Happily Ever After? It’s Complicated.

I think one of the reasons I love summer so much is because in my family, we have a lot of birthdays, special occasions, and causes for celebration. I made a pact with myself a couple of years ago to put more effort into acknowledging these moments because they’re fleeting, and they also happen to form the underlying structure that our lives are built upon. So there’s that.

One of these special days is our anniversary…we celebrated our 23rd this year. It seems surreal that I’ve spent more than half my life married to my husband. Unbelievable, really. On our anniversary, I truly feel the enormity of that; the accomplishment it is. But most days I’m just immersed in the day-to-day business of living life.

Steven and I started dating our senior year of high school, and I can’t think of one person who thought we’d make it. The odds were stacked against us for sure. We came from completely different backgrounds, had opposing viewpoints on many things, and it was no secret that his family didn’t care much for me in the beginning.

We argued about those things in the early days, and probably had more strain on our relationship than others because of it. But we were able to keep those difficult things outside of us somehow. We never took it on in a way that could’ve broken us if we weren’t careful.

These days, I get asked all the time, how do you make it work? How have you stayed together for so long? I even occasionally get asked if I would ever consider doing some relationship coaching or create a group program for couples.

Who knows what the future holds in terms of what coaching I might offer, or what I might write about, but the truth is, right now I honestly don’t have the answers to those FAQs about marriage.

For me, marriage has been an odd mixture of fierce love and tenuous tolerance; infinite patience and unnerving frustration; hard work and complacency; undying loyalty and throwing my husband under the bus to a girlfriend over coffee. In other words, it’s complicated.

I know this much is true: “Happily Ever After” doesn’t mean “Perfect Ever After.” Once I understood that, the sailing was a lot smoother in life and in marriage. My husband and I can both be selfless, kind, and astonishingly generous with each other, and we can also both be assholes.

Here’s another fun fact: 23 years, 2 daughters, 7 fur kids, 8 homes, and far more laughs than tears along the way, we both recognize that we have a choice to stay together or not. And we choose each other.

Christy  xo

Lessons In Leaving My Daughter

Motherhood has been my greatest teacher by far. Without choosing this role, I don’t think I would’ve ever developed the capacity to love so fiercely. I’m not sure I would’ve ever found the courage to stand up for another human being, and I’m fairly certain I never would’ve learned how to not take myself so seriously.

Being a mom has also taught me hundreds of lessons in my own limitations. It’s revealed the parts of me that operate from a place of fear rather than love, and has given me a reason to rise to the occasion, question those limitations, and continue to expand into the best version of myself.

This was never more clear to me than it was last night when I left my daughter at the airport. 

Karissa really wanted the opportunity to study abroad this year, and she did all the legwork (and paperwork) to make it a reality. Yesterday was her last day in the U.S for the next several months–she’s off to Paris for the semester.

When she was accepted into the study abroad program, and the possibility of her leaving dangled before me, there was all this excitement. I mean, what an amazing opportunity! And then, there was the fear.

Fear is such a mixed bag, because on the one hand, it heightens your awareness and encourages you to take precautions that can keep you alive. On the other hand, most fear isn’t based in reality, but rather some imaginary threat, and it actually keeps you from living.

That’s where I was stuck; in the fear that keeps you from living. I realized my fears all boiled down to me feeling a lack of control over the situation. She was going to be living on an entirely different continent! A world away from everything that she knew…a world away from me.

And then, in a moment of instant clarity, I realized that even though Karissa moving to a new country felt so much bigger and scarier than anything else, it was really a new opportunity to bear witness to the courageous, adventurous, self-assured woman she’s becoming, and to take pride in any part I had in that.

I guess one of the biggest things the Universe is trying to show me through this crazy journey of motherhood, is that it’s all a lesson in letting go.

Christy  xo

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The Unexpected Blessing Of Sharing My Story

booksWhen I hit publish on my about page last month and shared part of my story with the world, I knew it would be a difficult thing for some people to read, but I didn’t really consider what the reaction might be.

You might think that writing it would’ve been the hard part, and as far as the first draft goes, it probably was. But after so many tweaks, edits, and rewrites, that small part of my history seemed like little more to me than a page full of technical jargon that I barely understood. Until other people started reading it.

With the exception of when I was going through it, and felt ashamed of what was happening at home, I never really had a problem with talking about my past. I mean, it wasn’t a conversation I lead with when meeting someone for the first time, but the people I was closest to knew the gist.

But putting it out there in written form for the world to see, and being reminded of all of the versions of myself I had to go through to get to the one sending you this note today triggered so many feelings I wasn’t prepared for.

Another thing I wasn’t prepared for, is that by carving out this one little slice of my own life and sharing it, I inadvertently inspired many of you to share your own stories. I’ve received so many emails, Facebook messages and comments in the last couple of weeks from women from all walks of life who told me about their struggles of growing up in poverty, or in abusive families, or having to watch their loved ones slowly kill themselves with alcohol or drugs.

These stories were heart wrenching to read, but there was something unexpectedly uplifting about them as well. It was like we all felt as though we were a part of this collective sisterhood…a group of women who understood that we were connected in more ways than we were not. I hope I never forget that feeling of knowing another person without ever having met them.

All I can say is, thank you. Thank you for sharing who you are and who you were with me. Thank you for reinforcing for me that life is about connection, and understanding, and love.

Blessings, Love & Light,

Christy xo