I Never Saw it Coming…


It was the colliding of two separate and yet immensely connected events that became the story of my greatest loss and rebirth at the same time.

The first I knew deep in my soul was the truth, but for many years and so many reasons could not bring myself to reveal it. The second was happening so slowly that I never even saw it coming; and in fact it wasn’t until their collision that I could begin to finally understand what was happening.

I knew for many years that my marriage was not what I wanted. There was no drama, beating, cheating or horrific event to mark it as a “bad” marriage, but truth be told, we were simply not a good fit as intimate love partners. But as the daughter of happily married parents with no experience with “broken” families, I believed that I was going to have to make the best of it; after all, it wasn’t “bad” and I had every reason to be happy. Two delicious young boys, affluence, security and proximity to my friends and family; clearly I should be happy with my good fortune.

Around the time that my youngest went off to kindergarten, I found myself intellectually acknowledging that life would change.  I would have more time and be able to breathe, having a good break from the energy of two happy, rambunctious boys each day. But while at some level I was excited for this shift in schedule, I couldn’t find my energy, drive or desire.

It was at this time that I celebrated my 35th birthday with a party thrown by my parents. There were friends, presents and all the makings for a fabulous celebration, but I could not find the joy in any of it.

At the end of the day, and as I began opening the pile of presents left behind, I found myself an observer of my own life. I didn’t like the way I looked and felt; and as I opened the presents, I was underwhelmed by the number of table books, Judaic kitchenware and gardening tools. But it wasn’t until I read the card proclaiming that I was an incredible “asset to the community” that it hit me.

I wanted the gifts and cards to reflect the vibrant, audacious, sexy, smart, hip and rockin’ woman and mother that I was supposed to be. But they didn’t.

It was in that very moment that I realized these gifts and cards were instead reflecting how I felt in my life and in my marriage. And that was the moment I knew.

The time had come to unleash the truth of who I was and had always wanted to be.
It was time to own what I wanted my life to look and feel like.
It was time to break up with mediocrity.

This moment, and my divorce that followed began a decade of letting go. Letting go of relationships, security, certainty, habits, commitments and more importantly the story I had created around what my life was “supposed” to be.  And let me tell you, I was scared to death. Other than my parents and my children, I lost everything that I had thought grounded me in who I was.

But it was in the depth of this loss that I found myself and my desire, passion and purpose.

The past decade of letting go has also been my decade of reclaiming, renewing and reinventing. I have turned my darkest moments of fear and discomfort into an opportunity to learn, to grow, to explore and to receive. I have experienced pain, sadness and loneliness that have almost always been followed by incredible moments of joy and pleasure. This cycle seems to be the symbiotic partnership of living an authentic and extraordinary life.

I never saw it coming. I never imagined when I took my wedding vows, at the innocent age of 24, that it was the beginning rather than the finish line, or that my divorce would again be a beginning rather than the end.

My life has not been marked by death or tragedy, and therefore at times I have felt unentitled to feel loss in the profound way that “survivors” do. But I do know that moments of life transition, both reliable and unexpected, are opportunities to live and love bigger and better than ever before. It isn’t easy, but it is a choice and it does take intentional action.

I am careful now to remember that my life is a series of beginnings and endings; new and next chapters.  Not only are there second firsts, but third, fourth and many other firsts as well. I have always had everything I need to be and become the woman, mother, partner, daughter, friend, guide and soul that I am meant to be; and so do you. We all do.

You can trust yourself, your wisdom, your courage and strength because you are trustworthy, and beautiful I might add. @lauracampbell (Click to Tweet!)


LauraWeb_15Laura is the CEO of Laura W. Campbell Enterprises, www.laurawcampbell.com where she guides women to intentionally create the life they desire and the love they deserve. She is also a Life and Love Intentionalist, author, coach, strategist and widely recognized expert in self-acceptance and living an authentic life full of love. She has an M.B.A. in strategic planning from New York University Stern School of Business, is a certified Life & Career Coach and has trained with The Anthony Robbins Institute to create a practice that supports women through major life transitions.You can follow Laura on FB and Twitter.
*A Note from Christina:
I’m so excited to debut the Life Starter’s Blog Series. I have had the greatest honor and fortune of hearing your powerful stories of personal transformation and I wanted to share them all. Because I know that together we can help support, inspire and lift one another. Every Tuesday, we will proudly feature your stories. If you’d like to submit a post, please go here for guidelines and more info. Happy reading!

Image courtesy of Dominik Martin via Unsplash.

Comments

  1. I’m a Christina too and the words written above describe me to a T as well. In fact, you’ve put my thoughts down so clearly that it’s an absolute wow. I held back and in and took everything so personally over the years which led to guilt and some crappy resentment. How do we know what we want to become? I can see myself doing so many things…not knowing what to call myself besides being a mom. But there are also some specific things too that I see myself having too i.e. a real relationship. Reading this is so amazing, your expressive thoughts, feelings and words actually make me feel understood too. Thank you for writing them.

  2. Hi Christina, thanks so much for writing! I am so glad you enjoyed the post. My story is not necessarily unique, and I believe that it is one shared by so many women. I now share an extraordinary relationship, one that I never imagined would be possible and I am a better mother for having grown and learned through my experiences. Before we are a mother, daughter, sister, friend and wife/partner, we are a woman. I work with women to walk fully in the truth of who they are and who they are meant to be because in that truth is where the awesomeness happens! Thank you again and I look forward to hearing from you!
    L

  3. Laura, your journey mirrors that of so many women, myself included, who ‘wake up’ to discover that life they so carefully crafted (by listening to all the ‘should’s) is not the life that is in alignment with their authentic selves deepest desires. Waking up and then taking action to live authentically is one of the hardest, soul-wrenching yet beautifully liberating decisions I ever made. That was 25 years ago…. and since then I’ve been in a dance with my authentic self – and yes, I let her lead. thank you for sharing your story and truth so openly to let women know that are not alone.

    • Thank you so much Linda. As you and I know, this is a story that is not unlike those of so many others; but as you live it, it can feel so isolating and lonely. If my words can give just the tiniest bit of comfort to women who are feeling the pain and discomfort of stepping into the truth of who they are and beginning to dance more fully with their authentic self, then i will have done something magical in the world. I appreciate your reliable and soothing support! xo

  4. What an incredibly powerful story, Laura! I nearly married at 22. I wasn’t ready and he was the wrong guy. And that was one of those defining moments of my life. I took a long hiatus before finding my Mr. Right at 34 having decided I had no intention of getting married or having a family. So glad you found yourself and happiness in your journey to living your authentic truth. Thank you for sharing this – like life – raw and real. That’s where it’s at.

  5. Your words really hit home with me. My marriage was also an easy, comfortable marriage , but missing so much. It is hard to come to terms that my ex and I just weren’t meant to be. Thank you for your words!

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Christina Rasmussen

Welcome to the Message in a Bottle page, here you will find wisdom, truth and tools for you to start over. Make sure you sign up at the top to be sure to receive it in your inbox every Friday.