My husband was leading a double life. How I fell apart, then found strength.

One woman's story of finding strength during divorce and deceit.

A few weeks after giving birth to my first baby, I was wracked with pain to the point that I could barely move.

Swinging my legs, one after another, out of bed took nearly all my willpower. This pain had nothing to do with the physical stress of childbirth or the stitches still holding my swollen private area together.

This pain came from a place so deep within me that I could not determine where the pain ended and I began. We were intertwined. It was all-consuming.


It felt as if half of my DNA had been ripped out of my body and I was left with a dangling half-strand.

Until that moment, I hadn't realized that my husband had become a part of me. Now, in his absence, I felt an emptiness where he had been. I knew I would never be whole again.

In “Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind,” psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman and writer Carolyn Gregoire explore what happens in the aftermath of a traumatic event:

“The more we are shaken, the more we must let go of our former selves and assumptions, and begin again from the ground up. ... Rebuilding can be an incredibly challenging process. ... It can be grueling, excruciating, and exhausting. But it can open the door to a new life.”

I know that door.

I found out my husband was leading a double life almost immediately after I gave birth to my daughter.

There was another girlfriend, and a secret credit card. Then other women started to come forward.

I was suddenly on my own with a newborn baby. I grieved him, and the future I thought we would have together, like a death.

Photo from me, used with permission.

While these have been without a doubt the most difficult months of my life, there was also something incredibly freeing in being ripped to shreds and then rebuilding myself piece by piece.

I told my therapist that everything seemed somehow clearer. “I feel like the human interactions I do have are very genuine now. I used to make kind of superficial small talk a lot, and I don’t do that anymore. I can’t really explain it. I just feel like I see people now.”

She told me that these moments of clarity are made possible precisely because you no longer have room for a lot of the crap you used to spend so much time thinking about. You are stripped clean.

You’ve always possessed this power. Maybe you just never knew how to access it.

Before experiencing trauma, I cared very much what people thought of me, from close family and friends to strangers. I had trouble making decisions because I wanted to please everyone. Even navigating a grocery store could be stressful — all those strangers silently observing and judging me.

Then, for months, I was trapped in my own body, forced to sit in the pain. Let me be clear. When I say “sit in the pain” I mean not running into someone else’s arms, not getting sloshed every night, and not hiding behind work.

Being trapped in my body meant that I couldn’t run from the darkness or try to do whatever it took to feel “good” again.

We humans naturally try to avoid feelings of discomfort — especially today, when instant gratification is just a click away on social media or a swipe away on an online dating app, when endorphins can be produced and manipulated simply by picking up an iPhone. People are even less likely to be still. To just feel.

But as I sat in my pain, I slowly started to trust my own intuition. I became grounded in a very clear sense of self.

When you begin to truly trust and like yourself, you tap into an immense amount of power.

Photo by me, used with permission.

You’ve always possessed this power. Maybe you just never knew how to access it. You find a power within yourself that’s like an anchor, freeing you from a lot of life’s insecurities that seemed so important before.

Dr. Sharon Dekel says, “Post-traumatic growth can be defined as a workable coping mechanism, a way of making and finding meaning involved in the building of a more positive self-image and the perception of personal strength."

The other side of pain is not comfort, or health, or well-being. It is truth.

When this truth comes pouring in, you begin to see all the grimy layers of protection lift away, and you discover that your journey has just begun. You begin to let the light in and, what’s more, you begin to seek out the light.

One morning I woke up and had a sudden realization. The thought entered my mind like a lightning bolt:

“You were always whole to begin with.”

So as much as I sometimes want to scream and rage at my ex-husband, I also want to thank him. I want to thank him for forcing me to become the person I was always meant to be, for showing me that I am a fighter and that I will never give up.

But most importantly, I thank him for allowing me to become this person before my daughter ever knew anyone else.

You can read more about Jen's journey in her memoir "A Beautiful, Terrible Thing: A Memoir of Marriage and Betrayal."

More
Youtube

Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

Most Shared
via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

Keep Reading Show less
Family