The Creative Cafe
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The Creative Cafe

The Winds of Change

Every flower was once a seed and every storm started with just one drop of water falling from the sky. And so it is with change.

Throughout my short adult life, it seems like when change happens, it happens all at once. Be it good or bad things, it seems to happen in waves of two to four major things. This can be overwhelming. It can be exciting and it also can leave me a nervous wreck.

My mind wanders.

Sleep is lost.

I may slip at work, distracted.

Change is hard on me, even when it’s a good change. As I find myself yet again amidst the throws of another big life change, I can’t help but look back and feel nostalgic over other times in my life I’ve dealt with big change. It’s interesting how when it hits you, it seems to always have a trickle effect. Never does just one thing change. It touches other parts of your life, changing them as well.

When I was in grade school, my parents separated and we moved from our big house in Omaha, Nebraska to a spare bedroom in my grandmother’s condo in Branson, MO. I went from having my own bed to sharing a bunk-bed with my mom and brother on a rotating schedule. A futon on the floor for the third person. A rough change. I lost my father and my own room, my school, and all I knew. Change. Lots of it at just five years old.

In high school I remember my boyfriend breaking up with me (I am pretty sure my dad talked him into this). But then a few short months later, my parent’s divorced and again, we were moved out of our home. I remember coming home from cheer-leading practice and seeing two cop cars in my driveway. My dad was whisked away to prison just a year later where he would spend the next 15 years of his life in prison. I knew it wasn’t my fault, but I couldn’t help but feel bad for him. Change. Traumatic change. The kind of change that leaves an eternal impact on your mind and in your heart. I would never be the same. A void drilled into my heart that day. A place where a loving father was supposed to be.

I had held it together for too long by this point. I had to get out of town. Let loose. Where better than sunny Florida? I transferred my college credits and moved to West Palm Beach. It was fuuuureaking sweet there. I still miss it. Basically, I moved to Florida to drink away my pain on the beach.

In college, I partied

my.

ass.

off.

— to an Olympic level.

Destructively impressive. People had fun around me, the life of the party. I had become a bit of an attention whore, admittedly. My weight dropped. I was a hottie. I didn’t eat much, I drank too much. I passed my classes like this — maxing out the number of tardies allowed.

I remember one class comprised of only four test scores. Two Fs, Two As — and passed. Ha. I had gotten creative in my procrastination. I was smart, but unmotivated. I just wanted somebody to love me. I was hurting. The damage left behind from my father was heavy on me always. I wanted someone to ease the pain, make me forget. But nobody could. People aren’t meant to heal each other’s pain. I wouldn’t learn that until many years later.

Unfortunately, I let a little too loose in Florida and it eventually caught up with me and bit me in the ass. All in the same month: I got caught cheating on one of my college papers (Shakespeare bores me to tears), I had a one night stand with a wealthy doctor from Miami, I got caught stealing some stuff from Walmart with my roommate, AND I found out I was pregnant. Wow. I hit rock bottom. I had become a bad person. I looked in the mirror and was shocked. How had I gone from being the honor roll student, cheerleader kid who would go to youth group to this impulsive, party-girl train wreck?

Neither person was the real me. They were extreme opposites of each other. I did the former to keep my parent’s happy, but it wasn’t the real me. The later, was my pain coming out. Acting out. I didn’t know how to deal with my pain.

But when you hit rock bottom, there really is nowhere to go but up. I hired a lawyer and dealt with the Walmart mishap. I’ve never stolen anything sense. Being grabbed my a security guard is terrifying enough to make you never want to steal again. I graduated college and moved back to Springfield, MO where I could finish out my pregnancy and have the baby with family support. The family, my life in Missouri that I had been running from for the past five years, I now needed. I couldn’t survive on my own. Financially or emotionally. I was broken. I didn’t meet the man of my dreams in college. I was too busy partying to care. I dated, but never fell in love. My heart was hardened.

Even throughout my pregnancy, I couldn’t make up my mind if I wanted to adopt or parent. I spoke with a local adoption agency. As the lady rambled on and on, I just remember feeling like, I can’t do this. I would find a way to raise the baby even though I was terrified. Inside I was screaming. This was not how I planned my life to go.

But life has a funny way of taking our tragedy and turning them into blessings. That little baby I was so terrified of, has turned out to make me happier than any person or thing I’ve ever experienced. My little Leighton Hope. She will be eight next month. The time had flown by. I am by no means a perfect parent, but that hard bitter heart I used to have — she softened. When I held her in my arms for the first time, I wept. Overcome with joy. It’s hard to put that moment into words. She’s my little buddy and we do everything together from hiking to manicures, homework to sushi dinners. I’m so lucky to be this girl’s mom. She makes me want to be a better me. She made all the pain worth it. I have new reasons for living now. Someone is looking up to me.

I now find myself amidst another big life change here in October 2017. I am about to move. This will be the nicest home I’ve ever lived in.

I think of my ex-husband who told me I could never make it on my own. That I would live out my days scrapping by in apartment life, living paycheck to paycheck. He was right for the first couple of years after our divorce. Switching from homemaker to full time working single mom is not an easy transition.

But here I am — making it.

I like my job and I live a simple life, but I am at peace. Real peace.

And there’s no more more violence in our home. I didn’t want my daughter growing up thinking thats how a man should treat a woman. I can’t totally villinize him though. I was way more selfish back then and knew I should have never married him to begin with. My mistake. I was tired and I settled. I loved him but knew deep down I could love someone more.

Life is harder now financially, but some things are worth the trouble. Worth the loss of income. Worth the possibility of finding real love later. No more settling. That I know for absolute sure. It’s been worth it.

I’m so excited to move. Leighton will have a yard to play in with big trees in the front yard. We will have a wood burning fireplace and a garage. Marble counter tops, new appliances, a washer and dryer. I could go on and on. This place is so much nicer than our apartment and I feel truly blessed to have found it.

I am sure this new home will provide many new memories for us. Who knows what the next five years hold.

Just like my surroundings, I feel myself evolving, becoming more and more the woman I was intended to be everyday. Like a bug shedding it’s skin, I am shedding my home, moving into a brand new shell. I can’t wait to decorate and make it all cozy.

I will finally have a yard to garden in, something that’s always been therapeutic for me. Something I’ve always wanted but never thought I could afford on my own. The season is changing too. Fall is among us. What a great time to move, right before winter hits. No more scrapping ice and snow off my windshield in an overcrowded apartment parking lot!

I imagine the warm glow of my fire next to my window with snow covering the ground outside. Safe. At home. We are moving in right on November first. I have a new home to be thankful for this year at Thanksgiving and lots of new memories to be made.

Change. I am ready for you.

Do you feel your life changing. Embrace it, even if it’s bad or hard, that means something better is just around the corner.

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