How Loosing Everything Taught Me Everything
So Simple It's Complicated
Three years ago I thought I had finally “arrived”. I had the grown-up American Dream I had always wanted. All but the white picket fence. I was about to celebrate my 10-year wedding anniversary with a man I met 17 years before and was more in love with than the day I married him. I fell more and more in love with him every day, truly. Even though he required more of my time, energy, and patience than any human being I had ever encountered. He required more of my energy than the eight children, all with health and/or emotional problems, I had been raising combined. By far.
My husband and I had started our own company two years prior. We grossed over a million dollars our first year. Our success was growing at an unbelievable rate. We were jetting off on one vacation or another, often. We were living life to it's fullest. We had gotten over half our children to adulthood, through extraordinarily dark and difficult years. Our three younger children were shaping up to be pretty fucking amazing, though still just entering their teen years. We had amazing friends and were super close with our extended family. We were leaders in our church, actively involved in several charities, and symbols of hope to many struggling through obstacles we had overcome, sometime multiple times.
I tried so hard to appreciate every second. I'd drag my tired self from one room to the next each night peaking in at sleeping children and breathing them in. "One day you will miss this" I'd tell myself. Oh, how I do.
I'd sit back down at the computer next to my waiting husband for the 14th or 18th hour worked that night, and patiently wait for him to dictate the days notes. I would breathe it in and tell myself, "all great companies have a story like this about when they began."
I would crawl into bed, say my prayers, and wrap myself up in my husbands arms and breathe him in. "Nobody is this lucky, to have a love this solid" I would tell myself.
We had faced every tragedy hand in hand. We had come back from every deal breaker there is no coming back from. Our love, was a legend. I'd fall asleep usually only a few hours before the morning alarm sounded emploring me to get up and do it all again. Like most legends, unfortunately, there were very few bits and peices of reality woven into a whole lot of embellished, scripted, and spoon fed fiction I had built my world around.
I woke up one day and it was gone. Not just gone, but life couldn’t have been more opposite than the picture I just painted. I had been so consumed keeping this American Dream running I didn't notice how wrong things were. Then like the flash to a commecial break at the climax of your favorite show, I was snapped back into a reality that took some time adjusting to. My husband was gone, my children were gone, my car, my home, our company and finances, all gone. My family and friends shunned me. My church family didn't believe me. The rumors flew. As crazy and as uncharacteristic as they were of the woman I had always steadily been, the whole world seemed to accept them, without proof, without question even. I couldn't understand what was happening. I was utterly alone and feeling so broken. Broken, far beyond repair.
I went to sleep every night, still sure that God loved me. I believed with my whole heart that because of that love He would surely put me out of my misery. That He would take me home, and I wouldn’t have to wake up to another day of this world. Every morning, when I realized I was still here on earth, in this hell, the tears began again. I would tell myself, there must be one more thing I need to do, one more thing to put in order, or one more lesson to be the subject of, and then tonight He will take me for sure. Every night, every morning, day after day, week after week, month after month. Then year after year that continued.
Slowly I began to realize I was stuck here and I better figure out how to manage. I had two choices at that moment, though I didn’t feel like I had any choice at all. I could die, or I could live. That was the choice, and it was a very difficult one to make. I looked at my children, and knew somehow, I had to survive.
For me, what had been happening was this. I had spent a lifetime absorbing the identity others had placed on me. Now all the accusations, blame, and judgement those in my life fed me. I trusted those people completely. They were my family, my closest friends, my beloved husband. They were everything to me. I loved them and believed they loved, understood and respected me too. This believe really was, in no small part, my entire identity. With the mentality of “those who are crazy don’t know they are crazy” I stayed open to their assessment of me and my life. Maybe there was truth in their statements and accusations I just couldn’t see in my devastated state of mind. Clearly something was very wrong, and if they all agree, I must be the one missing something.
Looking around at all that was gone, it seemed clear that there must be something wrong with me or else how could any of this be happening? How could my whole world just up and vanish right before my swollen, tear filled, scared, and exhausted eyes? Whatever was wrong with me, I needed to figure it out, and soon. I was getting weaker and sicker every day. The big problem I now faced was; I couldn’t fix what I didn’t know was broken. Night after night of replaying every horrible, devastating event leading up to my current situation gave me no insight. I was left just as broken, hopeless, and in the dark as to the reasons as I had ever been.
I reflected on the many, many years of therapy I had participated in over my lifetime and decided the answer must be somewhere in my past. Thats where the therapist always would start anyway. I was sure somewhere along my journey to this place I found myself, something had gone horribly wrong. Was I a horrible person? Everyone seemed to think I was. Even those on the inside of my life, who saw it all. This wasn’t the first time my life had crumbled around me, though this was the most catastrophic. I needed to go back to the beginning to figure out what it was that was so fundamentally wrong with me that this could possibly be my life. I needed to figure out this key piece to the puzzle to save myself. If I didn’t save myself, I couldn’t save my children.
I started at the beginning of where things went wrong in my marriage. When that didn’t answer my question, I went back to the beginning of my marriage, still nothing. I then went back to my first marriage. Still having no answer, I dug deeper. I went back to my childhood, then my parents and their childhood. Even that wasn’t the “beginning” enough. I went back through my entire family heritage, piecing together my broken and far-reaching family tree. I went all the way back to where Moses had freed my Jewish ancestors from Egypt on one side. Still, I didn’t discover what was wrong with me. I looked further then. I studied religion, spirituality, astrology, numerology, the occult, and everything mystic. I had been finding out quite a bit along this process and identified some factors contributing to why I was so wrong. Yet I still couldn’t find that one thing to pin it on. So, I continued. I turned to science. Neuroscience in specific. Psychology, personality typing, quantum physics and genetic researching. I gained a gold mine in the form of an education, but still I couldn’t identify that one thing that made me such a bad person, so deserving of all that had become of me. Then one random November day I got it.
I poured over my notes, like all day everyday, watching YouTube videos on self-development. Trying to find connections, patterns, or stark indicators explaining what I had done, or who I had become that caused all this pain and suffering in everyone and everything I ever cared about. All of a sudden the clouds parted and the angels began to sing. I finally figured it out. The reason I couldn’t find what was so wrong with me, is because there wasn’t anything to find! I looked back over all I had gone through. What the people way down my blood line had gone through. The unique compilation of all the different factors that made me the woman I was today. Instead of discovering what was wrong with me, I had discovered all the things that were right with me. I discovered all the things that made me perfectly and uniquely ME.
I was the decedent of Cuban royalty and gypsy blood. My family had come from all corners of this globe and overcome enormous circumstances to stay alive. To have children, who’s children’s children did the same to create me. I was a Priestess of the Rose Lineage, and a High Shaman in past lives. I was a Pisces Sun with an Aries Moon and a Master 11. I was Mystic Light Worker, with phsycic gifts given by God of desernment. I was an earth goat according to Chinese astrology, which is sort of special if you didn't know. I was a Sigma Female, and a Philosopher. I was an Empathic Badass. An Enchantress, chosen and brilliant. A survivor, a warrior in an invisible spritual cosmic war. I understood my connection with God, He had been with me all along shaping and guiding me I realized. I was an INFP 4w5 with a few very particular presentations of synesthesia. I had a pure heart that loved more than others ever dared. I trusted more than others could ever find the strength to do. I saw the best in others, even when they gave me no reason to. This allowed me to give love to the unlovable. Love, they probably needed more than most. I wasn’t bad, or wrong, or broken, I was amazing!
Suddenly all the opinions of those around me lost power. Suddenly the only person who could define me, was me. I had just discovered more about myself in one year than most ever do in their entire lifetime. I almost instantly lost the support of the few friends and allies I still had. Until now, my whole identity had been defined by others, even those I thought really understood me and supported me, had really only been supporting the parts of me they preferred. When they lost the ability to make me fit into their box, the ability to make me who they wanted me to be, they vanished. They weren’t bad people, I’m sure for the most part they had the best of intentions. They were trying to protect me from myself in their way, and given my track record I couldn’t blame them. Even knowing this, becoming aware of the transactional foundation for my value to them, this was a painful and crippling moment for me. I still don’t know how many of those relationships will ever be repaired, or if they even can. What I do now know, is my truth. I learned it well.
My relationships with my children are being restored now. I am doing my best to guide them to their moment of realization, so they don’t have to spend their lives in the dark as I did. Little by little wonderful and genuine people are entering my life. This time, on my terms. I am no longer scared to show the world my truth. The fear that kept me hidden in the past was not conscious, I simply didn’t know it myself. I no longer will bend and mold into a reflection of what others need me to be. Instead, now I stand firm in who and what I am. Take me or leave me. The smart ones chose to stick around. The rest, sooner more often than later, wish they had. I’m truly amazed at who I am now. Even though I am moments from being homeless and penniless. Even though I have 3 teenagers and 1 young man who are still recovering from the life we escaped. Even though now I have no car, no job, and have a staggering amount of debt. Even though my family and old friends still won’t have a thing to do with me, I honestly, for the first time ever, realize I have it all.
It took losing everything to realize any of this. Now that I know, it can never be taken from me. 4 years ago, I thought I had arrived. I had everything society told me I should want, and then I lost it. By losing it all I found out how to love myself, and how to appreciate my uniqueness and individuality.
As my pastor once said, not everything that comes your way is a blessing.
The devastating impact this experience has had on me is deep and will last forever. The good that came of it, can’t erase the scars on my life, the smear on my reputation or restore my relationships. Parts of my mind, my physical body, and the way I'm able to function and relate to others in this world will never recover completely. I accept my limitations now as a part of me. A part of me to be honored and respected. The difference between me then, and me now, is that the horror I endured is a piece of my story, a chapter in my life. It is far from the whole book as I was seeing it then. The pain, misconceptions, and abuse I endured has its place. The ongoing pain, misconceptions and abuse I endure still, as well as my innocent children who share my world with me, has its place. Yes, this experience does explain and define me to some degree, I'd be lying if I said it was possible to throw it out like a bag of trash and move on like it never was there. but it is not all that I am. It is not even the majority of who I am. It is a few puzzle pieces that can’t be left out if I am to be shown complete. I have learned to focus no longer on just those few pieces. My perspective has zoomed way out so now I see the whole puzzle, the whole picture, and by looking at my life that way, I can see the wonder and wholeness of a vibrantly colored life well lived. Not just those dark and painful chapters from my past.
I have so much joy in this wonderful messy disaster of a life I have now. It’s a beautiful piece of art to behold. Through the chaos and the storms, I have peace and joy. Because loosing everything, taught me I’m everything, and myself is the one thing I am in control of, the one thing I can never lose.
The Calé Princess