19 years ago today I found myself inside the doorway of our tiny apartment, looking at the remnants of a broken marriage. My husband of 1 year and 7 months had ditched work that day and instead emptied our apartment of the possessions he wanted to keep … and I was not included in his plan going forward. He left no note, there was no call, he had no explanation… he had abandoned me.
My heart broke as I stood in that doorway and looked at our nearly empty living room. At the time I was 23 years old. The rejection and pain and soul-biting sadness from that day left scars that are still healing. I wish that wasn’t so.
But that’s not why I write today. The very brief version I share is to help you understand where I come from today when I talk about this being my FREEDOM ANNIVERSARY. The two years leading up to Friday October 20, 1996 were rough – really rough. BY FAR that chapter was THE.MOST.DIFFICULT chapter of my life. That chapter was packed full of life lessons that made me a better person but for a long time they left me hurt, bitter and broken.
One year later I celebrated my 1st FREEDOM ANNIVERSARY. And I’ve celebrated it as such every year since.
Each year on October 20th I faithfully do something for myself in remembrance of my will to fight for that marriage (with everything inside me) despite its failure. I make it a point to honor the lessons learned from that long ago and strive to continue that growth. I intentionally seek out ways to take care of myself on this date each year.
October 20th is a time to celebrate how I overcame the fear that entered my life that day. I celebrate how I moved beyond the daily anxiety attacks.
I celebrate the freedom that helped me see myself for the person I was created to be – instead of the person he told me I should be.
I celebrate the opportunity to do it all over. I celebrate how my family and friends supported me during that time. I celebrate the will to survive. I celebrate finding my wings. I celebrate living my life.
And today, like every other day, is another great day to celebrate!