This post is in connection with the lovely Jen Cohen's Spin Cycle over at Sprite's Keeper. Warning: This post is sort of heavy and not the typical sort you normally find here. :)
A few days ago I contacted my dear bloggy friend and asked her to be my life coach for a little while. Without hesitation, she gladly accepted and sent me the most focused, uplifting and wonderful email ever. She challenged me to rethink my approach to this here blog and I’m taking every word she wrote to heart. I’m even thinking about laminating her email and sleeping with it under my pillow every single night.
She’s that good, people.
One of the points that she made, ever so eloquently, was that I should think of Steenky Bee as sort of a love letter to my children so they can have a window into their mommy’s life with them as they were growing up. I guess on some level I’d already been doing that, but to actually see that thought in writing was eye opening to me.
So folks, I’m here again today (who knew I still had it in me to post twice in one week, eh?) to officially kick off my love letter to my children. Only, this post is specifically for my lovely daughter, Reese. It’s also probably one of the most personal stories that will ever appear on Steenky Bee. I am dreading the point where I have to actually push “publish” on this one.
Reese, I want you to read about the day my life started.
I was born in the seventies, but my life, the one I know now, didn’t actually get its start until April 12, 1997. This is the day I took charge of myself, turned my back on something bad and never, ever looked back.
Don’t get me wrong, I had a wonderful childhood, a blast in high school and probably too much fun in college. But on April 12, over ten years ago, I ended a horrible and abusive relationship with my first husband. It was that day that I had finally had enough.
I don’t often talk about him. I don’t even mention him by name. It’s like it humanizes him. It gives him something. Something he doesn’t deserve. I don’t hate him. I don’t NOT hate him. I don’t feel anything for him with the exception of gratitude that I survived him. He changed me in ways that I needed. He made me realize that life is sometimes messy, cruel and bruised where no one else can see because surely you can cover that up with makeup and long sleeved shirts. You can do that, right? That mark on your neck? Get rid of it before anyone sees you.
Reese, if I saw him today, I would walk directly up to him, and extend him my hand. “Thank you,” is all he would hear. What he wouldn’t hear would be how much better of a person I am for having known him, for surviving him. He made it possible for me to be stronger. He made it possible for me to know what I DON’T want in life.
He gave me scars, some that may never heal and some that already have. But most importantly, he armed me with the knowledge that when someone shows you who they are for the first time, you should believe them.
Reese, if you take anything away from this post today, please let it me that you are beautiful, smart and strong. It is my hope that you never have to face anything like this in the life you have yet to lead on your own. Never let yourself think for one minute that love should hurt.
Reesie-girl, I hope you know that as you grow older, you can always talk to me about anything. I will always listen with open ears, and open mind, but more importantly, an open heart. Don’t be like me. Don’t be ashamed, embarrassed, scared. Scared that people will find out that the hometown hero that everyone holds in such high esteem is actually a troubled, dark soul deep down.
Hold on to your lifelines, Reesie, whatever or whoever they are. Hopefully, one of them will always be me.
Folks, I’m keeping comments closed today. This post was for Reesie. I hope she reads it one day and is proud of her mother. I hope she understands I wasn’t always strong, I certainly wasn’t always smart about every choice, but in the end, I survived.