The other night in a conversation with a friend, she mentioned a time pre-cancer for her. I said, oh before I knew you. You wouldn’t have been friends with me pre-divorce. She laughed. No, I am serious and it would have been because of me. She chuckles but I was being honest. My friend only knows me as Katie now. The one who has battled some seriously hard times. I only know my friend as her now. One that faced death and won.
Our perspectives of life and how we are living has changed. But when I say to her and you, I am a totally different person, I think that can be hard to believe at times. The old Katie is dead. I am so glad she is too. Pre-divorce Katie was insecure and judgmental. She was trying so hard to be perfect, pretending all was good, excreting so much energy on making others happy and content, and worrying about what others thought. Pre Katie was really unhappy but didn’t know it. She constantly changed her opinions, beliefs, thoughts, and actions to reflect those around her. She held grudges, always using past transgressions against others. Perfection was key. In image. In marriage. In children. In parenthood. I wouldn’t say she was fake but she didn’t embrace who she really was. Maybe it’s because she didn’t know what she was made of. She was so afraid. Of having the facade of her life exposed. Of being vulnerable. Of experiencing pain. Of losing everything she worked so hard to build. Old Katie always held a part of herself back, from family, from friends, from life. Because if she became too involved, too exposed, too attached, it could all be taken away. She never took risks. She never stepped out of the box she created. So rather than live life, she half lived it.
I don’t even recognize who I use to be. When I say I have changed, it is so true.
Two years ago, I would never have sent a random gift to a woman struggling with cancer. I would never have submitted a very personal and emotional blog article to a stranger. I would never have walked into a non Catholic church to learn more about God. I would never have broken down and cried in front of women I barely knew telling them how scared I was. I would never have said yes to playdates with other moms I have never met. I would never have opened my heart and soul to strangers on the internet. Allowing them to see my deepest insecurities and emotions. Never. Rather than hide away, I found myself out in the open. Exposed before so many. By my choice. A decision that has encouraged healing and finding a purpose in my life. And maybe for others as well.
My separation and divorced pressed me to close the circle around me. This was MY life, MY divorce, MY children. Therefore, I had to stop listening to everyone else and listen to MY voice. Not only listen to it but find it and use it. For old Katie didn’t really have one. Now I do. I stopped being embarrassed for who I was and embraced her instead. I learned to rely on my gut, my heart, my strength, my smarts, and my God. Realizing I had to be comfortable with the choices I made, gave me a better foundation on living. Living for me. Living for my boys. Living to move forward, not back.
As soon as I realized my marriage really was over, I made a decision. I was not going to allow my divorce to make me bitter. I was not going to give my divorce, others’ actions, and others’ thoughts define me. I do that. God does that. No one else. Yet, in the beginning, I didn’t know how I was going to get through. Everyday was something new to overcome. Something new to feel and process. Something new to accept or let go in my life. I learned to trust myself.
Once you go through an experience and trial that changes you, forces you to evaluate the way you have been living, your relationships, and even your spirituality, you can’t go back. Back to what was. I heard someone say back to normal after so many tribulations. I can never go back to my old normal. I feel different. I love different. I live different. I am different. Back to familiar yes. I can be among familiar aspects of my old life. Family. Friends. Home. My former spouse. Yet, I can’t be who I use to be with them. Maybe that is difficult for some to understand and accept. That’s okay. In a short amount of time, I have changed in so many different ways. Like a child just born. They grow so fast, constantly changing in appearance and mobility. My change is not so visible. It is all within me. My heart. My soul. My fears. My voice. My mind and thoughts. My actions and words. My courage and strength. My faith. My darkness and light. My purpose for living and how I live. I have been radically changed.
There are times I wish it didn’t have to be done the way it did. By divorce. However, I am grateful. I was poor before. Now I am rich in life, love, and a faith that will never let me down. I see that I am not finished either. The hard of this all is still around me. God is not done with me. He is using this pain and suffering everyday in me. I must speak, do, and push forward.
When I say I have changed, believe me.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17