I am not afraid.

I write this from a deck chair, in my bikini, hat, and sunglasses, overlooking meadow and water. I’m two days into a two-week vacation with Liam. One of the things I’ve most enjoyed about being single is I can plan whatever vacation time I want. I rented a house on the ocean and it’s been bliss so far. I’m working on my bikini tan lines and getting used to having my middle exposed to the sun and the world (here, the world is defined as some cattle who are on the property next door, some seagulls, and a weathered old woman neighbor).

I booked this trip when Will was still away, so asking for two weeks solid with his child wasn’t an issue. Now that he’s back, I have Liam these two weeks, and the last two weeks of August he’ll be with his Dad. His Dad who just came back from a 10 day trip with Colleen and her two girls and their nanny but for some reason didn’t bring Liam along. It would have been a trip he could remember forever.

But giving him those memories has fallen to me, at least so far.

My Mom and Step-Dad are with us this week, then on the weekend my half-brother (my Father’s son) and his fiance are coming to visit. She leaves on Tuesday and then it’s just me, my half-brother, and Liam. Liam adores his uncle, who at 25 is not quite as parental and grown up as I am, and who is still a ton of fun.

::

My Mom borrowed my car last week. Given their financial difficulties she and my step dad share a car, and he left a week ago to drive to our destination.

I don’t drive much during the week, so it wasn’t an issue at all. I’m happy to help her out where I can. But Friday morning I had booked an appointment with my esthetician. I see her every four to six weeks and she waxes my eyebrows and tints my eyelashes. She used to wax my bikini line as well but it destroyed my skin. The scars have just faded.

That morning I realized – oh shit, I have no way to get to see her. It’s a very long ride by public transportation. Taking a taxi seemed excessive. I had this realization at my kitchen island and then looked to see my beautiful red bike against a wall.

Could I – gasp – BIKE there?

Before I could talk myself out of it I decided that was exactly what I was going to do. I got out my bike path map to figure out the best way to get there. Having lived there all my life, I know my city pretty damn well, but I was slightly anxious about being on a bike on roads I’ve only ever driven on before.

I planned my route, poured the rest of my latte down my throat, put on my helmet, and took off.

I knew there would be a hill somewhere. Of course, it was the last street of my ride, which turned out to be about 25 minutes. I know for cyclists like Will Carrier, this is nothing. But for me, this was a first. I had taken Liam out around a huge cemetery near our house, but that was different. I can’t think of the last time, if ever, I’ve used a bike as a method of transportation (versus leisure). And I’m not exactly in shape.

I saw the hill, put myself into first gear, and said – perhaps out loud “don’t be such a pussy Ann. You can do this. Do NOT get off this bike and walk it up the hill.”.

You know what? I did it. Slowly, but I did it. I didn’t care that there were people in their cars as I went by. I smiled at the cyclist going the other way who gave me a big smile. I got to the top of the hill, locked my bike, and walked into the salon. I could barely get down the stairs to the treatment room but I did it.

And afterwards, I got to go down that mother-fucking hill and it felt great. I found an urban trail I’d missed on my way up. I zipped over curbs and rocks and wondered why this seemed so different from a route I took once with Will, where I was cautious and nervous and out of breath.

I am not afraid anymore.

The thought came quickly into my head and got stuck. I spent the rest of my ride thinking about my last seventeen years. I realized that in the two years after becoming single, I am not afraid anymore.

I’m going to take my size 14 ass and get on that gorgeous red bike and go over potholes and curbs. I’m going to wear my orange bikini (no, not while riding) and work at not caring about my stretch marks and jiggly middle.

I’m going to do what I want, love who makes me happy, invest in my friendships, take care of my parents, and create lasting memories for my child.

I’m going to live.

53 thoughts on “I am not afraid.

    • Thank you. Living the shit out of my life has been pretty rewarding so far. I have a tattoo I see every day (which I got last year) which reminds me to live so that I don’t look back five or ten years from now and say “if only”. So far it’s working… there is more pain than if I hadn’t tried at all, but I wouldn’t change my approach for anything.

      And yes, I do agree with you that the example we set for our children around this stuff is super important.

  1. GOOD FOR YOU!
    I just wrote something along those lines, about how I’m battling with sadness at the moment, but I know I’ll overcome, because I have let go of a huge load that was weighing me down during my marriage. One day I’ll manage to get around on my bike again. But at least I try to do as much by foot as I can, which is easier in Europe!
    Enjoy your vacation Ann. I’ll be working on my bikini tan lines tomorrow afternoon I think… 🙂

    • Good for you too my dear. I hope one day we can toast each other’s progress 🙂

      I have seen so many people who never seem to move forward. They divorce and stay stuck in the past and old behaviours. I have the freedom to make my own decisions now so couldn’t bear to not take advantage of it.

      It’s not easy, but I’m determined to do it.

      • Oh, yes, I know a few of these people. My mom and my ex amongst them. Ok, I wouldn’t say my mom hasn’t moved forward, but it took her more than 15 years to move past the resentment and start to live her life. She’s not there yet completely, but at least I see some progress.
        As for the ex… he jumped right back into a relationship. And considering how he’s behaving with me, I doubt he’s changed his ways much! As long as he is in the revenge mode, trying to make me pay for the hurts I made him endure, I don’t see how he can move forward towards living he life he deserves. Oh well… his problem now, not mine (except the revenge stuff of course, still my problem until we’re really divorced 🙁 ).
        You’re so much further ahead than me in that regard. Probably because you were not financially dependent on him when you got divorced. Sigh! Ok, going to write my post then hopefully go to sleep 🙂

        • I do hope that Will is happier in his current relationship (coming up 2 years now!) but I don’t know how much he’s changed. Perhaps she’s just a better fit for him. It’s what I hope for him – to be happy and feel loved.

          And yes, I know I was fortunate to only need a one time payment to be able to buy my condo – and he paid me from the equity we had built up in our house, which he kept. I know it’s not many women who are able to have that financial freedom and it made things much easier for us in being able to move quickly with our divorce.

          I’m sorry that it’s different for you 🙁

          • You know, I hope for my ex that he is happier in his new relationship. But the fact he refuses to see he was unhappy in the old one doesn’t bode well. Also, I have reason to believe that he was already with this lady for Valentine’s day last year, that is less than two months after I moved out… Now my kids know her and her kids. I have no problem with the second half of the timeline. If they have indeed been together over a year, it makes sense the kids know about her. But that he got involved so soon after we separated and… well, I don’t know. I don’t think he’s taken any time to step back and look where things went wrong with us.
            The financial dependency was part of the abuse in my marriage. The less money I had, the more difficult it was for me to break free. Also, the easier it was to make me feel like we didn’t have that much money to begin with, when we really had plenty!
            The fact that I put my career on hold to accommodate his is what is really difficult right now. I will never be able to get those 18 years back.
            But it’s OK. It’s a choice I made as well, he didn’t coerce me into it, so I’ll accept the consequences. As long as he does too 😉
            I’ll be fine. Eventually. (can you see that this is a Pep-talk of sorts? Sigh!).
            Hugs!

  2. I love this post! I’m at a similar place post-divorce and I’m tired of bring afraid. Most of the time I’m not anymore, but reading this post reminds me to be strong. I might even wear a bikini when I go to the beach soon for my vacation!

    BTW, it’s so sad that your ex excluded your son from vacation. That’s exactly the kind of asshole move my ex makes all the time. My kids hate that he puts his new wife before them. My heart breaks for innocent children who get hurt by clueless, selfish or angry divorced parents.

    • Yes Holly… mine hurts for these kids too. Mine being part of them :-/
      Though my ex goes about it in a different way: he starved me so much I couldn’t afford a vacation, and took the kids to a nice place, one that I’ll probably never be able to afford… though I’m not sure I’d want to.
      The only thing is, he is taking them with all their cousins and families. After 3 weeks together, I think they’re all going to be willing to rip each other’s throats! I know, it used to be like that, except I was the one responsible of making the kids behave! Now, he’ll have to deal with it himself.
      Knowing him, it’ll just be a “Well, I’m sure it’s nothing, can’t you see I’m busy having drinks right now?” which is sure to settle things for my kids 😉

    • Thanks Holly. You should be strong and I know you can get there…I’m rooting for you! 🙂

      I’m not really sure why my ex excluded Liam. I will ask him his rationale when I get the opportunity. With him the timing has to be right. He’s usually pretty good about these things so it was a mystery to me.

    • Thank you Tara. I’ve been living my life like this for a while now but at times there are real reminders of how far I’ve come – like a bikini and a bike ride. It feels amazing… Glad to hear you’ve been there too!

  3. Ann, I am so proud of you! Without hesitation (meaning: not allowing time for second guessing), you climbed aboard your bicycle an pedaled! I also love how you faced your hill…which is a lovely metaphor for how we should be living our lives. You faced the beast, kept yourself pointed upward and convinced yourself to make it to the top! It is a thing of beauty!

    The first ride that I went out on (in getting back on the bike following years of couch-pedaling), I used my powers of topographical knowledge and hill avoidance to keep my routes as flat as possible. My size (then) 54 ass just wanted to complete a ride without stopping…which I did. Today, my size 32 ass seeks out category climbs of hundreds of feet (8-15% grades) to see how fast I can kill them. Yes, I am a fast cyclist however, there is always someone faster…except for climbs…I always pass the fastest cyclists on the hills.

    Keep riding! My bike is my therapist, coach, trainer and nature – interface device all wrapped up into one carbon fiber package. Oh…and mine is red, too. Loud and red!

    I am proud of you, Ann! Just keep pedaling!

    • Thank you Will. It is a good analogy and I didn’t even think about it like that as explicitly.

      I know you’ve done amazingly well with your cycling and while I don’t have the same drive to get to where you are… it’s a nice thing to at least feel like I can go where I want when I want. And maybe have a smaller ass in the process 🙂

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