Did you miss me? Well, I miss you all.
The past nine months have been hard.
Well, hard is a big understatement, but it’s the best I have honestly.
I should start this by thanking my amazing family of readers, my tribe of epic humans I’m blessed to have in my life that make up my reader group on Facebook and my best friend, Felicia Lynn. Because of the nature of what I’m sharing with you all publicly today, I have kept 90% of this locked very tight with them. My children follow my social media, for one, but also the ‘big picture’ of my ‘ugly’ is a very hard pill to swallow, let alone share. There are many details that I will never share, but I truly believe that my story, the nightmare I was living, can be someone else’s salvation.
My tribe, that phenomenally magical group of angels, gave me my safe space. They saw my raw. They saw my pain. They saw my real. But what they gave me in return was and is priceless. The strength to believe I could withstand. The power to be calm and gracious, when I felt neither. Their support from so many different directions, I felt their touch as if it had been physical. They made me be able to come to where I am, by standing at my side, at my back, and filling in the holes that had been left inside my soul.
It’s hard for me to excuse such a long break from publishing without being as honest as I can. It’s also hard for me to sit on something so raw and personal, knowing that my journey could very well be what someone needs to read.
So, just like with Perfectly Imperfect, I’ll be breaking a piece of my soul off and bleeding it onto the pages. In addition to the promised (and late) releases for 2019 – this year, I’ll be writing MY story. Sure, there will be parts that are fluffed up in order for me to get my fictional happiness, but there won’t be any holding back on my ‘ugly’ in those pages. Don’t worry, Hope Town 5 and Heart of Vegas 2 (Blind Hearts) is still on the as soon as possible train, but my heart needs this other story — mine, to be shared. It won’t be everyone’s need, I’m sure, just like Perfectly Imperfect wasn’t. It will still be 100% a Harper Sloan book, but for the first time in my career, I’ll be adding ‘based on’ to the cover.
Half of 2018 was my nightmare. The first part of 2019 was my nightmare. But we all wake up sometime, right?
Well, I’m awake now … so let me share ‘my’ story with you … a prequel of sorts of the book to come.
I never, not in a million years, did I think I would be one of ‘those women’.
You know them and if you say you don’t, you’re either lying or that ‘woman’ didn’t feel safe enough to share her ‘ugly’. You should know them even without them sharing though. They’re the women who smile, but it always wobbles slightly and their eyes no longer crinkle with the gold star laugh lines they earned, but haven’t seen in a while.
I never thought I would be the blind one either. Though now I know I wasn’t really blind, I was just too busy being too busy.
Too busy with kids schedules.
Too busy with work deadlines and responsibilities.
Too busy with house work, dinner, laundry, cleaning, etc.
Too busy ensuring her family never struggles again — that they’re never in the spot they were six years ago when they had pennies.
Too busy living the life I assumed we were crafting together.
Though now I know I wasn’t ‘too busy’, I was leading by example, showing my daughters what hard work and sometimes frazzled nerves can achieve.
I never thought I would be one of the women the neighbors laugh at.
The one who they trash at their late night drinking get togethers—unknowingly attended by the man I trusted — who snuck out like a teenager to attend while his family slept.
The woman they drug through the nasty thickened mud, created by the filthy lies the man she trusted darkened the waters with.
The one they smiled at to her face, but sharpened their blades behind her back.
The one they have no idea they’ve been fed a sack of manure instead of the truth.
Though, I know now that anyone that could so easily kick a woman to bring her down, then to keep her down, don’t really need to be a concern of mine.
I never thought I would look at the man I vowed to love for the rest of my life and not recognize the person that had shared my side for seventeen years.
I never thought I would look at my reflection in my daughters’ eyes and wonder if they see strength or weakness for trying to work through so much deceit, lies and betrayal.
Wonder if they’re proud or shamed that their mother put her foot down and demanded to be enough when it became clear she was fighting for someone not willing to fight for them.
If they’ll believe in love, their own worth, their power to survive and fight for what’s right or those too innocent to fight for themselves.
I never thought, but there will never be a day I don’t make sure they are able to trust and believe in pure happiness when it enters their lives.
But even with all those mountains standing in the way, it’s okay. While I never thought I would be ‘that woman’, I also never thought there was a warrior hiding inside me. Ready and waiting. Preparing to always stand tall, share the wisdom of years past, and giving ‘that woman’ enough fight to stand — always.
I had no clue ‘that man’ had been oppressing ‘that woman’s’ ability to soar. My wings were clipped over a decade plus of verbal whips cast to leave the thickest invisible scars deep in a soul, the confidence ‘that woman’ once had, hiding behind the horrendous words two deceitful people shared while they snuck around living a secret life from their own spouses.
Those words gave me power though. Power to feed that warrior. Power to claw and fight and push my way toward a better life.
‘That man’ may have whispered his lies to his ‘other woman’, but ‘THIS woman’ knows the truth.
I am not UGLY.
I am not an IT.
I am not REPULSIVE.
I am not LAZY.
I am not a BAD MOTHER.
I am not a FAT CUNT.
I am not the CHEATER.
I am not UNLOVING.
I am not UNLOVABLE.
I am not DECEITFUL.
I am not WHAT YOU CLAIMED I WAS WITH YOUR LIES.
I am WORTHY.
I am STRONG.
I am BEAUTIFULLY FLAWED.
I am SUCCESSFUL.
I am DRIVEN.
I am EMPOWERED.
I am a PHENOMENAL MOTHER.
I am FULL OF LOVE TO GIVE.
I am ENOUGH.
I am WHAT I PROVE WITH TRUE, FACTS, and INTEGRITY.
I will never be anyone’s ‘other’ woman.
I will never stop putting my daughters first.
I will always fight for the people who hold my heart, until they no longer deserves it because they stopped fighting for me.
I will continue to stand, even with one broken and battered knee, while you mock my health, while you laugh when I’m walking around saying I must be ‘miraculously’ healed … no, I’m not healed — I’m just THAT STRONG that nothing can knock me on my ass.
I will rise above.
Him, her and them.
I never thought I would be ‘that woman’.
The woman who never saw, for almost two years, her soon to be ex-husband sneaking out of the home.
The woman who never saw the signs her soon to be ex-husband had seeked, found, and kept a married girlfriend for eight months.
The woman who stood strong, protected her children, said goodbye to the woman she was … and became ‘that woman’.
But I never knew that ‘that woman’ was an incredible one … not a broken one.
I wasn’t cheated on — because to say I was CHEATED would mean I didn’t win and at the end of the day, I have gained my wings—so their actions were undoubtably cheating, but I GAINED and didn’t LOSE … therefore, I won.
I’ve gained the power to reclaim the knowledge that I won’t only survive, I’ll thrive.
I will learn from the faults ‘that man’ had, the ones he twisted to sound like mine, and grow into someone even more confident in her power.
I don’t hurt, not from him.
I don’t miss him.
I don’t miss his yelling.
I don’t miss his anger.
I don’t mourn my marriage.
No, I hurt for my children, but I made new vows to them.
Vows to empower my daughters.
Impress upon them their worth.
Prove to them they’re always worthy and damn sure always enough.
I will live my beautiful, free life, and continue to show my girls there is nothing wrong with working hard to achieve your dreams.
It took me eight months to catch him in his affair.
It took me a week to realize he wouldn’t fight for me or his family.
It took me a month to realize I didn’t lose, him and his married girlfriend did.
The winners will be me and hopefully the ‘other woman’s’ spouse. I don’t know her husband, but if he’s free too, I can only imagine he won his wings to freedom and a beautiful life, too.
It took me six weeks to realize I was giving the ‘other woman’ and ‘that man’ a gift straight from the recycling bin. It’s okay, they’ll figure out the meaning behind it the day two cheaters find out the fake life they had crafted to excuse their actions can’t build real and lasting. That two adulterers have a foundation of lies, imagination, and filth.
It took me two months to find my voice.
And I won’t be silenced.
I’m not ‘that woman’ anymore.
I am THE WOMAN.
And I’ll make sure my windows stay clean so when ‘they’ peek inside, all the see is pure love, bright happiness, and a beautiful life with the strongest of foundations.
I win, because HE didn’t break me.
I win, because I stand tall with my integrity.
I win, because I can look in my daughters eyes and know we’re worthy, enough, and one day we will be loved so much by a damn good man, and these walls will never be holding the memories of yelling, screaming, and emotional manipulation again.
I win, because THEY didn’t take my life with their secret life : they gave it back.
My name is Harper and I thank HIM for giving me the keys to start driving my girls and me into the sunset, toward the beautiful as hell life we’re going to find.
Her name was Tiffany and I passed her a mile back in her mud stained broken down USED car.
He was mine, but now he’s the stranger I don’t recognize hitchhiking on the side of the road … but the beauty in that is, I also no longer miss the him I knew and my diamond heart withheld and is shining bright as I drive right by.
And to those women out there that never thought they would be THAT woman either: don’t you ever forget how damn worthy you are of the world.
This isn’t my end for me now that I’ve become ‘that woman’.
This is my beginning because I wasn’t the ‘other woman’, I was the one that can stand tall and find her everything.
Put on your sunglasses because it’s going to be so amazing, you’ll be blinded. My rainbows will shine, my grass will be green, and my girls and I will thrive under all this light.
I’M the writer of the new story of my life and THEY are not the editors.
I never thought I would be grateful to be ‘that woman’.