I will never forget the moment that I walked out of the courtroom after my divorce became official. As a walked down the hall of the courthouse, I felt like I was in my own bubble. People were talking all around me, but my world was complete silent and I didn’t have a thought on in my head. It wasn’t until I opened the doors to the outside world and took a deep breath that everything washed over me like a tidal wave.
During that weekend, I tried to enjoy myself as much as possible, but I knew in the back of my mind, that I had to face my reality back in CT. I had always been a tough and strong individual and I prided myself on being a hard worker and I never let anything stop me from reaching my goals and loved a good challenge. I realized now I really had to bring my “A game.” I had to dig deeper than I ever had before. It was not about me, it was about my daughter. I did not have time to feel sorry for myself and question all the “what if’s?” I knew that I had done my best to keep my family together, but sometimes even you best and is not enough and guess what? That was OK because it takes 2 people to make a marriage work and both individuals have to be pulling on the same rope in the same direction. When that doesn't happen…well…divorce is the possible outcome.
At night I would reflect on all the reasons why I left my husband and embraced the fact that I was strong enough to leave a situation that was not healthy for me or my daughter. I knew that she would have questions as she grew up, but she was only 1 and I didn’t have to worry about those questions right then. It was at night, during those self-reflective moments and prayer that I gained my strength to move forward and persevere.
I came up with a plan. I knew that for once in my life I was really going to have to budget my money. My main objective was to keep the mortgage payments current because I didn’t want to move my daughter into an unfamiliar place. I knew that I had to make things as normal for her as possible during this transition. I would also need to budget for oil (it was December so our winter season was just beginning). And let’s not forget - electricity and food. During my college years, I lived on Ramen Noodle and Cup of Soup, so if came down to it, I would do it again to make sure my daughter had the food she needed.
When I was married I was a shopaholic, my addiction was shoes- mainly high heels and sexy boots. But now, shopping was going to be solely about basic household necessities and baby clothes because my daughter was growing like a weed. I would have to “settle” for wearing last year’s clothes and shoes. Again, in college, I had no money so I mainly wore sweatpants, jeans, sweatshirts/T-shirts and sneakers. The only difference this time around, was that I was going to have to do some serious bargain shopping for work clothes, so Marshalls and TJ Maxx became my best friend!
Oh and lets, not forget, I wanted my divorce to be over as quickly and painlessly as possible. I didn’t’ want to fight, I wanted to be done. As a result, I ended up with most of the debt (credit cards). It was probably at least $45,000 and I knew there was no way I could keep the payments up and run a household on my salary. There was no child support because he had lost his job at time and no alimony because I made more than him. So, I decided I was still young so I let those credit cards go to collections and would later negotiate an affordable settlement. Sure, my credit was shot to hell, but there are more important things in life that I had to worry about.
When I came back from that weekend, I felt strong, empowered. I embraced my new future with my daughter. I knew that I would be able to teach her a lot of things about life, struggles ,overcoming fear and being successful and the best way to this would be to show by my actions. I wanted her to understand that she does not "need" a man, they are “nice to have” but as women we can do and have anything we want. All we have to do is believe in ourselves, have a plan and execute.
After 5 years, I am finally seeing my way clear of the weight of my divorce (praise God). I have moved up and on in my career and have doubled my salary. My daughter is a thriving 7 year, full of confidence, independence and has become quite the little athlete. The questions are starting to come about me and her dad and I answer them on a level to satisfy her questions and concerns.
My divorce has made me a stronger woman, I know now that nothing can stop me or hold me down and that prayer does change things. The struggles that have been through have made a little wiser and more appreciative of the things that I have. I am in better place and happy that things are finally falling into place.