Click here to read part one.
As I mentioned before, I am in love with my wrinkles. I have shared a couple of my favorite wrinkles with you, and here are a couple more…
I earned another set of wrinkles when, at 25, I found myself in a lifeless marriage with my first husband and the father of our daughters. Married for eight years, I had tried everything I knew to make the marriage work.
The wrinkles started to appear when I felt like I had to choose between my daughters having their parents together or me being happy. More showed up when I finally chose to get a divorce.
What I learned with those wrinkles is that I deserve to be happy, and that I am the only one responsible for that happiness.
I’m keeping that batch of wrinkles for sure.
More stripes were earned a few years ago when I found myself at the end of a 14-year good (second) marriage gone bad. I had been stuck for the last three years, married to a man who turned emotionally unstable and verbally abusive. I doubted myself and my value. I questioned the viability of my gifts and talents. I forgot how capable I really was. He had me convinced that I would not survive without him…and told me so regularly.
Those wrinkles emerged as I went through the eye of a needle to find the keys to getting unstuck. Why was I staying stuck in a marriage that I really wanted to be free from? I found the answer in the process of reviewing a manuscript for a then friend of mine, Darrell Gurney. He had asked me and several others to give him feedback on his unpublished manuscript, The Back Forty: 7 Critical Embraces for Life’s Radical Second Half.
Take a peek at what I saw:
I am 19, on that plane out of Russia… I am scared and alone… wondering if I will ever see my parents again… wondering if I am making a mistake… and I am on my way to the freedom that our family so sorely dreamed of for 13 years… yet, I am afraid of going out into this new free world by myself… I am actually afraid of freedom.
To that 19-year old, freedom looked scary. At that moment of realization, I saw clearly that what kept me stuck in the marriage was a 19-year-old, scared of the freedom she wanted so badly. However, now I was no longer a scared 19-year-old. That story was complete… so I put it back where it belonged, in the past.
Becoming freed up from this past-based fear of freedom, within a day I told my husband that we would be getting divorced and declared that it would be amicable. Within a few months, I was out of that that marriage… as well as that mindset of fear around my own freedom.
What I gained along with those wonderful wrinkles was the confidence that I can not only survive, but thrive on my own. I wasn’t sure how I would make it at first, and yet I knew that I would. Within a few short months, I realized that I could stand financially and mentally on my own two very capable feet.
Click here to read part three.