Once Upon A Time

O nce upon a time, I did what good Southern girls are supposed to do: I got married young and created the appearance of the perfect white-picket-fence life.

We bought a three-bedroom “starter home,” got a dog and a cat, and began to plan for children.  When the children came, I turned my career upside-down, joined the PTA, and otherwise morphed myself into the “perfect” mom, only to realize that I was actually miserable.

He worked a nights and I worked 9 to 5. I bought things as an attempt to make myself happy.  He complained.  I complained. He lost 200 pounds and spent his mornings at the gym with his best friend, a perky blonde aerobics instructor. I eventually lost all the “baby” weight and reduced my body fat down to unhealthy proportions.  I sacrificed and did what was expected of me.

And sex?  Surely you jest.  Sex was a rarity those final years, and in the last year, it was completely absent from the menu.

My marriage was on life support and attempting to keep up the perfection was exhausting. We began living basically separate lives, all the while appearing to be ok from the outside. No matter what I did, nothing seemed to be good enough for him. I was trying to create a picture- perfect life so that I could one day be happy. He believed that if I would change, he would be happy.  

Eventually, we went to marriage counseling and one day, he stood up in the middle of the session and said he was DONE and told the therapist that “SHE (meaning me) isn’t getting fixed.”

It was time to turn off the relationship respirator. After 17 ½ years of living behind the white picket fence, I opened the gate, walked through it, and we divorced. Seven years later, I know that the blame for the death of our marriage was not completely mine, but it wasn’t completely his, either.

I want to tell you the biggest lesson that came out of my marriage, and I’m not going to sugar-coat it.

Darling, you are responsible for your own happiness.  And the only person that you can change is yourself.

To be honest, I blazed a very non-traditional way of discovering what I really wanted out of life: I unleashed my sexuality in ways I had never imagined. I dated. I went to therapy. I explored my edges. I defined what made me feel sexy and beautiful.  I unleashed my gypsy soul and discovered what lit up my soul through travel.  I broke the mold of a 9-to-5 job and made a good living as a self-employed entrepreneur.  I realized that the labels that I had taken as badges didn’t define who I was. I worked with a coach.

Sometimes, I made baby steps towards delight. Sometimes, I jumped off the cliff into a river of what I knew was right for me.

And yes, sometimes I made mistakes and wrong turns along the way.

I embraced the fact that I was responsible for my own happiness.

That gratitude was a practice worth adopting. I learned that combining self-discipline and self-kindness would nurture my body and soul. And that sometimes, a life we planned gets derailed in order to put us on path to a life we were meant to live.

Because today, I can honestly tell you that while my life may not be perfect, I love it.

I’m in a committed relationship to a man I love and adore. I know that he loves me as no other man ever has.  Want to know how I know that? He accepts me for exactly who I am, warts (the occasional snoring) and all.

And if you were to look at my life with an outside-in view, you would observe that I’ve come full circle to living a white picket fence life again. I work from home yet keep my working hours to when he’s at work.  I do laundry and shopping. I bake from scratch and dive into cooking with passion. When he comes home after work, I greet him at the door with a smile (and sometimes a cocktail).

And I wake up giddy to begin each day with a partner I love and work that thrills and fulfills me.

Once upon a time, I thought my fairy tale was over. Only to discover that the fairy tale was really just beginning.  That my mid-life years would be the beginning of true love – of not only the man of my dreams, but a profound love for myself.

Darling, the truth is that you are never too old to discover your happily ever after.

I’m happy living behind a white picket fence. Now, I’m smart enough to know that you just have to leave the gate open.

If you are unhappy in your relationship, it’s up to you to make changes. You are responsible for your happy. You are responsible for defining how you want your life to look. YOU are responsible for communicating to your partner what you want.

If you are in the depths of unhappiness, then you, my darling, may need a little help to dig out.   Make your Inner Sex Kitten Roar may be just your ticket. Hire a coach. Get therapy.  Now is not the time to be a martyr, now is the time to get help.

Let someone hold up the mirror to the beauty of your soul so that you can allow yourself to shine.

Invest in yourself.

I believe from the depths of my soul that if you love someone, then making positive changes to yourself is way to begin to re-ignite passion. Think of it as a dance, that for every step or two you take, your partner can’t help but follow.

I believe that within every woman is a vibrant, passionate, and sexy being just dying to burst forth into the world.  And if you’ve lost that spark inside, now is the time to get some help so that she can learn to shine.

Once upon a time…to Happily Ever After. What steps can you take to take responsibility for your happiness?

Make Your Inner Sex Kitten Roar is a collection of the tools I used to create my own Happily Ever After.  There are six modules of lessons, a companion workbook containing all the worksheets and writing prompts, and more.

purchaseMakeYourInnerSexKittenRoar

And, no, you don’t need fixing or to be rescued, but working with a coach can help the journey. You can bundle Make Your Inner Sex Kitten Roar with 6 coaching sessions.

bundle_sexkitten_coaching

Tags: , , , , , , ,

By Debra Smouse: Writer, life coach, and Tarnished Southern Belle, Debra helps people fall in love with their life. An expert de-tangler, she believes in busting clutter as a path to greater clarity and that within every woman is vibrant, passionate, and sexy being just itching to make their inner sex kitten roar. A native Texan, she resides in Ohio with the Man of her Dreams.

26 Responses to “Once Upon A Time” Subscribe

  1. Joanna Z. Weston August 19, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

    Absolutely! We are all responsible for our own happiness. Sometimes other people can help, but in the end it is up to us. So often we think that the other person is the limiting or deciding factor, but it is never true. If nothing else, we always have the option of leaving someone, if their behavior is completely antithetical to our own happiness. But even then — that is our responsibility to figure out and act on.

  2. Katie August 21, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

    This is fabulous! I love this: “Darling, the truth is that you are never too old to discover your happily ever after.” I agree and it’s always great to receive a reminder.

  3. Sally August 23, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

    Oh yeah, baby, it is SO up to us. Your story is compelling and inspiring… and it makes me want to go jump into a few more rivers myself….

  4. Andi-Roo March 17, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    I know all this, I really do. My first commandment is, “Happy is a Choice”, and while normally I have no problem with this concept, over the last few days I’ve had difficulty keeping it in mind. Knowing it’s all up to me – so scary! But I have picked myself up before, and I can do it again. Reading this was just the magic I needed. Thanks! 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Darling. It Will Be Ok. | Debra Smouse - Life Coach | Writer | De-Tangler - August 28, 2012

    […] I’ve been there.  And when it all fell apart, I began to discover what I really wanted in life.  I became an explorer and an adventurer.  I learned that living outside the lines of polite […]

  2. Continual Improvment | Debra Smouse: Life, Love and Writing - September 5, 2012

    […] truth behind my talent is that I lived it.  My world shattered and I found out that if I wanted to be happy, I was the only one who could figure out where each […]

  3. Questions & Answers. Love & Fear. | Debra Smouse - Life Coach | Writer | De-Tangler - September 11, 2012

    […] – anyone – lives with that kind of fear…that kind of self-loathing…that kind of numbness.  My heart shattered because I’ve been there.  I’ve numbed myself with food and alcohol and sex at different times in my life so that I could […]

  4. Create White Space & Love Your Life More | Debra Smouse - Life Coach | Writer | De-Tangler - September 25, 2012

    […] I open my heart and allow you to see my vulnerabilities.  […]

  5. Love Your Life: Clear Your Clutter | Debra Smouse - Life Coach | Writer | De-Tangler - October 9, 2012

    […] Needless to say, the clutter I tried to fill emotional holes with caused additional fights in an already fragile relationship. […]

  6. The Season of Gratitude - November 20, 2012

    […] had opened the gate on my white picket fence life and stepped out. I found myself dissatisfied with where I was in life.   Though the divorce had […]

  7. My 3 Rs for 2013 | Debra Smouse - Life Coach | Writer | De-Tangler - January 1, 2013

    […] it was all going to be ok – and that it was ok to rebel against what I “should” be. I had opened the gates of the white picket fence months earlier, but I was still kind of emotionally trapped in that white picket fence […]

  8. Want to Fall in Love? Start with Peace | Debra Smouse - Life Coach | Writer | Expert Detangler | Tarnished Southern Belle - January 24, 2013

    […] After my divorce, I learned that in order to fall in love with myself and my life, then I needed to let go of the pursuit of perfection and learn to make peace with reality. […]

  9. Discover Your Inner Wisdom | Debra Smouse - Life Coach | Writer | Expert Detangler | Tarnished Southern Belle - February 5, 2013

    […] know you may not believe me. Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have believed me.  I was in a miserable, loveless marriage that was sucking all the desire, drive, and creativity from my […]

  10. Write Yourself a Valentine | Debra Smouse - Life Coach | Writer | Expert Detangler | Tarnished Southern Belle - February 12, 2013

    […] We become sheep and live behind the white picket fence. […]

  11. Origins of a Tarnished Southern Belle | Debra Smouse - Life Coach | Tarnished Southern Belle - February 20, 2013

    […] lived that perfect white picket fence life. And when I divorced, the shine of my Southern Belle began to […]

  12. Allowing Yourself to Feel | Debra Smouse - Life Coach | Tarnished Southern Belle - March 13, 2013

    […] nce upon a time, I was a very unhappy girl.  My marriage was incredibly fragile, work was stressful and I dealt with it by shopping and […]

  13. Your Heart’s Desires: Making It Happen | Debra Smouse - Life Coach | Tarnished Southern Belle - April 3, 2013

    […] truth, though, is that that there’s a way to make dreams a part of your reality. By approaching it the way you would eat an elephant.  Not in one single giant bite, but little […]

  14. You Deserve to Be the Star in Your Own Life | Debra Smouse - Life Coach | Tarnished Southern Belle - April 12, 2013

    […] let me tell you something: I get it. I’ve been there.  I’ve done that.  I have said (or thought) almost every single one of those […]

  15. Burn Like a Phoenix | Debra Smouse - Life Coach | Tarnished Southern Belle - April 17, 2013

    […] I’ve talked about the demise of my marriage and the how much I love my day-to-day life, I haven’t shared much about the time between then and […]

  16. Break Your Optional Rules | Debra Smouse - Life Coach | Tarnished Southern Belle - April 23, 2013

    […] without make-up, never wearing white shoes after Labor Day, and always making others believe that life behind closed doors was perfect.  I went to the gym, wore pantyhose to church, and brutally forced my hair into […]

  17. Sixty Kinds of Clutter You Can Ditch Now | Debra Smouse - Life Coach | Tarnished Southern Belle - July 19, 2013

    […] Needless to say, the clutter I tried to fill emotional holes with caused additional fights in an already fragile relationship. […]

  18. Loving Life? Be Prepared to Piss People Off | Debra Smouse - Life Coach | Tarnished Southern Belle - August 9, 2013

    […] It may not be the life of sheep or the way we are expected to exist behind the white picket fence. […]

  19. Create a Life You Love. 1st Step: Awareness | Debra Smouse - Life Coach | Tarnished Southern Belle - August 16, 2013

    […] Once upon a time, I believed that I could fix my life (and my marriage) by getting skinny, making a lot of money and surrounding myself with stuff.  I created unrealistic ideals of how life would be “perfect” if I could just get “there.”   And I believed that by getting “there” I would suddenly change all of the screwed up dynamics in my family. […]

  20. A Vision Begins with Awareness | 30 Days to Clarity - August 16, 2013

    […] And I believed that by getting “there” I would suddenly change all of the screwed up dynamics in my family. […]

  21. There’s More to the Cup Than Just Coffee | Debra Smouse - Life Coach | Tarnished Southern Belle - August 27, 2013

    […] truth is, our daily lives are a series of small rituals and routines.  For big chunks of my life, this was unconscious.  I existed and my daily life of habits had many routines and rituals and […]