“Accept yourself, love yourself, and keep moving forward. If you want to fly, you have to give up what weighs you down.”― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
My time was now my own. There was no one to tell me where I could go, no one to tell me how to spend my money, no one to complain about how much time I spent at the barn. I stayed busy with my full-time job at the feed mill and running from one barn to the next to feed. With any downtime I had, I spent it taking the dogs to the reservoir to swim, riding, or getting lost in a book. I’m an introvert at heart and wanted nothing more than to make up for lost “me” time.
I was venturing out of the arena to the mountains courtesy of friends who were willing to offer me a spot on their trailer, galloping up long dirt roads, and enjoying the peacefulness in the woods. I could be gone the whole day or just a few hours. I made my own schedule and it felt amazing.
I was fortunate to have friendships that were separate from my marriage. Mutual friendships that kept Ted and I connected were just too difficult to maintain. Even though intentions were good, I didn’t need to inadvertently hear about what he was doing. Divorce is so much more than just the separation of two people. In many cases, it’s the separation of one life into two. We were lucky that our lives were not deeply woven together. I was very grateful that I had held firm to my decision not to have children. I cannot fathom having to maintain that connection. Child support battles, shared custody, family events, graduations? No thanks.
Yet when a relationship between Ken and I, a mutual friend, began to develop, I did not use the same logic I had above. I’m not sure what Bob, my therapist, really thought of my decision to begin this relationship, so shortly after ending my marriage, while still living in my ex-in-laws house, but he just listened as I ridiculously gushed about it all.
The realization that I WAS NOT ready to get into a new relationship should’ve been apparent to me when Ken spilled the tea, confirming my suspicions of Ted’s infidelity, I began sobbing, grabbed my bottle of wine and locked myself in his bathroom for hours. Did I mention my new budding relationship was with one of my ex-husband’s close friends? Not one of my finest moments.
When my time in the addition had come to an end, I was and still am, forever grateful for Ted’s parents and grandfather for allowing me the opportunity to live there rent free (for the most part) to pay off every single one of those credit cards and begin a new life. My only debt consisted of my student loans and the 401k loan for my car. I was proud of what I had accomplished in such a short period. I don’t know whom Pap was going to miss more, me or those dogs. But he and his “friend” were still together and according to Bailey, Pap was going to be ok.
Finding a rental that accepted two large dogs was not an easy task. While I was financially able to make it on my own, I accepted that it would be easier on my budget to just move in with Ken. I was going to be spending most of my time at his place anyway, right? So off I went, overlooking the red flags being waved in my face, and moved in with Ken. While I could see my path to financial freedom, I still had much to learn about healthy relationships and becoming a strong, confident woman.
My relationship with Ken made it one more year. One more year of weekly therapy sessions. One more year on the journey of discovering the woman I wanted to be. One more year of getting closer to finding out what I wanted from a partner and if I even wanted one. One more year of learning how I didn’t want to feel. I ended the relationship with Ken, but unfortunately was committed to a lease that I wasn’t willing to buy out. That was an interesting few months!
My realtor thought my ambitions were too high. With the loan amount I qualified for and no down payment, she became frustrated with my declinations on the homes she showed me. My budget afforded me either houses in low-income areas or houses that needed work. I was not renting. My monthly rent payment with two large dogs was well over what a mortgage payment was on a decent size house. I was determined to find my house. Bob, my therapist, had helped me finalize a budget to confirm that this was in my means. He had been spending years with me on a weekly basis and even if he had been faking it, he appeared to truly believe in my ability to conquer this next step.
After the first house bombed inspection due to water damage and the fact that I couldn’t turn on the oven and run my hair dryer at the same time, my realtor became exasperated. There was no way I was going to find what I wanted. She wanted me to review the other houses I overlooked and pick something else.
I knew my house was out there, I just had to work a bit harder to find it. And I did. It wasn’t in the best neighborhood, but it fell exactly within my budget, had overgone a renovation, and was 2 miles from the barn. I contacted my realtor and told her to schedule a walk through. This was it. I could feel it in my soul.
Catch up on past blogs!
Man’s Best Friend
I was stronger than I thought.
It all comes crashing down.
I burst into tears and could barely control my sobbing. I couldn’t find the words to summarize quickly the state of my life and frankly, how would anyone believe me?