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Iron Strong Part 12
How did you know when to end your marriage and what about the kids…
In 2012 I journaled daily through my divorce, leaving the Mormon Religion, being a Single Mom, becoming a Marathoner and eventually an Ironman Athlete. This story will be delivered in parts and not really edited down from the original writings in my journal (including some typos and grammar misalignment). I do this to uphold the integrity of the Woman I was when I wrote these a decade ago, long before I knew this would end up as a full book and despite the fact my writing has evolved in the decade since I wrote these pieces. They read in present day time from a decade ago. These are stories of hope, miracles and never giving up on your dreams. It is a heroine’s journey of shame, secrets and ultimate seclusion to the Finish Line of Ironman Arizona....and then beyond. An Outward Journey to an Inward Destination of Freedom and Liberation, Iron Strong.
How did you know when to end your marriage??
You can’t think yourself out of a marriage and into divorce, you also have to feel your way through to your knowing.
During a deep meditation and then long conversation with my mother I could finally describe the visual associated with me deciding to end my marriage.
Everyone has seen ancient European war movies, ie Braveheart.
I was taken to a ancient battlefield. It was all green and rolling hills and a bright blue sky. I saw myself or my physical body laying on the ground. Lifeless. Motionless. Breathless. Eyes wide open and staring to the sky. There was nothing left.
This person I was looking at had been to war. Fighting front line combat. For their freedom. For their children. For love. For the man she was madly in love with. To “prove” that love really could conquer all. For redemption. For trust. For loyalty. For their marriage.
These all are worth giving your life for. They are life essentially.
There were bruises, wounds, broken limbs, shattered hearts, lost dreams, and devastation at the possibility that the hardest decision to make was actually going to bring my spirit, my soul and my very breath the most peace of heart and mind.
As I looked down on this physical body…this physical body was looking up. To that bright blue sky. To the heavens. There was no spirit left…it had started to leave the body. Literally peeling away and starting to float to that great big white light in the sky.
That is when that final push. That final breath. That final desire to LIVE life and not succumb to losing myself for eternity and beyond overpowered and took back that spirit. In one final and courageous act of strength, my spirit was sucked back into my body.
My heart and mind felt peace.
That body was once again reunited and connected to its soul and then bravely and vulnerably stood up. Brushed off the dust and wounds. Placed her hands to her heart and took their first deep breath. The breath of life.
Then with head held high walked in the opposite direction. Away from the battleground and the safety of “home”.
Onto a new path that nobody knew or had traveled before.
It was terrifying. It was also liberation.
It was the hardest decision one will ever have to make in their lifetime of whether to stay or go…but the answer that gives you the peace in your very spirit is the one you need to follow.
I knew that I should do whatever makes me happy, and if I stay in a marriage that makes me unhappy, I was wasting my life pretending and living that perfect life. I wasn’t going to do that anymore.
And in that moment I chose to LIVE my life, to choose life and never look back.
What about the Kids…
I feel I robbed my children of a traditional family because I got divorced.
This truth haunts my soul. I look at those beautiful blue and brown eyes and wonder how much more complete their life would be in a two parent home.
I wonder if I just threw away every chance for them having a successful marriage or relationship in the future.
I wonder if I have stolen their innocence at the ages of two and four.
I wonder if they will ever be able to bounce back from the pain of divorce and not having their really amazing daddy there to kiss their forehead while they quietly sleep or tuck them in every night.
They will go to school and will have two houses. Two bedrooms.
Will they be the only ones? Will they be looked at differently or teased.
As they grow older how do they split the time. Sports. Friends. Homework. Priorities change from which hotwheel car to race to which girl to ask to a high school dance.
Can I protect them alone. If someone broke in the house am I able to fight them off. That answer is an astounding yes. I would kill or be killed before anything or anyone abuses my children or hurts them.
Will my boys simply fall apart and never be able to cope with my decision.
Will they hate me later in life. Will they hate their father. How do you explain.
It is too early now but someday they will stand before me as an adult and demand an explanation for why their parents that both loved them dearly were unable to make a marriage work.
These are the very deep and real concerns and fears I put into the universe as I was contemplating divorce.
The Magic of a Girl at a Bar…
I made the decision to divorce at mile 17 of the Chicago Marathon. It was solidified the following day.
It was not a question but a bolt of light. I knew I was going to … I didn’t know the how or when … I had only fear left … my children.
During my Marathon celebration in downtown Chicago I was at a bar. I had a few drinks but was very coherent. I am a friendly social drinker so I made friends with a cute blond girl at the bar.
I must have been so overly sharing about my new imperfect life and confidence in my decision that I told her I was getting divorced. Yes a random girl that I would never see again knew before anyone else in this world that I had made that decision.
She looked at me and saw my enthusiasm and with a shocked but empathetic and friendly face looked back and me and questioningly said congratulations? I began to expound that the only hesitation I had left was my children.
This girl, at this bar on a random Monday night, in downtown Chicago…grabbed my shoulders and looked firmly and deep into my eyes…she was staring into my soul so that I wouldn’t only hear these next words…I would FEEL these next words in the core of my being…she told me right then and there…
“You are NEVER allowed to stay in a marriage for the kids and/or feel guilty about your divorce in regards to your boys.”
She proceeded to tell me her parents had divorced when she was five and she thanks God every single day that they did. She saw two happy parents her whole life. Parents who loved her and showed deep respect for each other. She saw two parents in thriving relationships. Most of all, she felt cherished and loved by everyone in her big family.
She smiled big and took her hands off my shoulders and flipped her long blond hair back but her gaze never left mine. She explained how happy and content in each of their lives everyone in the family is to this day. She knew and sensed from a young age that it was the RIGHT thing for them to do. That the children would be fine and I was NOT to stay for them. She was proof of this. My boys would be just like her. She could see it in my spirit that I was making the right decision.
And just like that…this girl stood up and was whisked out of my life.
Sometimes the universe has a funny way of answering the deepest concerns and troubles of our hearts. It is only when we make a firm decision and move forward with faith that there is a plan…that these small (or big) miracles will come into our lives.
People look and say those poor children. I was one of those people growing up Mormon and learning how awful divorce was and should never happen.
But what about the poor children who have to watch a loveless marriage modeled to them. Or their parents fighting and live in all that contention. Just because the perception through a glass window seems perfect doesn’t mean behind the closed door untold stories are playing out.
“If you’re thinking “I’m staying in this marriage for my children,” think, “would I want this marriage for my children?”
Children do not need you to save them. Children need to watch you save yourself.”
Deciding that Deciding is no Longer an Option…
There is always a defining point in any decision and that is when you DECIDE that deciding is no longer an option.
You are firm and steadfast in your gut. You begin to take small steps forward or maybe giant leaps. The smallest tip toe after this point of decision is ENOUGH to get the ball rolling though.
Once you make up your mind…and it has to be unwavering…there is nothing that the universe can’t do for you…there is nobody that the universe can’t bring to cross your path…there is nothing that will stop the universe from manifesting this great decision of yours.
You simply have to get to the point of deciding you are done deciding.
There is no time frame for this. We all reach this point in our own unique methods and times. Expect miracles when you reach this point. They will come. Be patient. Hold fast.
You have the power within you to DECIDE. Don’t judge yourself if it is taking longer that you think it should. We are not on our timeframe but on a universal timeframe.
In fact once we let go of what we think should happen…it will create the space of what is supposed to happen in you mind, body, spirit and surroundings.
Stay strong. Relentlessly move forward with faith in your own intuition.
Your heart will never lead you astray. So follow it. Follow that beautiful beating heart of yours wherever it may lead you.
Believe in the power of no longer deciding and soon your unwavering decision will manifest.