It was January 6th, 2016. I took a kitchen garbage bag and I stuffed a few toiletries and a few clothes and I went to work as I normally do at my usual time. It was the only way I could think of to leave undetected. I had no intention of going home that day. That was the beginning.
I was terrified but in a numb sort of way. Shock, fear, disbelief and numbness. I did it. I got out. Or so I thought. I had no idea that you don’t just walk out and your life changes. It doesn’t happen that way. It’s just not that easy. The road ahead is not going to be what I expect and the journey had just begun. A series of failures and triumphs. Not in that order. You fall down and you get back up again. Sometimes you don’t feel like it and sometimes it takes longer but you always get back up again.
My whole adult life felt like someone was telling me who I should be. Who I was. Who I wasn’t. What I could and could not do. What I liked. What I didn’t. I call it mind control. I don’t know how else to describe it. Where your normal becomes the unacceptable, the unacceptable becomes your normal. It took me years to realize that my definition of normal was not acceptable. Then it took me years to realize that I couldn’t fix it. Then it took me more years to find the courage to walk away.
It is odd that when this story first began, I thought that I had a direction and a purpose. I did not. It was just step one. I did not comprehend how many other purposes I would need to discover. How many other directions would and could be presented to me. There is no GPS for this life and that is a good thing. Even if I could just punch in the end destination, would I choose to go on auto-pilot? No. How can I choose to miss all the amazing ways that I am discovering who I am and what I am capable of?
There are no ‘if only’s’ in this story. You will never read them because I will never write them. We are who we are because of what we live. More specifically, what we learn (and do not learn) from what we live. I like who I am. I hold my head up and will do so for the rest of my life. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that to love myself is to embrace my journey and give it the proper place in my heart.
“Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination”Drake
P.S. Please do not read my story and feel sorry for me. I do not feel sorry for me and neither should you. I found a better path and the courage to walk it. Read my story and, if you can, practice compassion and understanding for the family member, friend, neighbor that is trying to pack their own kitchen garbage bag.