I’m Chelsea – I love to hike, travel, read, I want to change the world in some way – big or small—and I absolutely love spending time with my amazing family, friends, and 2 Pitbull babes. However, if you had asked me about myself this time last year I would have probably just shrugged my shoulders and given you a self-deprecating answer about preferring to be lazy at home. I was in hiding, big time.
The night my marriage fell apart we had just gone to a really nice dinner and purchased 2 plane tickets to Italy for a “pre-baby” vacation that summer. I was 29-years-old, we had been dating/married for almost 10 years, and we were finally ready to check the box for the next step in our life plan. Or so I was led to believe. When we got home from dinner that night he wasn’t excited – which didn’t actually surprise me because spending any amount of money made him nauseous – and instead of continuing to celebrate together at home he left to check on his mom and then go have beers with a buddy. I was hurt, but this kind of behavior was par for the course by now and wasn’t worth a fight. Still, something felt more off than usual. Especially when he came home tipsy, picked a petty, confusing fight about nothing, then fell asleep on the couch – I was whiplashed. Watching him sleep on the couch my stomach was churning and I was sweating, something was wrong here. I couldn’t let it go – I didn’t want to let it go anymore. He had always protected his phone with his life – he would change his password frequently and I was never allowed to even touch the stupid thing (hindsight is 20/20, give me a break). However, that very week he had gotten a new one and I saw him type in the password – so, while he was asleep on the couch I took the phone, hid behind the couch in case he woke up so he wouldn’t see what I was doing (not one of my greatest moments), I opened it up… and the world stopped. What I found was many, so SO many, texts, pictures, videos, and people he was having affairs with. One of which he had gone out to lunch with that same day. It was 100 degrees outside but I was shaking like I was naked in Antarctica; teeth chattering, hands numb, brain literally not processing the information in front of me. Somehow I had the presence of mind to take some screenshots and send them to myself - I didn’t have a plan, it was all just reflex. Then, I stood up and in a detached voice I woke him up with one of the more graphic photos on the screen and said, “I want a divorce”. That’s not where the night ended, but it’s the important stuff. I didn’t fully defrost physically until about a week later; mentally, it was maybe a month… emotionally though? Last week. 2 years later, almost to the day.
Since that night I have felt more lost, sad, afraid, and full of rage than ever before in my life. My support group was absolutely amazing but they had their work cut out for them. How could they help me when I didn’t know just how dark or deep my hurt and sadness and self-loathing has really sunk into my heart? I wasn’t hiding anything, I was just too afraid to “go there” emotionally so I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and living in a fog of aimlessness, insecurity, self-doubt, and fear.
March of this year was my turning point. A lifelong friend of mine ended up cornering me on an airplane while coming home from a friend’s birthday celebration in Las Vegas. For 3 straight hours she asked me the hard questions and truly forced me to finally look at myself in the mirror. She helped open my eyes to just how muted and grey I had let my world become and showed me that I had to start making positive steps for myself because I. AM. Worth. It. I started seeing a therapist weekly, challenging myself each month to change something for the better in my daily life (i.e. no alcohol, no social media, meditate, etc), and I began working out and actually caring about what foods I was putting into my body. Crying on that plane was definitely my rock bottom come-to-Jesus turning point – it was embarrassing, uncomfortable, and the most vulnerable I had been in years – but her tough love was exactly the emotional bitch slap I needed to wake up again.
Since then I have come alive again. I have been able to feel joy and experience real connection again. I can trust myself and others again. And I can appreciate the people around me who are full of vibrant life and energy and positivity. I feed off of it! I’m one of those people now too – I’ve chosen to be an active participant in this life again. I believe again that I’m worthy of love, being cared for, or even cherished. I want that for myself and I even BELIEVE it’s possible! You can too – this world is full of amazing people and places that right now, in the midst of your own personal storm, you might not be able to see or appreciate. But, please take it from me, I’ve been where you are, with a dense, heavy fog hiding and discoloring your ability to see all of the wonderful things that make you so special and amazing. Take the time your grieving or anger or sadness needs – they’re honest feelings that deserve your attention right now – but once you do that, then let them go for good. Put yourself out there, try something new, go on vacation somewhere you maybe never would have in your past life, talk to new people anywhere and everywhere - especially when you don’t want to. All of it will open up windows and doors of new beautiful possibilities in your life and I promise you won’t regret it.