Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. -Martin Luther King, Jr.
I'm as happy as a pig in poop. I have great friends, great family, a pretty good job and oodles of self esteem, self respect, self confidence and self love. Finally, at 52 years old, I'm ridiculously happy. It hasn't always been like this. It's taken me, well, 52 years to be exact, to get to this point of happiness. And it hasn't been easy. At all.
April 2013 my new life began. I was scared out of my mind. I didn't know how I was going to:
- pay rent
- buy food
- pay for utilities
- pay for gas for my car or
- pay for anything!
For months leading up to this day, I was a nervous wreck. An absolute mess. Was I out of my mind? Are you sure you know what you're doing? I had it planned out. Sort of. Well, actually not really at all. I mostly just dreamed about it and knew in my heart of hearts the day would come. I just didn't know how it was going to happen or when. But it was going to happen. Come hell or high water.
Rewind to March 2007 to where I met the man I was sure, one day, I was going to marry. He was tall, handsome (at least I thought so), smart and successful. He was loving and kind, affectionate and funny. Can a girl ask for more? He was a pretty complete package. He ticked off nearly everything on my list of *my perfect man*. He was all this and then some. For the first year.
I started noticing little red flags pop up by year 2. I ignored them. I convinced myself that life wasn't that bad. He was a good provider. I didn't want for anything. Ok so he drank a little. Who doesn't, right? There's also that bullying thing going on. It's ok, he doesn't really mean all those things he says. He's just under a lot of stress right now. Besides, he always says sorry after. That should count for something.
And then there's the controlling thing. That reared its ugly head by year 3. At least that's when I really noticed it. I thought that was just a "me man, you woman" thing all men do to show you that they are the king of the castle and you are the fair maiden, no? I mean, they are our protectors, right?
By year 5 I was unrecognizable. I faked smiles. I cried a lot. I complained all the time and whined to anyone who would listen. Oh how I whined. Where did Iva go? That bright eyed bubbly happy go lucky girl that lit up a room with her smile. Where was she? I was downright miserable, depressed and defeated. I was a walking zombie. A shell of a woman with nothing left inside.
It was almost time.
2012 we had moved into this big beautiful house in a very posh neighbourhood. He built a cute little salon in the house for me so I could work from home. Lovely! Anyone who was looking into my world from the outside was certain I had the world by the balls. That I had the life that people only dreamed of.
Things were surely going to get better from here on in, right? We were both, finally, relatively successful entrepreneurs. Maybe now, this relationship might actually get better. Amazing house, great careers, we traveled, we were comfortable.
Not so. It just got worse. So much worse. The house was filled with depression, anger and hurt. Lots of hurt. (Perhaps all that negativity was left behind from the previous owners who had recently declared bankruptcy and were both heavy drinkers and smokers? It's anyone's guess really but my Feng Shui teachings leave me to believe that this may have had a little something to do with it.)
Year 6 had me planning my great escape all the while trying to maintain some sort of composure in a pretend relationship. A pretend world. A pretend life. By the time I had reached this year, my focus was on my why. My why was so big that it practically smacked me upside the head. I knew why but I still didn't know the how or when.
Easter Sunday of 2013 took care of the when for me. After a ridiculously huge frivolous argument (by then, those were a common occurrence) I had had enough. This was the catalyst. It was time. Finally.
And I breathed a huge sigh of relief.
I was leaving a life full of material riches with an empty bank account and no job.
As I sat down to write the "Dear John" letter I felt like throwing up. My nerves were a frazzled mess. My anxiety was through the roof. The time had finally come. I was doing it. Nope, it wasn't easy but these things kept me focused:
1. Life was never going to get better with this man and if I ever wanted to be happy I needed to leave NOW!!
2. I am worth more than this and I deserve better than this.
3. If I don't leave now I will never be able to pursue my dreams and live a life of true happiness.
4. I will forever be sad, miserable and live in total nonexistence.
5. The change that I want is completely inside of me! If I wanted my life to change, I was the one that had to initiate it, otherwise it will never happen.
6. I continuously asked myself how much longer do I want to live a life of lies; not only his lies, but mine too. Lying to myself about a relationship that will never get better, pretending to love a man that I eventually grew to despise.
7. I deserve to be loved and treated with respect!
I had to keep reminding myself of all of these things as I wrote my goodbye letter. I had to muster up the courage to keep writing and stop talking myself out of it.
The next day I started making phone calls. There were things that I desperately needed but most importantly were these 4 things:
1. A job
2. An apartment
3. Money and
I didn't have any of those. I was 50 years old and I had nothing. Well, almost nothing. What I did have was a couch, an old laptop, some personal items and my cute little canary. Oh, and faith. Lots of faith. That faith was going to get me through one of the toughest times of my life.
I was terrified but I needed to stay focused, calm, determined and faithful. And breathe.
It was at this darkest moment of my life that the Universe opened up the flood gates and showed up in astonishing ways. People came out of the woodwork to help me. Family was there at the drop of a dime. My former employer was more than happy to have me back. Yay me! Things fell into place like never before.
I cried lots. Again. But this time they were tears of joy. Tears of happiness, accomplishment, and freedom. I finally did it.
And Iva is back. That *happy bubbly light up a room with her smile* girl is back. But this time she's bigger, better and more badass!
Aaah, freedom never tasted so good. Trust me.