The past few weeks have been crazy for both Adam and me. A little over a month back we had been staying at Adam’s parents’ home in Oregon. They live in a super small town called Sweet Home that is in the foothills of the Cascades and I absolutely love it there. Sleeping in the middle of a rainy forest is like heaven compared to the noisy, congested Seattle area. (Can you tell I’m not much of a city person?)
Anyway, we were home for a gender reveal party, where we found out that Adam’s brother will be having a baby boy! The first Cheek boy. It was a wonderful weekend, but for some reason I had a bad feeling about…something. We woke up Sunday morning after getting a beautiful night’s rest in the country and I plugged my dead cell phone in so I could start charging it. I was enjoying my time away from it. As soon as it powered up, I noticed that I had lots of missed calls and text messages from my mother, brother, and sister.
I called my mom immediately and she broke the news to me:
My father had decided to leave our family to have an exclusive relationship with his coworker.
I felt equally crushed and relieved-which is hard to explain. I guess when you’ve been feeling like something “just isn’t right” your whole life, a revelation like this can be a bit of a sigh of relief. I think I just could sense for a long time that my father wasn’t happy. It didn’t seem like one thing made him this way, just an overall disconnect from what could make him happy and fulfilled. I honestly have no idea what those things would be for him, which makes me sad. I feel like I never really got to know my father even though I wanted to so badly. At this point, I feel like so much would have to transpire for me to be ready to receive him into my life again. I’m furious at him for what he did to my mother. I have never met another woman that put so much of herself into making other people happy. She would have done anything for him, but that didn’t matter.
I have learned a lot from this experience, even though we are still very much in the thick of navigating this new life of ours. I see that my parents often put our happiness ahead of their own. They wanted so badly to be the best parents they could be. My dad works at what I would consider one of the worst jobs in the world in terms of stress and just unpleasantness, as a correctional officer. I assume he took that job because it pays relatively well and gave him the means to provide our family with a comfortable American lifestyle. We had whatever toys/video games/pets…anything we wanted as kids. My parents would find a way to get it for us. It sounds so cliché but I remember even saying as a child, “but I don’t care about getting things, I want to spend time with you!” This was even harder when my mom was forced to work evenings so that we could keep up on our bills. This lifestyle made it so none of us could spend much time together, and when we were together, my parents were exhausted (both physically and mentally).
I remember being 19 and reflecting on marriage and children and thinking, NO WAY! I equated marriage and children with stress and anxiety and working at a job you hate. At 26 and after experiencing all of this, marriage can absolutely be miserable. Having children can absolutely suck even though you love them more than life itself and would die for them. But I also realize that this unhappiness will always turn into something more horrible later in life. We MUST live a life that fulfills us. We must align ourselves with causes/careers/hobbies that make our heart sing. Trudging through life just doing the things you think you are “supposed to do” doesn’t work. Let my family be an example! I NEVER thought my parents would get divorced. They fought, yes. But they had each other’s backs and loved each other, even if it wasn’t super cheesy romantic love. I firmly believe that unhappiness and prescribing to the Standard American Lifestyle is what made my family unit crumble. To me, the Standard American lifestyle means:
Eating processed foods.
Eating meat/dairy/eggs .
Working at a job you hate for “security”.
Working at a job you hate/tolerate for money.
Buying things you can’t afford because you think they will make you happy because working at that miserable job certainly doesn’t.
Watching propaganda like Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, etc. in all of your hours outside of work, just to remind you that the world is ugly and everyone else is lazy/racist/a government leech/hates women, etc.
Buying things on credit.
Drinking tap water that is contaminated with fluoride, chlorine, etc.
Going to college and racking up a shit ton of debt for an imaginary job (ME!)
Drinking lots of alcohol/smoking lots of weed to numb your pain cause this life is pointless
Taking prescription drugs to regulate your mood without also seeking counseling/therapy. (Finding a quick fix)
Committing to stay in a relationship with someone that isn’t willing to grow with you.
The list could go on and on.
I feel as my health is improving that I am starting to see this world for what it really is. Right after Micah died, I felt totally compelled to get a tattoo with a shortened version of the Albert Einstein quote:
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
I didn’t know why it was so important to me at the time, other than the fact that Micah’s death completely shattered the illusion of time for me, but that is an entirely different post…
What I have discovered is that he reality that we create for ourselves is entirely of our making. The things that we think are important are important because we think they are! We give things power in our lives by focusing on them. Adam and I spend so much time discussing these ideas, and he has helped me in ways that I cannot even put into words when it comes to getting through all of this. I now have a feeling of such optimism for the future. My mom can create a reality of being the professional baking, animal loving, nurturing woman she has always wanted to be. We can all choose to value our love for each other and spending time with friends and family over other supposed “obligations” that make us unhappy. We can eat the foods that give us clarity and HEAL our bodies and keep our circulatory system healthy and strong. We can avoid buying items that cause the direct suffering of other living beings because all suffering affects us. Period.
I am so ready for the future and for all of us to follow our path to happiness.
I hope that you will join us.