Chapter 1 – Let the Words Fall Out.

It’s the start that stops most people, including me. At times, I don’t know how to tell my story – should I write a book, or host a podcast? I bought a pretty rose gold microphone a few months ago. But it sits unopened on my floor. I have book ideas swirling in me. But time keeps passing. So for now, I’ll pretend that you (the reader) and I are sharing a cup of coffee at a sunny cafe. I’ll just let the words fall out. I’ll start there.

I’m glad you found your way here. I am a former journalist who always found solace, and clarity in words. So, when my own life took a turn, I turned to writing. My social media posts resonated with others and normalized the struggle of life – from love and divorce, to disinheritance and family estrangement.

If you don’t know my story, I’ll unpack it over the course of time, and pursue different avenues and alleys. I can easily get lost in details, so let me start with the 20,000-foot view.

Five years ago, I fell in love with a close female friend, while married to my kind and loving husband of nearly 20 years. He and I had been together since I graduated college, my first long-term relationship. We had two amazing kids and a life we worked hard to build. We were in a constant state of hustle, but we were doing it together. Life was an adventure.

Finding love as a married woman with a married woman was unforeseen, unplanned, and very complex. The plot seemed like a made-for-TV movie, not real life. However, the love felt immediately familiar, like it had been waiting patiently for me to arrive. Although the situation evoked fear of the unknown, I never felt scared.

Our love was not something I could turn off, turn away from, or turn back time on. It’s hard to explain, but it’s my truth. A voice told me to stay. This love felt like home, even though I was not looking to uproot. Walking away would have eroded me from the inside out, and eventually left me empty for others. Is that selfish or self-preservation? Maybe it’s just perspective.

I saw myself in a different light. I felt a deep knowing. I better understood my past experiences, unveiling the whole of me. Moving forward with our love was like stepping out on a very thin limb. I had to trust myself. I had to trust the people who loved me most, to eventually see through their confusion or hurt. To me, it was not an escape, it was a discovery.

To me, it was not an escape, it was a discovery

Without a doubt, this discovery pulled the rug out from all of us, a swift removal of steady footing. To the outside, affairs can be gossipy, juicy, and jaw dropping. But those reactions fade quickly. People tire from talking. To those of us the inside, the affair was a blip on the radar – the eye of the storm was that our love was our real and had revealed our future.

She and I moved forward. We bought a home, and navigated the unknown road together. We quickly found ourselves packing lunches, attending sports’ games, showing up for our careers, stepping into a daily routine with our kids, while navigating the noise of the outside world. We did not ask for approval, but we invited people to move forward. Some needed time, some needed answers, some needed space, some needed nothing, and some left. A couple of years later, she and I married in our backyard with 75 friends and family.

Every chapter of my life unfolded to bring me where I am today. I was not a bystander, I made choices. But I have never been whimsical, unreliable or erratic. So, I trusted this journey, too, even if the path was unpaved. I was meant to marry my former husband and have our incredible kids. I believe he would agree that our marriage was written in the stars. It was right, even though it ended. I was the reason for the end. And I carry that. But I also carry the eternal gift of those years of my life.

My former husband remains in my life as a strong co-parent and valued friend. We collaborate and communicate. We create space for our “unit” to spend time together, including holidays, vacations and special occasions for the kids.  He had to weather a storm that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I won’t speak for him, but I’ll say that he saw a future for us outside of marriage, and I’m forever grateful. I also won’t speak for my kids, but I’ll share from my perspective that they were loving, showed a wise understanding beyond their years, and worked through the changes on their own time, each differently.

I trust that life can change, even dramatically, but still be on course.

I trust that life can change, even dramatically, but still be on course. There is not one path, or one happy ending for any of us. We can survive hard things. We can find new levels of ourselves. When we show up vulnerable to the world, we give others permission to do the same.

Stay tuned for the next chapter. I hope you join me.
– Trina

Trina Gray

Trina Gray

Fitness Entrepreneur, Journalist, Speaker, Wife, Mom
Blogger on Navigating Love and Family Estrangement