I’ve been asked a lot lately when my next book is coming out. I’m so sorry to all of you who have been waiting. The dates on Goodreads have changed a lot. My life this year took a weird turn and I had to put writing on the back burner. I’m now back at it in full force, and I promise I will be releasing A Beautiful Mess very soon. I will have dates for you soon.
Anyway, I thought I’d share with all of you what I’ve been through. I just thought it was time for me to share my story.
Last weekend I was emotionally beat up, and although nothing serious happened to me it was still very painful. My very good friend told me to write my ten year old self a letter about everything I’ve gone through. After I was done I decided I would share it with all of you. I just thought it was time to tell my story. Once again, although it’s nothing horrible and I’m very much healthy, this journey I’ve been through has been emotionally painful but also has taught me a lot about myself and my strength. So here goes nothing. Here’s my letter to my ten year old self. I hope you guys like it.
You are officially ten years old. I know how excited you are to be in the double-digit numbers. I have to tell you how proud I am of you. You’re growing up to be a beautiful, caring, smart girl.
I’m writing you because I need you to know what you’re about to go through in life. Some of it will be incredible and some of it will break your heart. But just know that in the end you will be okay.
First of all, I want to say middle school and high school will suck. It’s just a fact, but it’s temporary. Your self-esteem will be dragged through the mud, but you’ll survive and even learn to love yourself. I promise.
You’ll make lots of mistakes especially when it comes to your education, but don’t worry you’ll fix that later on in life.
The friends you have from school will disappear. It happens when you’re no longer forced to see each other. But don’t worry years later there will be something called FaceBook and you’ll see all of those people all over again. Many of them will become your biggest cheerleaders. It’s actually pretty cool.
It’s going to be hard when you do lose some of your classmates. Some will pass on way too early. Life sends many surprises and some of them come with heartache.
I hate to say there will be a time when your mother will seem like your worst enemy. In fact you’ll down right think she’s trying to destroy your life. Trust me when I say she’s not. Everything she does and says is because she loves you. But don’t worry that terrible relationship you have will only be temporary. One day you’ll realize she’s your best friend, and your relationship will blossom into a beautiful rose with each layer of petals filled with tears of joy and laughter.
Your relationship with your brother and father will also change. They will go from annoying you to having a tight bound with them that no one will be able to break. They will be there for you when other family members that you trust are not. Your family will always be by your side and help you out in the worst of times and best of times. Also remember your brother will have lots of friends who can hurt anyone who hurts you. LOL!
I wish this letter was about how you blossom into womanhood or how you learn to love yourself, but it’s not. Instead it’s about the first time you fall in love and how it ends in heartbreak. I need you to read this letter knowing you’re a survivor and won’t let a broken heart take you down.
Okay Maria, you’re going to grow up with a wall surrounding your heart. I hate to say you’ll be afraid of love, because of watching so many women in your life suffer because of heartache. This wall will protect you, but it will also hurt you. It will make it difficult for you to let the right people in. And it will cause you to make many silly mistakes. Don’t worry too much about these mistakes; you’ll learn to embrace them.
Your heart won’t stay cold for long. You will meet a guy that will tear the wall down. He will show you what it is like to laugh and really trust someone. I would love to tell you to run from this person, run fast and don’t look back, but I can’t do that.
This man will teach you what love is all about. And for a long time you will be happy, at least when he’s not asking for another break. He’s going to want one every couple of months, but you’ll always take him back because lets face it, you love him. And you know he’s a good person. Besides you’re not too innocent. You can at times be cruel with your words and tend to be in a bad mood a lot. This might have to do with dating a man who is always miserable. He’s always crying about his poor life, but does nothing to change it. But it’s okay, because when he is happy things between you guys is great. You’re in love for the first time in your life.
He will give you the independence you need. He won’t mine you going out with your friends to nightclubs. In fact he won’t even get mad when you cancel on him to go out with your friends to go see Marc Anthony perform at Foxes in NJ. The Copa and Latin Quarters will be your stomping ground, and although you will never learn to dance salsa you’ll have an amazing time with your partner in crime Jessica.
At this time you’ll also meet Jeanette. The two of you will bond over having boyfriends who constantly need space. She’ll be there for you every time the man in your life walks out for another break. You guys will become best friends and you’ll thank God every day for her.
Now there will be a time when you do get tired of your boyfriend wanting a break and you’ll finally take a stand and dump him. Your mom will take his side, but that’s only because she also believes he’s a nice guy. You’ll quickly realize there’s nothing better out there and six months later you’ll forgive him. You’ll think this guy is my soul mate. And it’s fine because at that time he’ll be it.
You will get engaged two months later. He’ll tell you he wants to marry you because “he’s lost you once and he never wants to lose you again.” This will happen right after you guys are in a car accident. I truly believe this is the universe trying to send you a sign, but at this time in your life you don’t listen to the universe or it’s signs, but it’s okay because you’ll be happy.
Okay not really happy. You’ll fight with him a lot, but that’s what you do when you’re basically planning a wedding by yourself. Your family will be amazing and support you and help pay for most of the wedding. They love you and are your rock.
Almost seven years after you started dating, you’ll be getting ready for your wedding wanting to run away, but you’ll think of the money your family and friends have spent and you’ll go through with it. Besides you also want to party. You always love a good party. It will be an incredible wedding and you’ll feel a love you’ve never felt for the man you just married. It actually turns out to be a beautiful, marvelous day.
The next two years will be a battle. Instead of being the man who can’t keep his hands off you, he’ll be the man who sits in front of his computer searching for his birth mom. You as an understanding wife will support him, but you’ll also get mad. Okay I’m not going to lie, sometimes you’ll be a little selfish, but it’s fine. The way this story ends you deserve to be selfish.
He will find his birth mother and things will get worse rather than better, mostly because from this moment on you’ll go from being number 1 to number 2. Sometimes you’ll even be number 3, 4, 5, and even 6. It’s something you’ll never get used of, and you’ll spend a lot of nights crying.
At this time you’ll also be working on having a family. Unfortunately, this will not be in the cards for you. Not being able to have a baby will literally break your heart. It will become harder when everyone around you get’s pregnant. You’ll be mad at God. I mean to the point where you’ll be close to losing your faith, but trust me this will pass. One day you’ll wake up and realize it’s okay not to have kids. In fact you won’t want them anymore. I promise you the pain of not having kids will disappear.
Instead of having kids you will focus your energy on going back to school. You’ll work full time and go to school full time and never once give up. Actually, not only will you get a BA in English (with honors by the way), but you will also get a double Masters in Literacy. You go girl! I’m so proud of you. You should always be proud of the education you have. No one will ever be able to take that away from you. Now here comes the best part:
YOU WILL MAKE YOUR DREAM COME TRUE! You will publish your first book, and you will feel a pride you have never felt before. Not only will you be a published writer, people will actually read your books. And I’m not just talking about just friends and family. I’m talking about people from all over the world. Your third book will become an Amazon bestseller. It’s a day you will never forget. Go ahead and take a moment to do a happy dance. It’s something no one can take from you, no matter how much they try to take you down.
Most people in your life will be supportive, but the ones you thought would absolutely support you will surprise you and become distant; it’s fine you don’t need them, trust me.
Your husband will act proud. And just like he did on the day you graduated with your Masters, he’ll somehow make it about him and how he has dreams too. But overall he’ll be there for you.
He’ll listen to you every time you have a new story idea. You’ll try to encourage him to write his book too, but he won’t because he’ll have some “poor me” issue he’s going through. It will anger you, because you know the talent he posses. You have to remember Maria you can’t fix everyone.
Life will be good for a while, even though you’re not making enough to cover all your bills. Your husband will stop paying them and the mortgage and it will come as surprise. But it’s his plan so you guys can file for bankruptcy. You won’t want to do it, and every time you express this he’ll get mad. You’ll do the only thing you can, you will put yourself in a bubble and pretend everything is good. (Don’t worry you won’t end up filing.)
Hun, this is where it will becomes difficult. You see every time your husband sees that you’re too happy he will do everything he can to pop your bubble and make you cry. When he sees you’re crying he’ll stop and comfort you. This will happen every two weeks. It will become where you are scared to be happy. You’ll start to feel angry all the time because you are no longer allowed to pretend to be happy.
Nastier things will come out of his mouth every time you fight, including that your writing career is only a hobby, and that you got an education you don’t use. It doesn’t matter that you’re a teacher and an author. He’ll make you feel like shit. It’s this time I need you to remember to hold your head up high and not let his words effect you.
Things will get harder when his father passes away and his mother comes to live with you. You’ll want to be supportive, but it will hard. The life you knew will change in a heartbeat. You’ll feel guilty because you’ll find yourself feeling angry that at 40 years old you have to spend each weekend taking care of his mother who has the beginning stages of dementia. You’ll feel guilty all the time for not being more understanding. Stress will begin to consume you. Your husband will turn meaner and start blaming you for everything that is wrong in his life.
His statements will sting and he’ll get joy watching you drive off in a bad storm crying your eyes out. Don’t be shocked when he doesn’t call or text you to check if you’re okay. In fact, don’t be surprised when you finally have to be the one to reach out three days later. But it’s fine because he is your husband and you are supposed to be together for…
Scratch that! There’s so much a girl can take. You will warn him if he does it again you’ll leave him. In between you’ll notice he’s being sneaky and when you question him he’ll call you crazy and tell you, “You need fucking help because you‘re sick in the head.” You’ll start to believe him, mostly because he’s your husband and you don’t want to find out anything that might ruin your marriage. This is supposed to be forever.
Until he does say something nasty to you again and this time you’ll take all the strength you have to tell him you’re leaving him. It will be the hardest thing you’ll ever do. You’ll spend the whole day crying and saying goodbye to your house and cat.
You’ll leave the whole house spotless, because being the good person you are, you want him to have a clean house. This is after you spent the night on the couch crying and hardly sleeping. You’ll wait for him to come home hoping he’ll stop you, but he won’t. In fact, he’ll say to you “I’m home, you can go now.” This will break you, but don’t worry you’ll walk out of that house without letting him see you cry.
I wish I could say that’s the worse thing you will experience, but that’s only the beginning. He’ll act like everything is ok and seven weeks later, just when you think you might be able to work things out, you’ll receive divorce papers in the middle of a cold night. You did not see this coming at all. This will destroy you, but not break you. I want to tell you’ll get over this pain, but it’s something you will carry in your heart for a long time. It will make it hard for you to fully trust again.
Don’t worry, you’ll pick up the pieces and continue to live your life with a smile on your face. I’m proud to say instead of wallowing in self-pity you’ll begin working on yourself. You’ll lose a lot of weight and feel good. It’s going to be amazing and somehow you’ll find your youth again.
One day you’ll go pick up some of your stuff at what is now his house, and because you being the kind woman you are, you won’t take all the stuff you bought. Honey, I’m sorry to inform you, you married a cheap asshole who hardly ever paid for a meal. Anyway, you will leave a lot of your stuff behind for him, because you don’t want him to live in a bare house. Actually he did buy the bedroom set and the washer and dryer. Either way you’ll leave him almost all your furniture, all the fancy pots and pans, your grill, and your patio set. It’s okay, it just stuff, besides you’ll have no place to store it at your parent’s house.
By the way, you’re living with your parents again and it is wonderful. They are the part of the support system you’ll need. Them with your friends will be an incredible team for you. Trust me, you’ll never feel lonely. You’ll also reconnect with amazing friends you had left in the past when you got married, for example Jessica. She’s going to become your personal hero.
Some of these other heroes will be of course your best friend Jeanette and the beautiful family who comes attach to her; your hair dresser and awesome spiritual friend Jen; another Jen, who you will meet because the both of you are authors and becomes one of your best friends; Priscilla, who will drop anything to be there for you; and your cousin Marjorie, who will be become your soul sister. Your circle of friends is so big I could go on for pages. Oh just in case, make sure to hug Pat, Roseanna and Karen extra hard when you connect with them, they will also be part of team Maria. It’s really extraordinary how many people stand by you. I can’t help but smile to think about how lucky you are.
Now here comes more bad news. Your “soon to be ex-husband”, will still fuck with your head. Every time you think he’s being nice he’ll kick you right down. First he’ll tell you he fell out of love with you and it started in 2003. It doesn’t matter that all those years in between 2003 and 2015 you guys were working on having a family, bought a house together, and you paid for almost all those concerts you took him too. He’s literally fallen out of love with you. The terrible sex life you guys had should have been a clue in all of this, but once again you put yourself in a bubble and have convinced yourself your husband is the most amazing man ever. You’ll even fool your friends and family. Damn he’ll even begin to believe it.
Okay back to being single. You will be shocked how much it has changed since you were single 20 years ago. But being the new fearless girl you are you’ll embrace it and put yourself out there.
Unfortunately, your first encounter will end quickly when he ghost you only after a week (yeah this has become a new term in the dating scene). To this day we still don’t know what happened. This will scare you and you won’t want to meet anyone else for a while. And then one day you decided to give another guy a chance. You won’t like his profile picture at all. In fact you won’t find him one bit attractive, but what the hell you’ll take a chance. Besides you’ve never gone out with a white man.
For some strange stupid reason you will develop an attraction to this man, but because of everything you’ve been through you’ll protect your heart. He’ll just be a distraction. Someone who will help you get over your heartbreak. This new guy isn’t looking for a relationship either so it’s all good. You’ll have fun and discover a wild side of yourself, a side that had been hiding for way too long.
All your friends will warn you and tell you to run not walk away from this guy. But you won’t listen, because after all it’s just plain old fun you’re having. No one is going to get hurt, especially you.
I wish I could say this is true. No actually, I wish I could hold you in my arms and whisper in your ear “don’t let your guard down. Don’t make silly mistakes because you are wrapped up in the moment.” I wish I could guard you, but we know I can’t. It’s actually these mistakes that will teach us valuable lessons.
This new guy will serve his purpose and remind you that you’re beautiful and sexy (sadly your husband had made you feel gross, especially when he would duck from your kisses.) Nothing feels worse than getting rejected by the man who is supposed to love you.
Anyway, you will ask this new man to not break your heart. You will ask him to tell you when he wants out of this arrangement and not just stop talking to you. He’ll stand there holding your hand and promise you that he would never do that. He’ll tell you how a real man does not do that to a woman. And mostly he’ll tell you he won’t just disappear because that happened to him and he knows how it feels. You will believe every word he says, because lets face it you trust people. Your ex did not kill that for you just yet. Besides you’re a good person so you believe others are too.
Your life will be magical for a while. You’re partying hard and making up for the last years where you literally sat on a couch each weekend from morning until night watching TV and not doing anything.
You might at times get a little too wild. What can I say you’re living it up. But honestly deep inside you’re still hurting. Every so often you cry over the pain of losing your supposed soul mate, your best friend, the man who was supposed to be there forever. You will have emotional breakdowns where you’ll feel like you can’t breathe.
It’s fine though because life is good. You have a great guy to keep you entertained, and your friends are all showing you how to have fun again. Your body is also changing fast. Those jeans you couldn’t get past your thighs months early, not only go up, but they also button. Life is good.
But then one weekend your life will come to a screeching halt. You will get in touch with your ex-husband because you need to tell him something about certain papers. It’s been two months since you’ve spoken to him. The conversation will go okay, and just before you get off the phone he’ll decide to let you know he’s involved with a girl and he’s happy.
You’ll be able to picture the huge smile across his face as he tells you his fucking happy news. You can also picture that knife he once again is digging into your heart. And here you thought he couldn’t hurt you again. Oh honey, I wish I can say that is the worst part, but it’s not.
That same week you’ll be stood up by some stupid guy and then the guy who promised you up and down he would never just stop talking to you will do just that. It all happens in the same week. I like to call it the perfect storm of heartbreak. To be honest the loser who stopped talking to you wouldn’t have been so painful if you just hadn’t had the man you spent half your life with tell you about how happy he is with his new woman. And lets face it, you know all too well he’s been seeing this girl since before you left him. You knew it when you caught him doing sneaky shit.
You’ll cry like you haven’t before. Your eyes will swell and stay like that for days. The worst part is you’ll start to blame yourself and wonder what you did wrong. Sweetie, just know it’s not you. You did nothing wrong. These men were all assholes. Actually they are not men they are cowards hiding behind the word man.
Don’t feel stupid because you made foolish decisions. Learn from these mistakes. Don’t allow these fools to take away from your beautiful soul. They are a grain of nothing in your life.
The biggest lesson they will teach you is that another person can’t make you happy. The most important person who will make you happy is yourself. You will find gratitude in yourself. You will work on yourself and become the person you want to be. You’ll start seeing all your dreams become a reality. You will continue to see the beauty in life and above all, this heartache will not stop you from believing in love.
So take all the good times and treasure them, even the ones with the cowards in your life. Then take all the heartaches and throw them away, they are not worth anything.
Keep working on all your dreams. Don’t let little set back keep you from working on what’s important in your life. Remember you are your own hero in this story. You make the rules and only you have the power to break them.
You got this girl! I believe in you! Life is beautiful and never take it for granted. I love you and I’m so proud of you.
41-year-old Maria E. Araya