Sunday, February 12, 2017

One Year Since the Judgment and Just Now Feeling Divorced

One doesn’t just jump out of a thirty-year marriage, throw on her little black dress, a nice fat swath of red lipstick, and head out to party it up. At least that's not what this chick did. I don’t know. Others might. It was about a year ago that I was wandering through one of those little shops in a nearby beach town. Amid rocks painted with colorful swirls and words encouraging the holder to Inspire, Believe, and Hope, I found a group of wine glasses that held equally motivating messages. Trimmed in glitter and sporting sass and attitude, the glasses declared, among other things, that it’s tough to be the queen but someone has to do it and that, upon birth, the holder was dropped in a vat of awesome. Not being one for drinking around beads and paint blobs, I turned to check out the fridge magnets declaring that life is, indeed, better in flip-flops. It was then that I saw the glass on divorce. “Divorced and having the time of my life,” the glass read. I remember thinking at the time that one would have to be out of her mind to be feeling as if she were having the time of her life after ending a union in which she had spent most all of her living years.

I’ve dated my ex. I’ve dated other people a couple of times, as well. When I was with someone else, I felt like I was cheating despite the paper that assured me I was divorced. I wondered when this “having the time of my life” thing was supposed to kick in. Maybe that was for women whose husbands had been creeps. Maybe that was for women whose husbands had cheated or hit them or gambled away the family money. I was grieving a loss. I didn’t especially feel like beer and karaoke. I didn’t feel like random meetings with men I didn’t know. Dating sites are great for some but truly not my thing. I decided after listening to so many others tell me how I was supposed to be doing this single thing to listen, for a second, to myself. And my Self told me I needed time to heal.

And so I did.

I allowed myself room. I allowed myself room to feel. I allowed myself room to come to a place of understanding that what I had done really was the best thing for both my ex and myself. I had to get used to people I loved judging me. I had to get used to people I loved hating me for destroying something that had been good for them. I had to get used to people I loved cutting me completely out of their lives. For the first time, I made a decision that was good for me and for me alone. That was inconvenient for some. It was confusing for them. They wanted to go on with life as it had always been.

I did a hard thing. While I healed from doing that hard thing, I was attacked and badgered and thrown to the dogs.

I thought the paper would make me feel divorced. The paper, as it happens, is just ink on a page. Truly feeling divorced has come from months of tears, from quiet spaces at the end of the day, from the heartache of allowing my children space to do their own healing, from a cold bed on a winter’s night, from remembering how much I care for the man who was my husband and from saying yes to coffee when I should have said no. Truly feeling divorced was not a fifteen-minute session that ended thirty years with the sound of a gavel. Truly feeling divorced was a year-long journey spent on knees in prayer.

Looking back to that glass on that shelf in that shop, am I having yet the time of my life? No. But, neither do I feel the need to prove anything to anyone, including myself, on the degree of happiness in my life or the correctness of the choices that I made. I have never hated him. I never wished him ill. I still care deeply and want for him good things. This is a difficult concept for many to get. I am at a place, now, though, where I realize it is not my job to explain. It is not my job to prove or soothe or act a certain way. It is not my job to live up to the standards imposed on me by anyone I know. I am at a point where I realize I suddenly feel single and, for the first time in a year, can call myself divorced.

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