Six years before I filed for divorce, I made the choice to leave my then fifteen-year marriage.
I needed to save my life.
During those six years, I had to learn to disassociate from my home, our mutual friends, the lifestyle and comforts I had been living with, my dreams.
Slowly, I emotionally detached from the home I lived in for twelve years. The home where my children were growing up. A home filled with memories of their childhoods.
Gently, I emotionally detached from our closet mutual friends. Friends I knew would be the most accessible to the smear campaign I understood would follow the announcement of my intentions to divorce.
Tenderly, I emotionally detached from the childhood dreams I had dreamt, of a fairy-tale life with my prince charming, loving me and our happily ever after.
I knew I would not see my home again. I knew I would lose close friends. The life I knew, the life my kids knew, would be shattered, along with all my fairy-tale dreams.
And yet, despite what I would be losing, deep down, I believed my life was more valuable than any home, any friend, any dream.
I was living half alive.
I was living within the confines of emotional, verbal and psychological abuse.
I was living with never ending suffering.
I needed to save my life.
I chose to walk away with something more valuable than the house, the friends, the dreams.
I chose to walk away with my life.
I knew I would battle fear. Fear for my safety; fear for the safety of my children; fear of the unknown.
I knew I would battle doubt. Doubt of my choices; doubt of my abilities; doubt of my strength.
Fears and doubts that would both paralyze me and guide me on the path to my future. Fears and doubts would propel and grace me with the strength to carry on.
I battled the fears and learned I could stand alone.
As I battled the doubts, I learned I am strong as stone.
And now, 12 years from the day I decided to leave an unhealthy marriage, I still believe my life is more valuable than the loss of my home and the loss of friends to smear campaigns.
I still believe my life is more valuable than the loss of financial security to endless legal battles and the loss of my childhood dreams.
Back then, I no longer knew who I was. Any semblance of who I had been pre-marriage, had been diminished and wiped away. I felt as if my life had been erased.
But now, I know.
I know I can stand alone.
I know I am strong as stone.
I know a house is not a home.
I know friendships come and go.
I know money is just money.
I know I can dream again.
I know that given the choice again, even after all the suffering and hardship…
I would choose to save my life.