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.
Kate Toholka says
Ah I bloody love you. Can we finally meet?!!? Sucks to hear your story but kudos to you for coming out the other end with your head high.
Thank you Kate x
Sorry, I’m not on Instagram but just happened to read your story online.
Despite all the negative comments that everyone always gets from the usual online idiots, you have done an amazing job!
Your daughter is absolutely beautiful & obviously very healthy so the diet is obviously doing her good!!
Even though I’ve always been a “Pie & chips” kinda bloke & am the dodgy type that would never think of even trying the foods you eat, it’s obviously working very well for you & your daughter! And with all the extra rubbish that is put in foods these days, I for one take my hat off to you!
Keep on doing exactly what you’re doing & just ignore all the idiots!!
Good for you!
Take care & I wish you & your beautiful daughter all the very very best!
Thank you so much for your kind words Ritchie. I appreciate you stopping by.
Vanessa Valente says
@myfoodreligion Thank you beautiful lady for sharing! It’s been such an inspiration having your journey & wellness blogs/recipes in my life.
@katetoholka…you guys will love each other when you finally meet. I’m grateful to have met you both beautiful, strong & inspirational women.
Thanks Ness x
As a single mother to 2 amazing grown boys I related tremendously to this! I made the choice to walk away from a marraige b/c of a spouse with addicition problems. Whatever the situation, what matters is having courage to be able to stand alone. You are obviously doing it well! You WILL make it and in the end what a sense of true pride you will feel. I promise! I am almost 50 and there is NOTHING I would change. My boys are happy and healthy and VERY functional! Keep up the good work!
Trish you are an inspiration. Well done mumma
Oh wow! I’m in tears reading this. My story isn’t one of an affair but of an absolute betrayal of trust from a former, close family friend. It has torn my family apart and my heart feels broken, every, single day. I’m going to try and hang onto your words “happening for you”, as these have really spoken to me. Thanks for being strong enough to share your story xo
Oh Gail, I am so sorry for your tears. There will be a lesson in the heartbreak and you will smile again, I’m sure of that. Now you get to rebuild a better you xx
Hope you’re feeling all the love coming your way.
One of my dearest friends is now a cranio sacral therapist- pretty special people.
Omg aren’t they bloody amazing!
You are an amazing and brave woman. You should be so proud of the beautiful little human you’re raising.
Love you heaps.
Thanks Chrissy x
Maria Booth says
Oh Shannon so sorry to hear you have been through this. Not sure if you remember me Maria Booth we worked together at Provet five years ago I was in accounts. I have always admired you. You are such a lovely person inside and out. Sending you cyber hugs. I have no doubt you will find happiness again. Take care xx
Of course I remember you Maria! Thank you for your message x
Marie Hobman says
Hi Shan, hope you can take some comfort in having shared your story, a sort of relief maybe, to get it off your chest. You won’t remember me but we exchanged a few hellos while training at Genesis in Windsor. Keep up the good work. Marie xx
Thank you Marie!
Bec M says
That’s a big brave share, I hope you feel even lighter again. My sharp breathe moment was almost 13 years ago and changed me forever, I know it’s for the better, even though it doesn’t feel like it in some moments.
Inspirational quotes aren’t for me… until I saw these two one day…
“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer”
“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”
All power to you Shan xo
Thank you Bec, I love those quotes!
The quintessential example of a strong women. A highly successful businesswomen, and human, who hasn’t sacrificed her femininity and emotive side as well as continuing to be a kind and loving mother. We need more women like you to be vocal about their life experiences. Be female, be a mother, be proud of your resilience and wear your emotions with pride. This is your strength, your attraction and your ability to make a positive impact on the world around you.
Thank you Rosie, that means the world x
Real words written by you. Wow how you still surprise me.
Good on you moving forward and getting that bad energy out of you.
Life certainly has its challenges for us in many different forms. Glad you ok and doing great as a single mum , business woman and as a real woman.
Miss ya and love to the familia
Thanks Fabs xx
So, somehow we are aligned…2 years ago almost to the day, I discovered the same (and then some) while I also had an 8 month old daughter (and a 2 year old son). I read your words as if they were my own! Thankyou for putting out there, it’s been a journey that’s for sure. Once I showed my vulnerability to my nearest and dearest mu life changed. Keep being brave, xx
Oh thank you Amy, I hope things are tip top for you now x
So glad you shared this, for you and for others who read it who find themselves in the same situation. This was my experience also in 2010 after 22 years of marriage and I resonated with every word you said. I’ve spent the last 8 years rebuilding myself, my life – reinventing and breaking through every ceiling I came up against, though none of it has been easy. I found strength in me I didn’t know existed before and now I feel like I’m living the life I was meant to live. There is deep blessing in the pain and an opportunity to thrive concurrently with the trauma. We are also living a great example to our children by doing what we have to do and being completely real and authentic about it. Thank you again Shannon, xx
Meredith you are such a strong woman, thank you for taking the time to comment xx
Shan lockyer says
Shan – you are an amazing woman, mother and all round dead set, kind, caring, giving good looking gal! Love you to the moon and back. Keep fighting the fight and inspiring others.
Thanks lady, I appreciate the kind words x
You’re an incredibly brave woman, Shan, and I applaud your strength and determination to make a great life for you and Baby G, especially after what you’ve been through. I’ve already said you’re an awesome Mum, but after reading this, I think you’re even awesome-rrr. One day G will be grateful she grew up with you modelling resilience and focus each day.
Thank you Karen, I really appreciate you taking the time to read and comment
I stumbled upon an article about how you feed Grace healthy foods. I admire your strength and bravery. Sometimes the strongest people you know dont even realize how very strong they are…you are a strong vibrant woman and I am so glad I stumbled upon your story! I have been struggling with my weight for years…now Im 30 pounds lighter and feel great. All because I have been forced by circumstance and the universe to eat gluten, dairy, soy and processed food free. Thank you for sharing your story!
Thank you for all your kind words Angel and congratulations on making such a huge life change!
Thank you for sharing your struggles. You’re right-weALL have them. It’s what we DO with them that makes or breaks us.
Thank you Tammy
Inspired in many ways!
Thanks for reading
Michelle Price says
WOW WOW WOW… thank you for opening up your heart and exposing yourself despite the thugs trolls of internet and being so brave so that others can feel brave too and start making changes and better choices and heal themselves… you are truly inspirational!x
Thank you Michelle x
Jenny Ellwood says
Inspiring! Made me feel truly optimistic! You go, girl!
You have a beautiful and powerful story. I always strive to be healthier and happier and your website has helped me so much! Thank you.
Shan, thank you so much for sharing your story. I have also been feeling down for the past year since my best friend through high school betrayed me. I am also very interested in the body and how it functions and I’m so glad that you mentioned your craniosacral therapy! I have been looking into getting myself into some therapy since I, too, feel I should be over it but am not. It affected my sleep for months and my anxiety was so bad that my gut was also not functioning properly.
You are such a badass woman!! You go through so much trouble to prepare only the healthiest foods for your beautiful little girl and it is truly the best thing for her. She looks like the poster child of good health! Keep being an incredible mom and an incredible inspiration. Your experiences are making a difference in lives all over the world. I can tell you that for certain since I am from Florida and found your blog!
Thank you so much Crissy! I appreciate your kind words and hope that you are feeling better soon. Try and remember that holding onto anger and hurt is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die. It only effects us, not anyone else x