The Many Faces Of Perseverance Blog Series. I thought it would be nice to take the filter out of our daily lives and to be able to relate to many different people about struggles that we each face. I am learning everyday to embrace the struggles we go through, instead of fearing them. I am learning that everything we go through is putting us on our path and helping us grow. I am learning that even when its uncomfortable and hard that we are learning so much about ourselves and that our struggles are shaping us into a better version of ourselves. I hope you gain guidance, inspiration, and support from this series – Alexa
Rachel, what made you want to share your story?
I wanted to share my story because sharing it is how I healed through it, and the healing came from writing and also knowing I wasn’t alone. They say that you shouldn’t write about something until you’re healed, and I agree with that, I have too often written from a place of pain. But the pain writing was the unfiltered truth that I pieced myself back together through, and where others found a home in too.
I can remember when I walked into the chapel of this little quick marriage place. There was a man that looked like Santa, and he was the man that was going to marry us. It smelled like Subway, like the restaurant because it was above a Subway. I felt so embarrassed to be there, in my white shirt and jeans. I was only 5 months postpartum, but I had to get married. I didn’t want to be married, but I was a teen mom with no life plan. I mean I wanted to be a writer, but as a high school drop out, I didn’t see that happening. While the man that looked like Santa asked me if I wanted to carry fake roses down the isle, my friends were getting ready for their senior homecoming.
There was only once that my dad asked me if this was really what I wanted, I was screaming in my head ‘please no, please take me out of here right now”. But I smiled and said yes, this is what I want to do. I thought once we were married that that’s when the happiness would set it. But it didn’t, we fought on the way home from little Santa chapel and everything was the same. Now it was just legally binding.
I met my then husband when I was 15, and at 18 I was married. I knew nothing of life, and I believed that being married would lock me into this place of feeling safe and happy, because someone loved me. As if I was unloveable, and his love would make me whole. It didn’t. I kept trying to dress, act and be like a wife. But no mater how short I cut my hair, because somehow I thought this was ‘wife like’, or how much I shopped at The Gap and made his lunches, there was never any happiness.
We knew nothing about life, life or ourselves, how could we make this work? I felt like I had no other option, so each day he would leave for work and I would dream of what my life would look like if I left. I would go on vacation travel sites and plan a whole vacation, acting like I had unlimited money.I would keep putting time limits on when I would leave, and then those time periods would pass and I was still there.
Shortly after I was married I created Strong Chicks Rock, my business where I help women create healthy relationships with food and their body and started to produce some income. The idea of leaving became more of a reality, but I wasn’t making enough to be able to leave with my son. I eventually said “okay, just save money until you’re 27, and then you can leave’. Oh gosh, I don’t know why that became the age, but I thought I had to be realistic. With each passing day though, I felt more and more like a ghost in my body. I was depressed, and terrified of the person I was becoming. I wasn’t becoming a bad person, just a sad person.
Then one day I read Wild by Cheryl Strayed, and she said that sometimes we have to be brave enough to break our own hearts, even if the outcome will hurt others and cause us to be sad, rock the boat, shake up our lives etc.And it all clicked, I couldn’t keep ghost walking through my life. This isn’t a practice life, this isn’t a trial. I can’t keep saying one day, I can’t keep dreaming and dreaming because one day I’ll be 87 and still married and have never once lived.
So my marriage ended. And my son and I walked away with $37 in my pocket, and we bounced around to and from different friends houses. But I began to find happy. With no money, no house and no car, I found happy because I was free. Now, I’m a writer, business owner and have a car (that I bought!), and a home I love. I’ll be 24 next month.
I think this is a story about finding your voice, disrupting normal to live a life you love, and knowing that when you’re brave enough to live life, like truly live life, that’s where you’ll find happy, and freedom.