published SEPTEMBER 15, 2021 AT 10:47AM AM EDT

I remember calling my mami from an inflatable mattress in a dingy basement I had just moved into. I remember the self-nurturing and self-assurance I had to do just to dial her number. I was calling my mami to tell her about the demise of my marriage, and I feared her response to my decision.

It is devastating to reflect on that phone call, because not even my own decision to leave my ex-husband felt as difficult as my decision to tell her what I was going through. I remember trying to keep my voice from shaking when I told her what I had done. If you are sure of something, you do not need to mourn that decision — that was one of the more formative mantras in my household.

I also remember losing my composure and breaking down in tears. Everything still felt so raw, and I was in so much pain. None of that meant that I was unsure about my decision. But any sign of weakness meant getting bulldozed by my mom. In between my own cries and gasps for air, I could hear her rail against me and against this very hard decision I had made about my life.

I remember hanging up on her, because I could not carry her disappointment on top of my broken heart.

When I got divorced, years ago, I had to go through that experience without any support from my own family. Thankfully, I have wonderful friends who held me and helped me move into a new place and even went as far as to sleep in the same bed with me, since I had not slept alone in years. But my family stood afar, often judging me and pushing me away.

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