A glimpse into
The biggest and most recent twist in my story came in the fall of 2014 when I was told by doctors that I was in acute heart failure and in need of an aortic valve replacement. I had recently been diagnosed with a congenital heart defect and, at the age of 44, it had taken its toll on my body.
It was my wake-up call.
The news came as a huge shock to me as there had been no warning signs and no history of it in my family. In the days leading up to my surgery, fear and uncertainty was oftentimes unbearable. Faced with my own mortality, my world was shaken up. And given a second chance at life, I was changed forever.
I knew I’d been called to a new adventure – to show up to life.
The healing period was slow for me – both mentally and physically – and not without its set-backs. Like so many other times in my life when I’ve been beaten down, hurt, or suffering, I eventually came out of it stronger and more resilient.
I was reminded that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.
I was following the rules of a society that says women must keep quiet, be pretty and perform well.
My step father spent years crafting his manipulation of the parent/child trust and used it regularly to his advantage. I was paralyzed by fear of judgment, rejection and potentially hurting those that I loved.
I spent over a decade hiding the fact that I was being sexually abused.
At the age of 19, I ran into marriage and across country – as far from my past as I could. I quit college and became a stay at home mom of two. Motherhood lit a spark in my heart and gave me great joy, yet I often battled bouts of depression and post-traumatic stress from suppressed memories of my childhood. And despite a deep yearning for love and connection, I was unable to find fulfillment in a marital relationship riddled with physical and emotional abuse, infidelity and alcoholism. I felt lost and very much alone.
My spirit was suffocating and my authentic-self was unable to breathe.
It was time I got grounded so I could begin to rise up.
That’s when I started the transformation to a stronger, healthier, and happier version of myself. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy – in the midst of this process I also went through a divorce after 15 years of marriage and became a single mom. Life hasn’t been void of conflict or pain, but I’ve learned to view and approach obstacles differently.
Now I see the beauty in the valleys as well as the mountain tops.
Sometimes, I still find myself falling into the old ways of the past. The need for control, perfectionism, internalizing emotions, shame and comparison pop-up regularly on my radar. But I continue to walk in grace and self-love as best as I can.
Growth is a process, not an event.
If you ask me what fills me up or keeps me going, I’d tell you…
My coffee in the morning. Quiet reflection and prayer. Having my family all together. A glass of wine and soul-filling girlfriends. A clean and organized space. Music and words that speak to me. A good workout. Gratitude and taking time to revel in the beauty of nature.
I am an artist at my core and love just about any form of creative expression. I have a passion for decorating, refinishing furniture, DIY home projects, painting and chalk art with my five year-old.
Every story matters.
Thanks for taking the time to read mine.