For most of my life, the thought of starting over has been absolutely terrifying. Whether it was a relationship or a job, fear of the unknown often kept me right where I was, no matter how bad the situation seemed and despite how much I wanted more. It was familiar. I knew what to expect. It was comfortable. Although my feet never had the courage to move, my spirit always knew when it was time, but brokenness has a way of convincing you that you’re not worthy of more or better than your present circumstance.
It’s a lie.
On the heels of a devastating breakup and a battle with postpartum depression, it became crystal clear to me very quickly that I was in a fight for my life. So, I called my therapist and I made an appointment. This time, I was ready to do the work; initially, not because I wanted to, but because life served me up a huge dose of reality and I could no longer ignore the fact that I was the only person responsible for my healing.
Man, I craved wholeness more than anything else. I wanted to be ok within my own being, separate from anyone or anything else. I was truly tired of my happiness being dependent upon who came or left, what I had or didn’t have or what happened in my past. I wanted my joy back. I wanted real peace in my heart. I wanted both in a way that I’d never experienced.
The truth is, on top of the hurt, I was embarrassed. I was 36 years old with a newborn and I was single. Again. When I had my first daughter, I was 17. I could argue that I didn’t know any better back then, but this time around, I didn’t have that naivety to lean on as justification for my actions. This time, I had to own it. I had to sit in the truth of the fact that I made poor choices that led to another broken heart and a baby.
I was ashamed, angry and even afraid. I went from having a daughter in college and jet setting around the world with my girls to changing diapers and breastfeeding. I was overwhelmed. Although I loved my baby, I grieved and longed for my old life. I hung onto memories of who I was pre-pregnancy and even prior to the relationship. I missed her. I was confident, creative, spontaneous, full of life and adventure. I didn’t recognize the woman I had become; insecure, crying and full of sorrow every day.
My aunt convinced me to go to midnight prayer on a few occasions. But even church won’t help a heart that’s unwilling to heal. I broke my own heart time and time again. I did that by refusing to accept what was. I didn’t want to start over. At that time, I couldn’t wrap my head around letting go.
But life has a way of naturally making room for newness, if we let it. We call it an ending, but with every one comes a new beginning. God has the power to reroute us and get us back on track with His plan and will for our lives. As long as we’re on this side of the grass, it’s not too late.
Sis, it’s not too late for us! I don’t care what it looks like. It’s not too late! God is a restorer!
Sorry, I digressed.
Where was I? Oh yeah…
I always knew I wanted to be a writer. It was my childhood dream. I wrote my first book of poetry in the third grade. I’ve had a love affair with words since I could formulate sentences. It’s more than what I do, it’s who I am.
I had plans to attend Spelman College in Georgia after high school, but I got pregnant on my prom night. So, I deferred that dream in order to raise Q here in Virginia. It was time well spent. My baby is now a Junior in college and I am so very proud of her.
The thing about dreams though, when they’re attached to your purpose, they don’t die. They can’t. You can get sidetracked and off-course, but they’re always there, lurking, pulling at your spirit, waiting for you to realize them.
I can give you a million reasons why my past relationships failed. All of them would be valid and honest, but the most prevalent reason is that I was not walking in my purpose. When I look back over my adult life, the common theme in my relationships is that I always laid down my dream(s) in order to help carry theirs. The relationships consumed me and I lost sight of who God created me to be individually. More importantly, I lost sight of God; the giver of vision. Without vision, we perish.
Parts of me perished. During that time, my creativity died, my drive, passion, focus - it all died.
I gave a lot to the men I have loved, but nothing more sacrificial than the abandonment of my purpose and myself. That is wildly unhealthy and extremely dangerous. It’s the reason why I hit rock bottom so hard when the relationships end. Because in my mind, I gave everything, including the things that made me me in order to be what they needed me to be and it wasn’t valued. It wasn’t reciprocated. But the truth is, there are somethings that should never be offered up or exchanged for love and acceptance. Your purpose, your dreams, they are reserved for you from God and anyone who truly loves you will never let it happen.
Today, I’m grateful for the end of that relationship, because the trauma from it served as the catalyst to my healing and rediscovery of self. I needed to lose him in order to find myself again. I’ve been introduced to a version of myself that I have never known. It’s so beautiful to just be ok without needing to be attached to anyone or anything else.
I’ve always known that I was created to be a prolific storyteller, but I’ve never had the courage to truly bet on myself and do it full-time. I’ve never had the faith to follow through even when working conditions stifled my creativity. Well, it’s a new day.
Last month I made a decision to pursue my dream. One week ago today was my official last day on my full-time job after 15 years of service. The last year was for my youngest daughter, the previous 20 were for my oldest and the next 20 are for me. I’ve finally reconciled within that I don’t have to sacrifice my dreams and who I am in order to be a great mom or partner. I can be both. I can do both. So, I’m taking the next twelve plus months off to write the contents of my heart and mind. I’m using this time to get back to who God created me to be. I’m walking in my purpose. Unapologetically.
And for the very first time in my life, I can see the blessing in starting over.