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Happily Ever (long) After

In today’s world of highlight reels and perfectly curated Instagram feeds, it’s easy to put on a front like you have it all, it all came easy and exactly how and when it was supposed to. Oh, and in the right order. That’s also super important. But I’m here in this space to tell you that is not reality. That’s not my reality, anyway.

I started dating my first husband when I was 20 years old. We got married at 22 years old because that’s just what I thought you do. You marry the sweet guy that you’ve been dating a few years as soon as you can, even if their dreams do not match yours in any way. We had our baby girl, Charlotte, a few years later in 2012 and that’s when things started to really become obvious that we were not on the same page. We got divorced in 2014. I was surprised with divorce papers at my work and I spent the great part of 2014 in utter grief and denial that *this* was my life. That my picture perfect ideal of family and marriage and life weren’t that. I dated losers, sold my home that I bought at 20 with my own credit and my own money, moved into a duplex that was way too expensive and too much space for me and my 1 year old daughter… all in a way to try and cope with what my new normal was.

My ex husband and I ended up getting back together in late 2015. We tried to make it work for almost another year and it became very apparent that all the reasons we didn’t work in the first place were still there. We didn’t want the same things. I wanted to be remarried, I wanted more babies, I wanted to dream and travel and actually participate in my life and he was very much okay with the status quo. We ended things again in late 2016. At the time I was in between jobs, trying to start my first blog (a marketing niche blog that was so dull I quickly gave up on it) and I was just in a place of saddness. I was sad that I was almost 30, divorced, that I hadn’t had any siblings for my sweet 4 year old little girl, and that this life I had dreamt for myself… that I had spent my early 20s building was just not anything like I had hoped it would be.

I feel like if you’re going to be taken seriously in this space, if you’re going to be a thought leader… or have anyone trust what you have to say, you have to be real and honest. So, to be completely honest, soon after my ex husband and I broke up, I went on a date with a guy that I met on the internet and we hooked up. We talked for a little while and it was all fun but he was absolutely not life partner material. However, 2 weeks after that first date, I found out I was pregnant. Isn’t that just ironic? Or crazy… I’m not sure exactly still to this day what words I have to describe it but at the time I was shocked. I was shocked because I had always had 28 day cycles. I went off birth control the previous January when I was dating my ex husband again after we had talked about possibly having more kids. Of course that never went anywhere but a year later, the birth control was completely out of my system. When I hooked up with this guy I was on day 27 of my 28 day cycle and everything I knew about reproduction told me that there was no way I would get pregnant. Well, here I was… 3 months out from my break up with my husband, in a brand new to a job, still figuring out my place in the world again and I was pregnant. I was terrified. I was so happy to have another baby but I was terrified. That guy ended up bailing around week 12. I haven’t heard from him in 2 years. I now have a beautiful almost 2 year old girl named Eloise and she is everything I hoped and dreamed of. I always wanted a sister for Charlotte and, although the circumstances were absolutely crazy and the road was very hard, I wouldn’t change a thing.

When Eloise was about 6 months old, Brandon, a friend of mine from High School, asked me on a date. I had a crush on him in High School drama class, he was 3 years older than me, and he later reminded me (because apparently I can’t remember something that happened 15 years ago) that I kissed him at my 16th birthday. We went on a date, he treated me better than I’ve ever been treated before in my life. He proposed to me 3 months later and we were married on New Years Eve 2018… just 8 months after we started dating. He is adopting Eloise, he literally saved me in more ways that I can even list, and we work every day to better ourselves, to love each other well, and to accomplish dreams I never even knew were within reach.

I’m the Marketing Director for a Salon and Beauty Retail chain in the Midwest. I run their social media, along with all aspects of their marketing, and I get to try out all kinds of fun new beauty products before anyone else. I’ve always enjoyed finding new ways to better my life, new recipes, and I’ve always been interested in hair, make up, style and anything that gives me confidence to take on the world. With this man in my life, and these girls as my sweet reminders that I can do and be anything, I’ve decided to re-try this whole blogging thing. But this time I’m going to talk about things I’m actually interested in, and things that I hope will inspire you!

I look up at these paragraphs and paragraphs of words and I realize that your typical lifestyle blogger would keep all of this to themselves. How can someone look up to you when you’ve lived a non-conventional life style? How can people aspire to be just like you if your picture of family is different than the “American Dream”. Well I don’t want to be your typical lifestyle blogger. I want to be honest, and real, and show you that any of us can literally do anything we set our minds to. We are not statistics, we’re not failures… happiness doesn’t occur after you’ve checked all of the boxes exactly in the right order. It happens when you love yourself and know that you are not defined by the things you’ve worked hard to overcome.

Not all of my posts will be this deep and lengthy, but I appreciate you for sticking through the novel. Now let’s have some fun. xo

My literal knight in shining armor, Brandon. Photos by Katie Carlson Photography.
Our sweet Eloise Carloline. The tiniest flower girl.
I might have been more than a little jealous of this princess dress Charlotte wore.

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