I lived two lives during my marriage. There was the mask I put on when was out in public that showed my husband and I lived the American Dream … 3,400 sq foot house in the right neighborhood in the right town, with the mommy van parked in front. We socialized with the neighbors every evening outside when the weather’s warm, organized block parties and social dinners. We took vacations to all the right destinations and even had the blond hair, blued-eyed daughter. Our house and garage were filled with all the latest gadgets and toys that marketing campaigns assured us would have us live happily ever after.
Then there was the reality of my life that I was in a loveless marriage. This was the life that I kept to myself. It was a place of loneliness and pain. My husband and I grew apart over the years and we essentially went through the motions of life under the same roof. Overtime life stopped being fun and was an effort. I was existing day to day, like a hamster running in the wheel of its cage, always on the move, but going nowhere.
At the time, it was important for me to keep up the facade of the happy family, and I did it for years. Frankly, I was embarrassed to be in a miserable marriage and thought that if I kept up the facade long enough what I felt on the inside would change to magically match the outside. Boy, how wrong I was. It took a lot of energy to live the dual lives. Deep inside I was ashamed of being a fake to my family and friends. Finally, the day came when my emotional gas tank was empty and I made the conscious decision that I needed to change my life.
Dropping my outside mask of the perfect family was the beginning of my journey of stepping into my authentic self. In the beginning it was scary, mostly because I had lost the essence of who I was in my marriage. I was so far removed from me; I wasn’t sure how to reconnect to my inner self. I was also concerned that people would reject me because of being a fraud for so long. The opposite was true, people rallied to my side in support because I was showing my vulnerability and pain I was in. It was through the support and love of friends and family that I made the decision to leave my marriage after months of marriage counseling.
For me it was the beginning of a new and joyous life. It took work and a lot of self-reflection to make changes to my life and become comfortable in my own skin. Today, I am authentic and embrace life.