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  • Mandy Leggett

Did my story even matter?

Telling your husband who you aren't living with that you slept with a man about 25 years older than you while you were drunk above a bar...not really something you look forward to.


I went to listen to the wife of the Nickel Mines Amish school shooter. It was moving and powerful, and I was so overwhelmed with guilt as I sat there mulling over how I was going to tell my husband that I slept with someone else.


Shortly after that session, I went to a conference put on by Auntie Anne Beiler. It was a really interesting time where she told parts of her story and encouraged other women to tell their story, too. She offered for the women at the conference to attend her breakout meetings once a week after the conference to tell their stories in small groups and to be liberated from their shame and pain.


I sat in the car with one of the friends I had made at church. She had come with me for support. While we sat there talking after the conference, she encouraged me to call my husband and tell him what happened. I did it. I called him.


Was he surprised? Probably not. At this point, I think we both knew that divorce was inevitable. I'm sure it stung, though.


I signed up for the smaller groups where you went to tell your story. I had no idea what to expect, but I did know that being in limbo was awful.


If you've ever gone through a divorce, you know there's that weird limbo. You're married, but you want to move on, but maybe you should try to make it work, but what about your kid(s), but what about your happiness. Deciding to get divorced for real was probably the biggest mental tug of war of my life


It was painful. One second, I was a strong determined woman who was standing up for herself and moving on. The next second, I was a weak ball of misery that couldn't decide what to eat for breakfast let alone whether I should alter my entire life.


Speaking of breakfast, I wasn't eating. I lost 70 pounds in the course of several months. And not in a healthy way. When I'm sad, I don't eat. My parents were pretty concerned. I was becoming unhealthily skinny.


In the middle of this mess, we went to two marriage counseling sessions, which were a total joke. We both knew it was hopeless, but we were trying to do our due diligence. Be good parents. Be good Christians. Be good humans.


I went to my first meeting with random women to tell my story. I literally knew no one. I sat in a room, they handed me a book, and they opened with prayer.


I immediately regretted my decision. I. did. not. want. prayer. I wanted fixed. I wanted instant gratification. I wanted someone to say - yes, get divorced. Affirm my decision.


I listened to others' stories. Abuse. Alcohol. Death. Rape. The list went on. I sat there thinking...wow. My story is ridiculous compared to these. I left my husband, and I'm just out galavanting around doing whatever. These women have endured real shit. I haven't endured anything.

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