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So I made it through Thanksgiving, my first big post-breakup holiday, with only minor scrapes and bruises to the ego and soul. It’s a holiday I’ve spent at my in-law’s for the past 16 years. For reasons stemming from my breakup, I couldn’t stomach sitting down at that table with those people on a day meant for giving thanks. So the kids and I spent it with dear friends whose family embraced us and gave us the most wonderful transitional holiday.

You may be surprised to find out that I’d even considered spending the holiday with my ex’s family but I did… for my kids (I plan to spend Christmas there too). I’m determined to keep up their ties to their family on my husband’s side, and since so many things have changed in their lives, I’m trying to keep as many things as possible the same. But as my fantastic therapist reminds me, it cannot be at the cost of my sense of self. For the most part these days, I’m feeling alive and creative and loved by my amazing support system, and that’s the mother I want my children to have and model a life after. Not the mother who feels less than when she’s around certain people because they are a constant reminder of the abuse she endured and the total lack of empathy she was met with afterward.  So the one day I spent there wasn’t exactly soul crushing but it was painful because it reminded me that the 16 years of being dutiful, loyal daughter-in-law counted for nothing when I needed support the most. Not altogether surprising but painful nonetheless.

But we made it. And thanks to a teensy bit of emotional shopping, I have a fantastically hot pair of boots to show for it. Can I get a whatwhat?!

I married the love of my life at age 20. Sixteen years, two children, and several manic episodes later (his, not mine), I’m striking out on my own. This journey down self-discovery road started out terrifyingly (police and social services were involved, so you can take it from there) but somewhere along the way it’s become… enlightening. I’m discovering the woman I have become and it turns out that she’s pretty damn awesome.  That’s not a boast I would have dared utter before. But I look at what I’ve survived in my life (childhood sexual abuse, life in a cult-ish church, a neglectful mother–more on all that later), how far I’ve come (professional journalist in national media, with two wonderful children and an amazing wealth of wonderfully supportive people), and how many things I still feel I need to accomplish and all I see are possibilities. So this blog will be about me and what happens next. I’ve spent years taking care of someone else. I’m taking care of myself now.

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The Next Act