Leap Of Faith

I remember being very enamored with Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones when I was a child. He was brave, adventurous and handsome. I mean, who doesn’t love a man in leather? The movie, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” remains one of my favourite movies to date. The scene where he has to cross over the deep void is gripping – there is no mystery to solve or trap to overcome. He has to dig deep within himself and find trust and faith – and step out into “nothing” to move forward in his quest to obtain the grail and save the life of his father. That first step has me on the edge of my seat every time, that moment of truth, that leap of faith. 

In my own journey, I had to take a leap of faith to move forward in my quest to obtain personal health and to better the life of myself and my daughter. Even though I was not in a life or death scenario like our hero Indiana Jones, the hesitation and fear of the unknown felt overwhelming. Despite the chaos that was my marriage, there was comfort in the “knowing”. I had a steady income, I was a home-owner, I was somewhat stable. I had routine and constants – even if they were unhealthy for me. The unknown terrified me. I considered what life would be like for my daughter without the comforts of two parents in the same household. I was concerned about her ability to adapt to the changes that I couldn’t even explain fully to myself. And for myself, I considered what future partnership would look like, if I even found a future partner who would accept all my baggage, my fears and traumas and the most important thing to me, my daughter. Could I do life alone? Was it better than being in the situation I was in? There were thousands of questions and considerations to take and I had no answers. 

I needed to have faith. Faith in myself and faith in the feeling that this wasn’t the life that would nurture and sustain me. There was no healthy way forward on my current path. I needed to trust in the anxiety that being in the chaos brought me. I had to learn to trust that even if I was uncertain, I was certain that change needed to happen – and quickly. 

My leap of faith took me down a stressful and scary road, I am not going to lie. I moved out of my beautiful (and freshly renovated) bungalow on a quiet street into a very rundown apartment complex. There were nightly fights out on the front lawn and you could hear everything. It was a higher crime area than I had ever been in, and the vicinity to my city’s public commuter train didn’t help. Set two blocks back from a main road there were also several pubs and liquor stores close by. Vehicles were vandalized and broken into, drug paraphernalia littered the hallways and I was never really comfortable being there alone. I had my daughter half the time and I felt like I was always holding my breath on the Monday-Tuesday nights and every  other weekend hoping there wasn’t too  much of a commotion going on.  The apartment never felt like home. It was supposed to be my “safe place” and in reality it felt like anything but. There was also the strain of conflict with my ex-husband. We had verbally separated 3 months prior to me moving out, and had been sleeping apart since then – but there was a lot of pain and frustration and anger involved on both sides. 

Thankfully, my ex and I have found a very healthy and workable balance in our co-parenting dynamic since then. We are invested first and foremost in maintaining our co-parenting health for the sake of our daughter. Secondly, we do still care about each other, in a very complicated friendship kind of way. When he is struggling he shares with me, and vice versa. Since I met and began a relationship with my new partner, I have been careful what to share with my ex – but we are aware of the main stressors in each other’s lives. I believe that helps to keep balance and awareness in our parenting journeys. And I am pleased to say that my partner and I have taken a big step and moved into our own home (no more landlords or drug using neighbours down the hall!). 

Life is full of leaps of faith, some are easier than others for sure. There is always those uncertainties, the unknowns – where fear creeps in and threatens our idealistic existence. But, when we can step out confident, not in the outcome but in our ability to overcome and persevere – we are doing well.

Moment of Change

There is nothing worse than feeling foreign in your own life. Wondering how things got to the point there are, how did you lose yourself, how did you allow so much compromise in? It is lonely, it is devastating and it happens so slowly you don’t even realize – until you look yourself in the eye and REALIZE. 

For me, I reached that point in the early spring of 2019. I remember feeling “off” for months, maybe even years. A series of one thing going wrong after another led me to sobbing in the shower as my child and then-husband watched a movie in the living room down the hall. 

Nothing major had happened to cause the tears, no big fight or argument. It had been a fairly normal day up to that point. I found myself thinking about my parents (both deceased) and suddenly (and quite abruptly) a thought entered my mind. “Have I made them proud of the woman I became?” My initial thought was, of course! Then I realized that they were likely not proud of me. They would have been concerned that I had made concession after concession in my life, replacing things I have put so much importance on for things that made my partner happy. I had lost my spark. How had it happened? Where did I turn down the wrong road? How had I allowed myself to fade away? 

I started to think back over the last 10 years of my relationship, the years I spent married. And I realized that scattered in the good memories there was an underlying unhealth, festering like a mold. I saw clearly the problems that had been scraping away at me, the small comments, the big arguments and everything in between. Without getting too deep into my relational issues (out of respect for my daughter’s father), there were some big things too that despite attempts to repair we could not ever fix. Things that carved a chasm in the relationship, that over time grew impossible to bridge. 

I realized, sobbing and shaking in the shower, that I was not a person I recognized anymore. I did not have a fulfilling life. Don’t get me wrong, I adored my daughter and had some good friends. I had a beautiful home that was recently renovated to perfectly suit my tastes, and I had a job that allowed me to work part time and spend good quality time as a mother and friend. But I was not in a partnership that fostered respect, unity or equality. I was lonely. I felt misunderstood. Worse, I felt unloved and overlooked. I had drawn hard lines that were repeatedly crossed, I tried to establish boundaries that were simply overlooked, and I tried to assert my needs to be reprimanded for having them in the first place. 

As the water turned cold I realized that I had two options before me. I could continue on as if nothing was amiss or I could stick up for myself and demand better. At the time, I chose the first option. I needed to let myself absorb and process what I was feeling and make some informed and thought out plans for moving forward. I needed to heal from the damage that was done over the course of the relationship (even if I stayed in it – especially if I stayed in it). There was a need to set an example for my daughter. And above all, the need to find myself again and make my parents proud. 

I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. But as I toweled off I knew there had been a substantial shift in me. There was no going back from this and there was now the task of facing the unknown future that I couldn’t avoid or run away from. It was terrifying for me but also relieving to realize that I finally knew what was “off” with me. It was ME. But it wasn’t going to stay that way. I was going to take control of my life and make things better for myself, and for my daughter. That turned into choosing option two – sticking up for myself and demanding better. For me, that looked like separating (leading to our divorce) and creating my own home with my child. It was scary, but it was healthy. And as it turns out, in doing so I was (eventually) making things better for my (now ex) husband. 

“When a Flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower” – Alexander Den Heijer

Photo by Sourav Mishra on Pexels.com

Who Am I? And Other Loaded Questions

On paper, I am a 36-year-old divorcee and mother of a rambunctious 6-year-old girl. I am the loving (and sometimes not so loving) partner of a man whom is gracious and loving and kind to me, even when I do not deserve it. I work as an administrator in a field I am interested in, and am growing in my role with confidence and capability. I am a sister, a daughter, a friend, a lover and a confidant. I suppose, through the experiences of some, in their lives I play the role of villain.

As I recently celebrated my 36th birthday, Covid-Style, I found myself reflecting on my life. What is my purpose? What do I want for the future? How have I learned from my past? How the hell am I an adult, when I often feel so naïve and unexperienced? WHO AM I?

I have always been better at expressing myself through written words than verbally, and often thought that doing a blog would be a good way to process and sort through the chaotic mess that is constantly raging in my mind. So, I am going to start this blog. It is for me, but if anyone reads it – hopefully it will bring insight and inspiration.

I do not claim to be wise or educated in psychological matters. But I do have life experience and a hunger to grow and learn and better myself.

And so I embark on this – a journey of self-discovery, adaptability and growth.