The true life of Justin and Ami
Most of you know of the Justin and Ami McClure post our twin five year old daughters, Ava and Alexis McClure, and our ten month old son, Jersey McClure. What you’ve only heard bits and pieces of, in a game of internet telephone, is our lives before the girls and even before each other.
In our most recent podcast (which can be found here or here) we finally got to sit down and tell our story our way: raw, real and unrehearsed. As you know, whether you’ve listened to our podcast or not, (and we hope you have), this blog space is to talk all things relationships, marriage and parenting. Some posts will be written by Justin exclusively, some Ami, and some, like this one, together. Being that it is about our journeys to finding ourselves and ultimately each other, it had to be a team effort — just like our marriage, family and our second YouTube channel, The McClure Algorithm.
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Today’s post isn’t so much about the secret recipe for our relationship (our recent podcast is the perfect place for the who, what, when, where and why). It’s about what was being restored in our lives individually before we could meet and ultimately come together. It’s about some of the stuff that was falling apart a year or two before hand, the stuff that had to be sloughed off, so that we could find our true selves and ultimately find the little family that we have now.
Truth be told, neither of us were in great places in the years before we met. In fact, things were pretty dismal. In 2011, Ami, still settling for a toxic and abusive relationship, wouldn’t have believed you if you told her that two years later she would give birth to identical twin girls that would ultimately save her. During this time, Justin knew that he couldn’t wholly love while being owned by addiction. He had to return to the person he was before life taught him differently. In order to do this, he had to examine all of the unhealthy crap that trauma had taught him (this isn’t the family channel, if you want that, look no further than here) and unpack what led him to where he was at the time. He had a lot to learn.
“I had to stop being reckless, become sober and ultimately, the marrying, fatherly kind I never imagined I could be.” -Justin McClure
But things had to get bleak before they could get better. In 2012, a three months pregnant Ami had to actually become a friend to herself, pack her bags and move in with her brother. A rough pregnancy, in and out of the hospital, she’s not sure if she would have stayed strong if not for the future being delivered six months later. Whether she had to survive on ramen noodles or not, she would do not just right, but best, by her infant daughters. While Ami was focusing on the girls, Justin knew what he needed to focus on and implement during his second year of recovery.
“I had to stop letting unearned love guide me.” -Ami McClure
When Ami found the courage to leave that toxic relationship, she began the journey of finally loving herself and being true to what she really wanted. It was the road she would have to go on before finding the right person. When Justin began unpacking his addiction, he learned to let ego and insecurity go. When he stopped the “bigger, better” trap that leads no where, he would stop chasing that emotional high and be someone who could love unselfishly. And so, in 2013, we found each other in ways we never thought possible.
“…The girls were something great that let you know that what you were in was not good for you…” -Justin about Ami
Some pretty hard work had to ensue before we could become the types of people who could meet by chance in 2014 and grow together. Before this, Justin was not ready to be a dad and Ami was not ready to be with the right man. We were headed in different directions at the same time, but hey, at least this time we were both stepping into the “up” elevator.
“I had to prepare myself for what I didnt know about yet.” -Justin McClure
So this is the story of us, before Ava, Alexis and Jersey. It’s the story we’ve never gotten to fully tell, on our own, with our own words, and in our own way. And we’re just getting started in telling it. It’s part one of more to come.
So to finally end this game of internet telephone, this blog (our podcast and our subsequent marriage/parenting youtube channel) will always be the place to come to hear our story — from us and by us. We’re removing the rotary handset from the cradle. Let’s put some rumors to rest so that you can hear the dial tone again.
We don’t live vicariously through our kids, our story was being written individually before them. Although they’ve given us meaning and purpose beyond what we could ever deserve, we don’t rely on them to find ourselves. We don’t need the money, we were making six figures before. Our children don’t work, we do. They goof around on camera maybe fifteen minutes a few times a week. They’re just being themselves, not memorizing lines. The rest of the “empire” creating is done by hand, just the two of us, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Cocooned in our home in West Orange, New Jersey, this is the story of the life we’ve carved out together, the story of Justin, Ami, Ava, Alexis and Jersey McClure.
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