His lips were moving, but his words trailed off and morphed into only muffled sounds.
What were we even arguing about?
At this point spending an evening bickering at each other was all too familiar. I sat across from him as my eyes glazed over and the last 12 years played in my mind like a movie set on fast forward….
High school graduation; girl meets boy; family business; first home; car; dog; church; girl marries boy; business crumbles; house foreclosed; car repossessed; cross country move…..
Textbook Ohio girl story, right?
At least that’s what I thought was normal at the time. However, in this pivotal moment my life the movie paused long enough to ask myself, Is this everything you hoped for? Is this the life you imagined, do you like this man sitting across from you, do you like yourself? Actually…who the hell are you, Katie? My focus jolted back to attention as I heard my husband yell,
“Is this how a 30yr old married woman would act?!”
Ah yes…. that’s how the argument began. I wanted to meet up with some girlfriends for cocktails on a weeknight. He wasn’t a fan of my attempts at enjoying a social life. He’s older than me by about 10 years and was completely content with spending most evenings at home with just the two of us, the TV, some good ganja, and to spice things up once in a while, a decent glass of red.
Wild I know.
I would try to include him in my plans to meet up with friends. I wanted him by my side, but he wasn’t an outgoing person, so I would spend the evening ensuring his good time more than enjoying my own. I was always more relieved when he just stayed behind.
That night it wasn’t his social ineptness that had me doubting some very major life decisions thus far. It’s just that I was beginning to acknowledge feelings of discontent, boredom, and doubt that have been slowly burning deep in my heart for years.
Rewind to the night of my wedding… I recall sitting on the bathroom counter with my maid of honor, my sister, standing in front of me and I began to cry. She became concerned and asked what was wrong. I sadly responded with, “I don’t want it to be over”. She smiled sweetly and took me into her arms while she said, “The day was just perfect and I wish it wouldn’t end either.”
Even today as I’m writing these words tears fill my eyes thinking about that moment. Her interpretation was far from what I meant. I could hear the whispers that my sister couldn’t- a little girl from within was begging me to run. Shamefully I ignored her as I was too scared to stand up and declare I’M NOT READY TO BE MARRIED!
I wasn’t ready for my life to be over when I felt it hadn’t started yet.
But I was filled with too much pride and thought it was easier to live feeling hallow with a sense of detachment than deal with any guilt, shame, or pain that may come from owning up to those closest to me that I was a liar. I had been lying for years saying that I knew exactly what I was doing, I had a plan, I loved my husband, and that I loved my life.
Quite the opposite was true and as I turned 30 I could no longer dismiss my inner voice. I yelled back to my husband, “Well….I’ve never been a 30yr old married woman so I don’t suppose I’d know how one would act!” He snapped back at me…
“You’re like a butterfly I can’t capture!?”
His words hit me like a brick to the face. What?…Capture?? That was it…. I had been stuck in captivity and it was in that moment that I knew I needed out.
I AM a butterfly!
I wanted to discover myself, my identity, my dreams, my passions, and what truly makes me tick. In order to do that I had to be free….free from him, from my family, from my church, and from any co-dependent relationships I had allowed my thoughts and opinions to be manipulated by.
Honestly I had no idea how to handle leaving someone let alone a divorce? So naturally I freaked out and made the process way more difficult than it probably could have been.
BUT through destruction comes creation and in a sense I destroyed the life I had lived for over a decade and threw myself to the wolves. Single for the first time since high school I stepped out into Hollywood to rebuild myself. Broke and broken, I set off on a transformational journey that challenged me physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
It has absolutely been the most difficult and the most rewarding experience of my life so far. I’ve met some crazy interesting characters along the way and I imagine it like Dorothy experienced from the Wizard of OZ…
Only the road I followed was not yellow and it’s made of stars instead of brick. Instead of The Lion there was The Magic Bearded Man who unknowingly gave me the courage to admit I needed more intimacy. Instead of The Tin Man there was a random homeless guy who called himself Prayer and proclaimed that his mission was to elevate love. And then there’s the girl called Moll who will take you to the poppies quicker than someone can say TURNUP! Now that’s only just a few…I have met multitudes of people and each one of them has taught me something special.
I’ve taken amazing trips….some of which I didn’t even have to leave the city for! I’ve partied like it was my last day on this earth and subsequently I’ve also felt like it was my last day on this earth. I’ve learned to let my heart fall fast in love for the first time in my life! I’ve also tragically mended my broken heart when I thought it impossible to break. I’ve been reckless and homeless, but never hopeless and all this has led me to a new found feeling of wholeness.
Now there’s a classic Cali girl story!
I encourage myself to embrace everything that comes my way as an opportunity to learn, grow, and develop a better understanding of my authentic self. Good, bad, and at times down-right awful situations helped me to realize my true potential and purpose in this life. It’s been three years since I left and I’ve only scratched the surface of uncovering the colorful, strong, beautiful butterfly that’s been cocooned by self-doubt and fear since childhood. The process is slow and that’s OK, because in the meantime…
It feels pretty damn good to get to know me.
I share this story in the hopes that any butterflies out there who feel captured by past decisions based on outward influences will be inspired to turn inward and find the courage to break free and fly.
Shine on, friends. Xx