Before I start the post, I want to let you know that today is a special day! It’s 20-Something Bloggers Blog Swap Day—meaning that someone else will be writing today’s post, and today, my words can be found over at The Happy Cactus. So, go check me out there, and in the meantime, leave Ari some love over here! Also, if you’re in your 20’s, and you blog, why haven’t you joined 20SB yet?! I mean, REALLY?! DO IT. Sign up now. Without further adieu, here’s Ari’s post:
Hello! I’m Ari from the Happy Cactus. I live north Alabama with my 2 yr. old German Shepherd, work as a graphic designer for a local independent newspaper, and up until recently was married. My life has taken an unexpected twist and so far, its been wonderful.
See, this is the first time in 26 (almost 27) years that I have ever lived alone and been accountable to only myself (and of course, my dog). I went to college in same city I grew up in, and naturally lived with my parents. I moved out of my mother’s house when I was 20 and into an apartment that I shared with two other girls. Unfortunately, that apartment was expensive and so I moved in with my then boyfriend, who later became my husband. I lived with him until this past February when I decided that my dog and I would be better off on our own. It was the hardest and most frightening decision that I have ever made. But here we are, on our own and doing great.
I was raised by very Southern (not to be confused with redneck) grandmother. She, my grandfather, and my mother always told me that I could do anything that I set my mind to; to always be confident in myself and my decisions; and how to be a strong woman. I kinda believed the first two but “being a strong woman” was never something that I thought I could do. Unfortunate for me, there were always people in my life working to undermine this lesson. First it was my stepfather who was verbally abusive; then a physically abusive boyfriend; and then my unhappy alcoholic ex-husband. So, being confident in myself is never something that came easily to me.
And then I made the decision to move out.
Suddenly I had a new found confidence. I realized that I really can do anything I set my mind to and I can do it without help. Before, while I was outgoing and confident with my friends, I was terribly shy with new people and at my job. Now, well, I’ve meet more new people in the past 2 months than I had met before then. I find its easier to open up and befriend people. I’m more confident in my job. And I’m actually acting like “myself” with my new boyfriend and not just trying to mold into the person he wants me to be. Our relationship has definitely benefited from this, as have my nerves. I don’t worry about saying the “wrong thing” or acting like the dork that I am. If he likes he likes; if he doesn’t then someone else will. Its incredibly exhilarating.
Also affected from my mental state before, was my appearance, my opinions, and my creative drive. I would never ever wear shorts much less a skirt, unless it came all the way to the floor. Now, I’m buying dresses and actually wearing them! For the first time in 9 yrs., I’m drawing again and getting into debates on art with friends. I have my voice back and that’s probably the best thing that has ever happened to me.
Now when I hear “nothing is impossible” I actually believe it. I’m finally a happy cactus.
A big thanks to Ari, for being so honest and contributing a great post. If you’ve read my story, you know how crazy it is that we were paired—it’s so reassuring to find others who’ve shared similar experiences. Don’t forget, I’m over here today!