholeheartedly but that isn’t even the main reason why. This new me, she is worth keeping. She was worth fighting for. So was the me from 10 years ago. Even if my ex-husband didn’t think so. I am really glad I knew she was worth fighting for. If I could go back in time, after I played with all the buttons and was finished marveling at how much bigger the Tardis was on the inside, I would want to say a few things to the younger me.
Dear Younger Me,
I know you are really scared right now. You have really good instincts. You will learn to hone them in a way that will serve you well. You are not yet ready, you have much to learn but you will, when you are ready. In a few years, this will all make sense to you. You shouldn’t be alone right now and the most amazing thing is that in just a decade, you will have the most epic tribe of sisters and daughters and Mama Bears around the globe who will have your back. I don’t mean to scare you but you are going to go through some really hard stuff. You have some rough years ahead of you but don’t you dare give up. You are stronger than you know. You were born a fighter, you have always known this and even always said this but really, you may have just been laying the groundwork for the battle of your life which is going to happen soon. The battle for your soul that you will go through. That battle that turns you into a Warrior. The other side of fear, the other side of pain – what waits for you on that other side is a version of yourself that you cannot even imagine. She is a pretty special woman and you will really like her. She is a Warrior. She is you. She is everything you always knew you could be but were always told was too much. She is brave. She can tackle monsters and demons and somehow still remain soft and tender and vulnerable. She is kind and courageous. She is often a twitchy mess but she is you. She is beautiful in her brokenness. You will fight for her. You will fight for her even though nobody else did. You thought you wanted a knight in shining armor but really you needed a sword and you will find it. The only one who you ever needed to fight for you, won the battle on Calvary. His blood runs through your veins and that is all you will ever need. The man you are about to marry is going to hurt you more than anyone ever has. I want you to love him well anyways. Not because he will love you well in return but because it is who you are and it is part of your story. You love with every cell of your being and porn and sex addiction do not get to take that from you. So love him well while you have him. Then love yourself well when it is time to let go. Never stop loving. In all things, love wins. Never forget that.