I’m still here.

I'm still here.

The other day I took a selfie, because after getting ready for the day I felt pretty good about myself and figured I’d capture the moment. Not a big deal– except it actually was. I realized I hadn’t taken a selfie in 9 months, and I got to wondering why.

The reason, I think, is not so different from the reason I haven’t written a blog post in over a year or posted much of anything on Facebook or made any efforts to catch up with old friends and acquaintances in real life or social media. I have been hiding. Keeping a low profile, staying off the radar, because essentially, I have been lost. I have not known who I am, I have not known where I am going, I have not felt proud of what I’m doing, and so I have made efforts to not draw attention to myself.

My life currently is a lot different from what I thought it would be 10 years ago, 5 years ago, 1 1/2 years ago. Different in almost every way, actually. I’ve been through a lot of personal challenges in the past 16 months. A lifetime of emotions. Pain, betrayal, guilt, disappointment, emptiness, misery, self-loathing, disbelief, utter confusion, anger, inner turmoil, hope, relief, empowerment, joy, contentment. And those emotions have been felt over and over again, an ongoing exhausting cycle.

I am a writer. It is my nature to want to write through my problems and challenges. When I had my miscarriage a year and a half ago, I started writing about it almost immediately. The process was healing and it was gratifying to know that I was of help to others; it gave my sorrow a bit of purpose. Unlike my current situation, however, I felt no shame in having a miscarriage. It was not my fault. There was nothing I could have done differently. Nobody would judge me for it. But my recent challenge? People might judge me. Some already have. They might say it’s my fault. I’ve certainly wondered if it is. Certain individuals might be mad at me for making it public knowledge. And so I haven’t said anything. Even though I knew it could be healing and beneficial to me, and probably for someone else. Even though I am a writer and have dreams of being a really good one, I haven’t written anything in months because the thing I really want to write about has been off limits.

But I am tired of all these limits. I don’t want to hide away. I don’t want to feel ashamed. I don’t want to be quiet and in the background and not pursuing anything, being stuck in one place because I’ve been forced into it and I’m not making any efforts to get out. I don’t want to be stuck. I want to be in control of my life, what I do, what I pursue. I don’t want to be shamed into standing still in limboland, not being seen or heard.

I am divorced. That became official just last week. I filed for divorce over 9 months ago. My husband… I mean ex– but I hate that term… My former spouse and I separated over 16 months ago. It has been a long process. One that involved my son and me moving to Kansas to stay with my parents, counseling and therapy sessions, visits back to Utah, lots of prayer, even more tears, working so hard to be able to distinguish the difference between true happiness and where I’d committed myself to trying to find it, and starting a new life almost from scratch.

Although the process of getting divorced has been very long and drawn out, the state of actually being divorced is very recent. I thought I was prepared for it, with all the time that led up to it. But the finality is a whole new experience for me. Slow to sink in. Bringing a sharp pang of sorrow and loss every time it does. Because it’s an “every time” sort of occurrence, not just once or twice. The words “I am divorced” repeating themselves in my mind each day, sinking themselves into that hole in my heart which simultaneously grows bigger and emptier… every time. Because it’s hard accepting myself as someone I never wanted to be. Someone I fought for years against becoming. Someone who is divorced.

But owning up to it seems like a good first step. Not keeping myself hidden and quiet due to shame in my marital status, due to fear of someone who doesn’t know me forming judgments. I am so much more than someone who is divorced. I am strong, I am brave, I am suffering and growing every day, maintaining a compassionate and gentle heart through it all.

I am changed, but I’m still me. And I’m still here. So here I write.

18 thoughts on “I’m still here.”

  1. I wrote a comment and lost it so will just say I admire you and hang on. Realize there are many out there that need your support and love. You have it to give. The church is concerned because so many now are single and are lonely without support. If you can get beyond your own situation and reach out there are many out there crying in the wilderness too. Aunt Ilene

    1. Thank you Ilene. You are right, I do find a lot of purpose in using our own experiences and challenges as a way to help and reach out to others.

  2. Stacey, I felt the same way about not being sure how to vocalize my divorce. As much as I wanted to process through writing so much of it felt awkward or even taboo or shameful. I get it! Glad to be able to relate to someone on this subject.

    1. Thank you Amelia, it’s so true. These hard things aren’t talked about openly much, which I think makes us feel even more alone when we actually find ourselves in them, with no where to turn… and so the cycle continues. Hope you are well!

  3. Dear Stacey;
    anyone that has ever known you will not judge you degradingly for having a divorce in your life. You are one of the kindest most patient people on the planet. I want you to know that for the short time I was able to know you that I know that. I am grateful for your presence in my past.

    I hope that my daughters will see your example and be grateful for your fortitude. Your son is lucky that you are his mom.

    Thank you for your blog

    Fauna Smith

    1. Fauna, thank you so much. Your comment means a lot. Particularly since you knew him before you knew me, I would expect to maybe not be thought of in such high regards at this point. Thanks for always being so good to us. Miss you!

  4. Sweet Stacey, I am so sorry you have to go through this hard time. So sorry! I love your blog and writing and am so happy to see you back at it. Sending all sorts of love and prayers your way.

    1. Laken, thank you! So good to hear from you, it seems like it’s been forever. I appreciate your kind words, hope all is well with you!

  5. This was an amazing post Stacey! I am so proud of you for being brave and strong and doing what you knew was best for your future. I’m sorry for the pain and the struggle. The future is so bright for you and that cute Desmond! You’re an incredible woman, Stacey! Sure love ya!

  6. This was heartfelt, heartbreaking, uplifting and raw all at the same time. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing a piece of yourself. It encourages the rest of us, well at least me, to do the same.❤️

    – Another writer who hasn’t written in too long.

    1. Lauren, thank you! I appreciate the comment. I hope you will make the opportunity to write again. It sure is easy to make excuses the longer you go without doing it, how I know that. But it definitely feels good to finally do it. I would love to read what you have to say.

  7. First off, you are beautiful!! Second, thank you for writing this post! I feel it can be applied to so many different situations and I truly hope that others take this article and use it as a way to benefit their own life rather than judge yours. Thank you for letting others into your life and giving us the chance to learn from you!

    1. Samantha, thank you! Thank you for seeing the purpose and meaning behind my words and appreciating what I have to say. It means a lot.

  8. Thank you Stacey for sharing. Life is hard enough without a good support system, especially in times when you are most vulnerable.

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