If you had a second chance at happiness, would you take it?
5 years ago I left Gainesville. I was never quite ready to leave, but my heart was too broken to stay. I had been in a relationship full of love, laughter, and passion. One day I came home from work and all his stuff was gone. That was the last time I ever wanted to feel that kind of heartache, if I could avoid it. Within 6 months, I was packing up my life of 10 years and driving it to Houston.
I met Charlie. He was intelligent, loved music, enjoyed going to bars, drinking, and football. I had never met anyone who loved Chicago the way I did. The best part? He was reliable. When he said he would do something, he did it. He was honest and called me out on my shit. It all moved so fast, but nothing told me to stop. We met in February and by May I was moving in. The best part was he made space for me in his life and his apartment. I had a side of the closet, I had space on the wall, I had a home WITH someone. We were dreamers who made things happen and I LOVED that about us. We had a 2 year plan to move to Chicago and did it in 1 year. I so badly wanted to get engaged and get married. That was the surefire way to not get left again, right? So, I pushed for it. We were going to Chicago to look at apartments. I made sure he knew he should propose to me in Chicago. We NEEDED to be engaged before we moved. Pressure. Pressure. Pressure.
I ignored the anger. I ignored the fights. I ignored the drinking. “It’ll get better.” It’ll get better once he gets a job he likes. It’ll get better once we move to Chicago. It’ll get better once we’re married. It never got better. I continued to walk on eggshells. I stopped talking to friends he didn’t like. Before I’d make plans for us to hang out with friends, I had to first assess his mood. Would he say something rude to someone I cared for? Would our night end in a fight? Would drinking cause a miscommunication, which would turn into a blow-up? Would I be yelled at? Would things get thrown? I stopped standing up for myself to avoid conflict, which pissed him off because I wasn’t saying anything.
I thought becoming a coach would make things better, and it made things worse. I became emotionally stronger…and happier. I worked hard on myself and shed the negativity. I started standing up for myself and believing I deserved more. I remember one day thinking to myself, “If I had started personal development before we got married, I wouldn’t be married right now.” I felt so guilty for those thoughts! When you get married, you make a commitment: for better or worse. We would work it out, right?
The nights of our fights, I used to lie in bed and picture what my life would be like without him. I pictured what it would be like to live on my own again and not have the constant stress. I pictured my next relationship and could feel how loved and appreciated I would be. Then the shame set in. What would my family think? How could I tell them I married the wrong guy? How could I tell them I’ve been unhappy since before we got married, but felt like I was on a roller-coaster I couldn’t get off of? Who does that?
Two months before our two year wedding anniversary, I had had enough. I was done being yelled at. I was done being asked, “Why are we even together?” I was done with the drunken fights that left me shaking. I waited for an apology that never came and that’s when I knew I was done. One month later I stood up for myself. “I deserve to be happy. I deserve to be with someone who works as hard on themselves as I do on myself.” I left for 4 days to be with my parents and when I came back, he told me he wanted a divorce.
One and a half months later I moved out. I wasn’t making enough as a coach to support myself, but I couldn’t live in that environment anymore. Luckily, my family is amazing and offered to help fill in the gaps until I could fully stand on my own two feet. The move wiped out my savings. The cost of the divorce and other costs of being single knocked me down again, and again, and again.
Coaching saved my life.
Personal development gave me the strength to believe I deserve the best. Working out gave me the mental strength to get through the days I wanted to drink and eat my feelings. The support of my team is like no other support I have ever felt in my entire life.
I never knew what coming up with my team name, Ignite the Fight, would mean in my own personal life until I have had to ignite that fight day in and day out to continue to build the life I know I deserve. I have a second chance at happiness and I am not taking that lightly.