Sometimes you don’t realise you have been caged until someone sets you free.
This struck me the other day as I drove into my driveway feeling quite euphoric about life. It had been a good day on a number of fronts and to boost, my eldest daughter and I had laughed all the way home about crazy things. Sore cheeks and pure happiness.
The year before was trying. In many ways. The economy was a mess, clients cut budgets, things got more expensive and pockets got leaner. It’s the world we live in and the daily challenges we face. But perhaps most importantly, the end of last year for me marked 18 months as a single mom and the majority breadwinner. I stand proud. It’s not easy with two kids, a business to run, and the daily roles and chores life throws at you, especially when you are the captain of the ship.
I don’t believe in divorce. I believe it’s pointless committing to marriage if it has an ‘out clause’. It surely goes against the very point of marrying someone. That said, no one sets out to get divorced. But life happens and hindsight is always 20/20. Honestly it was the kindest thing my ex could have done, walking away to a more simple life. I would never have walked away. I would have put in the effort, worked at it. Stayed true to the vows I took those 12 plus years ago. He had no interest in that and called it, and by doing so released me from a cage I hadn’t even realised I was in.
Our marriage wasn’t perfect by any means. No one’s is. It’s work. We were not unhappy, but I don’t think I realised how destructive it was for me, and how much it affected me in areas like work, friendships, and motherhood until I had had the opportunity to go it alone. Like a flower starting to bloom after a heavy winter.
I didn’t realise how much narcissistic behaviour I had put up with, how I was belittled and demeaned. How I stood alone in so many things without his support. How it was always him that came first. How it was always made out that it was me who was never good enough. How the children had that as an example of a ‘good’ relationship.
And so that cage door opened and I flew.
I have settled. I have become calmer. I have learned how to love myself which is truly a gift. I learned that no matter what, these two blessings I call children will always be a priority for me and I am so grateful for them in every way. I lost stale destructive friendships and made new ones that boosted and lifted me. I found purpose. I found a connection to life and the moments we live in that I had lost. I found a beautiful strength I never realised was within me … and now I can continue to soar free
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