I like to think that I’m a good person. I was raised by a loving and supportive family. I have the most incredible friends a girl could ask for. And my boyfriend, he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I’m living a pretty spectacular life these days. But when I take time to reflect on how I got to this point, I reflect on the few years of chaos in my life that I don’t like to talk about.

I’ve talked about my divorce, I’ve talked about my failed relationship that I jumped right into afterwards. I never talked about who I hurt along the way. I’ve always been self absorbed in my own trauma. I lived my own life and didn’t recognize or frankly didn’t care at the path of terror I was leaving in my path. We all have that one chapter that we don’t want to read out loud, this is mine.

When my marriage ended, I got into a relationship with a guy who spoke poorly of his relationship with his wife. It was so nice to have a man telling me that he wanted me, that he loved me, and would take care of me. I had a lack of those needs in my marriage and with a broken soul after a debilitating divorce, I would have jumped at any man who promised me the world. I contributed to this man’s divorce. The first time we decided to end the affair was when she found out that he was having a relationship with me. I wrote her a letter. In that letter I spilled my heart. I apologized profusely, and at the time although it hurt, I meant it. But I also lied about a lot of things in the first letter to protect the man that I had unintentionally fallen in love with. It’s wasn’t the genuine letter that I had hoped for. After a few months had passed and I felt more stable, I reached out the this man and wished him well. I told him about the healing process that I had gone through. He responded and the spark with almost immediately rekindled.

This time, his tone had changed. He said his marriage was failing, regardless of not speaking to me. He had issues in his marriage that he believed were beyond repair, but he took his time getting out of the marriage. After I found out that he had plans to celebrate his first wedding anniversary at an all-inclusive resort that he claims he knew nothing about, I was done. Heartbroken that the man who had chosen me when I felt the most unloved, wasn’t going to choose me. This time I was angry. I wrote another letter. Fuelled with spite and fire. I had learned things about his relationship with his wife that made me hate his wife. They made me angry and I didn’t think she deserved the man that had been so kind and loving towards me. I truly believe that SHE was the monster, not him. This letter that I wrote spilled all the honesty that I left out of the first one along with every little detail of the time her husband and I spent together. If I couldn’t have him, I damn well didn’t want her to have him either.

Another couple months had passed before I started making connections that he was thinking about me again. They had separated and he moved out of the house. Whatever hold this man had over my heart was toxic and potent. After on long evening of FaceTime confessions that he had me believe that he was sorry for hurting me. That he didn’t care about her and that he realized the time he took leaving his marriage was unfair to the relationship he wanted with me. He made the four hour drive just to take me on a date and the feelings rushed back. A few weeks later, his wife text me. She wanted to talk, but I only allowed text. I had to go to work and I feared that I would word vomit too much information or even worse, that I would cry. I told her that I was seeing someone and to never contact me again. The person I was seeing was her still current husband and she obliged and I never heard from her again.

I respected the first few months of keeping our relationship discrete. After it continued to be imperative that I was a secret, I got angry. We finally had the opportunity to be together without strings attached. Their marriage was over. He loved me, I loved him. It was finally my time to have him to myself. I never got that opportunity. We constantly argued over the level of publicity our relationship could have. Then we started arguing about everything. Season basketball tickets trumped my time visiting and being introduced to coworkers as just a friend was how we spent our last few days together. My feelings were hurt, I was grabbing at straws trying to maintain my dignity and salvage a relationship that I had waited so long to come to fruition. It took one drunken night out to realize that I was not the girl for him and his sights were set on his coworker. As much as he initially denied it, I couldn’t fight the feeling that there was something there. I pushed the topic and we lashed out at each other. The relationship was toxic and he felt I wasn’t letting him be independently after getting out of a marriage. I removed myself and began really working on the placed within myself that I didn’t like. It was then I began my journey to independent happiness, rather than filling a void. It was also then that he began dating his coworker.

It’s been a year since all of this happened and I put in the effort to take care of my heart. I find comfort and peace in the here and now. I don’t stress over the details even though I am still a relentless planner. I struggle with things that are beyond my control but I have learned better coping skills. The hot headed girl still remains but has cooled off tremendously. I attribute a lot of my growth to the man who ruined my heart and the wife whose marriage I helped end. I believe that all of this happened for a reason, regardless of how guilty I feel.

What I learned from him was that I deserve to be loved in a way much better than what my husband gave me. I also deserved much better than what he could give me. I learned to manage my finances and pulled myself out of a mountain of debt. And most importantly I learned to trust my gut, because my intuition might not always be 100% accurate but it knows when something is not right.

What I learned from her is that friends are important. That relationship drama is not for the world to know, but it better kept between spouses. I also learned that maintaining your health through nutrition and workouts regardless of your life’s situations is crucial in self care.

I learned about the Tone It Up program when I began creeping on his wife. She was apart of this fabulous community. Now, I am NOT a workout selfie kind of girl. I am not a hash tag queen and the only time I take picture of food is when my boyfriend makes a bangin meal, and that’s because I want to brag on his amazingness, not because anyone cares what I eat. I started following along with this nutrition program. I started seeing people’s results and thought that if I could get the recipes that it would work for me. I needed to do something to maintain my health but I never wanted to join this community because it was her territory.

About 6 months after everything ended, I had genuine chest pain. I woke up for work. My boyfriend laying peacefully at my side. I went to the bathroom and almost fell. I was drenched in sweat and nauseous. When I crawled back onto the bed, the palpitations in my chest were strong and irregular. There was pressure at the center of my sternum and it wouldn’t resolve regardless of the relaxation techniques that I had been using. After three days or irregularity and discomfort I went to the doctor. I was diagnosed with a mild heart arrhythmia that is affected when your health is poor. Inadequate nutrition, lack of sleep, not enough cardiovascular conditioning, all could cause my heart to slip into this arrhythmia.

The first step that I took to caring for myself better was to increase my workouts. I had a regular heart rhythm on my three month check up and I was happy, however, blood testing showed that my electrolytes were all low. My Potassium was 3.4 and my Magnesium 1.6. I was slightly dehydrated and was warned that I could slip back into this uncomfortable heart rhythm at any time. I needed to get my nutrition in check and I thought of the Tone It Up program. I’m hesitant to begin this program because of the unhealthy way in which I discovered the program. I feel like I took so much away from this TIU girl, that I don’t need to impose on her workout/ health regimen as well. I tried a few other options first, but with my schedule and my inability to cook like an adult, Tone It Up turned out to be the best option.

SO, this is my way of getting everything off of my check. I had an affair with a TIU girl’s husband and then started the program. My body couldn’t handle my unhealthy habits anymore and neither can my heart or soul. I’m letting go of the guilt. I’m thanking these two for all they have taught me about life and how to be a better person. And I am apologizing with my whole heart for all the pain and heartache that I contributed to ending your relationship. I have worked so hard over the past year to maintain my health, work on my mind set and find peace with what has happened/ what I had caused. This is my final part of letting go and moving forward. This is my confession.

Love yourself

Changes Made Happiness Earned

Don’t believe everything you see. Every picture that is posted, every word that comes out of someone’s mouth, every written article is subject to what the author wants the reader or viewer to believe. It works. I’m no marketing major, but I believe that’s how things work. We are all guilty of this act. We want people to believe we have our shit together. We want the world to see our happiness and we hide our struggles. I’m guilty of this act. At first glance these photos look pretty similar. It’s a picture of me at the beach. Same sunglasses, toes in the sand, laughing with a big smile on my face. In the moment that these pictures were captured, I was happy. I was enjoying life and embracing my travels. What makes these pictures different?

The photo on the left was taken at the end of April. My toes were in the Pacific Ocean at Haystack Rock. It was freezing that day but this East coaster wasn’t going to cross the country and not put her toes in the water. My hair was long, my chest and stomach were flat. What is invisible to the eye is my façade. My smile is hiding the depression. I had built up emotions with no outlet. I was loved and supported through my divorce and then dropped by that same person who build me up. For the first time I was standing alone and frankly, it scared the hell out of me. The photo on the right was taken just a few weeks ago. This time my toes were in the Atlantic Ocean at Cape May. There was not a cloud in the sky, the water was refreshing, and I was ecstatic to travel to both coastal oceans within the same year.  My hair is short and I’m about 10 pounds heavier. Unlike the picture on the left, my smile lasted throughout the entire day not just in the moment the picture was taken.

In the months that passed between these two pictures my life completely changed.  Right before the picture on the left was taken I knew that I didn’t like who I was. I needed to make changes. I needed a healthier mindset and I needed to learn how to truly be independent and not rely on a man as a safety net to feel valued and appreciated. I began embracing who I am and loving myself. Over time and with unbreakable commitment to my mental health I started to see changed. I started to view people differently. When situations arose that would typically send me over the edge into a fire of emotions, I began noticing my reactions begin to soften. Retreat, rethink, respond has become a repetitive phrase I tell myself when difficult days arise. It has not been easy. There are still days where I get anxious, I get angry, and I even cry. There are days I want to quit. Days that I want to let the hate and pain of the world engulf me in sorrow, take over my spirit and break me down. Days where I give into the role of victim and feel sorry for myself.

What has inspired me recently is that in the past two weeks the people who know me the best have started noticing the changes in me that I’ve been working so hard to achieve over the last few months. The first instance was from my mother, the very day that the picture on the right was taken. She hugged me and told me that she was proud of the person that I’ve become. It made me happy, but she’s also my mom. I know she’s always going to love me and support throughout my life. When I met with my therapist a few days later I was surprised to hear her reiterate my mother’s words back to me. As my therapist, she knows every little detail about the past two years that I’ve been seeing her. At the end of our session she said she was proud of me for doing the work. She said that “there were plenty of people who sit right where you are desperate for a change to get through hard times, but never put in the effort.” She looked at me and said, “but you, you have persevered. You have taken my homework, my advice, and done the work and I can see that you are not the same women who walked into my office scared and weak two years ago.” I began to tear up. To hear that support from two women I admire most, my mom and my therapist, utter those words of support and recognition of my efforts solidified the feelings that I had within myself.

About a week ago I was blindsided by a very unwelcome part of my past. My best friends were the ones that I turned to first. I talked through the situation, how I wanted to handle it, and how to continue moving forward . It was through these discussions that my best friends of 10 years saw my progress. After our conversations had ended regarding the topic, I received one of the best messages from my friends. “I’m proud of you. Just so you know. A lot of people like to talk about ‘oh I’ve changed, I’ve grown’ but idk how many people really do. YOU have. I’m just so happy”. Reading the messages from my friends, hearing the words of support and pride from my therapist, as well as the love and encouragement from my mother all validated my hard work. These people who know my life, my story, my heart, and my soul better than anyone on this planet, these people who have loved me at my worst, have walked through hell with me, and continue to stand alongside me while I’m out of the storm are the ones who recognize the work that I’ve done. It’s so rewarding to say that the girl in the picture on the left doesn’t exist anymore. Last night my best friend’s husband said, “that Kait (the picture on the left) didn’t know how she was going to get out of bed in the morning. I really like the Kait that’s sitting here now.” I simply smiled at him and said, “I love this Kait too”.

I am no longer the person I was just 4 months ago let alone 6 months to a year ago. I am stronger, I am healthier, I am happier. I love my life. I love my family, my friends, my therapist. I am reaping the benefits of a positive mindset. I will continue to persevere through the difficult days, through the highs and lows, through the unexpected twists and turns of life. I will stay on my journey to happiness because it’s working! I saw the progress first, now my friends and family, and soon the rest of the world. There is no more façade to maintain. I can say I love this Kait, the picture on the right, and whole heartedly mean it!