I still remember the moment like it was yesterday, I’m actually pretty sure that sharp breath I took at the time has been trapped inside me since, just eating away slowly, wearing me down, tiring me out. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have thought about sharing this story over the past 2 years. Something stopped me each time, sometimes shame, sometimes embarrassment, sometimes a need to protect other people. I even started some drafts but in reflection always realised that they were coming from a place of anger or hurt. This one is coming from a place of peace and vulnerability and is no way meant to be a ‘poor me’ post or create negative feelings, it’s here to show you that’s there’s more to life than the social media ‘highlight reel’. It’s purely here to remind you to be kind, help you see that people have challenges you can’t even comprehend, that no matter your struggle, things are happening FOR YOU, not to you, and that we all have a choice to use these experiences to grow and help others grow. They say when you can tell your story without crying you know you have healed, the tears are already flowing for me as I type this so I’m not sure I’m there yet but I think this is a step in the right direction. They are also likely tears of fear, fear of judgement, fear of being vulnerable, fear of seeming weak, fear of finally dropping my guard so that I can let it all go and finally let out that breath I’ve been holding. So here we go….
It was a Saturday morning, I had an 8 month old baby & I was about to drop her off to my mum while I went to run a full day of workshops at Garden City and I discovered my husband of 6 years had been having an affair. In that split second my world fell apart, my life as I knew it crumbled before my eyes and everything I thought I knew was no longer true. It was one of the most heartbreaking moments in my life and so you know what I did? I picked up Grace, I dropped her to my mum and I went and did that full day of workshops. I didn’t cry. I didn’t tell anyone. I swallowed those feelings and that grief and I keep going. I held onto that breath.
It actually took me quite a while (a couple of weeks I think) to even tell those really close to me what had happened. I felt like a failure, I felt humiliated and I felt like I wasn’t enough. Those feelings didn’t leave any time soon.
Fast forward, we separated and life kept moving forward, I was now facing life as a single mum which had never been in the plan (and boy do I like to plan) so that really shoved a big ar$e ratchet in the works for me. I’m not one to get stuck in the details of a plan but I like the familiar, I like to know ‘big picture’ what’s happening and I like to know what to expect, I like things to be IN my comfort zone. I hate surprises, they unnerve me. Well fu$k me, this was none of those things. I barely knew how to be a mum let alone a solo one, I had a mortgage and a very part-time gig dabbling in this health & wellness space. Occasionally running workshops, blogging lots of free content so no-one would know the truth, raising a baby and still suffocating in this grief that I refused to allow out because I needed to be strong for my baby. I also felt this weird obligation to be strong for all those around me, like me just ‘getting on with it’ and not falling apart was going to make their life easier too.
It has taken me a long time to completely come to terms with my feelings around everything that has happened in the past few years, for the most part I just compartmentalised it, continued to be strong and just didn’t let myself feel all the feels. I let go of the anger, hurt and the resentment (as much as I could consciously do) so that Grace could have 2 parents who loved her and could successfully co-parent with her best interests at the forefront (which we did and still do because her dad is a great dad and that’s ultimately what matters). I say ‘let go’ but maybe ‘suppressed’ is a more accurate description. I had to keep being strong despite inside still feeling a little broken. There’s been a heaviness and tiredness in my body since then that I just haven’t been able to shake and despite living a life of ‘wellness’ there’s always been something that just didn’t allow me to feel completely well, which to be honest also made me feel like a bit of a fraud.
I had to be strong.
Let’s unpack that for a sec. Strong. Defined as ‘to be able to withstand force, pressure or wear’. Yep, Tick.
But hold up, I can’t see anywhere in the definition that suggests ‘indestructible’. Monkey bars are ‘strong’ when humans hang off them but not that red hot at withstanding the force of a Mack truck driving into them. Does that mean that monkey bars aren’t strong? No. It just means that fu&king Mack trucks aren’t meant to run into them. Sometimes strong things break or bend when the force on them is just not what they were designed for. The great thing is, that most things that break can be fixed, maybe not the same as they were but that’s not so bad, often better, reinforced, sometimes a bit dinged up but still capable. Sometimes we need to break so that we can put ourselves back together and realize that our strength comes from that ability to do so and not let those experiences that broke us cause us to be bitter or closed off. To realize that no-one else can fix us but when we fix ourselves we get to choose what the new version is going to look like.
I have done my share of counselling in the past and recently learnt thanks to working with a wonderful Craniosacral Therapist that there was niggling emotions that hadn’t had a chance to come out because I was too busy ‘being strong’ that were reflected in things niggling in my body. This is likely why my sleep can get really off and I find myself lying awake for hours between 1 and 3am. My guts can play up for no apparent reason despite not eating anything out of the ordinary for me, my knees ache without provocation, my upper back gets incredibly tight, sometimes I feel like I just can’t take a deep breath and why I have been feeling this incredible sense of fatigue the past couple of years no matter what I do. According to Chinese & Ayurvedic medicine, our organs and body holds trapped emotions and if these emotions aren’t dealt with the irritation & inflammation in the body remains. This Craniosacral bizzo might sound a bit hippy-dippy-woo-woo and maybe it is, but I’ll tell you what, it’s completely non-invasive and the things ‘my body’ was telling this woman were things that she could not possibly know otherwise. The healing that I felt after a session was unlike anything else and for the first time in a long time I feel like a weight has been lifted off my chest, I actually truly feel strong, and I can let go of that breath.
As I look back on the events that unfolded, I can now be grateful. Not for the pain but for what that taught me about myself, for what it showed me I am capable of. As it turns out this was the universe’s way of throwing me right out of my comfort zone, because that’s where the magic happens. It forced me to grow, to challenge myself more, to be brave, not just strong. It brought so many amazing people into my life and so much happiness. It has created avenues for my business that would have never been possible had I stayed where things were ‘comfortable’ that now allow me to reach so many more people and hopefully help change their lives for the better.
I don’t for a second think I am the only woman (or man) to have had this experience and I have been absolutely blessed to be surrounded by a tribe of people who were (and still are) always there to help me out. I am writing this to show you that sometimes it’s not all rainbows, lollipops and instagram highlights. Sometimes $hit is going down in people’s lives that you have no idea about, it’s no worse or better than your challenges but it’s real and hard for them too. If you have some hard $hit going on, feel all the things, let them come up, let them go, and trust that this is all happening FOR you, not to you and you will come out the other side, maybe a little dinged up, but absolutely stronger and you too will be able to let out that breath.