POWER IS owning your struggles

By Ashley Hooper
Devoted Mom & Founder of The Bee & The Fox

Ashley and her son outdoors with mountains in the background

The events that led to my divorce felt much like a garbage truck had backed up and dumped a lifetime's worth of discarded waste on me. I was disoriented, I no longer recognized where I was. The lines between real and fake, truth and lies, were all so blurred. My partner, once my anchor, now seemed so foreign, so unrecognizable. My first instinct was to start cleaning up, sorting the metaphorical trash. Compartmentalizing and deciding what—if anything—was salvageable. It wasn’t long before I realized that much of the trash was not mine and that picking up after someone else who is still making a mess is futile. And so, I turned back to my side of the street, cleaning what I could. And the answers were there, buried in my own pile of cleanup.

“Finding truths, sharpening my own view of reality is where I find a power I never knew.”

Since our divorce, each day it feels like I’m casting a new net. Collecting daily treasures. Taking nightly inventory. Seeing how something from yesterday's haul fits together with the morning's finds. Like links on a chain, interlocked truths strewn together.

Finding truths, sharpening my own view of reality is where I find a power I never knew.  I’m so thankful for the experience. My story is one of heartache, betrayal, denial, and manipulation but that’s just the wrapping paper. When we think of gifts, we often think of things we didn’t have to work for; things that are handed to us, things that are wanted more than needed. But I’ve learned that the best gifts come in horrible packages, require a lot of work, and were never desired but desperately needed.

So much about relationships comes not from healing the external wound of what was done to you but instead in healing the internal wounds that led you to choose that person in the first place. Underneath it all is the most beautiful homecoming. A return to self.

I travel now on a gas tank I fill myself. And it’s brought me to the most enchanted of places. Even on the hard days, when the sadness and hardship of raising three young boys engulfs me like a cold winter breeze, so bitter and brisk, I am reminded of my humanity. My vulnerability. The fact that I’m a work in progress. Complete, but not perfect. And that perhaps it’s not all about feeling defeated by day’s end but finding the courage to wake up motivated to tend to your side of the street.

Ashley walking outdoors with two young boys

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