One thing that has changed this year is my ability to step outside my comfort zone & really branch out as a writer and a woman. This has helped me become a better writer and a better, more confident woman.
I had managed to do this back home, but after eight months out here, I was a skittish, fragile, broken person. It was like something or someone had sucked the life out of me, made me feel like I had to walk on eggshells because if I displeased him, he’d leave like he did every other time. I stopped feeling confident in my own interests, because they were stupid to him, all but my writing. But I started feeling insecure at the gym, I had never felt that way before & I don’t now, I stopped talking about it, then I got hurt so I just stopped going. I stopped feeling proud of my work performance, as I was once told that my coworkers only liked me because it made him happy & everyone just wanted to please him. It was like a vampire had sucked every ounce of my soul out of me & I was too deliriously in love and too physically ill to notice. But everyone around me noticed my trip to Stepford & would remind me of the woman they knew in the hopes to snap me out of it.
No one should be afraid to speak at work, make friends, ask for help, for fear of being abandoned. I felt like I had to hide constant pain and kidney issues because if I wasn’t well, he’d leave me. When he needed me, I was there, but told to stay away. Then I was punished for not being there. I would cry myself to sleep for months trying to figure out what I did wrong, because everything I did seemed to be the wrong answer. The woman who challenged herself and others to do better and be better was being dismantled and reshaped as an obedient girl, and I’ve never been very good at following orders or obeying. I need to conquer mountains and change the world, even if it’s just my little corner of it. I wasn’t a simpering victim; I made the conscious choice to take the trip to Stepford. I allowed myself to be controlled.
I’ve been in counselling for months. It’s helped me see that I have value & I deserve better than what I’ve allowed & will never allow again. By letting go of Stepford MHC, I’ve been able to grow so much over the summer, & I am proud of that. I am so hesitant to say anything negative about people, even when it’s deserved, but Jana Kramer’s People Magazine article made me realize that, like her, I’ve picked controlling men, abusive men, narcissistic men, because I’ve been so ashamed of the fact that my relationship with my former fiancé was violent or my husband used to assault me. Who would want me? I should be thankful that this man came back when he was done partying or cast his latest conquest aside & needed an ego boost because MH would always forgive him. But I kept reminding myself that if he loved me, he’d have never left. And part of making better choices is accepting that this happened & I am not broken or damaged. I am someone who allowed multiple men to hurt me physically or emotionally and I can no longer allow it. As I read Jana’s words, so like my own story, I realized she had nothing to be ashamed of and neither do I. As women, we are afraid to be honest about our experiences. I was afraid that people would think he was a bad person. I didn’t want to hurt this person who had no problem hurting me or my children & was proud of how shamefully he treated us. I was more afraid of upsetting someone than I was being honest. But, like Kramer, perhaps by being open about how I felt those first few months, I can allow other women who have felt ashamed of their pasts feel like they aren’t the only one.
Part of snapping out of it was allowing myself to admit I spent the better part of four years (off & on) in a controlling relationship with someone who repeatedly left me, stalked me for months, camping outside of movie theatres & hotels & using my social media to track my whereabouts for months after the breakup that wasn’t even a break up, I was just erased like I never even existed (including as recently as a month ago, when a friend brought their concerns to my attention, which caused me to contemplate shutting down my blog), repent, repeat. I was so damaged that I told Erica I wanted to apologize for asking him to stop if he didn’t want to talk to me. I had been mean by asking for boundaries to be respected. I allowed him to manipulate me & abandon me & come back. And I put up with this because I thought it was the best I deserved because of my past. But I deserve better and I deserve it from myself. It was up to me to put Humpty Dumpty back together. I needed to put me first. And if you’re a regular reader, you would have read my journey to put myself first. If you’re new, please feel free to go back and read as many of my adventures as you wish.
Part of that involved taking control of my career. I love my store and my team. We’ve turned our location completely around and we’re considered a Glentel success story. I’m so proud of my team. We put in the work and success was found. I took control of my writing career. I pitched stories, did the interviews & many of my stories got rave reviews. I have more money to support my family. All good things. At first, I was afraid to assert my authority. But another manager reminded me that I was the boss and hired on MY merits. Take charge. Be a leader. For once, I was being told to lead, not back down. It was so great to hear.
I also took control of fitness. If I didn’t have time to get to crossfit, I worked out at home with Stratusphere Sculpt (a circuit workout). It’s important to me to work out every day. Much of my confidence, my self esteem is tied into fitness. I want to be stronger, physically, mentally, and to do that, I need fitness in my life. Not to mention, I write for a fitness magazine, so it’s important for me to be focused on fitness. It’s important to show my daughters a healthy lifestyle, a woman with a strong self esteem. I need to show them that I can build my career, my body, my happiness, all by myself.
The more confident I became, the more risks I was willing to take in my personal and professional life. I started dating again, met some interesting people (the last guy I dated I did not write about as I did not have permission) & I’ve been seeing the guy (who will be known as the guy until I can come up with a better pseudonym) for a couple of weeks. I’m taking it slow, but it’s exciting. I pitched a story about alternative fitness styles, these are things I never would have considered six months ago, but I’m doing them now. When flipping through the pages of the magazine I’m working with, I noticed that we had a huge opening for alternative forms of fitness. I remembered how my friends balked at crossfit and wanted me to stick to the same old thing; leg day, arm day, yoga. Maybe barre. But what if that’s not you? Maybe you don’t feel like you fit in with fitness because you want to do something else? I mean, it’s not me. I like doing something different. I want to write for people who maybe want to get in better shape but are also wanting to challenge themselve. So I looked up alternative fitness classes and discovered a whole different facet of fitness classes! So, I pitched it to my editor. What about pole fitness? What about incorporating dance? These classes seem like so much fun and anyone could try it. He was excited and suggested I try a class, so even though I am so very white, I am going to attend a twerk fit class and a pole for class…all in the name of journalism.
Eight months ago, I wouldn’t have dared pitch a fitness article to anyone, let alone one that would take me so far out of my comfort zone. But I’m not afraid of rejection & I’m in a position in my career & my personal life where my ideas are respected. I’m finally confident enough in who I am and what I’m capable of to push myself to become a better writer, a healthier person…and to attempt to learn rhythm. But when I look at my life, it’s so much fun. My kids & I have fun. My friends and I have fun. My workplace is fun. Crossfit is fun. And my blog, my writing, my life is super fun. And when life is fun, it’s easy to be happy.
In order to have the life that I want, I needed to kill off the last of Stepford MHC, and if she ever tries to reanimate like in the Walking Dead, shoot that bitch in the head & focus on the evolution of MHC. So, imma keep pushing myself to be the kind of woman I am proud of, one I would want my daughters to be like, not one who is afraid of her shadow like a groundhog. As Erica says, focus on being the sun that I’m meant to be, not the shadow I end up hiding in.