The Courage to Become | Katie Taylor
Hi, I’m Katie.
I think I may get personal with this, which is kind of unlike me. I love talking about what I do: I’m a mom, a wife, a child life specialist, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a blogger and even a podcast host. I’m actually pretty proud of myself about all these things, I worked REALLY hard for a lot of them, so I love talking about them. But, rarely, do I talk about a part of my life that was incredibly transformative:
I got divorced.
A lot of people look at me, like, YOU?! You got DIVORCED? Yep, sure did. And, to say it was a difficult part of my life is an understatement. To say it was a “valley” doesn’t go deep enough. To say it was the hardest decision I’ve ever made… well, that may be pretty accurate.
And the truth is that I will never say that I regret getting married (the first time), because as much as a cliche as it is, I learned so much about myself.
So when Catia asked me to write in her Courage to Become series, I originally thought that I’d talk about following my dream of being a child life specialist and then creating an opportunity to host a podcast, but that would be too easy. However, talking about the Courage to Become Myself, which is what I did that day in 2012 when I moved out of the home I shared with my ex-husband, is hard as hell.
I let a lot of people down when my marriage ended. Him, his family, mutual friends, my own friends who didn’t understand and wedding guests that had spent hundreds of dollars to attend my wedding across the country barely a year before. For a Type 2 Enneagram “Need to be Needed” person (I learned this in marriage counseling the first go round), letting people down KILLED me. Literally, it felt like a knife in my stomach every time the thought crossed my mind.
But, with the help of a counselor, I took a step back and looked at my relationship for what it was and what it was giving to me. It wasn’t doing much for me. So with a family behind me who supported me unconditionally, I took a step away.
Yes, I’m incredibly lucky that I had a safety net of people with their arms wrapped around me, but the truth is, what I did took courage. I stepped away from what I thought was a sure-thing, the-rest-of-my-life, secured-future and I went into the unknown.
Leaving was lonely as hell, even with a friend in the same apartment building as me. Even with a boss and friend who opened their arms and their homes and took me in the week I left. Even with a mom and dad who flew to my city to help me move, it was lonely. I cried a lot. Going to bed alone, watching House Hunters (I had always pictured how the two of us would be in a house), only pouring one cup of coffee.
But, that part was the valley for me, and the good part about the valley is that there is a peak afterward. I continued seeing a counselor, I poured myself into work, and I vowed that if I ever loved again (which I thought would never happen), I would make sure that the person I loved truly loved me for everything that I was. If he didn’t, no big deal, he just wouldn’t be right for me. As terrifying as it was to leave, I truly left stronger than I did entering that relationship.
I thought that dating would be scary, it had been so long since I had thought about someone else in a loving way. Of course it was in some ways, but in others, it wasn’t… because I was dating FOR ME. If they weren’t interested, I had nothing to lose, I had already lost it all. If they didn’t meet my expectations, no big deal, I’d just say goodbye.
I guess I just had come to the conclusion that it will only take ONE person to meet the expectations I had set for my life. Just one. My expectations were no longer “too high,” because they were mine, I determined them based on the life that I wanted. And that was incredibly freeing.
So, while I continue to go on this journey of the Courage to Become… Me, I am proud of myself for stepping into the unknown and leaving the comfortable. Because of the path I chose, I’m now on the road to living my best life, with a husband by my side who met every “high” expectation I had (with ease), with a son who brings me more joy than my heart could ever dream of, and with a career that fulfills my soul on a daily basis. Yes, there are valleys, yes there are challenges, but it seems as though treading through the dark parts has consequently brought me to the light.