I am ME

I am ME

I am Andrea Arnold. I am a wife, sister, and friend. I am a runner. I am a future Dietitian. I am a hard worker. I am determined. I am motivated. I am passionate. I am grateful. I am happy. I am relentless. I am ME and nothing will ever change that.

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My life changed with one phone call

Sometime in October of 2015 My husband and I were cleaning our apartment. We decided the only way to do that was with mimosas. So, we popped some champagne and got to cleaning. Mind you, I am the type of cleaner that has to go through every single thing before I start to organize.

I eventually stumbled across a photo of my sisters and I from when we were young. For some reason I began to question it. I looked nothing like them, my skin color, my eyes, and my nose were completely different than theirs. I’ve had these thoughts before but always joked about it.

I decided I was going to call my Mom right then and there. But before I go into any more detail about this phone call that would forever change my life, let me give you some background.

My Relationship with my Mom

My Mom and Dad had three children together, my older brother, older sister, and myself. They split and my Dad later married my Step Mom, who raised me since I was in diapers. I have always looked back on my childhood with fond memories of hiking, picnics, homemade meals, family gatherings, soccer, and random adventures of driving through the country. Of course there were hard times, but we always seemed to move forward together as a family.

I would visit my biological Mom often, but we didn’t have the typical Mother-Daughter bond that I yearned for. I have always felt disappointed and abandoned by her. I have no idea the upbringing or difficulties she faced, and always thought if I knew more I could have a better understanding.

As I grew older, I developed a stronger relationship with her over the phone. I would call her anytime I had trouble with boys or friends. It was comforting to know that I could call her and talk about anything. During that time period, that kind of relationship with her was enough because I was getting my nurturing relationship from my Step Mom as well. My Step Mom always filled a void for me and stepped in when I needed her the most.

The older I get the more I am able to appreciate the sacrifice that my Step Mom and Dad made for us 5 kids.

The Phone Call

Now let’s get back to that phone call. What started as a joke turned into the hardest news I have ever heard. I learned that my Dad who raised me isn’t my biological father. I probably asked if she was joking about a hundred times simply because I didn’t want to believe that this could actually be true. My life felt shattered. My life felt like a lie. My was heart broken. I didn’t understand how she could keep this from me for 26 years.

Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to give me much information, no name or date of birth. I was angry because I felt she was withholding more. I immediately lost any sense of trust with her. I had to calm myself down before I said something I might regret. I explained to her that I needed some time to process everything and that no matter what I loved her. Immediately after hanging up the phone I cried, kicked, and screamed as my husband held me in his arms.

I couldn’t imagine how hard it must be to hold something inside for 26 years from someone you love. I’ve since struggled accepting her inability to face the truth and to be honest with me. I can’t keep something important from someone I love even for a day because it eats at me, but that’s me not her. I know that accepting this will be a part of my healing process.

Moving Forward

Every day I think about this. I have so many unanswered questions about what happened and who my biological father is. Somedays are hard accepting the truth and other days I distract myself from the sadness.

This chapter in my life has been difficult, but I know that I will make it out stronger than ever. This will not define who I am as a person. No matter what, I will always be Andrea Michelle Arnold.

Why I wrote this post

I felt I needed to share my story. It’s been something I have been living with for over 6 months and writing about it makes me feel better.

Part of me hopes I might connect with someone facing similar challenges and can relate with how I feel.

To Those Facing Challenging Times

Keep the people you love and trust close to you.

Talk to someone. I see a therapist that has helped tremendously.

Find your passion and pursue it! Doing what you love will make you happy and fulfilled.

Run a marathon. I promise you will not be the same person when you cross the finish line, at least that’s how I feel.

Allow yourself to go through all the stages of grieving. Don’t rush it, these things take time.

Whatever you’re going through, never forget who you are. You are stronger than you know!

Be kind and patient with your significant other. They are there for you and want to help, so communicate and be open with your feelings.

You will make it through this. I have no idea how long it will take, but eventually you will heal and grow from any challenge you face.

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6 Comments

Sarah Speers

So proud of you for sharing your story and for turning your pain into power and purpose! You are such an inspiration to me and I love you to pieces!

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Natasha

Wow Andy. You never cease to inspire. Thank you for sharing such a huge and difficult part of your life. I’ve always thought of you as a beautiful, strong, courageous woman, but this just amplifies it all.

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Kate

Wow, Andy. I’m speechless but thank you for sharing this and being so candid about something so difficult to write about. I can’t even imagine how hard that news was to hear and all that it’s taken to process. You are amazing, strong and wise enough to know YOU ARE ANDY no matter what. Sending love. <3

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fitandyy@gmail.com

Thanks Kate! It hasn’t been easy, but this marathon has come at the best time! I’ve been able to focus on something positive. Hope your training is going well 🙂

And definitely will always be Andy no matter what.

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