My Second Chance

It does not escape my consciousness how lucky I am to live the rest of my life being the mom, friend, lover and person that I always wanted to be, and be around people that reflect my love back to me.

It is Independence Day. The streets will be blocked off around the beach as the city prepares for party goers that felt gypped last year due to Covid. I can feel the excitement in the air as my neighbors hang their American flags out on their porches and balconies, and gather with their friends. This will be my second July 4th living in Southern California, and I guess my first real one because the last one was in lockdown.

As I walked around Manhattan Beach yesterday and saw people wearing their stars and stripes t shirts and expectant smiles, it made me feel like that maybe life was getting back to ‘normal.’ But will it ever really be what it was? I don’t know, but I do know that this last year has changed me forever.

When the pandemic started I was in the midst of getting a divorce after 20 years of marriage, and getting used to living in a new city. After 5 years of visiting Southern California and being dissatisfied in my marriage I decided to make a change. I knew that I couldn’t live the rest of my life with someone who made me feel like I didn’t matter. It was a horrible feeling to wake up every morning and have the person who was supposed to love me, instead pick fights with me and ignore me. It destroyed my confidence, and made me wonder what was wrong with me.

But after only one year of being on my own I feel like a completely different person. I feel softer and prettier, I have energy and feel sexy again. I will never know why my Ex rejected me and treated me badly, and it used to drive me crazy not to have an answer to that. But now it doesn’t matter to me. Because I see that his treatment of me was nothing to do with me, and everything to do with how he felt about himself.

It used to be hard for me to accept that I wasted so much time trying to get what I needed from someone who had no interest in making me happy. But now I see accepting this fact as a gift. Because I can release my bad feelings of thinking that my marriage failed, and that I let my family fall apart. I can see now that it was never going to work out because it wasn’t supposed to. Also, I can see my strength in staying faithful and loyal for so many years to someone who didn’t give me the same in return. I grew as a person, and I am stronger for it.

The best thing about our time together is my daughter. I can’t even describe with words the love I feel for her. It is a love that is exclusive to her, and that expands my heart and lifts my soul. She is beautiful, kind, smart and open to her own personal growth. I could never fully be there for her in my marriage because I was so distracted and exhausted from the turmoil of the toxicity of my marriage. But now I can fully be present for her, and it is an amazing feeling. I can be the mom I always wanted to be; kind, patient and understanding. And she can get to know me for who I really am and not the hurt, sad and angry wife that I was.

I am excited for this next chapter with my daughter, and in life overall. I feel myself getting more confident and speaking up, but not in a confrontational way. I am stating my needs, and moving away from people and situations that don’t feel right to me. I am dating again and learning to ask more questions, and set some boundaries. I make mistakes sometimes and I get carried away and follow my lust and ego rather than being always being sensible. But you know what? That is ok! I am experimenting and seeing what feels good to me and what doesn’t. I feel grateful that I have been given another chance to find someone that really cares about me and appreciates me. Someone that will smile at me in the mornings and be happy that I am a part of their life.

This Independence Day, there will be fireworks shows again, and gatherings of more than 10 people. But it will never be quite the same. We all have changed, and we will never forget what we have been through. Some of us will feel angry that life has changed, others will be grateful and have more of an appreciation of all that we have. The same is true for me. I could spend the rest of my life wishing things had been different in my marriage, and being angry over my family falling apart. Or I can be grateful that I have been given a second chance to have love and happiness in my life, something that some people never get. It does not escape my consciousness how lucky I am to live the rest of my life being the mom, friend, lover and person that I always wanted to be, and be around people that reflect my love back to me.