October 13, 2014
This is the first in a series of guest posts- personal stories of overcoming fear, called Courageous Unicorns. The unicorn is a magical creature that only shows up in our lives when we allow ourselves to believe. Then you find them everywhere. Our very first story is a gorgeous woman I met through Crossfit, she is a teacher and a mother and I started following her blog. I began to recognize what a strong, courageous woman she is and she has an amazing story for you about starting over from scratch. Introducing to you, Cicily Bilecki.
“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.”
It took a really long time to get here. Six years to be exact. That is when everything in my life changed. This is when I decided that I would turn my life’s “The End” into my own “Once Upon a Time”; writing a whole new chapter in my life.
My story began on Christmas on 2008, when I accidentally discovered that my husband, at the time, was having multiple affairs during his deployment overseas. I didn’t understand how the man that I had loved, since I was fifteen years old, could commit the ultimate of betrayals. I felt like I was in a living nightmare.
“What am I going to do?! I have a small baby. How could he do this to our family?”
I was alone, devastated, depressed, confused, overwhelmed and overcome with fear. My picture perfect life wasn’t so picture perfect after all. We were living a lie, I just woke up to it. Once an officer’s wife and a high school sweetheart, I was now facing life as a single mother, who was afraid that my life was over. Little did I know at the time, it was just the beginning of the life I was meant to live.
I can’t believe I have been on my own for almost six years now. I made the choice to leave behind hurt, sadness and a failed marriage. Within a blink of an eye, my nearly twenty year relationship had come to a sudden end. Enduring a divorce is something I would not wish on my worst enemy. It is gut wrenching, financially devastating and leaves permanent scars. Simultaneously it was the worst and best event to happen in my life.
There are moments when I look back at old photographs and I don’t even recognize myself. It’s as if the woman in all those images was a stranger. There is no other way to explain it, but to say that for the first time in my life I am so grateful for this experience. I feel present and so alive. I can’t say I ever felt like this before. My husband’s midlife crisis and affairs were the catalysts of change that propelled me into the person that I am today.
It wasn’t an easy decision to file for divorce. I actually begged my husband to work it out and that I would be willing to work through his affairs. We could go to marriage counseling, talk with our chaplain, quit my job and move our family overseas. Whatever it would take to keep our family together. In hindsight, I realize it was just my desperation and grief talking. It didn’t matter because his foot was already out the door. He didn’t love me. He never did.
After a month of serious contemplation, on my 32nd birthday I went to a family law attorney to file for divorce. I had never been so scared in my life. I didn’t know how I would be able to afford the $30,000 attorney fees, raise a baby all by myself in Hawaii and get through this traumatic life experience. I had hit rock bottom.
I made a decision early on that I wouldn’t allow the divorce to turn me into a bitter person. Even though everyone told me to crucify him with his military career and take him for all he is worth, I knew I couldn’t do this. Not because I hated him or still loved him, but I knew I couldn’t do that to my son’s father.
I could have made him pay for all the pain he caused me, but that would have been selfish and frankly too easy. However, we had a beautiful son that I had to think about. I had to think of their relationship years down the road. I never wanted to taint their father and son relationship. I knew I would have to be selfless. I am glad I chose the latter, because I see the fruits of my decision now in their close relationship. My son loves his daddy and that is all that matters to me.
Even to this day, we have maintained a healthy and positive relationship for our son. I know that isn’t always the case for other families, but I take pride in how we work together to ensure our son is loved and cared for by both his parents. A few years ago, my ex asked me why I was so kind to him, after all that he had done to me.
“It’s forgiveness,“ was all I could come up with.
Don’t get me wrong, my divorce has had its share of growing pains. We are exes for a reason. We have very different personalities. It takes time to navigate your way into this new relationship. It isn’t easy at first, but given time, you find your way to what works for you. I continue to learn from my divorce, as our lives move on, spouses remarry and families blend. It is an emotional rollercoaster. One which I never expected or could have imagined in my wildest dreams. Life is weird like that.
Just the other day, I was holding my son’s newborn half-brother and I was thinking to myself just how my life is so surreal. At the end of my marriage, I was trying to have another baby, but then life completely changed. I am no longer sad for my lost marriage or the second baby I never had. I have finally reached a place in my life where I can be genuinely happy for my ex-husband, his new wife and new baby. Maybe a second baby will be in my future? Who knows? I am just learning to go with the flow of life.
Even wilder, I am often surprised of the woman I have become. When I decided to overcome my fears of the unknown or of being alone, I discovered that there was a great big world for me to explore. Once a woman, who was utterly dependent on her husband, now I have grown into an adventurous soul who has traveled solo all around the world, has become self-sufficient, who isn’t afraid to live her life and has learned to love herself unconditionally. Like I said earlier, it took me a really long time to get here.
Many people often ask me how I am able to have such a positive outlook and how was I able to face my fears. The answer is quite simple. FAITH. Despite how divorce turned my life completely upside down, I had great faith that God was using this experience to mold me into a better person.
Trust me, I have made a lot of mistakes! Yet, I don’t beat myself up because I know I am only human, God has my back and I can wipe the slate clean every day.
We are not put on Earth to be perfect. We are here to learn and grow. I have learned so much over the past six years and that process is never ending. This is the beautiful part of life.
God has taught me about forgiveness, joy, peace, faithfulness, hope, grace and the true definition of love. Had I not gone through my divorce, I wouldn’t have gained these valuable lessons.
I have carried the scripture Jeremiah 29:11 with me over the years and it is what sustains me during the most difficult of times. “For I know the plans I have for you, says THE LORD. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
Six years ago, if you had told me I would become a writer, CrossFitter, runner or traveled from Bali to Paris, I would have called you absolutely crazy. I use to always play it safe, but now live my life however I want. It was all in God’s great big plan for me. All I needed to do to was have faith and trust it would all work out.
Guess what? It did.
I never gave up and I never will. Good plans are ahead. However, you have to take the first step. Don’t allow fear to paralyze you. Allow it to be your catalyst for positive changes in your life.
Find Cicily Here:
The Cicily Diaries
Want more? Subscribe to our blog and look forward to more stories of courage and bravery.
Want to see your own story here? Send me a message and we’ll set it up!
Don’t forget to leave Cicily some love in the comments below!
If you need help getting started starting over, give me a call at (808)343-4279, schedule an appointment or email me to set up your free consultation. You’ll leave with a plan whether we work together or not. Don’t wait!