This is me, raw and full of hope and love. It has taken me a long time to get to this point; there have been so many struggles, despair, and loss. My life has been a roller coaster of emotions, both good and bad, more so bad, but it has been my life. Would I change it? Well, that's a pretty loaded question. My immediate response is, "Yes! No one should have to suffer through what I have." But, stopping to think about it, no, I wouldn’t change it. Everything that has happened in my life has been for a reason. It has been a life lesson that I can no longer ignore. When I look back, does it still hurt? Absolutely, it does, and it always will. Looking back, remembering, and feeling all those emotions, my heart no longer breaks. It hurts, it absolutely does, but my heart isn't breaking like it used to. I used to sit and dwell on why these things happened to me and my children. And I used to get angry, close off, shut down, or lash out. I used to live in my trauma instead of living beside it. I let it consume me and drag me to the depths of depression, where it was a constant struggle to stay afloat. I used to allow these things to happen because if it happened to me, it wouldn't happen to anyone else. That was my thought process: endure the pain and heartache so no one else had to. As noble as that is, and honestly, I will still do that for my Soldiers, it was stupid of me to do it. I am not calling myself stupid; I am just saying that having that mindset was foolish. Endure the suck so no one else has to. I am unsure what exactly happened for me to make this change or accept it. I have been struggling to find myself and love myself for a long time. This is all new to me, and it feels so weird like I feel a little awkward. I honestly do not know when the last time was that I felt truly happy with MYSELF. Where I accepted myself and all my flaws and loved ME. I lost so much of myself trying to help him and be there for him; I put myself last and didn’t think twice about it. Even outside of that decade-long relationship, I put myself last in every aspect. Most of the time, I didn’t even put myself on my own priority list. My kids have noticed a difference; they said I seem happier. Which, I feel more content, but also at peace? They were ridiculous when I talked to them about me possibly dating. They gave me ground rules; it was hilarious and comforting at the same time. It has been my kids and myself for so long that I am unsure why I expected anything less from them. They fully accepted me dating, and I can see their eyes light up when my eyes light up when I get a text from my date. And I think that also helps me, knowing they support and are happy for me. I had drinks with a friend last night, and I don't think I stopped smiling the whole time. He commented that seeing me in such a better and happier place was good. It meant a lot to me to hear that, and it felt so good to go out with a friend and enjoy myself and not have to worry about anything or anyone for that matter. I even wore short shorts for the first time! I am working on loving myself and my body and being comfortable, and last night, I did not feel awkward wearing them at all. I wore a more oversized shirt to hide the bulge (ha-ha), but I was comfortable with myself. Last night was just what I needed, and it wasn’t even a long night, a few hours of great conversation, food, and drinks with an amazing friend. I have so much love in my heart to give, but I am finally at a place where that love stays with me. I wear my heart on my sleeve, but it is no longer anyone's for the taking. First and foremost, I will love myself above all else (I guess I'll throw my kids in there, too, LOL). I will no longer be the only one putting forth the effort; I will give the same energy I receive and nothing more. Now, it is my turn to live my life the way I want, to have fun and enjoy it every chance I get. If doing so leads me to someone worthy of ME, then so be it. I am comfortable being alone; I am comfortable being ME.
THIS IS ME. RAW AND FULL OF HOPE AND LOVE.