I have come to know a lot about myself in just the past few months. I have learned to sit with some pretty intense feelings of loneliness. I can honestly never remember a time in my entire life, not when I was younger being so introverted and awkward not really having a whole lot of friends, to living in a marriage where for a good 6 years, I didn't really have a partner, to going through my divorce, and not even right after my divorce for a good few years, did I ever have the overwhelming feelings of loneliness that I have in the past couple of years, and even more so in the past several months. Life is filled with twists and turns and unknowns. All of which are so amazing to help us grow, progress, and become stronger, and for me, closer to my Heavenly Father and Savior. However, the past several months, I have to say, I felt like I couldn't bear the feelings I was having. I don't mean to sound like I am feeling sorry for myself, or wanting sympathy in any way, I am just being completely vulnerable.
When my marriage started to fall apart in 2010 and my husband's secret life started to be revealed, I didn't think I could do it. It was a literal nightmare I lived in for a few years. I look back at the things that happened, the circumstances me and my two innocent children were put in and I truly am amazed we made it through. When my husband left for the very last time in May of 2013, it was HARD. My kids were still pretty young, 10 and 9, and they were more dependent on me. I had a LOT to figure out. How was I going to provide for them? I didn't have a dime to my name, a house, or even a car (as he took the one we had). I had a job as a part time aide in an elementary school that paid around $9 dollars an hour. I had to move in with my parents. I was so grateful I had somewhere to go. But it was hard (and still is) not having a home that I could call my own anymore. I needed to provide not only financially, but emotionally solely on my own for my kids. Their dad just left. They didn't see him for a year. They had him ripped out of their lives, lost their own home, their own rooms, and had a mom that was trying to hold it all together, but not doing the greatest job with it. But I was determined. I had no choice. I had to figure it all out. I was so busy with school, being a mom, and eventually starting a career, that I had no time to sit and think. My kids were dependent on me. Fast forward about 6 years and although I am still a single mom, my kids are much more independent. My career is busy, but I am well into it. My daughter is now graduating and going to be on her own. I have a lot of time to sit with my feelings. To think. To observe my surroundings a lot more. That is where the loneliness has crept in. As I watch so many with their spouses, attending their kids' events and activities, at church, out in public, even my own parents, it hits pretty hard. I have had people say, "but you have SO much! You have SO many that love you and are around you. Your family, your kids, your students." They're right, I sure do, and I am BEYOND grateful. I thank my Heavenly Father DAILY for that, but the loneliness is unfortunately still there. It was there going to my daughter's countless drill performances and competitions alone. It is there going to church and not having a spouse to sit with in Sunday School. It is there hearing my sweet parents as they do everything together, making decisions together, relying on one another, asking how each other's day was. It is there watching families out in public with BOTH parents. It is there as I scroll through Instagram and see all the fun family vacations with BOTH parents. It is there watching my beautiful daughter prepare to move out and be on her own. It is there when I want so badly to confide in someone, but I just feel so lost and don't want to burden the same people over and over. It is there when I can't figure out how to get my car fixed, or how to send my daughter to Disneyland with the drill team, or how to pay for graduation pictures, not having someone that will help me figure it out. It is there when I watch my sweet son come to me and tell me he just wants a friend, and not having a spouse, his father, to help me comfort him and then take him to do something that a father would normally do. It is there when I needed to figure out how to tie a neck tie, or how to fix a flat tire, or to help me figure out what is wrong with my car.
I have felt so guilty feeling lonely. Especially when I AM surrounded by so many great people in my life, especially my kids. But unfortunately, it is there because it isn't a loneliness that can be fulfilled by the people that I do have. Being a single mom has taken a toll on me more than it ever has just in the past couple of years. Like I said, I am not trying to complain or have people feel sorry for me, I am simply processing my feelings on here, like I do, and want others that may be feeling the same thing or going through other things to know they are not the only ones.
It is ok to be raw and vulnerable like this. I used to be scared of what people would think. And I think many people might think doing so shows that you are weak, but to me, it is a strength. I am so blessed in MORE ways than I can ever express, but it is ok to not feel ok and to vocalize that. I have come to know that more than ever as I have literally been saved by hearing other women's stories, feelings, and thoughts as well, because it then helps me know that I am not the only one. I am not crazy or just not strong enough. That these feelings are real and they are ok. I also know that these feelings won't last forever and that they aren't felt on a 24 hour basis either. But they are there. They are real. And it's ok. It is ok because in this loneliness, I have come to know me. Truly my core self. I know that who I am is deep in there and now I just need to work on having her show herself more and more.
Addiction does not only affect the user. It affects SO many people. People that love and care for them. People that look up to them. People that rely on them. People that trusted them. People that only want the best for them. Husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters..........SO many are affected.