Monday, December 28, 2009

Finding our happy place

2010 is fast approaching. As many of you out there, I have BIG hopes for this year. I want to believe in my heart of hearts this will be "our year." The egyptian and I have been thru so much the past three years to get to this more settled point.

If I am perfectly honest with my self - it has been a tough 10 years.

To an outsider - all is good and truly I am whining more than I should. I am beyond blessed with successes and friendships, travels and accolades than most people I know.

But for each person their trials and tribulations are their own and their burdens heavy.

Ten years ago I was married to a completely different person. I had just left television working in my original "chosen" field. I left not because I was finished with the business (though this is what I kept telling myself) - I left because I wanted to get married and I needed to make more money to create the life that I had envisioned for myself. If I had been honest with myself at the time, I would have seen that the man I was about to marry would never hold down a job - and giving up my dreams to make a better life for us would only pull me further away from my dreams.

I entered into a world of loneliness and distress. I was married to a man with chemical dependencies that I was not aware of before we got married. He had a wandering eye and a co-dependent/enabling mother. I had to make the best of my situation - so I threw myself into other activities: Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Exchange Student hosting, and get this - gardening.

Some positives come out of that situation - I forced myself to create a life designed to protect me. I surrounded myself with fascinating people from all around the world. I hosted 14 exchange students and learned what a peaceful home and family should look like. I came to terms with my own short comings, and battled one scary issue with my health after another. I made hard decisions and dealt with people at work who only saw a young girl - not a professional woman directing their volunteer efforts. I taught myself Public Relations - since I was originally a broadcast journalism major. I worked hard for my new non-profit and succeeded beyond my wildest expectations.

As I approached 30, my weight reached it highest and I ended up having to make a very hard decision - I had to have a hysterectomy. In the end - this decision saved my life. A year or two later, and my husbands inability to hold down his 10th job in 7 0r so years, pushed him to search outside of the state for a job. I still remember him calling me from Birmingham- giving me an ultimatum - either come or divorce. Not that he really wanted me with him, but the thought of failing publicly-alone-in my hometown was too much. I went. I dragged my two exchange students with me. I left my career, my friends, my family, everything familiar. My beautiful home and garden. I left my dogs, one of my cats, and I tried - oh how I tried to make the best of it.

One week after arrival - I ended up in the hospital with meningitis. Stayed there for a very long time, poked and prodded. I did not have a job. Could not find one in my field. I sat alone, in a city with no friends, very sick, away from all things familiar with a man who did not love me.

Eventually - for whatever reason - I ended up taking the first "job" that was offered. Sad little retail job that hardly paid 300$ a week. It was something to do, and I did get free cosmetics! (I worked for Clinique.) While there I had to suffer through one more round of treatment for some issues - had to use a topical chemo treatment for my previous condition. One of my exchange students left our home - no surprise there. I tried my best to build a life in Bham - it was just too much. All I could think was how could I get out of this hell.

Finally - on vacation (July), my husband and I had a talk. I got the strength to tell him I was done. But I would stick it out for one year to see if anything changed. Needless to say - nothing did, it even got worse.

By November I made a wonderful friend from Egypt. We had so much in common and talked daily. Another miracle happened - I got a job back in my field. I was establishing REAL friendships at work. It seemed my life was maybe.. just maybe turning around.

On New Year's Eve - my husband asked for a divorce.

By Feb I was living on my own. Again. My friendship developed with my friend from Egypt - and by that November, I was madly in love with my egyptian and I traveled to Alexandria and we got engaged. Yes, it was fast - but it was RIGHT. I knew it in my bones. My job felt right. I stopped hosting students, so I could work on me. It was my time.

I battled immigration and K-1 Visa's and long distance calls. I tried to pick up the financial pieces after being left with a hail-storm of bills my ex created. I ended up with meningitis one more time. My blood pressure reached new heights. My job reached a critical low. My finances reached a critical low (with paying for international immigration.)

Finally in May of 09 - there seemed to be some sort of a light at the end of the tunnel. My egyptian arrived. We got married. We had an amazing party. We are slowly building. Finances are slowly returning to normal - health is improving - job is improving - friendships are strong - most importantly we have each other.

We have been going through an adjustment period - and I think we both feel like we have a plan. That is good. That is necessary.

With that being said - I hope in my heart of hearts, that 2010 is our year.

Only God knows what the future holds.. and as Yasser says - Inshallah - we will move to the next chapter with ease and grace.

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