It was fall of my fourth-grade year in my small-town school. This day started out like any other day. I woke up early on a crisp November morning rushing out of bed to get ready for school. My sister and I did the chores and hurried to eat breakfast and catch the bus. We were always running late. My mom would wait until the last minute and then force us out of bed because we hated school. We hear the bus pull in and start honking… late again.
We ran down to the end of the driveway and the dogs chase us the entire way. We always sat in the very back of the bus because we were cool kids and that’s where cool kids sit. My sister and I pretty much ran that bus. We even wrote our names in permanent markers in our seats and would kick anyone out that took our spots. We actually have thrown people out of our seats before. We didn’t mess around. The bus was our time to be badasses.
Now we are at school and head to our classrooms. In a small town and small school, we were never far from each other. Each grade had two classrooms and we had recess together too. We would kick everyone’s asses at tether ball and four square at recess. We thought we were awesome. Kids would like up the entire recess to try to beat us but it rarely happened. Once in a while one of the fifth graders would beat me but half the time they cheated and made up bullshit rules because I was younger. We weren’t perfect little behaved school girls by any means. We were little rebels and meant for something bigger one day.
So now recess is over and we are back in class. All of the sudden my mom shows up at my classroom door telling my teacher I need to leave. I was very confused and from the start, something felt off about this whole deal. She looked like she had been crying, nervous and in a hurry. She had told my teacher that I had a dentist appointment and I would be gone the rest of the day. Then we went over to my sister’s classroom to pick her up too. I knew we weren’t going to the dentist. I wasn’t dumb….
We head to the front doors with all of our stuff to get in the car but this wasn’t our car. My mom had rented a black SUV and trailer. I started to cry. I knew what was happening. My parents were getting a divorce and I would never see this place again. I knew my parents had been fighting. I saw them argue and fight every day. They purposely did things to piss each other off. They tried their best for a while to keep things good but they ultimately were not right for each other. I give them both props for trying so long for me and my sister’s sake.
We get inside this big SUV and my mom is sobbing at this point. I am crying too but silently as I was always told by my dad to “stop crying, it only gives you a headache” so I feared crying. I hated crying. I despised crying, especially in front of other people. Pretty deep for a ten year old, huh. My sister, on the other hand, is excited. She thinks we are just taking a vacation to Minnesota to see my mom’s family. I replied with some rude remark and called her stupid for believing that this was a vacation. I told her our parent’s were getting divorced and we would never see this place again. Mom was taking us away forever, or so it seemed.
We headed off to Minnesota to start our new lives, except nobody knew. My dad had no idea. I still cry at the thought of how he must have felt coming home to an empty house with his girls taken from him. everything ripped away and he never saw it coming. I know my mom was in a bad situation too. I can’t imagine what she must have felt orchestrating the entire getaway all on her own to escape a bad marriage to another state with two young girls. It all seems like a bad movie when I look back. We were all the best we could with what we had.
You see, from an early age I was taught that marriages don’t last. Everyone gets divorced eventually. If something bad happens you run away. You can’t trust anyone. Yelling and fighting is just part of normal life. Crying only gives you a headache. I’m not special so stop acting like it. And I had to learn to grow up at the age of ten and help take care of my little sister.
I never realized how much weight I carried around until my adult years and I started to dive a little deeper into it. This is where I started to get my mentality that I had to be a hard ass and just handle it. I was always trying to help others at the cost of my own health, money, sanity and time. I never showed emotion. Emotion was for the weak and I was so far from weak. I had to stand tall for myself and for my little sister. Nobody was going to mess with her and we were going to get through this together.
This all started at the age of ten from this one day in my childhood. I could not have done anything different to change this outcome or situation in my life but the stories were engrained deep within me. I carried them into my adult life and one day realized I could change my entire story. I could learn from these old stories and change the way I wanted to write my story. History doesn’t have to repeat itself. I did not have to fall back into the same patterns that my parents did. I see it all to often now. Parents have money stories, relationship stories, job stories and they instill these stories into their children without ever knowing it. They don’t do it on purpose. They simply do not know any better because their parents didn’t know any better.
But now I am telling you that you know better, so be better.
Let’s take the story of marriage for example. I NEVER wanted to get married. I repeat, I NEVER WANTED TO GET MARRIED. Ever. Never. Not in this lifetime. No f*cking way. I said I would not put myself through the same mess that my parents had gone through. I saw the struggle first hand. It was hard to watch. I didn’t want to feel that way so instead of dealing with my story about marriage, I shoved it way down and avoided it like the plague. That’s what you’re supposed to do with feelings, right? Just keep shoving them way deep down so nobody knows you have them.
I self-sabotaged every relationship I was in until I met one guy, my husband. I tried so hard to sabotage that relationship too but he saw something in me, and to this day I still cannot figure out what it was. I was a drunk hot mess and not the cute hot mess you see on TV. I was a real hot mess. I was always trying to pick a fight. I was constantly in trouble with the law. I cannot believe I graduated from college, let alone high school. I had a massive chip on my shoulder and I was convinced the world owned me something.
One day, we got in a huge fight, which I will save for another time. He was done with me. My sabotage had worked. I was finally free again to be in misery alone. I cried harder than I have ever cried before. It wasn’t like the last relationships I had sabotaged. This really ripped a whole in my heart and I couldn’t figure out why it hurt so bad. I really f*cked up this time. Why do I keep doing this to myself?
I had convinced him to have breakfast with me and begged for forgiveness. Now I will say, I didn’t cheat or anything like that. I was a drunk asshole. I said and did a ton of mean things. I’m not quite sure how I convinced him but I knew from that moment that I REALLY had to get my shit together. This guy was serious and I needed to quit screwing around.
I had to face my demons. I had to actually dig deep and deal with the old stories I had about relationships. I had to face my fears that I might actually deserve a good life and that I wasn’t a bad person if things turned out OK for me. I had to learn that it was OK if I had a man who actually cared about me and wanted to be with me. It was the strangest feeling. Somebody actually loved me? Wanted to be with me? Wanted to marry me and have my babies? I could not wrap my head around this at first. I was speechless.
I did deserve a good relationship. I did deserve a good marriage. I did deserve to have a great life full of people that love me and want good things for me. I had convinced myself for far too long that I was undeserving, and I was ready to change that. I was ready to take charge of my life and start really going after the things I wanted.
Once I let go of the old stories that were programmed deep within me, I was able to clear the blocks of living a good life and really allow things to unfold for me. I started to work on me so that I could be a better girlfriend, then fiancé, then wife and now mother. I had to do the deep inner work and face those demons so that I could be free from those stories. I become the leader of my change rather than the victim of my circumstance. You can too.
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