The Truth

I’ve wanted to be more vulnerable for a very long time and share a part of my story that I’ve kept hidden from you. And as much as I love the idea of it and the possibility for a deeper connection with those of you in the audience that I have, it scares the sh*t out of me. When you put out into the world the stuff you’ve kept inside, you open up the opportunity for judgment. And that’s where I feel a little weary. But if I know anything, it’s that I can process my emotions. I can feel anything because I have. AND people’s opinions are theirs and I can’t control them. Letting go of that is the only way I can step out and share my story.

The thoughts that kept me from sharing are these, “I’m afraid if I tell you the truth, you’ll think I don’t live in integrity with what I teach. I’m worried that you’ll think I’m a fraud, a bad coach, a total sham.”

The thought that gave me the courage to share with you more behind the scenes of my life is this one from Mark Butler:

“I’ve come this far. Come with me for the rest of the way.”

So, here we go.

For almost a year, my husband and I have been separated and have recently started the process of getting divorced.

What led to this decision and the details from my relationship won’t be shared in this post. Maybe a little in the book I’m writing, but definitely not here. Not today. I’ll share a bit about my side of the story but that’s all I’m comfortable sharing.

I have lived my worst-case scenario over the last year. I made the decision to leave my marriage. I moved away from a city I loved, from my friends, from my life, and moved in with my parents in my hometown at 29 years old. I never planned to move back home. I had nothing but my clothes, some books, some trinkets, my dog, and my computer. A month later, I moved in with my younger brother. I started my life completely over.

I left our beautiful home that I had spent the last year and a half decorating and making ours. I left all of the material stuff that I thought helped make my life intentional behind. The gorgeous furniture, the light-filled space, the things that we had collected over the years, the styled bookshelves, the perfect patio that I loved sitting out on every morning. I learned quickly that none of that stuff made my life intentional. I truly had it all wrong. I thought that if things were styled perfectly and my home was beautiful enough for Instagram, that it meant I was a picture of what an intentional life could be. That’s not the case at all. Stripping it all away taught me that.

I got a job, I kept working on my business and growing it, I served my clients, I paid off some student loan debt, I quit drinking, I dealt with some tough family stuff, I traveled back and forth to Greenville what feels like 1 million times, I shared some wonderful experiences with friends, I let go of every other business and side hustle I had, I quit my job, I invested more in myself than I ever have before and went all-in on my coaching business.

I cried out to God begging Him to help me understand this, I begged Him to help me know for sure that this was what I was supposed to be doing, I lacked clarity, I gained clarity, I repeated that cycle so many times. I fell head over heels back in love with the man I left. Not that I ever completely fell out of love, but I experienced a new kind of love, a deep love that I hadn’t felt before, even after all of the hardship. We considered working it all out, we talked about every option, and ultimately, I chose to go with my original decision. I’m not going to speak for him. I’m only sharing my experience here.

This process has been the most gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, and growth-filled journey of my entire life. Who I am today is because I went through this and fully embraced every emotion along the way. It took me a while to fully process some of those emotions, but I committed to experiencing them all and I’m glad I did.

There’s grieving the relationship, the friendship, the life you once had, the home you created together, the years of memories that only you share. There’s anger, frustration, bitterness, resentment, shame, guilt, fear. There’s shattering heartbreak – a pain unlike any I’ve ever felt. There’s a deep sadness for the loss of what was and what will never be now. There are the days that I sobbed uncontrollably for an entire day. My eyes were so puffy and I was feeling so much sadness that I literally couldn’t do anything else. There are the days that I’ve felt peace, calm, certainty, possibility, excitement, gratitude, and happiness. There are the days that I’ve dreamed of what’s next, what my life will look like after this is over, what’s possible for my future, how much this has taught me, and how truly grateful I am for ALL of it. And above all, there’s love. Through all of the hardship, there’s still immense, deep love.

Your mind does a lot of crazy things in this process. It blames, it finds evidence that you were right, it argues with anyone who says otherwise, it looks for all of the ways this definitely won’t work, and then all of the ways it certainly could. And then, if you allow yourself to go there and you ask yourself where your part was in it all, it starts to search for areas you need to heal. And that’s where the growth is.

That’s where I’ve had the opportunity to get to know myself, to work on the stuff I’m not proud of, and to allow for the experience of getting to be proud of myself. I didn’t used to feel proud of myself. I do now.

I’ve spent months holding out on sharing. The shame of going through this is real. The embarrassment of what people will think. The judgment that I have of myself and that I fear others have of me. All of that kept me from sharing. It kept me from showing you my authentic self. It kept me from showing you that my life is hard too. That just because I teach you how to feel less overwhelmed and live more intentionally, doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle with that stuff too.

I don’t regret holding out. I know that I needed all of this time to fully process this. I changed my mind about this decision more times than I can count. It didn’t feel right to say anything when I didn’t have certainty. I’d like to say that I have that now, but some days, that’s a total lie. I still have so much sadness. Sometimes it washes over me when I hear a song that reminds me of us or when I think about what could’ve been. And some days I’m okay. I feel peace. I focus on other things.

I’ve learned that life is truly 50/50. It is incredibly hard and incredibly good. I know that you can go through hard things and amazing things at the same time. I know you can build a new life you’re proud of while letting go of a life you had. I know you can move forward while feeling pain. I know you can keep going, keep showing up, and keep learning about yourself. This is a lifelong process and being committed to it is how, I believe, you live a full life.

So, here’s to growth. Here’s to fully embracing all that life is. I’m in the middle of it with you, and I can show you the way. Thanks for being here with me.

And to Jeremy, thank you for everything. You taught me so much, you loved me so deeply, and you gave me years of laughter and amazing memories that will stay with me forever. I do not discount a single moment of our time together. I truly thank you for how you shaped me. I am, in part, the person I am today because of you.

xo, Kristen

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