Hello my friends! Well, it’s been a minute. Or maybe like eight months now since I have written anything even remotely personal or deep or really even given you any insight into what has been going on in my little world. I mean… I find interior design to be all kinds of meaningful and important but then again, that WAS my college degree so it’s kind of my thing 😉 But y’all know what I mean. I’ve said it lots and lots over the years… these posts are my very favorite. My favorite to write and my favorite to share. The posts that share all of life’s ups and downs and all of the in-betweens. The posts that come from deep within my soul. The posts where my fingers cannot even type as fast as my mind is thinking and my heart is feeling. The posts that make me nervous when I hit publish. The posts that make me immediately call Abigail and my mom to read lightening fast to tell me if I am crazy and should rethink it all and try again. But also, if I am being completely honest, the posts that have given me purpose as a blogger. The posts that help me connect with each one of you. The posts that make me remember why I love this platform so very much and why I continue blogging and sharing my life with hundreds of thousands of people that I have never even met. Because I have a story to tell. From business successes and failures to trying my hands at everything from renovating homes to starting a brick and mortar store to raising my girlies technology free and traveling the world every Summer. I have shared it all over the years. And God has given me a virtual notepad to share it on. Yet to be honest, I have found myself frozen these last eight months. Completely frozen and unable to vent my own thoughts and my own life right here on my very own blog on my very own laptop in my very own home. I have been working on other things that I will share soon-ish but I just haven’t been able to do so here. I just haven’t found the words. And to be honest, I’ve always been made to feel that it isn’t actually my story to tell at all. But it is. And maybe, just maybe, there are lots and lots and possibly LOTS of women out there that need a woman strong enough to come forward and tell their story. To show you all that it happened to me but it’s okay and I’m okay and it’ll be okay. And not just okay, but the future will be wonderful and beautiful and bright. I’ve been telling Abigail over and over these last few months that I feel distant and detached from my blog and from y’all but I so don’t want to and I don’t mean to but I just don’t know what to say. But bare with me as I am now eight months in and I try to find the words…
Five years and three months ago now I hit publish on my very first blog post. Little did any of you know at the time, but this very platform became the source of so much healing for me. Healing from a year I had almost seven years ago now. It was my therapy. From these very pages and those tiny little instagram squares, I was living the quintessential American dream. Two beautiful daughters, a beautiful home on ten acres that we were in the process of renovating into our dream home at the time and a middle school sweetheart hubby. The only man I had ever even kissed. Oh and a dog. Two kids and a husband and a dog. Living the American dream. We owned a business together and were successful and all the things. That’s what I told myself at least. We had all the things and that made it all worth staying. That made it all worth everything I had been through. I think back and if I am being brutally, way too vulnerably honest, I was living vicariously through myself. If that’s even possible. I was living through what I wanted so badly for things to be moving forward from that dreadful year. What I hoped and prayed things would be and eventually “were”, so I thought, moving forward from something I never ever ever thought would happen. Living vicariously through what things could’ve and should’ve and even would’ve been if things had been well… different.
You see, eight months ago now I discovered something. Well, actually one of YOU discovered something and were amazing enough and brave enough to come forward and share. I am truly, genuinely, honestly forever grateful to that blog follower that I have never met. I still don’t even know her name to this day. But she was a friend of a friend. A friend of a VERY BEST friend who loves me dearly, her and her husband both, and they so bravely came forward with the impossibly difficult news the day after Easter this past April that they knew firsthand would completely shatter my life and my family and my world. Because well, they had lived it with me before almost seven years ago now. She had been my rock back then. One of the very few people in my life with whom I actually shared my story. My heartbreak and confusion and hurt. And that day, she was the one to share the news. The news that I knew deep down was coming. The news that things hadn’t changed. I thought and hoped and prayed that the words I was hearing year after year were honest and genuine and from the heart. I trusted that for almost seven solid years. But as I knew deep down, they weren’t and my world came crashing down once again. Y’all know how that saying goes and I guess unfortunately it is true. Yet this time I was a completely different woman. A woman full of confidence and faith and courage that was finally willing to walk the hell away.
I still remember that day almost seven years ago now. The same day I lived again this past April but I was a different woman back then so my story was much different. I was insecure that day six years and nine months ago. This was all way before I was a blogger or an influencer, before I was on Instagram. I was a new mommy for the second time. I was overwhelmed and I was blindsided. Truly, genuinely, honestly blindsided. I didn’t want to believe it but I did want to believe the lies. The lie that it would never happen again. That I was loved and adored and treasured. I believed it. So I thought. Here is a “little excerpt” from a post I wrote almost four years ago now…
“…And then soon thereafter our marriage and personal life was hit like a wrecking ball. It was all just too much. And in that moment, my fairytale was over. I wanted to give up on it all. Every single bit of it. I wanted to start over. Yet every single time I mentally tried, God intercepted. There are so many exact moments I can recount feeling emotions and living moments that weren’t explainable by any other reasoning than the hand of God saying don’t give up. It literally took every single thing that I had to get through that year. And every single thing I went through that year to fully open my eyes. To see that I was just going through the motions of what seemed normal. But I was stressed. My family was stressed and my marriage was stressed. The hard times continued. Got better but continued. We needed a fresh start and decided to move. I was so torn at the time. I’d loved our home. Loved our life. But I knew we needed a fresh start. I’ve determined that it takes hitting rock bottom to finally get to a point in life where you just don’t base your life on what other people think anymore. And I truly think that that is step one to fulfilling a dream. The day that I’d been through so much that I finally just closed the door on the portion of my brain that lived my life based on the assumption of what other people would think about what I was about to do (whew that was wordy!), I was set free. I obviously can’t say that I’m completely numb to every word and every thought made by someone else but I’m closer than I ever have been. That day was the day that I truly started to go for my dreams. The start to Addison’s Wonderland Blog was absolutely the day I “started” going for my dreams.”
Yep, it was a solid year of absolute hell almost seven years ago now but something in me told me to stay. And not just stay but to somehow also choose me. You realize in those moments and those days and week and months that putting all of your faith and your future into someone else’s hands just might no longer be the best idea. So I stayed but I slowly began to work on me. Myself and my career and my future. It certainly didn’t go from A to B quite as easily as it sounds but at some point about a year after my world came crashing down, I came out of the fog and decided to do this crazy thing called “blogging”. It was a literal gift from God. A way for me to write and connect and design. All wrapped up into one. A blessing like no other. Yes, maybe coming out of a terribly messy “almost divorce” straight into the public eye wasn’t the “best idea ever” but I honestly had no clue at the time what my blog would even become. It was just a little virtual notepad and design outlet for me at the time which was exactly what I needed to get through the days and months ahead. But was it all in His plan that I would go through so much and build this community of women along the way? I wonder sometimes. If my story wasn’t one that I was meant to share.
Fast forward to today and I truly don’t even recognize that girl that day. The girl six years and nine months ago now. The girl that believed it was all my fault. If I had been prettier, skinnier, smarter, more successful, maybe it all never would’ve happened. It’s so easy to take the blame. To live in so much embarrassment and shame that you feel personally responsible for a betrayal. I don’t know. Maybe it’s a woman thing. A mom thing. I felt the weight of the decision to break up my entire family unit over someone else’s indiscretion. So I stayed. I stayed and I tried so hard to be everything. Everything that one would want. Everything that I was told I wasn’t. Yet what I failed to see for so many years is that it was NOT my fault. And it wasn’t even about me. I WAS everything. I AM everything. I AM ENOUGH. I am enough for someone who sees my worth. Someone who respects me. No marriage is perfect, that’s FOR SURE. But let’s be honest, if it was all my fault or was really truly even remotely “about me”, I can think of no less than 7,999 different ways to respectfully throw in the towel. And that isn’t one of them.
I know for those of you who’ve followed me for years now, things have probably been extra confusing. It’s been a really really hard road to navigate these last eight months. I absolutely LOVE what I do. I love this platform I have been given. I love the opportunities it has given me and continues to give me as I build Addison’s Wonderland into my dream company. And I love the community of women here so so so very much but to be honest, I haven’t known what to say. This wasn’t the path I chose and it isn’t the path I intended on sharing when I started this blog five years ago now BUT this is my life. And as crazy as it may sound, this new path and this new life are the best thing I could’ve ever imagined and could’ve ever envisioned for myself. And that jump from “happy wife” to happy new life may not have made a whole heck of a lot of sense to all of you. And I get that 1,000%! Let’s just say there are some big ol’ gaps in that jump. Some really big, really deep and really really awful gaps that I’ve never ever shared. I can though truly, genuinely, honestly say that everything I shared these five years has been just that. Truly, genuinely HONEST. I was, what I thought, a happy wife living a happy life moving forward with faith and hope that this beautiful life we were building once again, was in fact just that… true and genuine and honest. I know I am skirting around a lot of details here just as I have done for years and years now with these posts because well for one, I have tried and will continue trying to handle this impossible situation with as much class and dignity as possible. I leave out 99% of the details to share my heart and my heart alone. To help anyone I possibly can get through their own impossible situation. Yet at the same time, I’ve had to keep telling myself that it is in fact though MY STORY. It is what I lived through and what I experienced and what was done to me. It is my story to tell. And although I haven’t shared much thus far, I have had literally THOUSANDS of women reach out to me. THOUSANDS. Abigail always jokes that I need to take up counseling because of the revolving front door at my home now with women who’ve reached out going through much the same as what I have been through. And then online. WHEW, online. So. Many. Messages. I wish I had the time to respond to them all but my hope is to share more here. Not necessarily to share the past but to share the future. The hopes and possibilities and the other side of a terrible situation. Where the grass is in fact ACTUALLY GREENER. A life filled with feeling worthy and enough and beautiful and respected and all of the things I have never deep down truly been made to feel before.