Stand By Me

walking away

I didn’t marry a man who would stand by my side.

Not realizing it at the time, we were both so young, he was not the man I hoped he would be, one who would be there for me, no matter what.

When the going got tough, he disappeared.

I made excuses for him, and I grew stronger because I had to.

When I needed him most, he was unavailable.

Even when he was there, he wasn’t actually there.

I told myself I would never make the same mistake again.

And I haven’t.

We all deserve to be with someone who understands us, someone who truly listens and loves us for who we are, not for who they want us to be.

It goes both ways.

 

Uncertainty

purple flower

Uncertainty in life can be scary.

Divorce has added up to be a lot of uncertainty. I don’t think I expected that, at least not to this degree.

I was talking with someone close to me the other day about the uncertainty of divorce and how scary it feels to not know where I will be next month, let alone next year, and he said something that was so wise and reflective.

He said, “Well, you need something to do next year anyways.”

True that.

I like the promise that underlies that statement.

10 Comments That (Eventually) Led Me to Divorce

backtoyou

The following are pretty close-to-actual comments made by my ex-husband before the ex part came to be….

  1. “I wouldn’t have to lie to you if you didn’t make me feel ashamed of everything I do.”
  2. “Sex is not about intimacy or emotion for me, it’s just physical.”
  3. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there when you woke up from surgery, I had to check on work and got stuck there for an hour. You understand, right, I mean you were under anesthesia anyways.”
  4. “Do I think you look pretty in that dress? Um, well, I think all women are pretty, so it’s really not an individual matter.”
  5. “I didn’t mean to get drunk and pee on your sister while she was sleeping, it won’t happen again.”
  6. “I worry about you getting hurt and me having to push you around in a wheelchair for the rest of our lives.”
  7. “I don’t think I was ever truly in love with you.”
  8. “But she’s a lesbian – it can’t be considered an emotional affair if she has a girlfriend! And I don’t even remember those emails, so it doesn’t count!”
  9. “I didn’t realize how unacceptable my sexual affair with my employee was because you were still willing to talk to me, so I thought it was ok.”
  10. “I don’t know what happened to your diamond engagement ring.”

In closing, you know what they say abut hindsight and organizing your thoughts into lists.

Access Denied 

 

I wait

On edge

For what’s to come

I try not to let him get to me

But as hard as I try

He knows my weak spot

It’s our son

And so he tugs

I try not to bend

I want to lash out at him

But I can’t, and I won’t

Except it still gets to me

The anger keeps me up most the night

I must do better

Try harder

I changed the locks today

Because he has no concept of boundaries

And I needed to take back some control

I tell myself it will help steady me

For his inevitable blows

He no longer has the same level of access

To the coming and goings of my life

Access, denied

He may like playing games

He thinks it’s funny

Me, as his pawn

But I just want it to end

Start living my life the way I want

To begin

Name Change Purgatory

filestack

When you get divorced, there is this little box on the divorce form that asks if you want to revert back to your maiden name. It’s just there, a blank box on a form.

Menacing fucking box.

What happens after you check it is you wind up going near crazy updating your name every place you can think of. Even if you write up a list of all the places you have to change your name, in addition to the lists you find when you Google it, there are still a dozen more that you forgot. And guess what? You have to update your name there too.

Guess what else? Some of those places, you have to pay to update your name. You have to pay in the form of cash money and in hours spent filling out forms. Hours of your life you will never get back. And you have to do it in the right order, too. So don’t even try to get your updated credit card until you have a new driver’s license, and for that, you need a new social security card, for which you need to apply in person, with all your divorce paperwork, birth certificate, etc., etc. ,etc.

Oh, and a new passport too. Don’t forget the passport, because after all the tedium, you’ll need a vacation.

Maybe like me, you thought long and hard about taking your husband’s last name in the first place. After all, you are a strong, independent woman, why should you have to take your husband’s name in the sake of tradition?

Maybe like me, you published or held professional certifications in your maiden name, so you really weighed the pros and cons, then decided you loved this person so much, and wanted to have his babies, so of course, you would take his name. Of course.

Don’t be alarmed when you call your gynecologist’s office to change your name and they assume it’s because you just got married. If I had a dollar for every person I tried to update my name with who cooed sweetly, “Oh, you must have gotten married!” I may have been able to use it to cover the rush fee on my “new” passport application. Which is bullshit, because my old passport was good for like many, many more years. It’s not my passport’s fault I’m divorced!

Remember when you changed your name all these places after you first got married? Oh, you forgot? Probably because you were blissfully in love then and proud to have your new name. Back then shelling out $150 to update your name on your car registration was dreamy.

Even if I am head over heels in love one day and marry my soul mate (because let’s face it, the first one was a mistake), I won’t take his name. And chances are he’s probably divorced too, so he’ll understand exactly why. Although unlike me, he probably never had to change his last name when he got divorced, so he will really only understand to a certain degree.

The point is – I will never change my name again. I will never change my name again. I will NEVER CHANGE MY NAME.

 

Insignificant He Will Be

hiding.jpg

Disengage

Repeat

Breathe in

Breathe out

Repeat

He can’t hurt you

If you don’t let him

Insignificant

He needs to become

Insignificant

In my mind

Accept the anger

You have every reason

To feel this way

But disengage

He doesn’t need to know

How insignificant he will become

Override

shoes

The joy was not enough to override the negativity in his head

How can two people wake up together in the same life

and see it so differently?

 

Such opposing views

Each convinced

theirs is reality

 

Where one sees joy

The other feels despair

When one wants to hold on tight

The other only sees

No way to escape

 

The joy was not enough

to override the negativity

because he couldn’t see past it

 

To life

To joy

To us

Divergence

highwayI desperately want to make sure there is separation

Between the good

And the bad

 

I don’t want to be blinded by one for the other

 

I want distinction, divergence

Between the past

And the future

 

Definition is the only way through it

 

We’re getting there

Him so much slower than me

As usual

 

It hurts

It aches

But the good awaits

On the other end

Emotionally Charged

umbrella.jpg

Divorce involves experiencing a range of emotions. Emotions that, for the most part, we’re not prepared for, unless of course we’ve been through it before. Shock, sadness, anger, grief, adjustment, acceptance, and eventually, empowerment and happiness.

In my case, toward the end of my divorce, I was happier than I ever was when I was married, probably because I was trying so hard to keep my marriage together that I never allowed myself to think about the alternative. My husband walking out the door ended up being an opportunity to live a better life filled with more love than I could have imagined.

I really had no idea how much divorce would interrupt my life. I told myself in the beginning that I would just get through it and not let it throw me off course. After all, I had a child to care for, a full-time job, my health to take care of, I couldn’t afford to lose focus. Ha! Obviously it doesn’t work like that.

Giving myself a break was difficult for me. I don’t mean break-breaks. I had plenty of down time for things like self-reflection, binge watching Netflix, crying into my wine glass, having ice cream for dinner, and what not. I also had support from friends and family. But learning to be mindful of those swirls of emotions, accepting that everything was going to be ok, and that I couldn’t control it all, that was a hard adjustment.

I didn’t want my life to go back to the way it was, I understood what needed to happen, it’s just that I wanted it all to happen right away. I wanted to be ok and functioning at the top of my game again, immediately.

I think I made it worse on myself. Maybe I shouldn’t have. Maybe I should have just taken it easy and given myself more space to heal, I don’t know. Instead of trying to figure out my next career move, the house payments, updating my benefits and will, basically anything and everything you can put on a to-do list, maybe I should have just taken a chill pill. I had a good excuse, right?

It’s just not in me. The harder I fought to regain who I was, and importantly, the woman I wanted to be, the harder it was to let go of the aspects that made me, me. I am an ‘always on the go’ person. I love checklists and feeling accomplished when the world around me is in order. I don’t know an other way to be. Whether it’s good for me or not, I’m driven. And as challenging as it was to keep up that pace when my mind and body would not cooperate, I am so relieved to finally be on the other side and back to my old self, a little more each day.

I suppose one of my greatest fears was that in the process of divorcing my husband, I would lose myself, and that made me the maddest of all. I couldn’t let that happen. So maybe the fact that our emotions drive us can be a good thing in the end.

 

Divorce Free Fall

tree

Yearning to gain control over my life

Fighting for some semblance of it at least

It can’t be what it was before, I know this and welcome the resulting challenges

This feels like a free fall

I grasp for anything to pad my inevitable tumble to the bottom

I spread out my arms, reach for branches, try to grab and hold on for dear life

Determination does not hold a strong enough power over the sheer exhaustion of it all

Balanced by tip toe on a small hold, I have to let go once again, I can’t endure any longer

If I keep boomeranging this way, what will be left of me when I get to the end, I wonder?