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My story is never-ending, always unfinished, happy, sad, exciting, spontaneous. My story isn’t written out, planned or predicted. I have 100’s of different ways I could write my story but I’m deciding to write the chapter that is impacting me currently.

Ever feel as though you literally can’t go on anymore? I’m not talking suicide necessarily, I’m talking “accidentally” forgetting to set an alarm to wake up for work on time, making excuses as to why you shouldn’t go have fun, cry uncontrollably for hours because, well, why not? Mood swings, feeling worthless, helpless, hopeless. Putting on such a facade that you should legitimately be holding an Oscar?

A year and a half ago I got divorced. Shocker right? A 27 year old who’s already been married and divorced. I came to Disney World in 2009 to participate in the Disney College Program. For those of you who aren’t familiar, it is a paid internship through your college you have to interview for. Once accepted, you pick either Disney World or Disney Land and also the duration you’d like to do the program. I chose Disney World. At this point in my life I had never left the city I was born in (Canton, MI), I had never moved houses, schools or attended a University. This was my first time all by myself for the first time in 17 years of life. I thought I knew who I was and what I wanted at the time, but as most of us learn, I had no idea.

I thought I was “found” but I was in fact the opposite. I thought I knew what I wanted. I thought I knew who my friends were. I thought I knew who I was. I thought I knew my potential, worth, visions, goals, desires, dreams and the path I wanted to follow. My family was falling apart back home and I couldn’t do anything about it. I felt like I was losing everything.

Through out the college program I met a guy older then me, not my type, having relationship issues of his own. I knew he liked me but I wasn’t interested. We hung out on occasion but I’d notmally make an excuse whenever he’d ask to hang out one-on-one because I’d rather lie then tell him the truth and hurt his feelings. We got along great as friends, from the same state, liked the same sports teams, worked at the same place, trustworthy, I was able to vent and rely on him for good advice. Right when I thought everything was going well and I had finally found a friend I could count on, he hit me with an ultimatum.. “I love you too much to be just your friend. So.. if you can’t be more then that, I can’t see or talk to you anymore. It hurts too much to know I can’t have you and I need to get over you somehow if that’s not what you want.”

See, a girl like me, hates ultimatums. I suffer from anxiety and depression. I get overwhelmed easily. I panic. A million and one thoughts were going through my head when he said that. “I can’t lose him.” “I can’t hurt him.” “I’m not mature enough for a relationship.. not with him! He’s too nice..” “I’m too much of a flirt.” “What do I DO?!”

Flash forward to 2011, I’m engaged.
Flash forward to 2012, I’m married.
Flash forward to 2013, I’m pregnant.
Flash forward to 2014, I have my son.
Flash forward to 2016, I’m divorced. I’m divorced and I now share custody of my 3 year old son.

I learned from watching my parents grow up unhappy that you cannot stay with someone because you have children. My mom had three children with my father and never once did she put herself first. In turn, we all have “daddy issues.” I watched my dad destroy my mother my whole childhood. Do you know what kind of impact that has on a child? To watch your mother be verbally abused, manipulated and threatened and you just had to sit there and take it? Now, I’m not saying my ex husband was ANYTHING like my father. But I fell out of love with my ex husband long before I would admit it. I thought it was postpartum depression, something I was “just going through”, a phase.
I waited it out to make sure what I was feeling was actually what I was feeling.

When I called my mom hysterically crying telling her “I don’t love him anymore”, a new chapter began. I verbalized what I had been feeling all along. I fell for him because he was a “saver”, a constant, a convenience. I fell for a man who was unlike me in almost all ways. My feelings of love and affection were confused with feeling safe and needed.

I struggle daily with not being able to see my boy each and every day like “normal” families get to. I struggle with coming to terms with my self for making a decision too quickly. I struggle with knowing I broke someone’s heart.

But I’ve learned to look at it on the sunlight rather then the shadows. The time I spend with my son now is even more special. The things I learned about myself have formed me into a strong woman who knows what she wants and needs. The heartache I caused prevented my son from possibly witnessing what my brothers and I had witnessed growing up.

Do I have more growing, learning, healing and things to work on? Of course I do. But if you knew me between the time I moved to Florida and when I signed my divorce papers, you don’t know the woman who is typing this today.

I hope my story is taken as a positive and not as a poor me/sob story because that is far from what I want. I want to know that even in the darkest of times, there’s always light.. you just have to find it. When you find it, you follow it and never, ever stop.

Story Submitted by Brooke