A letter to my younger self on her wedding day.

Dear Alice,

Life is about to get really crazy. You may not understand every step along the way, but know that each and every step is a step you must take on the journey to finding your true self.
This may be just a small blip on your life journey, but you are going to learn so much about who you are and the things you really want out of life. At times, it's going to be difficult. It's going to almost break you. You'll think you are going crazy, and be grateful when your therapists and psychiatrist are there to help you stay grounded.
Many will think you are making a mistake, but they won't say anything until it's too late.
You wouldn't listen anyway.
Love has a way of blinding us to what's really going on.
In a few months, you will start to see the true colors of the people around you, but you'll blame yourself for all of the problems. The drinking, the fighting, the mind games, and the lack of intimacy. You'll keep quiet about these problems to those you love the most, because you don't want them to worry. I wish you would speak up and tell someone what's going on, but you're stubborn and I know you will try to make it work, no matter what.
I wish you didn't have to go through this. I wish I could tell you not to do it.
But I can't.
Because without this experience in your life, I wouldn't have the life we both dream of. I promise you every bit of pain will be worth it.
In the end, you will be stronger and ready for the future.
Stay strong through it all, and know that the future is going to be amazing.
This may not be your forever, but for right now never hurt anyone.
One day, you will find the man who will love you through your worst moments, but in order to find him, you have to go through this. This is how you will find your way back home.
Enjoy the good times, hold those babies tight and give them extra kisses while you can. Don't stress about the small stuff. It really won't matter whether the dishes are done every night or the meals are made from scratch.
Remember that the bad times will end, and you will survive this. 

Looking back, I wish someone had been there to tell me to really think it through. Is this really the life you want to live? But hindsight is 20/20 and I would have probably done it anyway.

I haven't acknowledged my wedding anniversary publicly in a while. It hasn't been necessary or felt right, given my current relationship status. But today is/would have been a big day.

The 10th anniversary.

I was 22 the day we said I do, and became a full time stay at home stepmom to 3 amazing kids, that I miss every single day. I won't say I was too young, because I believe that love is love and age is not a deciding factor. But I was not ready for the role I was stepping into. Wife, stepmother, daughter in law, sister in law, military spouse... just to name a few.

I thought I had found my forever. An instant family that was everything I had ever wanted. Instead, I found myself navigating depression, anxiety, and the rocky roads of parenthood. Unexpectedly and suddenly. We were engaged for a week before we said our vows. It all happened so fast.
When I look back on that time in my life, I remember all of the good times, but I also remember the reasons why our marriage ended in demise. The lessons I learned that I carry with me today, even if it feels like another lifetime.

10 lessons I learned from marrying the wrong man at a young age.

1. I loved being a wife.

I always dreamed of being a homemaker and having a partner in life. Even after getting divorced, I knew I wanted it more.

2. The perfect homemaker doesn't exist.

The messy days fade from your memory, but the days spent arguing over chores don't.

3. Be responsible about finances.

The stress of seeing the bank account negative every single month is unforgettable. Playing debit card roulette is a crazy way to "budget". Live within your means.

4. Seek help when you need it.

I saw two therapists weekly and a psychiatrist monthly throughout most of my marriage. I had no clue what my worth was, and I didn't value myself. It took a long time to heal from this, but I sought professional help when I knew there was something wrong.

5. Be partners in your relationship.

Divided we fall. It’s hard to be partners when you feel like everyone is against you, but remember your partner should always be that, a partner. '

While I have not yet remarried, I know I will. And I am so glad to know that the second chance I got was to find the man who will be a true partner in my life. The one thing my first marriage was missing.

6. Love with all of your heart.

In the end, if you love with all of your heart and give it everything you have, you'll have nothing to regret.

7. When it's time to move on, do it.

I held on too long after the end of my marriage. It took me longer to heal, longer to refind myself and prolonged the heartache. I wish I would have made a clean break, instead of trying to win him back.

8. Be the partner you would want to have.

Our divorce was not the fault of just one person. It was a combination of many things. I could only see the things he didn't do that I needed. Looking back, I wasn't the partner he needed either.

9. Choose to love your partner every single day.

Love isn't an overwhelming feeling we experience like fairytales would have you believe. It's a choice we make every single day. Wake up and choose to love your partner, for all that they are.

10. No matter how hard you try, sometimes it's just not meant to work.

Every journey we take in life is important. Without those journeys, we wouldn't end up where we are meant to be. It taught me more about myself and ultimately put me on the path to meeting the man I was meant to share my life with. 


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