It was unlike anything I had experienced ever before.
The lights to a world I became so familiar with just shut off ever so suddenly. And within a blink of an eye, everything changed.
Life doesn't prepare you for that. I don't think we expect to wake up one day completely lost in our own world.
For as long as I can remember, I've always been able to find a way to make things work. In fact, my family tells me I'm infamous for always finding a way to do so. But this time, I was hopeless. My world was shattered into a million pieces, and even I knew I couldn't fix it.
You dream of the woman you'll spend your life with from a young age -- or at least I did. I spent so many years of my life investing into this future that I was so excited to build. I worked tirelessly to become successful in my career, loved her genuinely and whole heartedly and made a valiant effort to make the right decisions during a time in my life where everyone was focused on themselves.
I guess I viewed life in the twenties as the selfish years; people just did whatever it was they wanted without thinking of the consequences. I made sure I never ventured down that path.
I never imagined me, of all people, would go through a divorce. You hear about it all the time but you never believe it will happen to you. Especially at a point where you're still figuring out life.
They say your twenties are a time to figure out who you are. And if you do it right, most of it is spent solidifying your career, finding a soulmate, searching for a home (and saving for one as well) in addition to developing into the person you are destined to become. And all of that is difficult to juggle, but I was certain I did it right. I honestly believed I overcame some of the biggest challenges adolescents face and was on a clear path to the future I had dreamed of.
Not so fast...
I end up getting divorced from the only woman I had ever loved, sold my brand new home, lost a significant amount of the money I had saved since I started working, and to top it all off, I struggled at work and nearly lost my job. In essence, all of those things I worked so hard for in my twenties and achieved? I watched them get ripped away from me almost immediately.
Just to put it into perspective -- with the exception of a few, I've never seen my wedding photos. That beautiful new house I bought? I never had a chance to make it a home. Rooms remained vacant, and all I could do was glance in and imagine what could have been. That family I wished for my whole life? I somehow had to tell myself it would be a long time before that would come.
What does all of that feel like? I'm not sure there are words to describe it, honestly. Just imagine working your entire life for something and finally you achieve it. But no sooner than you achieve it, it's ripped away from you viciously and all you're left with are memories and a small taste of something you wanted more than anything.
It was one blow after the next, and every time I thought I caught a break, something would knock me back down. I was devastated and heart broken. I had just spent nearly nine years building this life, and now I had to start back at square one. I didn't even know where to begin. And my biggest fear was that I'd never love again, or better yet, even want to.
Life was dark -- very dark, for a long time. I'd come home from work and get right into bed. All I wanted to do was sleep. Somehow, it took the pain away because I was escaping my own reality. I barely left the house, unless of course it was to work. My life broken. Everything was falling apart right before my eyes, and I knew deep down inside of me that life as I once knew it was about to change forever. I was petrified because she was all I ever knew.
So it was either allow my circumstances to ruin what was left of me, or allow it strengthen me.
One day I woke up and decided that I was going to take my life back. And rebuild everything over again. Piece by piece.
Was it easy? No.
In fact, it was one of the most challenging experiences of my young life. But I was so determined to overcome. I didn't want to be a failure at life. I had this strong desire to be happy again, to laugh amongst the stars and to love again in ways I had never loved before. And as painful as my life was, I found the slightest peace in knowing one day I would find reasons to smile again.
I think what gave me my motivation though, was the thought of one day being a father. I've always wanted an amazing life for my children and I knew in order to make that happen I had to be strong and push forward. I needed to be resilient and perseverant at a time where I was ready to quit. So I would envision holding my child for the first time, knowing at that point all of this pain would make sense. Knowing he or she will be worth every ounce of suffering I'd go through. For that reason alone, I pushed.
I opened up my mind and began exploring different things. I found a passion for kickboxing, I joined a gym, I made new friends, I spent more time reading and found this incredible passion called writing. I even turned it around at work and succeed at an even higher level than ever before.
And before I knew it, I found peace in closing that chapter of my life. I learned to love myself, and fell in love with life all over again.
It took time, yes. But I promised myself I would love again when I found someone who made my heart scream. I had no interest in finding someone to act as a healer to my wounds; love needs to be more than that. I want someone to explore with, to build my life with. A woman who will be a wonderful mother to my children and a best friend to me.
I know one day I'll have all of that and then some.
Going through a divorce changed my life forever. But it made me realize one thing...
Where I was born was nowhere near where I came alive.