It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Yes, 2015 has me quoting Charles Dickens. We’re not even a month into it and it seems that there is SO much going on. On one hand, there are many of us who are celebrating grand opportunities and experiences—career changes, new relationships (business and otherwise), and so on. It also seems that there are so many people experiencing hardships right now, very difficult trials. My heart aches to witness friends experiencing tragedy-the loss of loved ones and other life-altering circumstances. So, how do we get through these tough times? How do we help our loved ones to endure? What I have learned, from my own experience, is that there is always hope.
When Life Felt Like Too Much…For Me
It seems like a lifetime ago, but I can recall being in high school and having such high hopes for my future. I wanted to become an engineer. I was always an honor roll student, never got in trouble, and everyone just knew that I would go on to college, graduate, and embark upon a successful career—my happily ever after. My senior year of high school arrived. I recall receiving my acceptance letters from USC, Charleston Southern University, Benedict College, Coastal Carolina University, and Clark Atlanta University (that’s the one that I was waiting for). I was beyond excited.
After considering my choices, I decided on Coastal Carolina University. In the Fall of 1997, I was registered for classes, had started communicating with my roommate, and I was ready to begin this next phase of my life. And then… I got married and moved into a trailer park. Yep, I disenrolled from CCU. I got married, and moved into a trailer park (nothing against trailer parks but this one was atrocious). As you might imagine, my family was up in arms (my brother…literally-but that’s another story), but you couldn’t tell me that I wasn’t making the right decision. I was a naïve, lonely girl who had fallen in love-at least that’s what I thought it was at the time.
I’ll spare you the details of it all. So, to make a long and chaotic story short, what ensued was a very tumultuous, abusive, and short marriage. At its end, I found myself a single mom of a 2 year old son, and another child on the way. My most painful memory is of me, broken, on the floor crying out from the pit of my stomach while my baby boy stood by me, not knowing what to do. At this point, life had become too much for me. This is not the life that I imagined for myself. And now, I wore an intense guilt for bringing two beautiful, innocent children into what felt like a hopeless situation. What was I going to do?
I started looking for answers. I needed to know how I ended up this way. I needed to know why I had chosen this path for my life. So, to begin my healing process, I talked to and sought counsel from women who had gone through experiences similar to mine. I knew that I had to heal. I was no longer living just for me. I was determined to provide a nurturing, stable environment for my babies. One thing about having children is that it creates a sense of urgency. There was no time to waste. I had to heal. I had to get our lives on track, and I did. Was it easy? No. I knew that we deserved better. Through a whole lot of prayer, faith that things would get better, support from my loved ones, and dogged determination, I managed to finish college (graduated Summa Cum Laude), and I was blessed with a career that has allowed me to take care of us. I thank God every day, many times per day, for bringing us through that very dark period.
Have the Audacity to Claim Your Charmed Life
My Advice for Those Who Are Going Through Setbacks
Antoinette C. is a blogger who delights in all things that foster unity and growth in women. After all, if the woman is happy and fulfilled, so is her family and community. Through Truly Charmed, Antoinette will introduce you to women who have inspired her, and who will, hopefully, do the same for you! Here's to your charmed life!