When I was going through my 3 1/2 year divorce from my abuser, there were times that all I could do was live from one minute to the next. My life was consumed with the bare basics of survival. I felt alone and wondered how or if I would ever get through it all.
Below is a list of 12 reminders of where I was twelve years ago when I first left my abuser and 12 reminders of where I am today.
This list is for anyone who is in a similar situation and feels alone or like a better life is impossible. I’m here to tell you a better life is possible and that you have hope.
Twelve years ago:
- I was in and out of court constanly for the first (and only) time in my life and scared to death about it.
- I was homeless and staying in a Woman’s shelter. (Something I never dreamed I would do).
- My baby boy had RSV and I had to give a crying 13 month old breathing treatments I couldn’t afford.
- I was young and naive enough to not recognize one of the women in the shelter who had started cutting herself was on drugs and was shocked to see my new friend kicked out of the shelter because of it.
- My only possessions were a weeks worth of clothes for myself, a weeks worth of clothes for my baby, a cell phone, and my car. (Which I realize I was blessed to have).
- I told judges, attorneys, and advocates my story and placed my trust in complete strangers to determine the course of my life including how often I would be able to see my son.
- My free time was consumed with worrying and studying everything I could get my hands on about divorce. I spent little to no time with friends, relationships, or recreation.
- I fought almost constantly with my then soon to be former husband about custody issues.
- I was fighting false child abuse charges filed by my then soon to be former husband with DCFS.
- I relied on cops to be present during all custody exchanges and while I got my belongings from my home. And even then I was only allowed (by the courts) to take my clothes.
- I was late to work and missing time and/or days often due to classes I was required to take in order to stay at the shelter and due to court appearances.
- I lived nearly every day in fear. But kept on going on anyway.
- I own my own beautiful home.
- I have enough furniture to furnish and decorate my home.
- My son has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. And he is thriving and learning Chinese as a second language. And I love getting to know his quirkiness.
- My son plays soccer and I play softball and dodgeball recreationally. We have both made great friends and grown because of it.
- I have an amazing job that I love where I get to help other people and that happens to pay well.
- I have built a reputation among friends and coworkers for finding the positive in every situation (truthfully sometimes after acknowledging and mourning the negative).
- I have come to know and even date many amazing men who advocate for women’s rights. This brings me hope and joy for the future.
- I volunteer for women’s organizations and am blessed to mentor and coach other women through their crisis’s.
- I have amicable, reasonable conversations with my former husband about what’s best for our son.
- I live most days in happiness and joy and have tools I am able to use when anxiety due to PTSD shows up. I have grown to nearly abolish all episodes and I manage what does show up in a healthy way.
- I read books and articles about human behavior and affluence to continue to better myself even more.
- I am a different person than I was twelve years ago and I am loving each and every day. I am still a work in progress and I know the best is yet to come.