I received my new passport: Fabienne S. Slama. I don’t really like the photo but after all, I never liked my passport photos. This is such an exciting moment and I want to celebrate.
Five years ago, I went through divorce after a twenty-year marriage. From the age of 24 to the age of 44 I had become Fabienne S. Bismuth, using my husband’s name as it is the tradition in many family. I took that name with joy. I took that name with honor. I took that name entirely and fully so much so that on top of leaving my last name, I let go of my identity. I didn’t notice it at first: I was in love. I was okay with it: that was the way to show I was married to my husband. But after few years I noticed that I didn’t exist anymore. Little by little I had become my husband’s wife and my kids’ mom. Me didn’t exist anymore.
How many women make the same choice? I know we have made a lot of progress in today society, still many of us let go of their career, of their passion and in many ways of their identity to support the one they live with. “Behind each good man, there is a great woman” is often true and most of the time behind each successful man, there is a woman who chose to make herself second to support her family.
My divorce was painful and scary. I had to relearn to support myself financially. More importantly, I had to relearn to support myself emotionally and learn to live on my own again.
I was blessed to have the tools I had that allowed me back on my feet emotionally in less than a year. In my book “Renaissance woman”, I explain that the beginning in a transition is The End.
The first year of my journey was The End of Fabienne Bismuth, the end of my life as a married woman and the end of the shy, dependent, scared woman I had become of the years
The second year I entered The Limbo phase. At first it was an exhilarating moment of fun and join where I tried to find my new self. I started dating again and I have to admit I had a lot of fun and new experiences. During that year, I traveled a lot, I jumped form an airplane to show to myself I was not scared anymore and I challenged my values to see who I wanted to be.
I only started to calm down during my third year after a terrible heartbreak. I had fallen in love and I had recreated the exact same pattern. I let myself disappear for a man. I had gone against who I wanted to be just to be with him. We had an amazing time together but all my life started to evolve according to his needs again. The problem during the Limbo phase is that you tend to recreate your old pattern. Finally, we broke up and I was lucky to find a man who showed me I could be loved being fully me. I will be eternally grateful for this man. Even though we didn’t stay together he gave me the best gift of love: the certitude that I am perfect the way I am and that I deserve to be here.
Year four was about reconstruction and reclaiming the warrior part of me. I went from Fabienne to Fab, to Dr. Fab recognizing the diploma I never really used and stepping into my power as a business owner, empowering women and men to let go of limiting beliefs to live their best life. That year was all about business and rebuilding the new me. It was also about defining what I really wanted in a relationship and be fully okay on my own.
As I’m entering year five. I reclaim my full identity, the one I was born with. I am Fabienne Sophie Allegra Slama. A woman with her doubt and her strength. A perfectly imperfect human being who can move mountains an instant and cry in her car the next one. Someone who is not afraid to feel her feelings because she knows they are all worthy of being heard. Five years to be reborn. Five years to be totally fine being me.
I look at my brand-new passport. I’m not sure I love the photo but after all who really love their passport photo. I don’t care, I love the woman in this photo and I’m ready to claim me 2.0. Now let’s use this passport and visit the world.