I’m a pretty a transparent person admittedly. I’ve openly shared as a writer through my blog for a few years now about different aspects of my life from everyday experiences, motherhood, and more all with the hopes of encouraging others. However, for the first time I felt like the character “Elsa” in the movie Frozen with fear, I was afraid to really open myself up in sharing my story in expression in doing what I once felt so eagerly to do. I’m slowly buiding back my hopes, trust, self-confidence, and strengthening my faith in adjusting to my new life.
What A Year!
The summer of 2018 kicked off with events like a wild rollercoaster ride with extreme highs and lows. I put in my two weeks notice at my small private school in working as a fine arts teacher with the knowledgeable understanding that as a family we would relocate to Savannah, Georgia. My husband left in June prior to relocate there in starting a new position for his job. I ended on a high note in July following coordinating a huge youth summer performance with two hundred active students on a Tuesday. The long distance commute for weekend visitation for a marriage carried a lot of weight and responsiblity for us a couple in having one parent being away and one parent being mostly the the caregiver. I was excited to simply focus on preparing the kids for back to school, possibly volunteering in teaching fine arts locally until we relocated permanently, and preparing our home of eight years for a prospective buyer while my husband was away at work. I wouldn’t have thought that in less than a week of ending one chapter that I would start another chapter in stretching things in remaining in our hometown with unexpected precedence.
You’ve Waited So Long.
Fine arts teaching positions aren’t easy to come by in securing a decent salary with benefits. I tried for years in applying for a full time position after working in afterschool enrichment instruction, grant contracts, and commission opportunities to secure a permanent position in fine arts education. I was surprisingly offered a full time teaching position at the Board of Education following a visit for admissions testing for Kindergarten for my twin daughters. I casually stopped by the Fine Arts department to learn the volunteer process to work with local schools. I was mixed with emotions when I recieved a call back in the offer of a full time position in the department that had my stomach going in flips in knowing as a family we would be moving soon if I took it. I called my husband in sharing the offer of the position in asking his thoughts on the matter of what to do. He shared that he knew this was an opportunity that I waited so long for in encouraging me to take the position. The initial plan at the time in agreement was for us to continue our long distance / weekend visits until I could secure a transfer to a school closer to our “future new home” together in our new city.
To Much To Soon
I adored my new principal, and I appreciated the opportunity she gave me to serve with freedom at my new school with my gifts within the arts. I enjoyed meeting all the friendly faces at our school’s faculty and staff orientation meeting. I was pumped in being ready to teach school for fall; the added bonus was that three of my children were going to join me in being apart of the school making it easier for us as a family with all the school logistic. I wouldn’t have thought after saying, ” See you later!” to the school’s secretary that I would be involved in a serious car accident a week before I started my first job as a middle school teacher. The busybee in me bounced back against doctor’s orders in a few hours despite the accident to join my husband who had our oldest two children at a sickle cell conference in Tennessee where I was also scheduled to speak. Thankfully, none of the kids were in our van at the time of the accident. My twins were safe in Atlanta with my mom close to the airport where I left the hospital to see 2/4 of my children since at this dire time we were literally all over the place.
The balancing act of being a working mother, a wife/ caregiver to a spouse living with sickle cell, caring for an autistic child, co-parenting with my son, and managing the household duties begin taking a toll. Our marriage was far from perfect, but the long distance spun our marriage into a deeper nose dive. The cost of driving over two hours back and forth was hard on our wallets and our cars. We both received two separate speeding tickets on two separate commutes. My husband begin to work a second job as well in occasionally staying in the city to work on weekends to make extra money, while he additional devoted a lot of his spare time in dedication to advocacy for sickle cell. Our attempt in staying connected through phone calls, texts, and video chats were good at first, yet they later became less frequent. Our long distance conversations became more task driven, dry, and there was a sense of frustrating resentment that was far from lubby dubby couple’s talk. It was a small spat through a miscommunication of understanding that he wasn’t coming home for a weekend that opened a honest conversation of where we were as a couple along with where we were heading. There are sadly many factors beyond long distance that brought our marriage to a close that in respect to my ex and our children I choose not to disclose in writing at this time since the process of our divorce proceedings are ongoing. It was two weeks before Christmas that I learned via a Marco Polo message before work that our marriage was over in being irreconcilable in announcement of divorce. There wasn’t going to be a ten year anniversary renewal of our vows, but the two of us sitting with attorneys in front of a judge as if we were total strangers. We’re amicable on the surface with no heated arguments, custody battles, and ugly “public” shots of one another’s character in front of the children. However, the truth is ending a ten year marriage with four children hurts deep. We both have our personal grievances on the why and how our marriage ended, but I seek no ill will in playing the game for bandaid satisfaction for public sympathy. My acceptance however of our marriage ending doesn’t take away the pain it feels inside though.
When It Rains It Pours
They say when it rains it pours. I can’t say that I had a full down pour in a shower of heartbreak all at one time; I will just say I had a lot of heavy showers back to back. I was a month into starting my new job as a new teacher adjusting to life when my mom shared with me that she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. My dear Grandmother who helped raised me had a nasty fall at the first of the year never to recover, she past away later in late June. I was at a crossroads of losing everything I knew and loved in less than a year. I saw the ugly side of divorce that no one tells you about openly on how easily mutual friends, associates, and some I considered as family could choose sides in creating their own narratives in acting out in distorted loyalty. I saw how easily someone you loved, once trusted, and shared the promise of a life long courtship could fold under pressure in not taking full accountability in pouncing on any opportunity to shift blame in deflection of their own.
There were friends who in tough times showed me they cared sincerely, and there were “friends” who took the TMZ approach of using my life as a sensational tale to throw passive aggressive shade in kicking me when I was already down. There were some who pulled away, many who choose to pry in taking advantage of the situation by stalking social media changes, and there were some who ironically in this time pulled on me heavily in being more demanding of my time in wanting my full attention. I truly lost myself through all that I committed myself to. Everything I’ve known, what I thought was real, and want I hoped for was gone. I wanted for a moment to just disappear. My work load during this time didn’t ease up, nor did my duties at home, and my daughters especially pulled on me more than ever in learning that their world to was never going to be the same.
The Light At The End
I’ve never been a woe is me person, but more like a it is what it is kind of person. I can’t dwell on the heartache of the past rough year, because there were equally so many enduring moments of hope that took center stage as well. I really had a great freshman year as a new teacher in doing what I love. I was awarded mid year with a plaque for service unexpectedly at a staff meeting. My students and I have a great rapport with respect with most of them really enjoying the subjects I teach. My grandmother had a beautiful Homegoing service in celebrating her ninety years here on earth. Her spirit in life and death brought the family together. We had a lovely fellowship after the service here at my home with laughter, good eats, and music. My mother has always been a fashionably outgoing person who never let the cards that were dealt keep her down. It makes me smile seeing her traveling more, getting all fancy to head to senior events, volunteering at a local nursing home to share with other seniors, and to see how giving she is to all of her grandchildren. I wish the best for my soon to be ex husband despite all that has happened. I pray that he feels the same for me. We’re still a year into our divorce which makes everything still fresh in being emotional. I’m doing my best to co-parent in peace for the sake of our children. There were a few mutual friends and associates who stayed neutral throughout our divorce process in being supportive in never choosing sides, in being professional, cordial, and respectful to us both in knowing how hard it is. I am slowly building my confidence back in myself in tapping back into my creative expression in speaking and writing. I held back in withdrawing from everything in feeling judged, shamed, and rejected as a newly single mom with two strikes. I questioned my worth in feeling like I had nothing no longer to offer to the world. Many of my immediate family members pulled through in ways I never could’ve imagined. My tribe of friends strengthen in genuineness in providing motivation when needed. I have co-workers that have adopted my babies as their nephew and nieces. My children are growing older in maturity in helping out more around the house. My new church family made me feel loved and accepted in ways I never felt before. I own my truth without second guessing who I am of any losses or narratives. I am no longer ashamed of my story in this chapter of my life. This isn’t the end of the book for me, it’s just the end of a chapter. My story matters if only for myself.