It’s been a long time. The last time we talked, you confirmed to me that you never really were paying attention to me. You were broken. I was broken. It’s been at least 6 years ago, but probably even longer than that. How are you? I hope better. I truly hope you are better.

When we got divorced, I was a shell of a human. I was alone in a new city in a new job and 12 hours away from my family and the community I built in OKC. My self-esteem was the lowest it has ever been. I forgot to eat most days, so I enlisted friends to text me at meal times to remind me to feed myself something, anything. I remember these lonely days and am so incredibly impressed with my bravery. I am so incredibly grateful for the people God placed in my life who supported me through that first year.

Getting married to you and then divorcing you was the biggest catalyst for growth and healing I could have ever hoped for. The glass house I built for myself was made of the lies of perfection, shame, and fear. That house kept me safe. And it also kept me caged. Uncovering all of the lies, reckoning with all you did, and hitting an emotional bottom set me down a path of self-discovery and self-love.

My favorite color is yellow. I am in 12-step recovery. I am introverted. I am scared of alcohol and chaos and authority and drugs. I love all animals except snakes and spider-crickets. My favorite snack is a banana covered in peanut butter which I have nearly daily at 10:30am. I thrive when I ask for help and when I tell my inner child she is safe.

I don’t know that I would have ever learned these things about myself had you and I not had a hectic and scary marriage and then divorced. I don’t know how long I would have clung to the coping mechanisms that were so necessary in my teens and early twenties. I am just really glad I was forced to let go and deal, especially now that I am a mother.

Through my growth and healing, I found Michael—literally the greatest person I have ever met. He loves me in a way I didn’t know existed. I love him deeply. It’s real and steady and joyous. With him, I have learned how to admit my wrongs, say sorry, and trust that I won’t be thought less than for being a human. With him, I have learned to play and have real fun. With him, I have learned that I am safe and secure in myself. With him, we decided to bring another person into the world to love.

When I look into the face of my son, I cannot fathom life without him—the culmination of generations of random DNA and trauma and timing and hardship and joys. It’s a miracle. He is a miracle. He is the happiest person I have ever met. When I was pregnant with him, I felt a giddy joy that I haven’t felt since I was a child. His whole chemical makeup is giddy joy. I will do everything I can to ensure he gets to keep that joy his whole life.

By telling you all of this, I hope you will hear some gratitude in my story. When we got divorced, I never wanted to hate you but I never thought I would be happy that we met. Now, with hindsight and therapy, I am happy we met. I am happy that my journey got me to where I am. For that, thank you.

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