I just want to take a quick second to, once again, thank you for your kind words and support. Every time I share my story, I worry about how I'm going to be received. Usually I convince myself that backs will turn and I'll be left with my heart out there, vulnerable, completely exposed and ready to be trampled on. But time and time again you have held me close and reminded me that my expectations were wrong. I am so lucky to be surrounded by such genuine, loving people. Thank you for being there. Whether you were one of the unfortunate few who had to decipher what I was saying in between heavy sobs last summer or are hearing all of this for the first time.
You are the best.
You are the best.
When my world went upside down, even in the thick of it, I knew that I didn't want this, our story, to be a dark, family secret. For a few reasons (that we might discuss at a later time) it would be next to impossible. I wasn't sure how or when, but there was a shared feeling between J and I that this was not something we would hide.
On the dark days, which was pretty much the last third of 2014, I spent a lot of time looking for ways to feel better. For something to jump out and say, "IT'S GOING TO BE OKAY." For something to help me try to see past what was front of me. Which, I later learned, is a great way to have anxiety attacks. You gotta just deal with what is staring you in the face. There's plenty of time to deal with the rest as it comes at you.
Anywho, if you follow me on Pinterest you very well could have watched this all play out. I'm sure it probably looked pretty quintessential emo. (Nobody understands me, gah.) But rest assured, I'm back to pinning gifs from Arrested Development and recipes with names like "Better Than Sex Chex Mix". SPOLIER ALERT: it's not. It's good, but I think it may have set the bar a little too high.
Early in this season of Pinterest therapy (real therapy was also involved, can't leave everything to the internets!) I found this quote from one of my favorite people, Brene Brown. I saw her on a TED Talk while living in Nebraska. I liked what she had to say back then, but I had no idea how relevant her work would become to my life. You can find here talks HERE and HERE. If you don't watch those (which you really should), please please please watch THIS. It's short and sweet and quietly, gently speaks what I've wanted to scream at people.
"Shame needs three things to grow exponentially in our lives: secrecy, silence, and judgement."
So. You won't see the shame monster 'round these parts. Not saying there aren't bad days, because there are. Days where it's easier to put your hands over your ears and pretend nothing happened, nothing changed. But we move forward and we stand in our truth. No secrecy, no silence. Maybe some judgement, but as my best friend reminds me, haters gonna hate, potatoes gonna potate.
Beyond that, I can't help but have the overwhelming feeling that God isn't wasting this. (You thought I wasn't going to take you to church? Come on, you know me better than that.) He's gonna use it. I mean, he already is. There's nothing like watching the foundation of your relationship and life together crumble before your eyes only to realize that it was rotting from the inside. I hate to admit it, but I'm thankful this happened, in a way. We could have gone awhile pretending that things were okay. Justin would have his secrets and I would have my own issues eating away at us both. And then we probably would have imploded; we would have been impossible to repair. But now...now we have a chance. You can bet your sweet bippy both of us realize that not everyone gets a second chance and we're going to do everything we can to not screw this up. But we might, because we're human. And that's where Jesus comes in. We don't have to be perfect, because he was. We can rest in that. He's all like, "I got you, boo." Grace, y'all.
I leave you with this. My mantra for the now and beyond.
"She could never go back and make some of the details pretty. All she could do was move forward and make the whole beautiful." -Terri St. Cloud