Monday, March 28, 2016

A Journal Entry and Some Pretty Flowers

I sat in front of the crowd, raised my right hand, swore to God, and, just like that, ended a thirty-year marriage. Friends asked me afterward if I were going to celebrate, if I felt relieved, free. One friend told me people have divorce parties, that they invite everybody they know, that they whoop it up and drink to new life. Another suggested I buy myself flowers, light some candles, enjoy a bottle of wine. None of this feels appropriate to what is going on in my heart. I have been living on my own now five months. My husband, I mean my ex, and I dated a bit during that time. We’re friendly, enough. We talk, sort of. Am I relieved to be out of a lifetime friendship, a friendship with someone whom I still consider a friend? No. Do I feel freedom to be loose of the marital chains? Not really. Perhaps I am not very good at naming exactly what it is I feel. Numb? Dazed? Saddened, but hopeful?

So, instead of donning my divorcĂ©e crown and toasting with friends, I am in a coffee shop working on an essay. I bought myself a new book and a little something pretty, sticky notes with flowers in a paisley box. After spending a good half hour or so draped across my bed this afternoon with a box of tissue, I straightened my dress, reapplied my mascara, and decided I needed to be out of the house. I got a burrito bowl at QDoba. I’m crazy like that. Looking back, I should have calorie-splurged on the tortilla. I had been advised on celebratory techniques for this day prior to it coming. I had been told I should go out drinking with friends. Do a little karaoke. Let loose my wild side. I was not a bar-going gal when I was of the age where everyone did that. It’s not that I view it as wrong, it’s just not my idea of fun. But then, I’m single now. I need to think about this. I don’t know that I’ll ever meet a guy in the stationery aisle at Barnes and Noble.

Do I even want a guy?

A couple months ago I was on one of the popular dating sites. For two weeks. It was more than I could bear. My first two winks came from SPOILU4EVR and HunkWaiting4U. This was not a good sign. Or maybe it was. How would I know? Whatever happened to the days where you could smell a guy first, breathe in his scent, study how he looks at you when he thinks you’re not looking? Guys with regular names like Todd and Dave. At one point, I was curious and decided to check out my competition. I entered statistics to match the kind of woman I feel myself to be--education, hobbies, religion, astrological sign, perfect first date, and book I have currently on my nightstand. I was expecting cleavage. This is what I had assumed. The women I found, however, were conservatively dressed. No boobs at all. And, interestingly, they lacked the typical slutty facial expressions. I was feeling much better, because I refused to play that game. Then I realized that I had forgotten to enter myself as a man looking for this sort of woman. Let’s just say I know now what the prospects are for a woman like me looking for a woman like me.

Truth is, I am not one of those women who needs a man. I know this sounds weird coming from someone who just ended a thirty plus year relationship. Don’t get me wrong. I like male attention. I like to share my time with someone. But I am not interested in clinging onto any guy just to have a guy. At least not right now. Ask me again in a year or two.

Relief and freedom, then, are not the words I would use to express the way I feel. Is it exciting to think about the possibility of dating? I guess. Is it nice to be on my own and to know my strength as an independent woman able to make her own decisions and run her own life? Sure. But I also carry a heavy heart. I ended a union today that meant something to me. I have four children from that union, stacks of photos, and a multitude of memories. I put a space between myself and a lifelong friend, a space that will, by design, never be repaired. That’s a big deal. It’s not something I’m going to celebrate. It’s a life transition worthy of my respect and recognition, possibly a journal entry and some pretty flowers, an ending of one phase, the beginning of another.

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