Sunday, January 19, 2014

Lessons From the Trenches

I’m getting a divorce.  There, I said it.  That’s why I’ve been MIA for so long…because trying to preserve a marriage is a full time job that doesn’t leave much time for blogging.  As usual, I’ve spent many months trying to appear fine when in fact I was anything but fine.  And as usual, I probably had a lot of you fooled.  Anyway, I’m not going to air all my dirty laundry here (or hopefully anywhere, if I can maintain my dignity, sense, and self control), but the whole point of this blog is for me to be open and honest about the things that affect my health and happiness, so I wanted to share the truth.  My pastor always says “your mess is your ministry,” and I believe he’s right.  I could sit here and be mad about the things I’ve had to go through, or I can realize that I’ve been given an opportunity to grow, learn, and most importantly, share my story and my lessons with others because I know that my doing so might just change someone’s life.  So here are some of the lessons I’ve learned during my recent period of tremendous personal growth (and please note that these are conclusions from life in general, not necessarily from my marriage alone. I have a great deal of respect for my husband and the family we have built together over the last 8 years).

Lesson 1: Don’t ever be anyone but YOU
Sometimes people confuse my confidence for arrogance, but they are NOT the same thing.  As a result of being judged or labeled, I overcorrected.  Shame on me.  I know who I am and I should never apologize for it.  At some point, and I don’t even know exactly when, I started to change myself, my words, and/or my behavior in order to make others more comfortable.  Over time, this will just lead to one thing: you will forget who you are.  If you’re constantly adapting and trying to be what other people want you to be, you will eventually wake up and realize you’re not who YOU want you to be. Who am I?  I am strong, positive, confident, compassionate, loving, determined, emotional, competitive, humble, and loyal to a fault.  Some people find this combination intimidating, but what they think of me is really none of my business. 

Lesson 2: People treat you how you allow them to treat you, so set the standard HIGH!
If someone doesn’t treat you the way you expect to be treated, it’s your right responsibility to speak up and do something about it.  If you never set the standard, you are, by default, allowing someone else to set it for you.  I’m not saying you need to call out every stranger who lets a door slam in your face because for anyone who commutes to NYC daily like I do, well, suffice it to say “ain’t nobody got time for that!”  But for the people with whom you interact regularly (i.e. family, friends, coworkers), it’s important to show them what you expect.  And by the way, this is a two-way street.  In other words, don’t forget to lead by example!  You can’t treat someone else like garbage and expect them to treat you like a queen.  Once you’ve set the standard, the choice is theirs; they can either fall in line or keep right on moving.

Lesson 3: Sometimes admitting to failure can be a success
I hate quitting anything.  And worse than that, I hate failing at anything.  But the fact is that nobody gets it right 100% of the time…and that’s okay!  For a perfectionist like me, this concept is much easier said than done.  For many years I wanted to be a doctor. I was a pre-med student going for a degree in biochemistry, but when I got to college I found out that I hated chemistry.  There was a lot of stress and many sleepless nights and bad grades before I finally just admitted that I chose the wrong major.  But once I admitted that I got it wrong, I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders.  After that I had the freedom to choose the major that was right for me and when I did, I had a far more successful and fulfilling college career than I would have otherwise.  I got so hung up on the idea that changing my major meant that I was admitting failure or defeat that I almost forced myself into a career that I knew was all wrong for me.  In my opinion, that would have been a much greater failure than simply acknowledging that it was time to change my major.


There are many more lessons I could share, but these are the three that stand out tonight.  I’ve just begun yet another significant journey in my life and I have no doubt that I’ll have more to share in the next several months.  Stay tuned!    

4 comments:

  1. Where did my comment go? Ahh, anyway! I said how much I love you and am so in awe of how strong you are. The future may not look easy right now, but I know you'll tackle everything that comes your way with the same strength and courage that you've applied to everything else that has come your way in life. That being said, don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Love you always!

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  2. The other day Mum and I were talking about something very personal and emotional in my life. As I was talking, I noticed her eyes start to well up. I asked what was wrong and she said she was in awe of the strength BOTH of her girls possess in the face of all we've been through. I was touched and appreciative and after reading this, I understand how she felt in that moment. Sissy, you are the most amazing woman I've ever known. You are strong and intelligent and nurturing and absolutely beautiful from the inside out. I love you all of it <3

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  3. Thank you both so much. I love you and appreciate your words of encouragement!

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  4. Morning Sunshine - This is quite personal, but I'm sure getting it out is cathartic. Just remember whatever you put out there is hard to take back.

    Sai :)

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