On an ordinary Tuesday night not too long ago, my life turned upside down. My nearly nine-year marriage ended suddenly, and I became a single mom at 34 years old with an 11 month old and 3 year old in tow.
I know it’s not unique. And the only reason I know it’s not unique is that I’ve had the courage (okay, compulsion) to talk about it.
After a year of wanting to turn my story into a memoir, I eased my way into the idea of articulating it. Now I’m contemplating my motives for writing. Can I tell my story without telling his story and without it coming from a place of ego or revenge?
On the way home from school drop off one week, the universe sent me a green light. I was listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons podcast, episode 209: “Show Up Before You’re Ready.” She interviewed mom blogger and author Glennon Doyle Melton from momastery.com, who perfectly articulated my motives for writing when she said:
“There is nothing you can put out there that is truly your own. The more personal you get, the more universal it becomes. The deeper you go into yourself, the more everybody else can see themselves in you. And so you realize that you can be seen because there’s nothing freaking unique about you.”
When I tell my story, inevitably I find other people who are struggling with seemingly insurmountable challenges that I have faced and moved through. I find people who have navigated the intolerable things that I’m still stuck in. And of course there are people who seem uninterested or embarrassed for me that I just word vomited my life story. But that’s rare. I run into more of the “me too” people, as Glennon would call them.
From the beginning of this journey, many well-meaning people have encouraged me to stay silent. But I believe we must boldly speak our stories to help each other answer the difficult questions: What do you do when your life falls apart? What happens when your dreams are shattered and life’s events crush all the scripts you grew up with?
My story is composed of a quiver of little stories that I hope will be valuable to women who are neck-deep in trauma, transition, and transformation. I hope others will share their stories with me too, and together we’ll evolve on our path to healing and new life.