As Told To is a recurring segment on xoNecole where real women are given a platform to tell their stories in first-person narrative as told to a writer.
This is Tasha McClarrin's story, as told to Charmin Michelle.
My son walked up to me and stood there.
"What's wrong, baby?" I asked.
"Can I have a hug?" he replied. I was confused. A hug? Of course! This was my child, my love, my sanity during this difficult time.
Why is he even asking?
As I reached out to give him the best hug I had in me, he continued, "You haven't given me a hug in a month..." I remember the look on his face when he said those words. It was like a dagger.
And that was my breaking point.
Leading up to that moment, I had been depressed for months. I didn't eat and couldn't sleep. I couldn't move. I was having frequent mental and emotional breakdowns. I was in the early stages of filing for divorce.
Guys, divorce is...complicated. It's a loss, a death. Extreme sadness becomes a factor, regardless of the relief of divorcing. And there was a time when I didn't know if my relationship with my boys would ever return to what it was before, as heartbreaking as it is to say.
But my boys were patient with me. I apologized to them for losing my way. I told them I would change this situation if they could give me time and understanding. My sons both believed in me, stood beside me, and didn't give up on me from that moment on.
I come from a very small town called Waynesville, North Carolina. And however small you're thinking, think even smaller than that (we would have to petition cable companies to get basic channels, which my small-town people will understand). I met my ex-husband through a neighbor one day, and I loved the potential I saw in him. He was a charmer; a smooth talker. We fell in love.
As time went on, we eventually wed and had two of the most amazing sons you could imagine.
But our toxicity levels began to rise right around the time I was pregnant with my youngest. My ex made me feel as if I wasn't good enough, primarily in reference to my looks and weight. He would say certain things and his behavior began to change. I knew we had problems then, but I would try to ignore them. It's what us ladies do far too often.
He didn't mean it.
Maybe he's having a bad day.
From there, the cheating and lying began, which then led to all of his own insecurities showing up. We would fight, and I would be accused of the very things he was doing. I began to isolate myself and question if I was beautiful or if I was worthy. There were some things about me I truly didn't like. I was adamant about letting others know the bad about myself. It wasn't healthy at all, which I knew, but I was stuck.
But then, my baby asked me for that hug. It was time for a divorce—for me, and for my sons.
Filing for divorce ignited a new direction in me. The first year, I planned and set goals. Ultimately, I just wanted to recover after feeling so much was lost—time, energy, precious moments. It took me forcefully seeking out new focus and lots of pep talks.
Go Tasha. You've got this.
Life is amazing, and you are extremely blessed, girl.
Thankfully, life after divorce allows you to be more focused because there's more clarity. You've removed your aura from negative spaces and a false sense of happiness. I've taken myself on dates. I've bought myself nice things. I've taken amazing trips with my boys. And most importantly, I've rediscovered self-love. While, I'm still navigating through dating because so much has changed since I was last in the game, I've found that self-love is my best weapon. The more I love myself and surround myself with love, the easier it will be for someone to find me to love.
Today, I am almost a two-year divorcee and even now, I'm continuing to heal. I believe traumatic environments can take time to recover from, and that's OK. I've learned about true self-care and that we have to do it every day. I plan for peace by protecting it.
I remember seeing my ex-husband with his mistress when we were going over our divorce paperwork, and I was so unfazed. That's when I knew I'd found peace.
Ladies, I'm saying all this to say, divorce is not a bad thing. Sure, it's not always pretty and it may not go how you envisioned it. Sometimes, like in my case, unfortunately, your kids may be the ones to show you that it's time for you to choose happiness again, and that's OK. It's OK to not fight for something that isn't working anymore. It's OK to accept defeat.
If you're considering divorce, write down the pros and cons. Center your takeaways on your own accountability and accept your fault in the matter. Find out if forgiveness is a place or an empty space in your marriage. In my particular situation, my ex-husband had no accountability, so we could never live in a forgivable place. Marriage is a union between two people who are accountable and know how to live with forgiveness. There was nothing left for us.
So, listen to yourself. And if you aren't being loud enough, your kids just might tell you instead.
Tasha plans to launch a collection of short stories and personal testimonials in the near future. To keep up with Tasha's story, or get more information about her essay collection, follow her on @tashaleshay on Facebook and @mstashaleshay on Instagram.
If you have a story you'd like to share, but aren't sure about how to put it into words, contact us at email@example.com with the subject "As Told To" for your story to be featured.
Featured image courtesy of Tasha McClarrin.