Ever owned a fave pair of pants and discovered one day they don’t fit? You still love them, they still have pride of place in your wardrobe but they simply don't fit.
So you have three options: alter them to fit, alter yourself to fit, or buy a new pair. All three options require change which we willingly adopt.
Yet for most of us, should we discover our lives no longer fit, we choose to ignore it and pretend otherwise… we just keep walking around in discomfort, silently suffering.
Five years ago I hit restart. I woke one morning and no longer recognised myself in the mirror.
I loved so much about my life but somewhere I'd lost myself within it. It no longer fit me… so I hit restart and began a slow, painful, exhilarating transformation that would change everything.
Listen to Madeleine West on Mamamia's newest podcast, Restart. Post continues below.
It began with separation.
I know it seems like everyone is suddenly saying "I don’t" to happily ever after. But the reality of "consciously uncoupling" ain't as conscientious as the cliches might have you think.
I loved Sarah Jessica Parker in the HBO series Divorce, but in real life the whole sordid drama is about as appealing as running a marathon around Central Park in nine-inch Jimmy Choos.
It hurts, it gets dirty, vicious; it brought out the very worst in me… still does to this day.
It tore apart my world, damaged the things I held dearest and turned love toxic. You wouldn’t put your worst enemy through it, let alone the person you promised to love for as long as you both shall live.
I failed at matrimony, and heck, I wasn’t even married!
I just wish I knew then what I know now. I wish I’d been advised to listen more, really listen, to my loved ones and my intuition.
I wish I’d known how hard it would be to be rudderless, to challenge everything I thought I knew about myself and my world.
I wish I’d known how hard it would be to re-establish my sense of self when for so long my whole identity revolved around being one half of a duo that was now a solo act.
I wish I’d known how hard it would be to navigate your world single-handedly, playing both mum and dad on the weeks you have your babies, and the weeks you don’t stumbling beneath the crushing loneliness that makes you wonder: If I'm a mum when the kids aren’t here, what am I? WHO am I?