Words Got Her Out

A few more boxes to pack and load into the car and she’d be done.

She thumbed through magazine clippings that had been filed in an office drawer.   Some clippings dated back to her college years – that dreamy phase of, “When I grow up and marry, I hope my kitchen has …..”

There were clippings of herb gardens, bathroom paint colors in sage and mint, examples of open shelves instead of upper cabinets for the ideal kitchen, and nursery ideas.


Her girlfriends thought she was crazy for not wanting upper kitchen cabinets.  She loved how open shelving prevented her from collecting junk.

He thought she was nuts for wanting to paint the walls behind the shelves an Indian Red.   Now she stared at the kitchen and realized it might be the only room in his house that she might miss.

She considered taking cuttings from the herb garden she’d spent so many hours tending, but those would be from his garden.  She’d just as soon start over.  She wouldn’t take the echinacea, the clematis or any of the Engleman Ivy either.


Better to start fresh.


As she emptied the folders into the trash, she looked around his house.  She’d  never noticed how her decorating so closely resembled the clippings she’d collected over the years.   Could it be that simply cutting out a magazine photo of a desired bedroom arrangement was enough to manifest that same bedroom?

She hadn’t shown him any of the clippings, for fear he’d shoot down her ideas.   And yet, so much of what she’d created in his home was represented in the file of clippings.


 One last box to pack and tape, and she’d be finished – some framed pictures, a couple board books that the kids had outgrown, but that she couldn’t part with, and a few more file folders.

The last folder held the quotes and words that had given her the courage to leave.  She spread the scraps and pieces of notebook paper on the butcher block, in the center of his kitchen.

These were the words that she had repeated over and over to herself.  These words convinced her that she wasn’t crazy.  These words told her that she was good enough – that she was whole.

The quotes were the building blocks of her new backbone.

In the night, when sleep wouldn’t come, she’d turn to her bedside and find the words.  The words offered comfort when she was frightened, encouragement when she didn’t know how to continue, and hope when there was none.

She put the last box in the back of her car.  She looked around his yard – at the flower beds that had provided hours of therapy, and the deck where she sat, rocking her newborns.  She looked at the house that never felt like a home.  She new she wouldn’t miss it.


She pulled out of his driveway knowing it was the words in that folder that had gotten her out.


I’ve compiled an ebook of the quotes and words that paved my way.  Words Got Her Home comes out this month.


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  1. Shiver… it was my own words, my journal. I would vent to family and friends and find relief. Writing it down made it concrete for me. My feelings were validated and when I revisited the issues, I learned how much didn’t change and wasn’t going to. It’s hard to argue with your own feelings.

    I hope someone who hasn’t left yet, for whatever reason, sees this one.

    I have a hard time explaining to others why I could have left it all behind in the end. (I took enough for my kids to be comfortable in their new home) Even though it took me a long time to get there, life won over stuff.

  2. Z,

    I still have people ask me why I didn’t stay in the house.

    1) It wasn’t an option, because he refused to leave. I didn’t want to use what energy I had left for fighting over the house.

    2) It had gotten to the point that living there was like living at the bottom of a well. I could look up and see light. Breathing was difficult. By the time I got close to the surface and knew I was leaving, I wanted NOTHING to do with that well.

    Life wins over nice house and stuff. Every time.

  3. Beautiful.
    I cannot help but think of the movie Labyrinth “you have no power over me”…I know it’s silly, but those words shatter the mirror.

  4. E,

    If the words help, they aren’t silly. ;)

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