FROM THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
The life I have lived up until now has never been easy. From the outside looking in, I'm sure that my life looked pretty great. I planned for you to see it that way. I grew up in a beautiful home with parents who are still married, went to University, built a career, met a handsome man and gained a beautiful daughter as a result of this relationship. I hosted a beautiful wedding, travelled, gave life to my sweet boy, moved into a beautiful family home and built a successful business that I love and allows me to follow my passion.
What you don't know, is that I was hiding my struggle. I've experienced many losses and trauma's throughout my life that affected me everyday, and still do. Most significantly, on March 18, 2020 in the thick of Covid-19 shutting the world down, I witnessed my husband take his own life in a very tragic way. In a flash, I lost almost everything that was important to me. I found myself alone, my children without their father, homeless, unemployed, crippled with PTSD and our freedom reduced to zero contact with our loved ones due to the epidemic. I look back on those days and cannot believe I made it through, that I was able to make the decisions that lead me to be able sit here and talk about it from the other side. But I did and I'm back stronger than I ever have been and I'm happy. There, I'm going to say it without worry of judgement, I'm happy.
In the days that follow, questions of why flooded in when all most people ever knew was a happy, funny, good Dad and husband. But we weren't living the life that people thought we were. What I thought was just someone, by his actions, who fell out of love with me, was a very depressed person battling demons I will never understand. He was never a person that was able to confide in others, not even me. Even though I know he tried, he was unable to get deep and real with people. What we kept hidden, the lies, the facade, the pain was too much for him to bear anymore. Our life was crashing down, coupled with depression and the inability to lean on the people around us who cared, he succumbed to his disease. Those close to us knew it was very rocky, things were unravelling quick, but to most, our efforts to create the picture perfect existence maintained until that day.
The way I see it, I had two directions to go. Either continue to avoid the pain and trauma or I could face it head on. The latter was really the only way I could see myself coming out on the other side of this for the kids and I. If it wasn't for them, well I just don't know. They were the reason I got out of bed everyday and the reason I put in the work to piece myself and our life back together one day at a time.
Growing up I was taught to make my life appear as perfect as possible. To not talk about negative attributes or imperfections but to present yourself as perfect as possible to the outside world. Truth was an illusive dynamic that was given and taken away conditionally. But when your life is turned inside out for all to see, you have no choice other than to allow people to see your life for what it is, no matter how ugly or imperfect. To stop caring what other people think of your choices and decisions and instead make them based on your core values.
So here I am, coming to you as my perfectly unperfect self in the hope to encourage you to do the same and if you haven't already, start your journey to truly learn who you are and what you want out of this life. I don't believe that this is our only life, but I believe what we do in this one sets the stage for our next.
My hope is that speaking the truth will set both our hearts and souls free and also to, even if it helps just one person, navigate others through a hard season in their life. Raising awareness to mental health, acknowledging that we all go through tough seasons, being honest with ourselves and the world that we are imperfect and human is the first step to a kinder world.
The foundation of You Balance will always be fitness, nutrition and building healthy habits, but talking about my process and what it took to rebuild myself will hopefully help others on their journey as well.
I'm still learning, but I am more myself than I ever have been in my 36 years in this life. And as it turns out, I quite like who I am when I'm just being me.
- Candace Desjardins