A few weeks ago I celebrated my divorce in the company of close friends and family. It was definitely a joyous occasion as we dined over good food and great energy. The gathering was impromptu, invites were sent via text and I literally planned it the night before with my cousin who was also celebrating her divorce which was granted just a few days before mine. I was surprised by all the "I'll see you there" responses and the turn out warmed my heart. I've gotten a lot of side eyes as word has spread that I am celebrating divorce but I would like to set the record straight. I don't advocate for divorce. I advocate for wholeness by any means necessary but even this philosophy took me a while to attain. I remember a time that I was fresh in my marriage and still on that newlywed high full of hopes and dreams for our future. The same cousin who just celebrated with me came to me seeking advice regarding her derailing marriage around October of 2014. I'm known to give good advice with my forte being toxic relationships but this was advice on a topic I was not familiar with. I hadn't been married that long and I was talking to someone who was about 10 years in the game. I remember encouraging her to work it out and to stick by her husband and to forgive him and all the other good save your marriage tactics that were taught to me. We continued our conversation over dinner and parted ways later that evening. We caught up weekly over candid conversations that usually resulted in me jokingly calling her crazy. She informed me not too long after our 'save her marriage meeting' that they would officially be parting ways. I knew that God could change anyone and fix anything so I secretly held hope and prayed that they would work things out even in the midst of me knowing she deserved better. That was my first experience with giving advice on a topic I didn't have experience with but a few months after this in February of 2015 I got my second chance at this.
So the gate is open and the chains have been broken, but where does that leave me? Honestly, I'm in the doorway looking out at my freedom and its vast possibilities but stuck between dreams and reality. It’s been a week since my divorce has been final but I can't say that it has really hit me yet. I am still a bit numb. Like it is officially over? Like really over? Like I'm really done!? I know I did a good job of concealing the depth of the troubles in my marriage. I know that God's grace made it look like what I went through wasn't a big deal and maybe didn't even warrant a divorce but the truth is the depth of my marriage woes were ugly and painful. I never thought I would leave. I never thought that I would stop trying. I never thought that I would move on and at a point in time I couldn't even fathom what that looked like or how I would even take the first step. I was under the impression that all that I was going through was what I deserved and it ultimately became my normal. I began to think that I didn't deserve love and that I would never know what love from a significant other felt like. At my breaking point, I remember asking God this can't be all that you have for me. This can't be all that I deserve and this definitely can’t be a reflection of your love. I felt unloved, I felt neglected, I felt worthless and I was emotionally tapped out. I had poured out all that I could to save our marriage the first time and he still hadn't changed, he still hadn't forgiven me and he no longer wanted to try. Despite my unbreakable demeanor, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired and being on the receiving end of his bitterness. The little hope left in me led me to believe that I deserved more and the truth set in that I wasn't going to get it from him. He tapped out long before I did but I had finally mustered up enough courage to throw my towel in too. I didn't care that it made me look like a failure. I didn't care that people to this day would be saying I told you so. I was dying inside and desperate to live.
The day I found out that I was finally assigned a court date to finalize my divorce, I immediately reached out to my photographer to schedule a photo shoot. I wanted to do a divorce photo shoot unlike any of the other divorce photo shoots I saw on my google and Pinterest search. Most of those images were fueled by bitterness, rage and revenge. Depicted with burning wedding dresses, destroying property they once shared, or even downing liquor in provocative clothes. None of those photos inspired me and wasn't how I wanted to capture this final chapter of my marriage. I was not bitter. I was not angry. I was not unforgiving. I was not the newly single who wanted to mingle and downing alcohol in lingerie was definitely not an option. Instead I wanted to capture the peace in my release. I wanted to show that it is possible to heal from a divorce and to move forward in full wholeness. I wanted to show that divorce doesn't have to be a sad or angry thing. And most of all I wanted to shift the focus from my emotions for my former spouse to me and my healing journey and show that all this could be done with grace, dignity and class. For those of you who are new to my blog or Instagram you have some catching up to do! I separated from my husband in August of 2016, decided to divorce in October of 2016, filed for Divorce in January of 2017 and have been waiting patiently for this day to come. I've shared this journey of mine throughout my Instagram and via my blog and have self titled this season #BloomingUnapologetically. This divorce was honestly the best decision I've ever made. It took me a while to make the decision and even longer to actually act on it but today was the day. I am divorced and I am ecstatic! Today marked the end to a significant chapter in my life and turned the page to my rebirth.
Him: “The fact that you aren’t confident is surprising but I know you have been hurt, I understand.” Me: A lot has happened to me that took my confidence. Truth is I didn’t feel beautiful or even the slightest bit of confidence until recently. I was rejected constantly in my marriage. He wouldn’t touch me. I don’t even remember that last time I’ve been touched. I peeked at my highest weight in life and I’m just now starting to come down. Not sure how much I’ve lost. I start back working with my trainer in the new year. I promised myself that this time I will do this for me. Weight loss is my biggest battle. I had this conversation sometime at the end of last year. He met me at a point where I was still buried in my shell obviously struggling with lack of confidence and I was attempting to tell him how I had gotten to that point. I have come quite a ways since then but my struggle with confidence is a little unique. I wouldn’t exactly say that I struggle with low self esteem. I am confident in my intelligence, I connect strongly socially, and I know that I have a pretty face but I never considered my size to be a beautiful thing. As weird as this sounds to people who see me as confident, I really haven't felt confident until recently. It is true, I have been through a lot of trials that has drained my self confidence but my biggest blow to date was my failed marriage. Not only did his infidelity do something to my psyche but his constant rejection damn near put any trace of confidence I had left in a grave. I’d like to share with you guys a little of what got me to this point.
So after having a conversation with a few of my girlfriends over lunch this past weekend I realized that I'm a little weird. I'm that person who enjoys meeting strangers without apprehension and traveling alone. They asked me about the recent traveling I've been doing, specifically my birthday trip to New York. They commended me for being brave enough to travel on my own but stated they were too scared to try it themselves. I explained that I enjoy going places where I know no one and traveling alone allows me to do this but I usually don't remain alone. I end up meeting strangers and making connections along the way. Sounds a little reckless but the way my life is set up, I only go where I'm led so I know I'll be protected wherever I go. I go without expectation except to be used somewhere along the way. I shared with them the story of the stranger I encountered on my recent birthday trip to New York. I'd like to share that story with you too as encouragement to step outside your comfort zone. You never know who you may meet and encourage if you strike up a conversation with a complete stranger. You may find out they they were never really a stranger to begin with, just a kindred spirit you hadn’t met yet.
This story is very near and dear to my heart. This was the first time I attempted to love unconditionally and I must admit I got lost in it. It wasn't until years later that I eventually got a return from what I sowed into him. I met him after the pimp and in the midst of the one I ran away. We began our relationship when he was a boy. By boy I mean young, reckless and unaware of who he was. He was younger than me but I was drawn to the respect he commanded among the young and old. I saw something in him that I wanted to cultivate and protect. I saw what he could be if only he could stay alive. So I poured into that knowing that he could never repay me. I’d like to think that I knew what I was doing when I embarked on this relationship with him. Truth is, I was still knee deep in my savagery but torn between love and manipulation. Some days I wanted love and some days I wanted to experiment with my powers. He caught me off guard sometime in between then and I fell hard.
I’m going to be real transparent right now. There is one thing that bothers me from my divorce. It's a pain that I try and ignore and today I was required to address it. Breydan woke me up routinely with his morning cuddles. He told me good morning, he loved me and that I was beautiful all while laying on my back, cheek to my cheek and his arms around my neck. I think that was him prepping me for the blow he was about to dish out. He saw my phone on the edge of my bed, sat up and asked me if we can call his “bald headed daddy.” That is what he calls my soon to be ex husband. Caught off guard and wanting to retreat under my covers, the first time he asked, I ignored him. The second time he asked I looked around for my sister who usually comes to rescue me and divert his attention when he asks questions like this but she was in the shower. The third time he asked I finally mustered up the courage to address him. I told him that daddy and I are no longer together. That we weren’t going to be married anymore and he won’t be coming back. That’s when he hit me with the punch in my throat, figuratively, but might as well have been real. With sadness in his eyes he asked me if he was still his daddy and for that I could only answer, only if he wants to be.
My blog post today is a little off the beaten path. A lot of the pain I have recently experienced seems familiar so I decided to dig deeper into the karma I have conjured up. The heartache that I have been dealt was once administered by me. Among all my toxic relationships, there was … Continue reading My Only Regret. The One I Ran Away.
I used to be that pretty girl with bad intentions. I was whatever you needed me to be but only for your pleasure and my benefit. I didn’t mind being what you needed if I got what I wanted. I wanted you for what you could give me whether that be pleasure, finances, material possessions or shelter. If you weren't going to pay me in either one of those denominations, I was not entertaining you. I had a method to my madness that has even trickled down to my mindset now. There is a reason behind my self control, intuition, view on men and relationships. I learned from a pimp and all that he taught me contributed to my ability to understand people and as a result, love and forgive on the level I do now. I'd like to give my new followers some of my background and this foundation that has made me, me.
Before I continue with my divorce story, I want to tell you a little more about Leslie than what these stories are describing him to be. Although these stories seem to paint him in a negative light, I do want to inform you that he was once indeed beautiful and absolutely radiant. These recent stories tell of his lows and I did not fall in love with the man who I am currently divorcing. I fell in love with a wonderful man of God who was on fire for God and after God’s own heart. He helped me to my spiritual feet at my lowest and helped me to become the woman of God that I am today. Some of you may be familiar with our love story but I would like to retell it because even at our outcome, it still has merit and our love story was ordained by God. Remember it was the assignment that changed.