It had not been five years since I divorced my husband. James was my high school sweetheart, and we had three beautiful daughters. I genuinely thought that we would be together until old age. However, he increasingly became toxic to me, so I had to end our relationship.
In The Beginning
When James and I met in high school, I was technically the campus sweetheart. If there were ever a beauty pageant, my teachers would send me to it. If the football or basketball team needed a muse during parades, that would be my role. I was young, sexy, vibrant, and intelligent, and almost every guy in town wanted me.
The thing was, my eyes were set on James, the captain of the football team. Unlike the other rowdy teenagers his age, James was more of the silent type. He would attend parties and everything, but he would remain in the corner and not talk to people much. Whenever we crossed paths, though, he would perk up and only pay attention to me. Once James asked me out, you could bet that I did not make him wait for too long before I said yes.
We instantly became the most famous couple on the campus, and it felt like everyone wanted to be us. Still, James and I had the surprise of our lives when I found out right after high school graduation that I was pregnant with our first child.
Becoming A Young Wife And Mother
I remember crying buckets when I learned about my pregnancy because I was not ready to be a mother. I was only 18 years old, and there were so many things that I wanted to do. But James appeased me when he offered to marry me. He was like, “I know you’re sad that you will have to delay going to college for at least a couple of years, but we can get an apartment near the University where I will go so that we can be together all the time. We can make this work.”
True to James’s words, we did make everything work for us. I saw how much he matured since he learned about my pregnancy. Aside from getting his degree, he also had part-time jobs and never complained once. When our first daughter arrived, I got to help out with the finances a little by accepting some dress orders.
At that point, being a high school royalty felt like something of the past. All I cared about was our little family. Unfortunately, three babies later, I might have forgotten about my old life too much as I let myself go physically.
I was only 23 years old, but my 50-year-old mother dressed better than me. I could no longer recall the last time I wore more than lipstick because I was always busy making ends meet and taking care of my children. Worse, I put on at least 100 pounds and did not seem to want to lose any of it at all.
That must have been a deal-breaker for James. He began to comment on my body, comparing me to a whale or a couch. I laughed and let it pass, but he repeated it almost every day since then. It got to the point where he told me that we could not sleep on the same bed because it was just enough for my body.
Well, it was the last straw for me. Without another word, I pulled out my suitcase and filled it with as many clothes as I could fit and carried all my children to the car. It was the middle of the night, but I did not care about that. I drove straight to my parents’ house and decided to divorce James right then. I refused to be verbally abused by him again.
Finding Peace In Pilates
When I filed for divorce, I clarified to my lawyer that I did not want anything from James except for child support. I was lucky to have parents who agreed to help me go to a local college and look after my daughter for a few hours a day. Hence, I did not need his money.
At the start of the semester, though, I felt insecure about my appearance. I was not much older than my classmates, but our age gap seemed too big because of how I dressed and what my body had become. But things changed when one of my new friends, Anna, introduced me to Pilates.
Pilates allowed me to reconnect with my true self. Little by little, it strengthened my desire to get back in shape and become a better version of myself. It also relieved the stress of dealing with the fact that I was a young divorcee and wondering what the future held for my daughters and me. But I felt more validated than ever when I had to take my kids to a Pilates class once, and after an hour, they were all like, “Mama, I want to be strong like you.”
Fast Forward To 2021
After community college, I applied for a license to become a Pilates instructor. I eventually opened my studio, catering to moms who lost their self-confidence. Now, I can say that Pilates became my therapy, and I have finally found my peace of mind.