divorce transformed me

How Divorce Transformed Me Into Someone Who No Longer Shies Away From Her Fears

divorce transformed me

 

When I experience sadness or fear, I like to escape, mentally and physically, from the source of the problem and focus on something totally different. A few months after I had found out about the affair my ex was having, and while we were in what I consider one of the lowest points of our marriage, I received an email from someone who wanted to talk to me about my work and the possibility of joining his company as a contract counselor.

At first, I thought it was spam but after doing a little research on the company and the person who emailed me, I decided it was worth exploring the opportunity further. One thing led to another and while I was working on building my business, I also started to work as a counselor for this company, doing exactly what I was doing for myself but this ensured a steady flow of work for me. More than anything, it offered me the time and structure I needed and wanted to stop worrying about my marriage.

The feeling of peace that came over me every time I sat at my desk and started to work with my students, organizing information and planning for meetings, left me exhilarated and wanting more.

It almost sounded too good to be true but the work came in at a steady pace, my business was growing and in the spring of 2015, I felt like my professional life was thriving. This also benefited other areas of my life by creating a predictable schedule for myself as a businesswoman and a mother and it felt very empowering. I was slowly seeing how capable I was in both arenas without a partner.

What had I gotten myself into? Right there and then, I remember thinking I had two options. One, I could freak out and do so the rest of the trip and make excuses to stay in my hotel room the whole time—I seriously considered this—or, I could immerse myself fully in this experience and enjoy myself.

I say this because when I started my business, my ex was very supportive and involved in helping me launch my work and in some ways, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to move forward without him by my side. Turns out, I was very capable.

Similarly, when we decided to grow our family, I never thought I’d be on my own with the children. He had moved out of the house during the winter of 2015 and I was left as the main caretaker for the children. He did visit the children often but it felt more like he was coming and going and not doing any of the heavy lifting.

Despite the new living arrangements and added responsibilities, I managed quite well. It was hard, very hard but as I now look back at that time, I’m proud of the way I handled things on my own. One of the most precious pictures I have that represents this time in my life is one where I’m sitting on the living room couch, tandem nursing the twins, my eldest is perched on my back while I’m working on my business’ website.

During the summer of 2015, an opportunity to travel to China presented itself and although I never thought I’d have the guts to travel on my own, to China no less, especially given my personal circumstances, I decided to take the plunge and go. What better way to lose myself in the moment, I thought, than to focus on something other than my marital problems.

The grandparents graciously traveled 3000 miles to watch the children while I traveled to China for the very first time. Saying I was nervous is an understatement. I was a little numb, excited and scared all at the same time. I was traveling with two other people whom I had worked with virtually but met for the first time on this trip. A lot of new things were happening all at once it seemed, but I felt alive and free. I needed this trip more than I realized.

When we landed in Beijing, the culture shock hit me smack in the face.

The sky was brown from all of the smog, everyone was speaking a language I didn’t understand, people were pushing their way past me in the airport to get to where they were going and when I thought I could catch my breath and pause in a stall of the women’s bathroom, I was shocked to see a hole in the floor where I was supposed to pee. There were no toilets to sit on.

What had I gotten myself into? Right there and then, I remember thinking I had two options. One, I could freak out and do so the rest of the trip and make excuses to stay in my hotel room the whole time—I seriously considered this—or, I could immerse myself fully in this experience and enjoy myself.

I picked the second option and I came out of that trip a changed person. I was grateful for the experience; the knowledge I gained of another culture was eye-opening and seeing things from a different perspective gave me so much confidence in my own abilities as a mother, and as a businesswoman. More than anything, I was eager to come back home to tell my children all about this experience.

I became excited at the thought of one day traveling internationally with them and showing them how diverse and wonderful this world can be. I could see myself becoming more and more independent, realizing I could have a happy and fulfilling life without my ex and I could actually manage on my own and more importantly, that I’d be ok.

I’m writing this article as I’m sitting on a 15-hour flight to Shanghai.

This will be my 4th time going to China. I’ve been to six cities in China now and have loved every experience, despite my many challenges with the Chinese cuisine. I love the stories I still share about my experiences while in China, and the professional and friendly bond I now have with my work colleagues, both in the US and in China.

The list of cities and countries I have visited in the past 4 years has grown; I’ve been to 5 cities in India and I’ve also been to Hong Kong.

These experiences have transformed me in ways I never imagined they would. They have unlocked a side of me I thought would never come out but here I am, traveling to China on my own, excited at the thought of seeing and experiencing new things.

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