My story today all started about 15 years ago when I was 18 years old. I thought I had met the man of my dreams. We went to the same elementary school, same middle school, and in high school we had the same friends but somehow never hung out. It was like we were kept at arm’s length until the right time. Surprisingly the right time came when I went to work at UPS. I saw him loading a trailer and called out his name. He turned around our eyes met and we were inseparable from that day on. We were always together and very happy. We got engaged after 6 years together and married after 10. I loved him more than anything, but it turns out love just wasn’t enough. My whole world came crashing down three months after our honeymoon, when I found out he was cheating on me. I forgave him because we had been together so long that I thought he just made a big mistake. I tried to save our relationship, but less than a year later right after my birthday (Scorpio Constellation #4660), I found out he had a girlfriend. It crushed me. We immediately separated, sadly it was the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Going through the holidays alone, after all those years together, was so painful. The Christmas season was the hardest, sitting at home crying every night watching hallmark Christmas movies where the guy always gets the girl and they live happily ever after. I cried until there were no more tears. To find out the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, the man I had spent so many years loving, could hurt me like this! I was devastated! I couldn’t eat and I tried to sleep to forget the pain. To make things worse, I was going to school to become a personal trainer (Barbell #3325) and my final exam was coming up. I had already scheduled it and couldn’t back out. I couldn’t study or concentrate, but the day came and I took the test. I passed!! Not only did I pass, I scored 120 points over passing (higher than my teacher). That brought some joy to my life and that was the first big step towards achieving my goals.
Slowly things started getting better. I was now a certified personal trainer, in the best shape of my life, and working on getting my dream job. After a lot of emotional pain and heartache (and 10 years together) I divorced my husband. I didn’t take anything from him and I even paid for my divorce. Everyone told me I should have taken him to the cleaners, but I wanted to move forward and didn’t want to fight. He had done enough damage to my heart. I received my divorce letter in the mail on Christmas Eve the next year. My gift that year to myself was going to social security and changing my name back to my maiden name, which was a positive close to a big chapter in my life. I felt like I was off to a fresh start.
But wait!! My story doesn’t end there. Actually, the best part is yet to come! I moved on to getting my dream job working for the Air Force as a federal civilian. I have been coined three times by high ranking military members, which I never thought would happen since they are extremely hard to get. I have received so much positive feedback from all my customers (in the form of formal ICE comments submitted to my director) about how I have made a difference in their lives and that I go “above and beyond”. I am an open book, and because of this, I have shared my divorce story with a lot of people and found out that many others I know have been struggling in silence with their marriage issues. They opened up to me and they were happy to know that there is hope and life doesn’t stop because of other’s choices, even though you feel as if your heart is breaking. I personally wouldn’t have gotten through it without my mom (Madre #8374) and my best friend (Claddagh #3508). Helping others is my main focus and I strive hard every day to make a positive impact, whether I’m helping train someone to reach a health and fitness goal or just being there to listen. My job is my life and I love it! It doesn’t get any better!
Along the way, I have met the man of my dreams and I must say, I didn’t know men like him still existed. He is a true gentleman! (Chivalry is not dead after all) He treats me like a queen (Queen of Hearts #8127). He is my rock, and we have so much in common. We both love to travel and have been seeing the world together (US Passport #3895). Our first big trip was to Salem, Massachusetts (Witch #2464) from there we have been to New York (NYC Skyline #6246), Mexico (Aztec Sun #2281) and our next big trip is to Italy. We are making plans to get married and even though my first marriage didn’t work out I’m looking forward to spending the rest of my life with this man (The Best is Yet to Be Hourglass #8345). I refuse to let my past ruin my future. So, you see, I am now stronger than I ever was and happier. I’m so thankful to have been able to share my story with you. I hope there’s someone out there who will relate to my story and rise from the ashes just like I did.
P.S. My ex-husband tried to come back…I said no!!!
– Ashley B., February Winner