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How to turn your life on its head in 12 months or fewer

selfieSome of you have noticed that our sweet little blog has been neglected this summer. In retrospect, I should have scheduled and declared a short blog break, but I didn’t have the foresight to know how busy the last few months would become.

Now that I’m back, let’s have a little catch up.

In July 2014, my husband and I moved from Massachusetts to Washington State, relocating to a beautiful island due west of Seattle with our two sons (now 10 and 7). I immediately felt at home here, but it was disorienting to leave loved ones behind. I have three children from my first marriage; my two oldest sons (24 and 21) are in Boston and my daughter (19) is heading back to CU Boulder for her sophomore year. My mother lives in New Hampshire.

Life unfolded, as it does, and with the settling in came the understanding that a relocation and the passage of time would not heal the pain from years of conflict between my husband and my three oldest children. In January, after 14 rocky years together, I reached the end of my marital rope. The accumulation of hurt and resentment forced me to look in the mirror and own the many ways in which I’d failed my children — and myself. Of course, there were ways in which I’d failed my husband, too. I’m not an easy person to live with — I know that — and ultimately, I don’t think I’m capable of the compromises that marriage requires. But if I had to stamp a single label on our situation, I would have to go with “blended family fail.”

While we’d had a few dress rehearsals, it was — is — at times searingly painful to leave someone who you still love and are attracted to. The pain comes in waves, which is something I’d heard before but never quite understood. Over time, one learns to keep breathing when the waves hit. And they start to lose some of their crushing weight.

I no longer believe that love conquers all. But I do know that my priority of existence is this:

  1. Myself, because if I’m not taking care of my own needs, I’m of no use to anyone else.
  2. My five children, regardless of how old they are.

And that’s it. Everyone else — family, friends, acquaintances — are part of my life because they have a net positive impact on #1 and/or #2 above. It’s that simple.

Today, I am living in a lovely little rental cottage. I share my two youngest boys 50/50 with their dad. Our relationship is surprisingly friendly and cooperative. (I give my ex a lot of credit for that.) We’re both committed to staying here on the island and raising our boys as co-parents.

I am repairing my relationships with my older children. Every day, I am profoundly grateful that they didn’t give up on me. My daughter came for a visit last month, and it was an enormous gift to be able to spend time with her without the burden of ever-mounting guilt that I used to carry. The guilt from past mistakes doesn’t go away, of course — and there are some things I will never forgive myself for  — but at least I’m no longer adding to the inventory.

Moving twice in a year — including a cross-country relocation — and getting divorced adds up to rather a lot of recovery. But amidst this period of intense change I am finding myself. I am more “me” than I’ve ever been before. My life is full of new friends, new experiences, new places, new tattoos, and new men. (Don’t be alarmed — I’m not using new relationships to bury my emotional pain, but rather connecting with other people to rediscover and redefine myself.) There’s also the usual challenge of making enough time for my client work. That’s been a struggle given all of the other things I’m focused on.

As I find my feet, I am awash in creative energy. I fought for some time to maintain my creative practice before allowing myself to just do what I’m doing. As summer comes to a close, and I near turning 46, I’m preparing to reconnect with a structured practice — but until then, I have put down the whip of self-flagellation.

So, that’s where things are at on my end. I look forward to sharing on a more regular basis and supporting you in your creative work.

Much love.

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20 Comments Post a comment
  1. My goodness – that’s a lot of stuff for one summer! Hope it continues to get better for you! 🙂

    August 9, 2015
  2. o.k. and I thought I’d had an eventful year. Good for you you’ve come out the other side. New to blogging, just started my own blog so finding my way around. Loved studio mothers continued success

    August 9, 2015
  3. Wow! that´s a lot to cope with. You´re so aware of your feelings and the situation, I´m impressed! Changes are good!

    August 9, 2015
    • Thank you, Regina….you’re right, change is good — both exhilarating and terrifying….. 🙂

      August 10, 2015
  4. I’m sorry to hear about all that you’ve been through, Miranda. But I’m glad that something positive is coming out of your tribulations: namely, the wisdom and clarity to focus on what’s really important to you. I’ll be sure to set an intention for you when I practice my yoga — and I sincerely hope that some day you *can* find it in you to forgive yourself. You are, after all, human.

    August 9, 2015
    • Andy, your steadfast support always makes me smile. Thanks, and hugs!

      August 10, 2015
  5. Wow that’s a lot all at once! Your attitude towards it all was so healthy though – very matter of fact, allowing yourself recovery time, with self awareness of your faults and flaws while evolving into a new life and new you. I really can’t tell you how refreshing a read this was as I write similarly about my truths dug up through 21 deaths and 4 moves in 5 years, followed by a separation from my husband of 10 years. I search through WordPress blogs all the time seeking relevant, honest writers like you and rarely find them! Happy to have stumbled on you tonight and I wish you the best with picking up your creative process again as an outlet for self expression. I’m sure you’ll have a lot to write about after all this! Would love to connect with you more. Following!

    August 9, 2015
    • So glad you connected, Megan — and your blog is immediately engrossing. I look forward to spending some time online with you….

      August 10, 2015
      • Miranda, thank you so much for the comment on my blog. I am also looking forward to spending time online with you, and connecting on our journeys as we continue to recover from this thing called LIFE! 😉

        August 13, 2015
  6. Sorry to hear you have had a rough road. I hope this new path brings you lots of love and light and happiness.

    August 10, 2015
  7. And much love to you Miranda. We’ve blogged in and out of each other’s lives for years, and I’m so sorry to hear about your pain. As you may know, Im in the same boat (separation) and I hear you. The pain is so physical, but all we can do it live through it until there is just a scar but no more bleeding. Like you though, there is huge positive in letting go of something that was ultimately damaging… I’m frightened as hell (v scared about the thought of new men!!) but also really excited about the potential the rest of my life holds. Well done you for making decisions, keeping it together, and dealing with the pain so positively. Hang in there girlfriend, we never know what’s around the corner. take care of you…….

    August 10, 2015
    • It’s been a comfort knowing that my sister from another mister is walking with me, Alana! You’re looking SO well. xoxox

      August 10, 2015
  8. Good for you, Miranda, and for your kids. The more secure in yourself you are, the better for all of them.

    August 11, 2015
  9. maureen #

    Thank you for the update, I can see so many above were waiting and wondering and hoping for a good out come for you. as was I. Here’s to new beginnings! ooxxooxx.

    August 14, 2015
  10. Thank you for the update – what a time of transition in your life. Thank you for sharing in such an open candid way. Wishing you peace, light and endless creativity!!

    August 15, 2015
  11. Such a strong woman you are! I love how you took a bad situation and made it positive. For you and your family sake well done!

    August 18, 2015
  12. When a negative thought creeps up, take the time to reframe it. It won’t come naturally at first, but you’ll get better at it. For that 15 minutes, “My life is terrible” becomes, “I’m not happy with life right now and am going to do something about it.” Work on this until you don’t allow the negative thoughts at all. Turn Your Life Around Step 5.

    September 1, 2015

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