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  • Marya Kazmi

Thriving Not Surviving

Five years ago I took a leap of faith on myself, my vision and the possibility that life held more and better. It took me seventeen years to imagine that my life could be different but once I saw the alternative to what I had merely existed in, I moved into the space where I belonged.

The stage was set in January 2018.

It was January of 2018 when I told him I was done fighting for a marriage that didn't fight back for me and I was leaving him. It took six intensely exhausting emotionally and physically grueling months of planning, preparing and executing all the moving pieces of shifting from the only life I knew as an adult to the unknown of being a single mom of four on my own in the world.

Correction, I was never fully alone. This move was only possible because of the village that wraps me and my children in love and support. My big sister and a few instrumental friends got me through one of the hardest stages of my life. Still it was on me to bear the burden and emotional toll of change, uncertainty and the balance of moving four children at the ages of 18,16, 13 and 1 ½ years through it all.

On July 1, 2018 we were out.

We started off with a smaller jump of living in my sisters fully furnished and supplied home while she was on a vacation and our apartment was still not available to rent. Then finally at the start of July, we made the move to our new home. My goals were simple. I would stay whole, keep my shit together and make this an adventure in the best of ways. We unpacked together, started to decorate the space to reflect us while still keeping a lot of the energy of our previous life. We spent evenings planning and preparing meals as a family, nights playing board and card games in the living rooms. Within 5 days of moving to the apartment, I settled my oldest son into his dorm for freshman year at Radford University. Now it was four of us navigating the new and discovering what was to come next.

The first two years were filled with learning moments, some blessings and many painful lessons but in the end we survived. So now I stand here five years later and life is better than good. It’s a dream in many ways. The life I live today is nothing like the one I left. I am nothing like the woman I left behind in the walls of that home that became the end of an era and chapter that grew me, but also broke pieces of me.

I have surprised myself with my ability to grow and evolve rapidly. I uncovered traits I had as a child and somewhere along the way lost in the dynamics of family, friends and finally in my marriage. I have been and still am tested by the reality of when personal decisions impact more than just myself, I found my soul tribe in unexpected places, I was triggered to change my outlook on relationships and men. I became the Marya I always dreamed I could and wanted to be while my life started to fit that belief and energy.

Within two years of the separation in 2020, I discovered the power and healing in writing. I created a small blog and processed my pain in public while also connecting with others. It led me to create more and elevate stories beyond my own. My talk series Pain to Power was born igniting a turbo speed change. I started to discover my purpose of storytelling and connecting people to see each other's humanity. I found ways to connect all the parts of my world together and allow the universe to direct me on the path I was always meant to travel.

As I reflect on the past six months of 2023, it’s light years away from where I was in 2018. I traveled the country and worked, networked, established new friendships and grew and stretched myself. I am inspired by parties and events with creative film makers, musicians, writers and artists. I get to be involved in an organization that is challenging the status quo of school systems to change the path for our most marginalized students. I continue to grow and expand professionally in my 20 + year career in education. I create shows, build my production skills and test my limits with social media. I had beautiful moments of teaching my boys how to be better and more responsible men in this world. My daughter and I realize how our connection and love will always move us through any challenges and changes. Every moment of every day is an adventure in this life I am exploring. I would never have had any of this if I didn't take the risk to believe in myself and the possibility that life held more for me.

This is life, not a dream I envision. I wake up everyday blessed and grateful to be in the skin I am in, living the life I have with all the people I have in it. I could never have pictured any of this five years ago when I drove away from that house I had thought was going to be forever home into the unknown of a life I could only dream of.

July 1, 2023

The dream is my reality and I have never looked back or regretted the decision.

So on the 5th anniversary of my freedom from that life and person I once was, I celebrate myself, my community and thank God and the universe for bringing me to exactly where I am meant to be at this moment in time. I spent the last five years recovering and healing and now I am looking forward to the era of thriving and all the continued blessings to come.


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