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Life's a Beach...

Kindness is free.

My favorite picture, Carolina Beach NC

I love the beach. There is something so amazingly calm about the feel of the sand between your toes and the sound of the water. Calm isn't something that I have honestly had much of in my life. I keep saying life is like a roller coaster full of ups and downs twists and turns. As much as everyone's roller coaster is different they are all the same.

It's easy to make snap judgments about people but the reality is you have no idea what that person may be going through. Everyone faces their own struggles and it affects them in their own way. My life has been one crazy roller coaster one I'm lucky I've survived. My story is unique to me and who I've become. My daddy always said we are a sum of our decisions. I never understood that when I was young but now I do.

We make choices every day that will have some impact on every day that follows and everyone around us. I've made choices I'm not proud of and great decisions; both make up who I am. Many of the choices other people have made have impacted me the most.

I made a choice at a young age to date someone much older. Five years doesn't seem like much of an age gap but at 14, it is enormous. He was everything I needed him to be at the time. He had a car. That was pretty much the requirement for me. Remember I was 14. I'll never know why on earth my parents entertained this relationship but that choice defined the next 13 years.

He was not a kind soul, still isn't. I married young, 19, had kids young (20 and 22); not something I'd change but not something I'd suggest. I was in no way prepared for the decisions I would have to make. Before I really understood what was happening, I was trapped in a cycle of abuse. I had no skills, no education, two children. I felt hopeless, to say the least.

Nothing was enough. Most of the time I felt like many in that situation do like there was no other option for me. It took years of mental, physical, emotional, and financial abuse before I figured out there had to be another way. I had to decide my life was worth saving. I left my husband when I was 26, after more than ten years together with little faith and a lot of fear. He'd made every decision for a decade. I literally could not pick out a towel by myself. 

My decision led me to freedom, but freedom is not free. He stalked my children and me for months. I got a protection order; he stayed just outside the boundary. Which kept him out of jail and me in fear.

Eventually, it was all too much. I fled. I took my children and left. We moved from Indiana to the coast in North Carolina, 806 miles away. Even that didn't erase my fears. Healing is a process that has nothing to do with distance. Healing begins inside.

The ocean changed me. I tell my husband now if there is reincarnation, I will come back as a jellyfish! I crave the day we can return (for a variety of reasons we returned to Indiana). I say life is a beach not as a pun for something a little more vulgar but as a truth. The ocean has no real beginning or end; it just is. It flows because that's just what it does. It holds life and can take life. Our lives as humans kind of have a beginning and end. We are born and eventually we die. Who we are connected to, however, will be impacted long after.  Our parents dream about us long before we are born. Our children, friends, family will remember us long after we are gone. So does our life truly end? I don't think so we, like the ocean, keep impacting the things around us. What we put into the world is what we will be remembered for. My ex-husband, well, I won't remember him fondly at all but I hope I am remembered and put a smile on those faces when they think of me.

Remember, life is a beach and kindness is free. Let's think about what we put out into the world you never know how you might affect someone's life.

Read next: How To Propose
Claudia Sanders
Claudia Sanders

I am many things. I am a mother, wife, college graduate, friend, sister, daughter. I love the ocean, baking, my children and husband. I love writing and sharing my sometimes unpopular opinions.Some stereotypes were meant to be broken.

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Life's a Beach...
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How To Propose