Monday, December 18, 2017

#Microblog Mondays: The Upside

December 17th is a day that I'd just as soon forget, but it's important in the terms of remembering upsides.

See, on this day in 2005 I went volunteering for Camp Good Days at the mall, selling candy cane pens and kazoos, then went to a friend's house for cookie baking, and that is the point where my entire world was set on its end.

I was told the unpleasant truth that my husband of 5 years had been cheating on me for 3 1/2 years of our 5 year marriage, with not one but two people, and the sordid details were just horrific and I felt the relative safety of my denial shatter around me in tiny shards of HOLY SHIT MY LIFE IS OVER.

Except it wasn't.

That day was horrific at the time, and so painful, and I was afraid and relieved (he wasn't nice to me, which is an incredible understatement, and it makes me sad to this day that I felt I deserved the treatment I got and that cheating was my out, not just "I deserve more") all at the same time, but mostly devastated that my existence was suddenly turned upside down.


Looking back now, that was the turning point where I was set free to seek the life that I deserved, to find true happiness and love and respect and friendship and passion without contempt and little violences.

What was easily the worst day of my life at that time became the beginning of the best days of my life. Looking back, I thank my lucky stars for that day.

Even though it turned out that parenthood wasn't in the cards for me, I would far rather take my beautiful life with Bryce than what I had in the Before times, even if it came with a child. I am so fortunate, and that day is like an Independence Day of sorts.

Also, in related news, I found out on Saturday that I achieved my National Board Certification, which is a huge milestone in my teaching career and something I wasn't sure I'd manage.

The reason why is that the majority of my writing time was supposed to take place over April Break, and instead of buckling down to that intellectual, reflective work I found myself in a bit of a mental crisis and needing to take time to pull my ooey gooey pieces back together again. The timing was HORRIFIC. I wrote the majority of my papers for the last two components over Mother's Day weekend of all days, highly ironic since by then I knew that that was a holiday that would never be for me.

But I PASSED, and I passed not by a small margin. I killed it. I am proud, and feel like despite that being another worst time ever in my life, it made an achievement possible for me, one that is incredibly fulfilling and brings me joy.

I am not saying to be Pollyanna about pain, not at all. But just know that when it seems like the world is ending and your life won't ever be the same...maybe it's not the worst thing. Maybe it just means that something way better is heading your way.

Unfortunately I've had way too many opportunities to be the phoenix rising from the ashes in my life, but at the same time -- how much do I appreciate these accomplishments? My amazing marriage, my fulfilling life, my National Board certification as a special education teacher (only 3% of teachers nationwide hold this distinction in the U.S.) -- the upside is so, so good, and the pain I went through to get here only makes it sweeter.

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy! 


  1. Oh wow. Talk about a phoenix rising from the ashes, I think that really IS a valid description.

    Congratulations on the Board Certification! And congratulations on recognising that the pain was necessary - even though it sucks that it was necessary - to get where you wanted and needed to be.

    A wonderful, victorious post!

  2. I love, love this blog post. I'm so sorry you have had to go through so much pain to get to the happiness. But I hear you about the whole idea that the pain is not the end. There are times I wish I could go back to some terrible days and tell myself: "it won't be easy. It won't be pretty. But it will get better. I can't tell you how or when, but just hang in there." I'm bookmarking this post for when those bad days DO inevitably come for this reminder.

    And a HUGE congratulations on your National Board certification!!!! What an amazing accomplishment!

  3. Congrats on the National Board Certification! That's great! And very cool that you passed by a large margin.
    I'm sorry you had to go through that with your ex husband but you probably appreciate what you have with Bryce even more now I can image. It if definitely crazy how life can change completely and go in a whole other direction.

  4. Congratulations Jess!!! Seriously not surprised, but also know what an accomplishment this is under the best of circumstances, making it all the more awesome.

    I’ve been reflecting a lot on the worst and it really is true that those terrible circumstances can be the transition point. Often I wish it didn’t have to get so bad, but I also wouldn’t trade what has come out of it.

    Bravo and please go celebrate in the style only you and Bryce can do. Very deserved.

  5. Love this post. Not only the story of your Independence Day, but also your personal/professional triumph about the National Board Certification. Knowing that you nailed it amid all the turmoil....well, you are a hero.

  6. I've followed you for a long time but never commented--but as a fellow teaching I HAVE to congratulate you on National Boards. That is a BIG!!!! deal! Dena

  7. Congrats on your certification! And on being able to see both wonderful and awful days as part of your story.

    You and Bryce have such a beautiful relationship. <3

  8. So many congrats on your certification! That is a fantastic way to start off the holiday!!

  9. Congratulations on your National Board Certification as a Special Education Teacher!! Wonderful news and happy for you!!

    While our most devastating days leave their mark on our soul, it is helpful to gain that wonderful perspective from time that there were better days ahead. Unfortunately, I can also relate to the memory of when I found out my previous husband was cheating on me and with it came the realization so crystal clear that life as I knew it was going to be changed forever. It was crushing. But, life has a way. New experiences open up to you, new people come along you path and new dreams are formed. Happiness and fulfillment can once again be achieved and lived.

    Happy for you on your many life victories! To carve a new path and make a new happy!

  10. Big congratulations on your board certification!! That is really quite an accomplishment!

    What's that old story about how just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, s/he became a butterfly? We never know when that moment will come, or how long it's going to take, or how much crap we have to wade through to get there. But a different life is possible -- you've shown that time & time again! <3