The Year of Change

I could easily sit here and say that 2020 was a dumpster fire, but I do not think that I would be saying anything that you all did not already know. What I will say is that 2020, while a horrible year for many reasons, was also a year that I found myself, or least, started the long journey to reclaiming all of parts of myself that I have allowed to be chiseled away for the past decade.

Ten years ago, yesterday, my then boyfriend proposed to me. I was in mid 20s and thought marriage was something that I needed in my life. I wanted the whole dream marriage, the beautiful dress, the babies running around the house, the brick rancher with the yard, and of course, the knowledge that I would never be alone. I would have a partner to make decisions with, to share my work stories with, to laugh with, and more importantly, to exist with. That is not what I got, unfortunately.

What I got was a selfish husband who lied about finances, who spent all of the money he had on golfing, who racked up tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt without me knowing, who spent hundreds of dollars to keep up appearances, who never helped around the house, and who not one time, ever got up in the middle of the night with our child. We didn’t combine finances, and for 90% if the marriage, we didn’t even share a room. I knew there was no love there for a long time, but I was comfortable in the situation and afraid of what would happen if I asked him to leave.

He made that decision before I could make it for him, and in the middle of a pandemic, an unknown time with work, and my child’s schooling, he walked.out, leaving me with the house, all of the bills, and 100% care of our child. I had managed to build a bit of a savings account over the past few years, but that drained to merely nothing once I was forced to take over ALL of the finances.

I spent most of 2020 in a haze. My days ran together, I didn’t take as much care of myself as I should have, and of course, I allowed anger and hate to control me. I spent a lot of time sleeping, eating, and avoiding responsibilities, because I have a horrible habit of avoiding situations or concerns that overwhelm me. But, 2020 is gone now, and with it, the confusion, the fog, the fear, and the feeling of being a victim.

I know that we say we are going to set goals each year, or that the new year is going to be better than the last, but this year, I mean it. I hope that you will all take this journey with me and watch as I grow from a married woman to a single woman who is climbing out of the ruins of a devastating decade of life with a narcissist. I hope that we can find comfort in each other and that I can help anybody who is afraid to make the journey of life without a partner. While it is easy to fear being alone, take pride in knowing that you are smart and capable of handling this on your own if you need to. I intend to make this a community, a safe space for all women struggling to make ends meet as single women and mothers. A place where we can pray together, help each other, and learn together. One of the scariest things about being single, is the fear of being alone. But, just because you are single, does not mean you have to be alone.

Published by Stephanie Poling

I am a "lone mother", educator, divorcee, dealing with lone parenting during a pandemic. I just resigned from my full-time teaching position after thirteen years in the classroom. I embrace the lifestyles of minimalism and frugality and am looking forward to moving back to small-town America. Self-care has taken a back burner to all things important to me right now and I am on a 365-day journey of self-discovery. My podcast Smart Single and Unscripted launched recently and I am working on providing the best information I can through my experience with a trauma-filled 2020 to offer hope to single women who are barely hanging on.

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