Me first. For the first time.

So I have a blog. I just remembered this – 2 years later. It’s a shame I stopped writing. In reading my old posts, they’re actually somewhat eloquent. It’s really just train of thought, but maybe my train of thought is eloquent. Who knows. I know it’s me. That’s about it.

My last few posts I put a lot out there about myself. I put out about my health, about my mind, about my belief in religion. I’m about to put out some different things, things that I’ve told my close family and friends, but not the world at large.

On August 22nd, I will no longer be married. As long as the courts agree. We have a court date for August 21st. That’s 5 months from today. 15 years of my life gone. I guess it’s not gone, it’s still there. Just not with me anymore. I had those beautiful experiences, that wonderful life, it just doesn’t belong to me anymore. It’s not my future anymore. The life I always thought I would have… gone.

It’s not that I didn’t make this decision. Brandon and I are separated because we have a fundamental disagreement about our future. He wants children. I don’t. At least not right now. I can’t guarantee that I ever will. He didn’t want to wait for a “maybe.” I couldn’t make him. I couldn’t sit and watch him want something that I knew he couldn’t have with me. Coming to that realization was quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It was the culmination of many months of a dark depression. Much of that related to the knowledge that I would have to face this moment. To know that I wasn’t enough. That devastated me. It absolutely devastated me to my core.

I had made comments in the past such as “if we ever have kids,” or “I guess I’ll have kids, because he wants to.” The more I saw my community having babies, and the effort and dedication and love and everything that it takes to bear a child, to become a mother. You have to want to do it for you. Not for someone else. And not to save a marriage. To save a marriage I would lose myself. I made the choice to save myself. And in that moment, very likely, to save him too. He would be stuck with a miserable depressed wife that had children who she loved, but was emotionally broken. I know myself enough to know that. I was already emotionally broken. I’m still emotionally broken. But I’m getting better. I’m putting me first.

I’m putting me first for the first time that I can think of. I’m working with a therapist who is amazing. He has walked me through this dark, dark time, and helped me understand myself on a fundamental level. Helped me learn to heal. I’m a giver. I’m a person who has always put every other person first. In my childhood, in my career, in my marriage. I don’t put myself first. So I don’t know how to do that. I’m now living alone, for the first time ever. At first, I was incredibly lonely. I’m still lonely. But the loneliness doesn’t hit me like it did in the beginning. I’m learning new routines. My routine in the beginning was to come home and cry. To stay in bed, and cry. I knew how incredibly unhealthy that was, so I went completely in the other direction and made the active effort to do something pretty much every day for a month. I was exhausted, broke and hungover (going out every night tends to involve quite a bit of drinking).

I have now learned the balance. Sort of. I’m reaching out to new people. I’m making friends in places I didn’t know I could. Support is coming out from areas I completely didn’t expect, and for those people, I am forever grateful. I’m developing a network of support. But I still am putting out so much more than I’m getting in. My therapist drew a big heart on his whiteboard (he has a white board… this is fate) that has arrows going out, and arrows going in. So many more arrows going out. I’m giving so much more than I’m getting. My heart still runs on empty. It has for a very long time, but now I’m taking some good inventory of this. I’m paying attention. I’m advocating for me. I want to invest in relationships that support me, people who care for me, who want to be around me, who love me. I want to be loved, to be cared for, to be needed, to be wanted. I deserve that. I deserve to advocate for me.

And I need to learn to do all that for myself. I can’t rely on someone else to provide all of this. If I do, I’ll be continually left disappointed (maybe someday I will stumble across some brilliant person who can provide all these things – however that’s unrealistic and not fair to expect another person to do this for another human. Also, then there’s death. People die. I joke… but… it’s a thing). So I need to learn to love myself. I also have realized, for all 32 years of my life, I have never truly loved myself. I mean, I’m pretty awesome. I’m very smart, quite witty, I’m very capable, and when I make a concerted effort, I’d even say pretty, but I’ve never actually loved myself. I’m learning to do that. It’s a big change in mindset, and a shift in thinking. One that I…. still don’t know how to do. And it’s a journey that I need to go pretty much alone.

So now it’s time for Steph to put on her big girl pants for the first time in her life. Live alone. Be single. Take adventures. Take risks. Risks of the heart. Risks of my soul. But as I’ve found recently, as terrifying risks are… sometimes they are worth it in the long run. Time to put me first. For the first time. Ever.

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