I’m not sure if I heard the phrase “fake it until you make it” from my aunt or someone else, but I took it to heart! I have always been good at acting like I have it all together. So when I became a divorced mother with two minor children, I wondered IMMEDIATELY how I was going to carry that on.
I’ve always prided myself on planning ahead and being very well organized. If I had an inkling that something was on the horizon, i.e. vacation, school, etc., I could easily get prepared for it. Then there’s the thought, in the back of my head, that says, “I see it, but is it REALLY going to happen? Nah, it will pass.”
Well, it passed alright; passed me by because before I was ready, before I had time to plan for it, I was on my own trying to figure out how to support myself and my kids. Yes, I was working, but for the first time in my adult life, I had to fend for myself.
“I still participated in my church activities, but everyone saw how bad I was suffering.”
You see, I moved from home into marriage. The divorce meant no more two income household. No more emotional or financial support. There was help from a few people, but they could only do so much emotionally and financially. They had their own problems and their own families. Even though I continued on, trying to keep myself together, I was a wreck inside. I still participated in my church activities, but everyone saw how bad I was suffering.
Maybe six months later, I began to think on that phrase again: Fake it Until You Make It. I had to pull from my faith and I had to get a part time job. I had to work bingo and football games so my daughter could participate in cheerleading and soccer. My son, bless his heart, stopped playing basketball, a game he absolutely loves, and got a part time job at Blockbuster. I asked him not to, but he did it to take a load off of me. Later my daughter started working a part time at Panera Bread, all the while continuing with her school activities. By allowing them to work, I was showing them that they had to be responsible, in particular with regard to things that most teenagers felt were important. It also took the burden off of me.
Well, fast track to the years 2006-2010, which included a job termination, a low paying job, a layoff, another job termination, then another really low paying job, where I had to hold onto my faith and my wonderful phrase again! In that process, I found Zumba, then Bella Forza Fitness soon after.
Talk about STRONG IS MY SEXY!
Before the movement was even implemented officially, the studio literally threw it at me. I had no choice but to discover my ‘beautiful strength’ [the meaning of “Bella Forza” in Italian], and I continue discovering and developing it every day. It feels good to be able to encourage the women around me by teaching a class or working the front desk, because it seemed for so long, I was the one receiving encouragement.
There is so much I could talk about with regard to my journey, but I’ll save it for another time. Just know this: I no longer consider myself a divorced mother of 2. I AM a single, strong, determined empty nester with grown children AND grandchildren, conquering the world one day, one class and one desk session, one day at a time!