One year on

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It’s been a while since I’ve really ‘written’ here… not just chit chat, but the deep and meaningful. For a while, I stopped as I wasn’t sure it fitted here, but lately, I’ve been pondering and this space is a reflection of my whole life, not just parts of it. It’s been a year today since my world collapsed, I went back and read an old post I wrote about it yesterday, and it amazed me to realise how far I’ve come. How I feel like an entirely different person from the one who wrote that post. I AM an entirely different person, those broken pieces have been put back together, but in a different order. I’m stronger than I ever was, more settled, happier, freer, braver… far more capable than I ever gave myself credit for.

Looking back at some of the things I wrote as my marriage fell apart, I see a woman who had lost sight of herself. Who’d allowed herself to be defined by somebody else for most of her adult life. Someone who had forgotten that she held the power of her life within. The only regret I have of that time is that I didn’t throw my ex-husband out the day I found out I’d been lied to for the past decade and cheated on goodness knows how many times. The fact that I spent six weeks fighting, begging, doing anything I could to try and salvage my marriage is crazy. I don’t know what I was thinking.

Though after a lifetime of being made to feel less than, of being told I was crazy, unreasonable, difficult, over-reacting… you name it, I had zero self-belief. No confidence in myself or my ability to survive alone. What I see now is that I was always stronger than I knew. I needed him less than he needed me, hence the years of gaslighting. I’d made my vows with the conviction it was for life, I’d spent years and years staying, even when I wanted to leave because I don’t give up easily.

A year on and the wounds have healed. I’m happier than I ever have been. My freedom is priceless. I’ve spent the year re-finding myself, figuring out what it is I want from this life of mine, creating a home and life that I love. Nurturing relationships with my kiddos. I’ve written before about unfurling and being a one {wo}man. The decision to throw my husband out, to walk away from the past fourteen years and start over is one of the best ones I’ve ever made. I can’t regret the time we were together, as they gave me my four kiddos, BUT they weren’t happy years, and I know the best is yet to come. I feel now I can be happy every day. My ex was not happy with our lives, he made the household an awful place to be, while he lied and cheated, trying to keep up appearances to the outside world that he was a loving husband and father. For years, I felt alone in my marriage, weirdly, I feel less alone now that I AM alone.

Family life is unrecognisable from before. Gone is the stress, the need to walk on eggshells, the mornings trying to keep the kids quiet so they wouldn’t wake him and make him angry. We have so much more fun together, our relationships are stronger than they were, we talk more, laugh more, have more adventures and really enjoy being a party of five.

I won’t say it’s been an easy year, for it hasn’t. Someone told me this time last year, that the first year is the hardest – I’m glad to say I’ve not only survived but thrived. I’ve learnt a lot about myself along the way, and have learnt to put myself first… to not let others thoughts and opinions define me. To figure out the path that is right for me, even if that means losing friends along the way. In the depths of last winter, when my depression and anxiety were at their worst, I was fortunate to have people around me who kept me afloat. Yet somewhere along the way, I forgot that I had to trust ME, that others can give advice but ultimately the only person who knows what it is to be me, who knows what is right or wrong for me, is me. For a while, I lost my way, believed other peoples views of me too much and floundered more because of it.

The past two months have really felt like the beginning of a new chapter. The odd bad day aside, my anxiety is under control, those dark clouds of depression have lifted and I’m happier and healthier than ever. The kiddos and I have had THE best summer… despite the awful weather, we’ve had lots of adventures and made so many memories.

For the first time in my life, I answer to no-one except myself. I’m free to be who I want – to set an example to my kiddos that we don’t have to do what others think we should, that our own happiness should always come first. ┬áThis year has been a rollercoaster of emotions, of figuring out this new life, of rebuilding myself, of cutting ‘toxic people’ out of my life, of finding my way – it’s been an eye-opening year for sure, but now that it is over, I see how much distance I’ve travelled and am more than ready to close the door on that chapter and move on.

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9 Comments

  1. September 11, 2017 / 08:58

    I’m so pleased to hear this Polly! I KNEW it would be the case, you are amazing and I think you needed to be alone to realise that. Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom to come back stronger than ever and you’ve definitely done that xxx

  2. Alice
    September 11, 2017 / 09:19

    Yay Polly! Well done getting through the first year. I totally relate, its amazing that feeling of being your own person. Hard work but so rewarding and it gives you a sense of confidence to carry on forward. You are setting a great example to your children

  3. September 11, 2017 / 09:23

    Lots of love as always. I’m so pleased you’re now one year on and on the other side. You are so strong and amazing- never forget that! I know it’s not always easy so hugs for those times. Good luck for your next chapter Polly xxx

  4. September 11, 2017 / 11:14

    I’m so happy to read this. I know you could put yourself back together, but watching you write so brutally and honestly last year made me want to hug you!
    This feels light and airy and that’s amazing! You should be so proud x

  5. Kate
    September 11, 2017 / 13:18

    I think you’re amazing at having thrived under so much pressure. Well done Mama! xx

    (PS – PLEASE consider increasing your text size, I really struggle to read your blog because its so small, I’m sure I can’t be the only one! Thanks xx)

  6. Sam
    September 11, 2017 / 18:18

    Polly, that was lovely to read. I am so.pleased for you. I truly am. Sam xx

  7. September 11, 2017 / 21:56

    Polly, you’re so amazing. You’re so strong. I’m so happy to see how happier you’ve become. Sending love to you all, here’s to the next year xx

  8. September 16, 2017 / 13:46

    I read your break up story and your recovery story today and I must admit that it brought a tear. It’s always fantastic when amazing women realize that they are and rise from the ashes like phoenixes! Here’s to the next years of awesomeness to come!

  9. October 4, 2017 / 22:01

    Absolutely loved read this, you were just behind me on my separation and so much of this resonates with me now. I’m not saying it’s been easy but life is so much better and I’m so much stronger, it takes a strong woman to leave a marriage, the easy bit is staying.

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