I think most of us grow up with this story that we tell ourselves, a fairytale we’ve imagined and weaved throughout the years. That life was supposed to be a certain way. That we’d live happily ever after. But you grow up and realize that hey, stuff is gonna happen and it’s not gonna be pretty. But if you take a moment, a step back and look at the whole picture, there is much more in store for you, something bigger. At least I hope so.
If you know me, you know that it’s hard for me to open up. In fact, I’m not that comfortable talking about myself, especially about personal details. Why, you may ask? That’s something I’ve wondered myself but haven’t really taken the time to dissect. So, here I am, about one year later after separating from a man that I spent the last 10 years with, the father of my two beautiful girls, shedding light on something that I’ve hidden in the dark. As much as I knew we were slowly dissipating, growing further apart, I held onto the hope that we could make it work. But the months leading up to the separation, were almost as if someone handed me a cloth and I was able to wipe away the dust and see clearly for the first time. This was not gonna work. The following months after were filled with self-pity and despair, but I’m so good at hiding it, you probably couldn’t tell. I put on my mask and my smile was painted on there to perfection.
I’m slowly learning that it’s okay to share bits and pieces of my personal life, no matter how vulnerable it makes me feel. I don’t think I would’ve made it without those few friends who showed me love when I needed it the most, who pulled me out of deep waters when I felt like I was drowning.
I don’t like feeling weak and sorry for myself. So after I allowed myself time to grieve for what was, I asked myself, now what? This was unknown territory for me. I was ready to begin anew (And if you’re wondering, well, what about your daughters? I’ll get to them later). I was determined to do the things that I’ve wanted to do, but never could or had the time to. So here are the things that I’ve been able to experience this past year and that helped me in more ways than one…
Softball. Yes, I’ve been wanting to play again. I played first base when I was a kid and LOVED it. So, as luck would happen, a person I know asked if anyone wanted to join a softball team and I jumped at the opportunity. I wanted to feel what it was like to wear a glove on my hand, to throw and hit a ball and just be apart of a team again. This was a wedding industry team, but we never talked about work. It was all about playing ball and goofing off while doing it. We laughed a lot…and that was so good for my soul.
Church. I struggled with my faith growing up. I was never raised in a church, but the person I adored the most, my grandmother, was the only person who attended church every Sunday. And so I went every so often with her. Even though we didn’t talk about God in our home, I believed in Him. I prayed when times got tough, not knowing if I was doing it right. I would just look up at the night sky, hoping someone was listening. And then when we had Sophia, we both agreed that we wanted to start going to church. And so we went on Sundays, but it wasn’t continuous and I almost felt like something was missing. I believed I was lacking that connection or glow you see on Christians’ faces when they speak. But I wanted it so badly. A week after we separated, I went to my friend, Becky’s church (Barabbas Road Church), wanting to try something new. Her husband, Matt, is the pastor there. His sermons are so full of depth and substance, that I’m learning and gaining so much from every message. I will be the first to admit that I am not perfect. Far from it. But being apart of this church and forming the friendships that I have gives me hope and makes me want to be better.
Volunteer. I have been wanting to give back my time freely for as long as I can remember. I had watched a documentary that February called “Inocente” and it moved me beyond words. If you haven’t seen it, please watch it. It deals with poverty and the ability to overcome your circumanstances through art. And so I spent a quarter volunteering at the non-profit organization ARTS (A Reason to Survive) that provides the space, supplies and arts education for disadvantaged youth. As someone who relied on art (whether writing, painting, sketching, singing or playing music) to get me through some challenging times growing up, I felt deeply connected to ARTS and their purpose. Just the smile on these kids faces made me realize that that’s what really matters. If I could make these little ones happy and proud that they created something that they can call their own, then I did my job. It was a very rewarding experience.
Martial Arts. I have never been much of a fighter. My sister was the fighter growing up and I was the peacemaker. We all had our roles. But then there’s the tomboy in me that just wants to beat something up or at least be equipped to if trapped in a dark alley with a robber. And so, I signed up at a local MMA (mixed martial arts) gym and took kickboxing/muay thai classes. I felt like I was having a heart attack and on the verge of fainting after that first class. Weird thing was, I liked it! So I continued going for the next few months. Those latter months were spent discovering what all the hype was about jiu jitsu (which is awesome!). Loved my time there.
Skydive. It’s always been on my bucket list. As long as I can remember, I’ve always tried to prove that I can do anything anyone (especially boys) can do, no matter how scary and challenging it looked. And so I was approaching 30 and I had to figure what I was going to do to celebrate. Skydiving immediately came to mind. I found a willing friend and we reserved our jump. It was THE scariest and most thrilling that I have ever done! I have to say the scariest part is the plane ride up to 13,000 feet knowing that any second they were going to pull up that door and I was going to jump out of a perfectly functioning plane. I may have been a little dramatic when I gave my girls a huge hug that morning and prayed like crazy that I would survive to see their smiles when I got home. But I did it! And I wanted to do it again almost right away. But I soon realized it’s not cheap, so I had to wait another two more months before I could jump again. And the second one was 10 times better than the first! I still struggle with the fact that I’m a mommy with two little girls who need me and that weighs heavy on me. Should I be taking these risks? Is it selfish? It’ll probably never be easy for me, but skydiving is gonna be something that I’ll continue to indulge in every now and then. I want my girls to know that they should do what they love (as long as no harm is done to themselves or others) even when others tell them that it’s wrong. If you haven’t skydived, please don’t miss out! And if you need a jumping partner, I’m so there! It’s the best natural high you’ll ever have.
Throughout that year, I learned more about myself and also what it feels like to be alone. Yes, I still have my mommy duties, but I have to admit, it was weird being placed in the “single” category. I spent most of my childhood being raised by a single mother and I know how hard it was for her. It scared me at first. But once I got over that initial hump, I learned that I’m kinda loving it. I’m discovering and experiencing things on my own and it’s a pretty liberating feeling.
Throughout this phase, we have both held steadfast to our dedication to Sophia and Gianna and our relationship as parents to them. We look back and have both agreed that maybe we weren’t meant to be together forever, but maybe we were meant to be parents to these two wonderful girls. That’s something that will always bond us. I don’t feel like they have missed even an ounce of love from either one of us. If anything, we’ve grown even more committed to them and their happiness and well-being. We still managed to go on “family” trips and outings together. We get along a lot better now and are working on just being friends. Our girls are happy and that’s really all the matters.
And so below, is our annual video from 2013. I will continue to make these videos every year because I want our girls to know that no matter what life will bring, mommy and daddy will always be there for them, to watch and help guide them as they grow every step of the way.
I hope you enjoy watching our journey this past year…
Looking back at 2013 from Daisy Varley on Vimeo.
Thank you for reading these words that were so hard to write and watching this video that is so very important to me.
Much love to you all.