The Courage to Become | Elisa Botello
The Courage to: Get Divorced, Single Mom it, and STILL Chase After Your Dreams.
A week after I graduated college in May 2009, I took a trip to Amsterdam with my then boyfriend. We'd been dating since the Halloween before, and despite of how “all wrong” it was to everyone who knew us (including our own unconsciousness), I said yes when he dropped to one knee at a European café.
A short couple months later, we were PREGNANT.
And then – only 7 months after the baby was born, I left my husband.
You see, in the areas that I didn’t know him that well – I imagined him having Disney prince qualities. But that was all my hope and imagination, and they couldn’t have been more off.
He grew up in an affluent neighborhood in Austin and I grew up in a good ol' country-as-a-chicken-coop, small-East-Texas-football-obsessed-town. Our backgrounds were, but we still wanted a family. And despite how wrong we were for each other—in deal-breaking ways—our shared dream was to have the family he and I had always wanted as children but never had (as we both grew up in broken homes.)
Sadly, an idealistic family wasn't in the cards for us.
Yes, leaving my husband was the worst financial decision of my life. I'm still paying for debts we acquired. But it was THE BEST decision for me as a woman, because I immediately felt free and had the second chance to be the person I had always dreamed of being.
I was 24 and a single mom. And being a mother gave me the kick in the butt that nothing had come close to giving me. As soon as I was on my own I landed a job as a romance novel editor, and before my son reached his second birthday, I had written and published 3 novels. And now I have 7!
Seven years later, that time in my life seems like a blur. I never allowed myself a chance to stop, to think, to feel – I know now that I was lost in depression.
You know those “look at your memories” options on Facebook? A few weeks ago this memory from 7 years ago popped up.
Woke up at 5:30 to get ready for work and prepare the baby's diaper bag for daycare, then woke up a bouncing and excited Dre to get him dressed, sat in traffic so early in the morning that it was still dark, dropped off Dre (running to the door because my boss would skin my hide if I were late again), cried in the car because I won't see my baby until tomorrow afternoon since his dad has him tonight, sped to work to make it to my desk on time, worked till 5, changed into my Bone Daddy's waitress uniform in the car as I sat in traffic for another hour, served beer and burgers to an establishment full of hungry men, then just now walked in to my apartment at 1AM. When will this craziness ever end?!
Seven years later it brought me sadness that I couldn’t answer my 24 year old self with a relieving answer, and my heart broke when I realized, the craziness hadn't ended -- and it won't for some time. The life of a single mom is TOUGH.
But that's okay!
I left an unhealthy marriage, became a mother to the most amazing person to ever exist (no seriously, no “spirited” or “fiery” trait in his sweet, brave soul; the only fire that comes out in his vigilante nature is when he's standing up for anyone being bullied, a hero-complex he's had since he was 2), chased after my dream of being a writer when it seemed all odds were against me as a poor, overworked, and immature young mother, and I work my ass off every single day to keep striving.
Does 4 hours of sleep at night feel good? Hell no.
Does the fact that my multiple jobs often cause me to say no to the date invite from the guy I've been thinking about all week cause excitement? Not exactly.
And it sucks that I miss 99% of Girls Nights because my schedule is so intense that sometimes I use the restroom just to sit down.
On top of it, thinking about the endless moments and milestones I fail to witness within my only child's life causes muscle-ripping, violent, heartbreak.
BUT, at 31 - I am still finding the courage and strength chase my dream, (and now our dream since I’m part of a mother-son duo), and that feels damn good.
“The problem is not the problem; the problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?” —Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean
Essay by: Elisa Botello
I'm Catia, a woman, wife, mama, sister, sister friend, you know -- I wear a million hats just like you.
One of my biggest whys is that I want people to feel good about ALL of who they are. Including you.
If I could choose ten words that best describe me I would say: honest, welcoming, giving, curious, loving, earnest, empathetic, spiritual, playful, and sassy. Let's add: adventurous. That's 11.
Nice to meet you!
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