"Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim." —Nora Ephron
I dreamed the other night that my kids told me my ex-husband, their father, was getting remarried and buying a million dollar home in Maui. "Oh, must be nice!" I responded sarcastically to this breaking news. I immediately felt bad for allowing my sixth-grade schoolyard voice to speak out loud, but I felt such resentment and jealousy that he was living high on the roasted pig with Miss Newby, and I was still struggling financially as a single mom. Then I woke up, and those feelings were all too real.
It was becoming apparent that my mind was spending way too much time on what was lacking in my life, dwelling on the unfairness of it all. I knew intellectually that my fixation on the negative details of my past would lock me into a future I didn't want.
However, the facts remained: I had gotten the house in the divorce, but that soon ended up a short-sale statistic. My "nest egg" netted out to be a big fat goose egg. As for spousal support, I (stupidly) agreed to receive it for a finite period of time—even though I had been a stay at home mom for 18 years without having established a career prior to marrying. Of course I'll be able to fast-track it to a successful career and a comfortable income for myself, I figured. Psych! The recession hit, grinding my progress—and any possibility of rebuilding my bank account—to a screeching halt. I have to say that I honestly sometimes feel I'm being punished for having stayed home for nearly two decades to raise my children.
Yes, I wanted the divorce, so I had made my own (twin) bed. I could have decided to stay in my marriage where I felt financially secure, but that would have meant living without any emotional connection. I needed and deserved to feel heard, understood, appreciated, and acknowledged; to be looked in the eye by my husband, to feel cherished and adored. And I didn’t.
I also felt that he didn't respect what I brought to the marriage and to our family because what I brought had no monetary value. While I didn't contribute financially, I created our home and raised our two children to become loving, compassionate, inspiring human beings, and I couldn't be more proud. Yet, in a short amount of time, as a 40-something-year-old woman, I was under pressure to earn an income that took him an entire career to establish.
So yes, there are times when I've wanted to scream that it's not #*&/ fair! And as the clock ticks closer and closer to the moment when my support lifeline will slip through my fingers, I worry that my vulnerability and fear will grow into a monster anchor keeping me immobile, or at the very least, from enjoying life.
It's amazing how one little dream can cause such a sh*t storm. It's also amazing how the universe, like Superman, knows exactly when and where to come to the rescue. This time it picked me up and put me back on my feet via cyberspace with a "random" message from Nora Ephron:
"Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim."
"Yes!" I yelled out when I read this in an email. If I accept the role of victim, then I am essentially handing over my power to someone else and forfeiting my opportunity to experience joy and live to my full potential. Why the hell would we choose to do that?!
Then I looked up the definition of heroine: A woman of distinguished courage or ability, admired for her brave deeds and noble qualities. That's what I wanted to be.
Most of us don't realize how strong and capable we are. Too often we use our energy to fight against what is, instead of coming face to face with making it better. Once we can stop looking in the rear view mirror, we can start to take action toward beginning a new life. Keep reading...
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