The Urge to Roam

59963_818959171452187_365956439_nI recently found out my children’s adorable little hipity skipity homeschool cooperative will be closing next year. Up until now, when people have asked me if I am happy living in this small town as a young, single women, I have responded “it is a moot point, this is where my children are rooted therefore it is where I shall stay”. But now, much to my dismay, they have been uprooted and it has certainly stirred up some new perceptions, daydreams and desires in me.

I have simultaneously been learning more about the New Man; mostly that he is a total adrenalin junkie. He is headed in a new direction to rock climb, heli-ski, sky dive and even base jump every week. I have also learned that he is planning to do some extensive international traveling in the coming year. Both of these fun facts have been very helpful for me, in this new relationship. I have finally lived, loved and learned enough to know everything about this man screams “DO NOT GET ATTACHED”. Which is exactly what I need in my life right now; not to be emotionally attached to anyone. I must say though, it does get hard, every week, having the highlight of my week be the time I spend in bed with him and then watching him leave for some awesome adventure and knowing that my week will be just as boring as the last. I have definitely had a few spurs of jealously here and there regarding how much freedom his life has and how trapped I often feel in my life.

I don’t necessary want to be able to join the New Man on his adventures; his presence in my life has just highlighted my inability to roam. What the hell happened? I used to be proud of all of the places that I have gone and the amazing things that I have done in my life. Now I can barely leave town for twenty-four hours without more stress then it is worth. I am becoming increasingly disgruntled by the lack of freedom and choice I have in my life right now.

My Ex-husband and I were forced to walk into uncomfortable territory with each other, in light of the news about our children’s school closing. I have not asked, nor has anyone told me, but I get the distinct impression that, once again, the Other Man’s wife is cowering away from her idyll threats to leave her husband. Leaving my Ex-husband, once again, alone and disappointed. I had high hopes that if my skepticism about the Other Man’s wife was correct that my Ex-Husband would consider relocating, rather than send our kids the bottom of the barrel public school district that we currently live in. I quickly learned however, that my Ex-husband is as committed to staying here as ever. This news has not sat well with me and has intensified me feeling trapped and unable to control my own life.

I love my children more than anything in the world and I would never take them away from their father, but everything that has come to light in the last couple of months is making feel like I am being forced to live out a ten-year sentence in this town until my children leave for college. I love my life and my business but I am not content feeling like I do not have control over where I live and what I choose to do with my life. The Other Man is completely gone from my life and my heart at this point and continuing to live in his world just reminds me of past chapters in my life that I desperately want to stop living. I want something to look forward to, so that I will stop looking back! Now, if I could just figure out how…

 

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Words that Cut Soul Deep

I recently ran into my ex-boyfriend at a local restaurant; him alone and me with my daughter. He stopped and chatted for a few minutes on his way out and it was not a big deal…in my eyes, at least. For whatever reason, it set his emotions into a downward spiral. He began sending me texts filled with hurt, anger, and skepticism regarding the Other Man. I asked him to please stop sending the texts and just come and get all of this off of his chest, if that was what he needed to do to make peace with our breakup and begin moving on.

And that was exactly what he did. I allowed him to do most of the talking and was as understanding as I could be. It is human nature for our emotions to turn to anger when trying to let go of someone in our life. He is having a very difficult time with our breakup and if letting it all out on me is what he needed I was happy to let him. I do not want to be with this man but I do not want him to hurt because of me either. He went a lot of different directions with the conversation, most of which I expected. Then he said it, the only thing he has ever said to me that cut me to my soul, “if I have ever found a flaw in you, it is your ability to be so cold-hearted to those who love you.” Ouch!

There are three things that my ex-husband has said to me over the years that still haunt me daily. Obviously, we were going through a hard time in our marriage during my emotional affair. We were taking a bath one night and began arguing, he said to me “you don’t even like being a mother!” When we were going through our divorce, he came over to my house to discuss financial matters, he had clearly been drinking. He said that he was concerned about my influence on our children “because all you ever do is build things up and then destroy them.” The last one came when he was weighing in on my decision to date someone who was so intertwined in our messed up, small town, polyamory breakup. He said “you always make such self-destructive choices in your life”.

Like anyone, the words that hurt me the most are the ones that hit closest to home. I know these words are all so painful and will likely stick with me for years to come because there are some true to them. My ex-boyfriend is right, the way I left our relationship was cold-hearted. I made the decision to leave the relationship and cut off discussions of any alternative. From his perspective, I can see how I likely appeared cold-hearted in other relationships in my life, as well. I was so broken by the years of observing my ex-husband’s relationship with his girlfriend, I had little remorse when I left. I just wanted out and wanted someone to actually care about me. But I genuinely, do not believe that I am a cold-hearted person, especially to the people who I love. I believe that it would be more accurate to say that I have reached a place in my life where I put my own happiness before others feelings. I whole heartedly stand by that, I am the only person that will be by my side every breath of my life. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow, I can not justify sitting around suffering today to sacrifice others feelings. Their happiness is their own responsibility. (I just read that back and have decided, maybe I am cold-hearted after all).

As for the harsh words of my ex-husband, I love being a mother! It nourishes my soul daily; my children are the best thing that has every happened to my life and I am so grateful for them. The truth that cut so deep with those words were not about me liking being a mother, it was about neglecting my role as a mother. At that time, I was consumed by the Other Man. We would text each other hundreds of times a day, losing focus and productivity of everything else around us. My children were very young, at the time, and I can not get that time back. It is one of the most precious times in a child’s life, filled with joy and innocence and I was only half heartedly present for it.

I felt like he was just trying to hurt me when he said that I ‘build things up to destroy them’ and that it was an unfair judgment. But I often find those words coming back to haunt me when I am closing a chapter in my life. My recent two-year relationship, my on again, off again affair, and many other friendships I have let slip away as my life gets busier. I don’t really have a rebuttal to his words. I don’t want them to be true about me and if there is any truth to them, it certainly isn’t a conscious, intentional effort to destroy relationships that I build. I closed a lot of people out of my life during the secretive years of my relationships and regret losing those bonds. Moving forward, I want to live a life free of secrets and full of friendships that I can share everything with.

As for the last one, guilty as charged. I now understand that I have been extremely self-destructive a majority of my adult life. It has been what this new chapter in my life is all about. I simply have to break free of all of my self-destructive habits that self perpetuate the same negative results. I know that I still have a long way to go, but just identifying unhealthy relationships, habits and patterns in my life gives me hope and optimism for the future. I guess I will know that I have broken through to a healthier place when I am no longer haunted by the words of my past that cut me to my soul.

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A Lesson or a Blessing?

I saw the Other Man’s wife for the first time is since I sent the “beginning of the end” text. She looked wonderful! It genuinely filled me with joy to see her glowing for the first time in years.

The Other Man told me that they were moving forward with getting divorced the last time we spoke, but they haven’t started telling people yet. I did my best to hold my tongue and not call his bullshit because there is no divorce until you have the spine to make it public. My money was on them backing out because they are both too scared to actual go through with it.

But clearly something in her has changed, her spark is back and she looks happy. I am somewhat assuming (and hoping) that her and my exhusband have rekindled their relationship and are beginning to contemplate a life together. Both of their roles in the demise of my marriage were very painful for me but blame cannot be placed on either of them for it. They simply fell in love. The idea of them living an open happy life with each other excites me for all us. I am happy for them, as a couple, to have each other to start healing the wounds of the past several year and filling each other’s hearts with love and gratitude. For my children! My ex-husbands’ house is so desperately in need of a woman’s touch. I want them to have home cooked meals and someone to fix their hair when they are with him. And of course, there is a selfish part of me that wants the stability in their lives for me.

I told my real estate agent, not long ago, that I would be happy to sell my restaurant and house for under market value. Personally, I think buying rather then opening a restaurant, in most cases, is a poor investment. So, I am not holding my breath that anyone is going to be banging down his door just because it is a good deal. But I simply had to put it out there to the universe that this may not be where I am supposed to be. I would never go further then I could still comfortably split custody of my kids. And being that my kids are rooted here I would not do anything to disrupt that either. My ex-husband having a partner to help him in the day to day life would make it much easier for me to contemplate leaving this small town, if the opportunity was to present itself.

Shortly after seeing the Other Man’s wife I was off to my ex boyfriend’s son’s birthday party. I observed how much better he and his baby mama work together now that I left the relationship. While my ex is still heart broken, I can see it has been the best thing that has ever happened to their little dysfunctional family.

The whole day I had that quote floating in my head “everyone that comes into your life is a blessing or a lesson”. The Other Man is finally getting help, my ex-husband and the love of his life finally have a chance at happiness together, my ex-boyfriend is finally learning what it means to be a father and I have learned the best lesson of all. So many lessons; I guess that makes all of them a blessing in my life. It does seem kind of ironic though; the girl who has feared being left her whole life is making everyone else’s lives better by leaving theirs.

Poker Face

I am a self-proclaimed awesome poker player; the Other Man on the other hand may be the worst poker player to ever play the game. I mention this only because I have to admit that I straight bluffed the Other Man during our last conversation.

Part of my realization that we were incapable of a healthy relationship came from a conversation that I had will a mutual friend; whom the Other Man was known to confide in regarding matters of the heart. The conversation happened after his communication with me ended. She was concerned about me and frustrated with his conduct (towards everyone) and was open with me about some of the contradiction that he was making when we started talking again. It was painful to realize that he has not changed since our last relationship ended and that he still could not be trusted. I didn’t even bother to explain some of the vast contradictions she was bringing to light for me. I just swallowed my jagged little pill and came to peace with his unhealthy mental state.

I agreed to talk to him shortly after the New Year. It was eating at me every time he would attempt to communicate with me and I would resist the temptation to respond. I felt like a hypocrite. I had chosen to walk away from this man because he has repeatedly shut me out of his life and I couldn’t stand the idea of letting it end by shutting him out. I wanted him to understand why I made this decision, be at peace with it. I also wanted him to see the damage that he has done (to me and so many others), so that he will stop being so self-consumed, stop his destructive behavior, and start dealing with the consequences of his actions.

It was not an easy conversation for me to have with him. I had to both admit some very hard things that I discovered about myself in therapy and had to be brutally honest to this lonely, hollow shell of a man who, in spite of it all, I love very deeply. Initially, I did most of the talking. Basically, explaining that I have never known a love where I wasn’t scared of the other person abandoning me. As a child I was shuffled around to extended family member’s homes while my parents “grew up”. Over half of my marriage was spent observing how much more capable my husband was of loving then he had ever shown me. And then there was him, the Other Man, who abandoned me at the first sign of any consequence (repeatedly). I feel like every person should have a chance in their life to know, feel and experience unconditional love. I never have, and I now know that he will never be the man that I get to experience it with.

And now came the bluff…after years of rejection, betrayal and fear of both, I have come to know the Other Man well. And if there is one safe bet to make on him it is this; if he is communicating with a woman and hiding it from his wife, me and the general public, he plain and simply has ill intent. I told him about my conversation with our mutual friend and how it helped me come to my realization. She did not disclose anything to me in the conversation that indicated that there was any misconduct on his part. My bluff was this, I eluded that she provided greater detail as to their communications then was actually provided. I did not need a verbatim account of the conversations. She said enough for me to know his intentions and I knew if he thought that I knew exactly what he had been saying to her that he would crack.

And queue the water works! He did not say a word; he crawled up into a ball on my couch and started crying. He started profusely apologizing to me and telling me that he needs help. BEST BLUFF OF MY LIFE! My objection was simply to make him feel so exposed that he would feel forced to admit his wrongs, understand why I cannot contemplate a relationship with him and hopefully gets him to do exactly what he did; admit he needs help. After six long years of destruction to his marriage, my marriage, both of our families and friends it is time for him to start dealing with the consequences of his actions and change his self-absorbed, destructive behavior.

He quietly started to explain that he doesn’t understand why he keeps hurting the people that he loves; he knows that it is wrong, but he always feels too weak to resist the urges. I let him give me his little spiel about how he wants to be a better man and feels so bad about all of the people that he has hurt. It was not all that moving considering he has actually given it to me on a few other occasions when he has wronged and/or betrayed me.

I took the opportunity to tell him about my therapy experience. My mental health issues were quite different then his childish behavior. Yet, none the less, starting therapy of any kind is scary for everyone. If I could give him a little insight as to my experience, hopefully it would help him take the first step towards accountability. And it did! I am very proud to report that he started seeing a therapist last week and that is why it is the best conversation that we have ever had.

Me? I am more at peace with my decision every day. I am 22 days sober, up to running 15 miles a week, off gluten, alcohol, sugar, dairy and caffeine. I feel wonderful, my mind (and my skin) is as clear as it has ever been and my emotions are stable. I am staying focused on providing myself with the love that I am worthy of and am so excited and optimistic about that person who can offer me unconditional love walking into my life (someday). In the meantime, Now What?

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The Reemergence of the Other Man

Before I begin this post, I just wanted to quickly summarize what I have realized about my blogging in the short time that I have been doing this: first, I am so happy that I am finally in a place were I can just breeze through a quick synopsis of my prior life without fear of judgment or concern about perception (it was not like that two years ago). Second, I am so excited that I am almost up to present day. I really do want to use this blog as a vehicle to help me through this turning point in my life. To help me work through choices, keep me accountable for things I publish that I am or am not going to do and hopefully spread a few laughs about the blog worthy moments in “my so-called life”.

Now, onto what anyone that read the title of this post wants to know. How did the Other Man reemerge in my life?  My boyfriend and I spent a weekend away together for my birthday shortly before I broke off the relationship. On our drive home he was very innocently browsing through my phone when he noticed continuous texts from the Other Man. Like I have said, it’s a very small town and our children are still close friends; attend the same schools, play on the same rec league teams, etc. I had never thought to erase the texts because I believed them to all be benign in nature. My boyfriend was justifiably hurt by the amount of communicating that he was unaware that the Other Man and i still did. He asked me to please do my best to minimize my communication with the Other Man out of respect for our relationship. It was in no way an unfair request, however, it did provoke an unexpected response from me in the coming weeks.

I was growing increasingly critical of my boyfriends shortcomings and less satisfied in our relationship. After a couple of weeks without any communication with the Other Man he asked me point-blank why I had stopped talking to him. I explained to him what happened and told him I was doing my best to respect my boyfriend’s wishes. I started to become more aware of the effect of cutting off all communication with the Other Man was having on me and my relationship. After a lot of thought on a trip alone with my kids I realized that it was not fair of me to continue to string my boyfriend along simply because it was comfortable for me when I clearly still had feelings for the Other Man.

I broke up with him shortly after returning home from my trip. I did my best not to mention the aspect of the Other Man and just focused on the practical aspects of our lives together that was not working. Feelings or no feelings for the Other Man, it really was time for our relationship to end. I was still hard on both of us, he was heartbroken, I was insecure about if I was doing the right thing and I felt terrible knowing that I allowed him to fall so deeply in love with me knowing that he wasn’t the one in my heart.

The “testing the water” texts began going back and forth between the Other Man and I almost immediately after I chose to break up with my boyfriend. Communicating with the Other Man was quite different for me now. I was no longer married, had no reason to pursue, or even be involved in an affair and really didn’t want to make the same mistakes that I had already made with this man. I was honest with him; I told him that I did, in part, break off my relationship because of him, that I do still love him and if he was actually ready to leave his wife after two extremely miserable years (from what I observed), then yes, I would be willing to try to have a fully functioning relationship with him.

We both quickly got wrapped back up in each other. Back to hundreds of texts a day, small little silent gifts left for each other in discreet locations, talked on the telephone when we were able. Within a couple of weeks he came over to my house to talk in person, for the first time in a very long time. Between the initial affair, our secretive polyamorous years and seeing him on a regular basis after it all came crashing down I have become the master of disconnect from him in public settings. But it was completely different when he was walking through my door for the first time in years to talk about “us”. It all came rushing back so quickly, the butterflies in my stomach, how I adore looking into his blue eyes, love the way he smells and fit so perfectly into his body when we hug.

We laid on my couch holding each other, as he told me that he was ready and knew his wife was too, but he wanted it to all happen naturally. I have learned over time that, while I do love this man, he is a total fucking coward. So, I told him I will believe it when I see it and until then I need to leave my heart open to other opportunities because I don’t really buy that either of them have the courage to face a divorce (it’s not for the weak of heart, so I learned the hard way). We continued to communicate for a few weeks until he decided that he should take some “quiet time” to really think about following through with it. There was definitely a twinge of pain that reminded me of how insignificant this same man had made me feel repeatedly over the years. But I did understand; contemplating a divorce and actually going through with it are very different things.

I think he lasted for about a week and then we were right back at the texts, emails, Facebook messages, cards, phone calls, etc. He started pressing for more affair like behavior, which I had no interest in this time around. I am a young, strong, successful, attractive, single woman; I have no reason to sneak around with a man who is too scared to leave his extremely unhappy marriage. Anytime he would ask for more than communicating I would respond with something clarifying my boundaries. Yes, I love you, yes, I want to be with you, no, I don’t want to have an affair, no, I don’t want secrets, lies or deception. He would always reply with gratitude for helping him think clearly about all of this and not letting him get wrapped up in the attraction.

And then it happened. A texting conversation, just as described above, had been going back and forth all afternoon. I was in the middle of my dinner rush at work and my response was delayed until post dinner time. Normally, his communication ended once he was home for the night but I really wasn’t willing to oblige any rules regarding when I communicated with him since I had made it clear that an affair was not an option, this time around. So, I responded with the same tone as all of my texts on the subject matter, “once you are publicly, completely and committed to being separated, then yes, I am all yours”. The response I got was “my wife just read that”….

Between Here and There

I felt so confident that divorcing my husband was the right thing to do when I left that I refused to do anything that was going to hinder the process or slow it down. I left the home we owned, every piece of furniture in it, what little money we had in savings and every other worldly possession we acquired during our marriage together, behind. I have a legal background, so I was able to file all of our divorce papers myself. Not having to deal with attorneys and all of the costs of a divorce helped the process a lot. Not allowing my ex-husband a single thing to argue about made the transition easier for our families and children to accept. We were, and still are, happier people not being with each other.

I was initially very overwhelmed and intimidated by being single for the first time in my adult life. I had no idea what it was like to want to be hit on at a bar, let alone date anyone.  Not only was I single for the first time, I was single in a very small town. FRESH BLOOD IN THE WATER! Men were so aggressive. Men that I had known the entire time I had lived here were acting entirely different in an attempt to get me to go out with them. I had fun and sewed my oats for a few months, but being the fresh meat on the market got old really fast.

I started dating a man, that in retrospect was too intertwined to my past. His baby momma (and all the drama that came with her) was who The Other Man’s wife chose to confide in during this same time period. He is a very nice man and was very sweet and loving to me for the two years that we were together. He plays guitar in a band, snowboards, skateboards, owns his own business and was quite good in bed; all very sexy. Unfortunately, staying with him as long as I did was not fair to anyone. I didn’t want to be single and was comfortable with him, but I knew that we were not meant for each other. I had a very hard time dealing with his constant baby momma drama, I jumped into a long-term relationship way too soon after my divorce and unfortunately I still had feelings that I didn’t want to admit for The Other Man. I did eventually end the relationship (that’s a story for my next post) and still feel very bad for him. He was heartbroken and I should have never let him get so attached to me. I owe a lot of where I am now to the lessons I learned from leaving that relationship.

On the work front during this time period, I continued to work from home and waited tables a few nights a week to offset my new expenses (since there was no way I was battling over a cent of child support). The longer I worked at this restaurant, the more responsibility I was taking on there. Eighteen months after my divorce was final I purchased the restaurant and a new home on the same day. Talk about an exciting and overwhelming day! The restaurant has prospered under my ownership and it has been very gratify venture for me. I love the home that I bought, mostly because of everything it symbolizes to me; freedom, independence, and most importantly ALL MINE.

My ex-husband and my new life began to have a new normal to it. We get along well, spend holidays together and are able to take our kids on vacations together. Most days I am grateful to have his friendship back for the first time in years. Other days I am grateful to have my own home to return to without him in it.

I try not to pry much, but from what I can tell he is still patiently waiting for The Other Woman to leave her husband. It is a small town, so we all see each other on a very regular basis. It is impossible not to feel bad for her. I could not even fathom how much weight she has gained, but it is a lot. She never appears happy, yet has chosen to stay with her husband for going on three years since this has all transpired.

I love my home, my children, my job, my life. I certainly could not have said all of that three years ago!

Turn the Page

I am going to do my best to make this an accurate, cliff notes version of how I got to where I am; sober, bored and trying to stay optimistic.

I am a 33-year-old, a single mother of two awesome kids, I own and operate a small restaurant in a small town and genuinely love my live (most of the time). I started dating my now ex-husband when I was 17 years old, he was also my best friend’s older brother. I married him when I was 22 years old. I found out I was pregnant with our oldest child the same week the his sister/my best friend was diagnosed with cancer. I found out that I was pregnant with our second child the same week that his sister/my best friend lost her battle with cancer. We moved to this very small town when I was pregnant with our second child, so my ex-husband’s parents could be closer to their grandchildren. I did not want to move here, but being a new mother I could not say no to my grieving mother-in-law.

Our marriage started in a downward spiral as soon as we moved here. The mother-in-law that provoked us to move here ended up moving out-of-state shortly after our arrival to care for her elderly parents. We were unable to sell our former house for well over a year and were growing further and further in debt. I was focused on raising two babies (17 months apart) and my ex-husband was focused on contributing to his family business. He began drinking more and began to like me, as a person, a lot less. So, what would any young, stay at home mother of two with no money or nearby friends or family do? Turn elsewhere for attention, of course!

Like so many young wives and mothers, I had no concept of how to have a healthy relationship with my husband or deal with the problems in our marriage. I did not want to disappoint our family and friends that thought we were living the American dream. I worked hard to keep up the façade of the white picket fence life; kept a clean house, worked out regularly, worked from home and posted our happy little family photos on all of the social media sites for friends and family that I rarely kept in touch with anymore.

Meanwhile, in my “other world” I had met someone else. He was also married to his High School sweetheart and was (and still is) selling the happy little family life to everyone in town. We both tried not to give into the temptation, back and forth, but once we acknowledged the feelings were there our communication with each other continued to grow over the course of eight months. There were hundreds of texts each day, plenty of pictures, some touching and a few drunken nights that provided enough opportunity for us to fool around, but we never slept together, just talked about it A LOT.

We both noticed that there appeared to be a mutual attraction between our spouses. We would joke about how it would be so great if they would just “hookup” and it would make everything so much easier than having our little secret. And then it actually happened! The four of us had grown close during the time period of my “emotional affair” due to our spouses’ mutual attraction, children of the same age and me always scheming to make plans to put me in the same place as the other man. But neither of us could have ever fathomed how it actually happened.

The four of us were on a camping trip, drinking to excess all weekend. I woke up to his wife kissing me, asking me if this was okay. Once I could wrap my spinning head around what was happening I realized that I was woken up to participate in a threesome with my husband and the other man’s wife. Needless to say, I did and was pretty much in shock the entire time.

The four of us actually manage to live a secretive, full-fledged polyamorous lifestyle for close to two years. I didn’t even know what polyamory meant when we first started out on this new chapter of our lives. It was one of the most thrilling and trying times in my life, all at the same time. Since the other man and I had a pre-existing relationship, we already had established rules and boundaries with each other. My husband and his wife however, had no boundaries and feel deeply in love with each other. Watching my husband fall in love with another woman more deeply and passionately then he had ever loved me was the most heartbreaking experience of my life. But I told myself that I deserved it for my transgressions and bared it until the very end.

It ended very abruptly when the other man chose to tell his wife about our relationship prior to the polyamorous relationship. He didn’t want the secret anymore and thought that with as far as the four of us had come that it would all be okay. He was wrong!

I always knew with 100% certainty that it would be the end of my marriage if my husband ever knew about the prior relationship. In retrospect, I think it was one reason I was involved in it in the first place. I was looking for a way out of my unhappy marriage and wasn’t brave enough to say it. The other man immediately cut off all communication with me once he realized that he had grossly misjudged how his wife would react. My husband, on the other hand, could have given a shit less about what I was doing. His only concern was being able to keep the other woman in his life and to this day, it still is his primary concern.

I moved out with nothing but debt and a smile! I was relieved that my marriage was over, I was relieved that the relationship between the four of us was over and mostly I was excited to start a new, healthier, more open and honest life. All of that being said, I was still heart-broken by the unanimous rejection by the three of them. I was scared of everything, but it was better than living with all of the secrets and lies that I had been living with for the prior three years.

I started counseling for the first time in my life and it ended up being the best thing I has ever happened to my life. I was able to come to terms with all aspects of my marriage and better understand the behavior patterns of all of us. I was able to work through so much deeper rooted issues that I had in my life and came out of it a much healthier, happier and well round human being. It was so easy to come to peace with everything that happened at the end of my marriage since it lead me to door of mental health and stability.

I swear that was my best effort at a cliff notes version. I skimmed over a lot of things that transpired in that decade of my life, but you have to be really interested in someone’s life to be willing to read more than 1,200 words about it in one sitting. So, what have I been up to since I closed that chapter in my life and turned the page to a fresh start? I’ll save that for another 1,200 word night.