Out with the old, in with the new. A common phrase that is as powerful as you want it to be. This month has been a lot of new beginnings. Our old car got destroyed and we got a new (to us) one, Anna started middle school (yikes!), I purged a lot of my clothes and junk in our apartment (and her “babyish” toys), and we got a new bed, just to name a few. As excited as I am about all of it, the new bed was especially meaningful to me. I’ll share with you why.
Shortly after Anna was born, I realized I was very unhappy with the relationship portion of my marriage. There was mutual lack of respect, and extensive miscommunication. Eventually trust was broken as well. So, I focused on my daughter and found myself moving to the couch to sleep most nights.
Anna was nearly three the first time my (now ex-husband) and I separated for 3 months. When we got back together to try to make things work, it didn’t take long for me to realize it wasn’t going to work. The couch had become my haven for rest and that’s where I slept while my husband took the bed. It only took a year from our first separation for me to ask him to leave and after two months of being on my own I served him with divorce papers end of July, 2010.
Anna and I moved next door to a smaller rental house and even though our bed came with me, I continued to sleep on the couch near to my daughter’s bedroom. It takes 6 months for a divorce to be finalized in Michigan when you have children, and I become quite depressed because divorce is very difficult. You question your decision, while feeling very alone, while constantly having to defend that decision to inquiring minds. It is exhausting. In February of 2011 I was working at a Complete Nutrition and they cut my hours from 40 to 4 in attempt to force me to quit…so I lost my job. It was then that my soon to be ex-husband decided to stop paying child support. The economy was bad and I couldn’t find a job, and I was very depressed. My doctor put me on high doses of antidepressants and I told my landlord we needed to move out because we couldn’t pay. So, he found someone else to take over the lease and we were homeless.
My ex refused to let us go to the shelter, so we moved our things into the empty offices of a building and boarded up the windows so no one would know we were living there. We took the couch and a handful of other things and I bought a mini fridge. We had electricity and a toilet and sink so I hooked a hose up to the sink so we could shower in a large plastic basin I got from Walmart. The first night, after I had set everything up Anna and I lay on the sleeper sofa (that had been my bed for almost 4 years or more as I had used it to sleep on during my pregnancy as well) next to Anna and looked at her hoping she couldn’t see the fear in my eyes. This 4 year old scanned the room neatly stacked all around the edges with our belongings and then looked at me with a contented smile on her face, and said, “You’re right momma….it DOESN’T matter where we are, as long as we’re together, it’s home.” I knew then it was going to be ok and I would find a way to get back on my feet.
We were there for 6 months until I got a job at my gym in October and we were able to get an apartment. The couch moved with us, yet again, and it was my bed until this month, when the necessary purging began and I donated the sleeper sofa to a second hand store. Whoever gets it next, will never know all the struggles, emotions, pain, and tears that couch saw. But, they won’t know the joy, strength, victory and life it saw either. Our experiences make us who we are, and I have no regrets, but it was a poignant moment purging my life of that piece of furniture. Out with the old, in with the new….
I think we tend to hold onto things longer than we should because we’re afraid something that great can’t come around twice. I think it’s important to remember that things hold memories, and if the bad outweighs the good, the thing may be weighing you down. That being said, I’ve never lost anything that hasn’t been replaced with something better, so getting rid has become less and less scary. I’m not the same person I was 5 years ago, and I don’t need a couch to remind me I’ve changed for the better.
So, I encourage you to take a look at your life and honestly evaluate every aspect and decide, for your betterment, what needs to go. Even just getting rid of some clutter will strengthen your environment and prepare you for positive growth. There’s always room for improvement, and improvement won’t take place if you don’t make room or leave room available. And remember that the “something better” may not necessarily look equal or similar so just be open and aware to the appearance of your return. A lost relationship could result in a payoff of more time to pursue a favorite hobby. A cut in job hours made lead to less money but also more time with your children. There is always a light in the darkness. Sometimes it just takes a little searching to find the switch.