When you get divorced you learn to change the paradigm of your former life. Your narrative drastically changes from the nostalgic “white house, picket fence, two kids and a dog” fantasy to dreaming of days when massive debt magically disappears and drinking wine in a bubble bath on Tuesday seems plausible. You live life in a constant goal setting sphere of “one load of laundry will be washed, the trash will make it to the dumpster, and I’ll locate the mystery smell in the car.” Real things. Nothing big, but in your world they feel like life changers. I know this seems trivial… but at the start of my divorce process I found walking from the bed to the bathroom a major obstacle.
Now I plan my life around the pockets of time I incur between the morning rush and the soft whispers before bedtime. I’ve learned all laundry, grading, and hair dying must be taken care of in the wee hours before sunrise. As a result my teensy weensy goals get left on a mental note page as I slink into bed to catch a few winks before my midnight toddler wake up call. And some days I feel utterly defeated by the piles of clothes on the floor or the coffee cups growing some sort of science experiment in the pools of Folgers sludge. In this experience of loss I’ve learned to purposefully let go.
The letting go serves as a deep pocket of pain one faces head on only to discard, remember, and refuse to interact with again. It takes discipline and it requires a strong sense of self… because I can promise you will encounter moments so difficult to let go of you will kick and scream every second of the process. The death do us part and all that crap is out the window—YOUR marriage was not forever and you are not a Hallmark card and you must accept that it is COMPLETELY OK. And you have to stop wishing for it back and you have to actively CHANGE your story. I know… it sounds harsh. But it’s incredibly freeing. And the freedom hurts a little… but like all good things the pain serves as a necessary component to the growth.
A year ago I pined for my old life back. I held on to unrealistic notions that if I lost weight, colored my hair, started getting manicures and learned to gain some sort of fashion sense my (ex) husband would return impressed by this new wife. And together we would resume the fairy tale marriage we planned in our early 20s. But my old life felt repressive… I was not free. All that glitter was not gold. Once I dispelled the need for those falsehoods I stopped looking to turn the pages to a worn out story. I dug my heels in to construct my own narrative. My own story has more potential alone than alongside anyone who keeps my freedom in the proverbial jar on the shelf.
Currently, I ache to retrieve a portion of my life I did not expect to lose: my friendships. In the process of letting go I struggle to realize I lost friends. In divorce you grieve the absence of your spouse, your things, and honestly, the people who loved you as a couple but cannot seem to find a way to love you as individuals. As a result, I feel alienated from people whom also shared in momentous occasions in my life and as incredible supports. I feel a sharp pinch in my ribs when I conclude I divorced many people I loved…not just my spouse. I need to learn that as my marriage rotted so did the bonds to others outside my ex-husband. This too, I must learn to let go of— to change the framework of my thinking. I cannot blame them for struggling to navigate the jagged edges of my divorce. That’s not fair. I assumed though we’d both be loved through it. Some people are lifelong friends and some are not AND THAT is OK. Gosh… life is heavy. Really fucking heavy. Maybe I should add on my to-do list: lift less weight. Or drop the bars, turn the page and start writing a new story. Change the characters, develop a better plot, think through the hero’s crux with more purpose, and seek positive resolution. Good writers abandon dead end plots and sequences to invent newer, more bold and brave context to draw in the audience. I am officially discarding the text with no purpose and intentionally interacting with my tale with nothing but LOVE and LIGHT. I hold the pen… I type on the keys… I press submit.