I am a 34-year old single mother of 5 kids who is still living with her parents.
I really know how to sell myself, eh? Maybe this is where I mention that I suffer from crippling anxiety and have sought refuge in my childhood home. My safe place, if you will. Maybe I did things a little backwards; first came a baby, then came marriage (and divorce) and THEN came my desire for a career. I’m individualistic and I totally didn’t conform to the ‘natural’ flow of adulthood by any means. But, I’m here to prove that it’s okay. And it’s completely fine to break down and start fresh at 30.
Anyone who knows me, or anyone who has taken the time to read my blogs knows that I own my decisions. Every choice I’ve made has put me in the spot that I’m currently in and I am the only one who is responsible for that. I sat dormant for a bit longer than I should have after my divorce, but it was an intense one and maybe I’ll open up more about it one day but for now, please believe me when I say that my story would be a movie and half of y’all wouldn’t even think it’s real.
I struggled for YEARS with my identity and couldn’t really figure out where I fit in. I was depressed, I was gaining weight and my brain wasn’t functioning properly because it was in ‘trauma’ mode. But, I’m a wonderful chameleon. I can fit into just about any crowd just from paying close attention to their behaviours and mimic them and at first, I thought it was a gift but now I’m realizing that it’s a curse. A lot of people don’t know the real me because I haven’t had a chance to introduce her to most of my friends. Crazy, eh?
I’ll never forget when someone described me as the ‘happy-go-lucky’ type. I wasn’t even in high school yet but I remember hearing that and thinking to myself “Hmm. That doesn’t feel right.” Sure, I know how to go with the flow and adapt well to change, but I also liked to believe that I had strong values and beliefs. But, I let those values get away from me for the longest time. They were especially lost when I was fighting for my marriage to an addict. I lost myself completely through those years and because I was so desperate to have the ‘perfect family,’ I ignored everything that was happening deep down inside me that was rejecting everything I was building with him, but I still fought for it because I thought that it was the right thing to do. And what do I mean by the right thing? I mean the stupid rules that society has set out for us. For better or for worse until death do us part. Total bullsh*t. You get out when you lose yourself and happiness. Toxic relationships DO exist and I applaud every single person who has gotten out of one.
Fast forward 4 years later and here I currently am, finally beginning to let the real me shine through. At the beginning of 2020, I made a huge vow to myself and it was simply to love myself more and figure out who I really am and become her. And I totally thank quarantine for giving me the extra time to ‘become.’. If it weren’t for these endless days of doing nothing, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to embark on my introspection and realize that I’m not the person I’ve been putting out on display. The routine I wanted to have looked nothing like the routine I had going on and my habits didn’t align with the habits that my best self was in need of. Something had to change.
This all stemmed from somewhere as there are only so many times a person can be called worthless, useless, “only good for a womb,” etc until it starts to take a toll. I didn’t love myself, so how could someone love me? My lack of confidence fed my lazy and awful habits and I knew that was the first thing I needed to change. With the support of my Mom, we decided to begin our Keto journey and it has been amazing to see what a little self-control and discipline can do to one person. (and for the record, I won’t ever push certain lifestyles on anyone as we’re all on different journeys. It just so happens that keto works for me) Before I changed my lifestyle habits and what I was fueling my body with, I felt worthless and miserable. My choices for food and drink weren’t great whatsoever and my skin certainly showed it. I felt pigeon-holed as a single mom and wasn’t sure how to make any sort of life. I couldn’t figure out where I fit in and refused to work in the public eye because I felt like everyone was staring at me in a terrible way. I was in a miserable cycle of PTSD and depression. And although I’m only 9 months deep into my journey, I know that I’ll never be perfect, but I now know how to work towards a goal. I’m working again and no longer hiding behind baggy clothes. I’m not scared to take full-length photos and I think I’m looking younger for my age yet again. I’ve learned how to face my pain and turn it into my superpower (through the help of therapy, of course) and I’m motivating myself by seeing how I am capable of positive change. Because guess what? Your fears? They don’t know your strength. They also don’t realize that we grow when things are difficult. That’s the magic of being a human. Our discomfort is strong enough to change us and have us functioning on higher levels. And that’s exactly what happened to me. I’m not my best self yet but I’m living more authentically to my values and THAT is making me a stronger and better person.
Has the food that I fuel my body with solved all my problems? No. I actively participate in therapy and self-love is absolutely a full-time job BUT it has helped me see that I’m capable of making changes that will push me towards that imagined best version of myself. I needed to know that I could succeed at something and after miserably existing for years, I challenged my discomfort and let it push me into a better place.
I no longer need to escape my pain and pretend to be somebody that I’m not. I don’t need to let my solo parenting gig define me as who I am. I’m thinking more clearly now and only putting my energy into the things and the people who fuel my passions. I’m a better mother, daughter, sister and friend for it and I only intend on continuing down this road less travelled. I’m not here to conform to what society THINKS I should do but rather, match my habits up with my own personal values and let that take the drivers seat.
My life isn’t close to perfect and yes, I am still living with my parents. But family is one of my strongest values and in this moment, I’m where I need to be.