Guest Blogger Tiffany: On Sustainable Strength

Tonight’s guest blogger, Tiffany, is one of my favorite people. We met about 15 years ago at a summer camp for type 1 diabetics where we knew “of” each other more than we were friends. Then Facebook came along, allowing you to get back in touch with anyone you have ever met in your entire life, and Tiffany and I got back in touch.

As kids with type 1 diabetes, we don’t really realize how much having other type 1 allies in our adult lives means to us. Having someone understand a daily struggles battles, and even has to have the same battles, is a level of support that is simply priceless. So our pancreas dysfunction may be the basis of our friendship, but I have enjoyed getting to know this fun, strong woman I can now call my friend. Enjoy her blog on finding the strength to sustain her through multiple battles over her lifetime.

When Laney asked if I would be a guest blogger and presented me with the theme of stories of strength and inspiration, I thought “oh that’s easy! I’m a strong woman; I can talk about any number of victories I’ve had!”.

I spent several days digging through my mental Rolodex of situations I’ve overcome. I could rattle on endlessly about my daily victory of managing not to die in my sleep, or losing a foot, or becoming blind due to the monster named Type 1 diabetes that lives within me. Seriously! I could go on and on for days with that one! But no….that idea just didn’t give me that “Ah Ha” feeling Oprah raves about.

Then I thought – what about talking about growing up with a drug addicted mother and having to quit school to take care of my little sisters and never graduating high school? It’s deep. It’s personal. It’s probably not something a lot of my friends know about me. Although it is the base of the foundation of who I am today, that’s really more about my mother’s struggle, not mine.

Oh! I know! I could write about not becoming the statistic it seemed I was destined to be as a uneducated, low income, teenage mother! *shaking my head* But that feels so after-school-special-ish….and it’s so far from who I am today. No; no I don’t want to do that either.

I could discuss being a young, black, extremely opinionated, financially conservative but socially liberal lesbian, in a Caucasian male-dominated field of work and living in ultra-conservative Texas. Perfect!!

So I sat down. I started writing. I started throwing out random sentences on what I think and how I feel and the experiences I’ve had and how I overcame them and…..*whew*….there has been a lot of stuff I’ve had to ‘overcome’.

About half way through I decided to scrap that too. As I hit <Ctrl+A> and then , I thought “Apparently writing this blog isn’t gonna be as easy I thought! Easy? You know what wasn’t easy? Divorce.”

There it is.

One of the biggest, most heartbreaking, devastating, and ultimately life-altering situations I’ve ever had to find a victory in is watching my family being torn apart and my life flipped upside down by divorce. The house we built from a pile of dirt? Gone. The extended family I grew to love like my own? Gone. Family dinners on Sunday? Gone. Our annual Friends & Family Christmas Eve gathering? Gone. Just about everything that I had aligned myself with and was so proud of? G-O-N-E. It was a daily battle. It was a war, that at one point, I thought would finally be the end of me. It was a situation that I couldn’t just find a silver lining in as, unlike the other circumstances, I did not have total control. Because of the many facets of my son’s and my life that this affected, it quite possibly was the most life-changing event I have had to experience in this lifetime.

Divorce. Hmph.

I understand that I may be rare when it comes to the idea of marriage. I view marriage as a commitment to intertwine the souls of two individuals into one body. The vows you make are meant to verbalize this life-long promise to your partner, to your family, and to your higher power. The vows I made when I married, I took them very seriously. I would only be married to one person, so when I said “yes”, I had it embellished in my heart as my forever. I am committing to my forever.

Well, 10 years later, I was devastated to realize that my forever lasted about a decade! I had lost my life partner, the most valued relationship I had on Earth, and in a lot of ways – my sense of self. I was going to be forced to relearn how to live without her, how to cook smaller meals, how to be comfortable sleeping alone, how to be my own ‘handy-man’, how to have to depend solely on myself for things I had grown to depend on her for, how to comfort myself because she was no longer there to hug me and tell me everything was going to be ok…basically how to be single again. I felt lost. I felt incomplete. I felt like a failure. Since I knew that I would never be willing to make such a commitment to anyone else, I felt utterly alone and abandoned.

“Victory”, derived from the Latin “victoria”, is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the overcoming of an enemy or antagonist; achievement of mastery or success in a struggle or endeavor against odds or difficulties”. It’s been about 4 years since we separated and although I still struggle with some things, I survived something I literally thought would kill me. (Stress and emotional turmoil will cause absolutely havoc in the life of a type 1 diabetic by the way.)

I survived my divorce. With a lot of praying, some truly awesome friends, a bunch of self-help books & seminars, lots tears mixed with bottles of wine, and even a prescription or two for some ‘happy pills’, I believe I can now…FINALLY….claim victory in what I feel has been my biggest battle to date. I’m not bitter. I’m not regretful. I haven’t given up on the idea of being in a long-term, loving, and fulfilling, intimate relationship. I’ve even starting building a real friendship with the woman I committed to in marriage…one that in hindsight, we should have started our relationship off with in the first place. If that’s not a victory, then I don’t know what is.

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About Allison Anarchy

I write because I have to
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