My entire life has really changed in a year. I certainly didn’t think about how unhappy I was a year ago, but now when I look back on it, my mind and my heart weren’t really full of good things.
Sure I was functioning, enjoying my friends and family but I wasn’t at peace with myself. I had started down the road to recovery the previous October when I began therapy; I was back in church, I was searching for me. I knew I was in there somewhere, but I felt lost.
One of my favorite songs during this journey is called “Defender” by Upperroom. The lyrics read “When I thought I lost me, you knew where I left me.” I was truly lost and seeking to find my footing again.
I realized that while I felt I couldn’t be farther from God, he was right there with me, waiting for me to turn back to him. At one point it just clicked. I woke up and realized that I was the only person who was in control of how I approached the day. I was exhausted from caring about everyone else’s opinion of my life, and it was time to love myself truly. That meant making the very difficult decision to end my second marriage.
In 2011, one of my best friends came to visit me in Arizona. We were very involved in our church, and she told me that I should watch this video someone shared with her, she said: “I think you will like it because it shows a girl making her way back to God.” So I watched it, and I sobbed uncontrollably…you know the kind of cry I mean, the ugly, snot dripping, mascara running cry. I was like holy hell, that is me. That is entirely 100% my journey. It’s 2019, and I still cry when I watch it (I just cried watching it as I linked it to this blog). The video is a skit that was performed to the song “Everything” by Lifehouse. If you don’t get it,
I’ve battled a lot of inner negativity, especially in regards to my value. I often thought, who is going to want a woman who is divorced twice. It’s effortless to say “oh everyone is divorced now.” and while that is true, it doesn’t change the negative stigma I’ve felt. Words that swam in my mind were a failure, worthless, pathetic (to name the nicest of the things I thought of myself). The lies the devil put in my mind were that nobody on earth is going to want a 42-year-old twice divorced woman who is covered in tattoos with three grown children. It messed with me. I put on an excellent show to the outside world for many months. I continued to fight this battle in my mind, but I knew that I had to step out and trust there is someone for me. I had to hold onto the hope that God does indeed
Side Note: I love my tattoos, and I’m in no way ashamed of them, they are a part of me and tell a story. My parents may think differently.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
I hold onto the truth that God plans to give me hope and a future. So I took a breath and decided to start dating. Fun Fact: I never actually “dated” anyone. X1 and I stepped directly into a relationshi. X2 and I didn’t “date” either, it was just all in.
So I figured, being the never stop running, candle burning at two ends (according to my mother) woman I am, why not try online dating. Because everyone needs that in their life…said no one ever.
PLENTY OF WHACKADOODLES
I’ve heard it a thousand times, the success stories, the people who met their forever mate online. I know first hand it can happen. 1/3 met the love of his life online, many of my coworkers met their significant others online. It’s 100 possible. I will tell you it was not for me. The experience was exhausting and unfulfilling. I met some really nice guys. Went on MANY first dates, but in December I realized I really didn’t want to date anyone. 1/3rd’s Girlfriend even asked him if he thought I was dating too much. A fair question and my food budget certainly went down for a while there, but honestly, I think I needed to experience that in my life. NOTE: I’ll share some of my online dating horror stories in another post, this one is about finding peace and hope in my life.
NO RESOLUTIONS ONLY INTENTIONS
Of course, the New Year signifies a clean slate, an opportunity to reset your life. I enjoyed the Annual New Year’s Eve bash at my Aunt and Uncles. I was a bit sad in the morning when I woke up realizing that this would be the first year I would be there alone. I shook it off and said, “Nicole, you’re going to be OK.” I decided to share my “goals” with my girlfriend. She sent me a saying before the new year that read:
Ditch the resolutions. To resolve means to find a solution to a problem.
You are not a problem. The way you showed up for your life the past year was necessary for your growth. Now is the time to reflect, to learn, to create an intention, a definite call to shift, a spark of magic and manifestation rooted in self-love and backed with action.Author Unknown
Aha! A moment of clarity for sure!! So with the fresh perspective of self-love, I took a breath and shut it all down, all the dating sites, all the text messages from the guys I allowed to communicate with me outside of the apps.
Honestly, online dating can be an ego stroke. You have guys look at you and “Swipe Right” if they think you’re attractive and base the possibility of a “future” with you on a superficial, probably filtered, perfect angle picture. Then they read your “about me” and the correctly worded, baggage left out, Grammarly-checked profile and they know you’re THE ONE (for the next 10 seconds) they NEED to meet.
I’m actually sweating right now thinking about how exhausting it was to do this process over and over. It’s amazing how many men (and I know women are the same) were on there just looking for a hookup. I’m not talking about just young guys either, I’m talking about fathers, business executives including men who profess they are God Fearing Lovers of Jesus. Oh yes, the devil is cunning. I have been called a prude, loser, tease, a whore and a bitch because of my established Boundaries. Then when one of them tried to violate my boundaries, they wonder why it won’t work out. Ladies, we are not commodities to possess. A man of character will not look at you as a commodity but as a blessing.
The head games this could have caused me if I allowed it. I am so grateful that I have spent the last year listening to a wide range of self-help, faith-filled books. I’m thankful I got back to the basics of shutting out the insanity of the world and just healed. If it weren’t for that armor of protection, I’d be in a dangerous place right now. I have high hopes for my life because I filled my heart and mind with good things, positive words, and LOVE. I’ll share some of the books below. If you don’t have “TIME” to read, listen to them on Audible, repeatedly.
It was on that day I shut it all down and realized that I am pretty damn ok on my own. Look, I know we’re designed to be with someone, and that is God’s plan for our lives. I know that is happening in my very near future. The moment you stop looking for and focus on the essential things in your life, it will all come together. So continue to hold on to high hope that you too can find that peace and happiness for yourself. Some of you question why you haven’t found anyone, why all men are “jerks.” I’m not saying that you’re incorrect in your perception of reality, but have you honestly done some self-reflection first? Fifteen months ago to the day, I stepped into my first therapy session. Not a single soul on earth knew I was going. It was only after a few sessions I started telling my friends what was happening. The transformation is ongoing, its up and down but for the first time in my life, I feel the absolute hope for a bright future.
I’m looking forward to the next few seasons of my life, where this new journey will take me and to the people who are in my life. Whether it’s for a short time or the long haul, I’m embracing it all.