“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” —Viktor E. Frankl
As I sat in despair at the edge of Ken’s bed, the next morning felt like a never ending nightmare. I was still disappointed with my life, who I was, and how I had failed to complete my courses. I continued to work at my school with a heavy heart. Although this wasn’t how I intended to complete the first year of my new career, I had no time to think. Bills had to be paid and I needed to care for my son. But honestly I really needed a break. A break from my past. A break from my problems. A break from my reality. I wanted to disappear and give up.
Looking back, I never took the time to smell the roses. Really one beautiful rose: my healthy and growing boy. But I was too busy hustling. Too busy making extra money. Too busy to look back.
As a result of months of weekly therapy visits, I came to an epiphany. As I sat there for the umpteenth time, regurgitating my feelings and insecurities, I unexpectedly recalled a story that I told the therapist.
It was when my late husband was first admitted to the cancer ward. As he lay on the hospital bed, I remember his loving gaze as he fought the heinous disease. I was crying uncontrollably bedside him. The world was shattering down around me. But all of the sudden I was cognizant of my uncontrollable sobbing in front of someone going through the disease. I stopped crying entirely and looked up at him as he was calling my name softly. What he told me next astounded me. He reached over to hold my hand and told me he wanted a divorce.
He said that he would be going through a long healing process, maybe years. He didn’t want me to go through that with him. He wanted me to live my life and be happy. At this point, I stopped telling the story. I couldn’t talk anymore from the sobbing.
I had been trying so hard to change my situation without focusing on the most important thing, me. I started shifting my paradigm and the way I looked at my situation. I started telling myself that I am responsible for how long I let what hurts me haunt me. After all, who made the rules on mourning and how long should I mourn before moving on? I was so done feeling sorry for myself. As I told that story to the therapist, I realized that my husband who was facing death was still thinking of me and my well being. He wanted me to be happy. He knew that I had always wanted a family.
I don’t think people understand how hard it was for me make the final decision to start dating again. After so much failure, it’s a wonder that I even had the courage to get back at it. Some have judged me in saying, so conclusively, that I am the type of person that fears being alone. Yes. They’re right. I am afraid of being alone to take care of a child that I brought into this world with another person. I am afraid of being by myself for the rest of my life while everyone else, eventually including my son, will continue living their lives with the families that they created. Yes, I am afraid of my son telling me he is sad about not having a father every time Father’s Day comes around. Who has the right to tell me what to do with my life other than myself? Who else has the right to tell me whether or not I am ready to move on? All I know is that I want a family. I just want to be normal. I want to know what it feels like to be at peace and to have someone to lean on. If everyone else gets a chance, why can’t I fight for mine?
I don’t know about you, friends, but the dating world is pretty brutal out there and it’s a whole different space with swipe rights and unwanted pictures of genitalia. But I was determined to stick to being true to me and what I was looking for. By all means, a man alone doesn’t solve all of your problems. But when you know who you are, and exactly what you want, you’ll be okay. In changing our paradigm, we are able to change our situations. You’re always one decision away from a totally different life. That one decision was my choice to start a dating app called Bumble. It’s funny that that’s the one thing that turned my life around because it was the day that I met my best friend and now fiancé, Chris.
Remember, we are all better off healed than we ever were unbroken, friends.