Tumors & Insomnia

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Two binders sit on my shelf, side-by-side. One with the word “Tumor” emblazoned upon its spine, the other labeled “Emotional Tumor.”

The first binder details the tiny tumor that’s perched, quite literally, inside my head. It doesn’t bother me so much, this 1.4x 1.0x 2.7cm mass. It needs to be treated, but the treatment is fairly straightforward. In less than 30 days, it will be taken care of, with a 95% probability of never bothering me again. Sounds promising.

That is when you’re not lying awake anxious, wondering about the black hole that lies within the missing 5%.

In comparison, the headache in my second binder has no end in sight, is relatively unstable, and seems to multiply every attempt I make to move forward. That would be my divorce / custody binder I’m referring to.

It’s hard to say which stress outweighs the other. Usually it’s a tug-of-war fueled by which, in that particular moment, has the most pressing immediacy.

situation: battling insomnia that’s come back to rest in its familiar place

song: In the Long Run, The Staves

 

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.

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

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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.

 

Flawed

engagement ringI remember when he proposed, almost ten years ago. I was afraid to say yes, but I did.

I can recall the morning of our wedding, feeling so unsure, scared. I was young, I thought it was normal, cold feet and all.

On our honeymoon, I cried. A lot. I blamed exhaustion. I mean do couples really have sex on the first night of their honeymoon? Oh, right, I guess some people do.

Our marriage was flawed, but whose wasn’t, I rationalized. We said vows, we loved each other, we would work it out.

It wasn’t until I was in my early 30’s that I started seriously questioning my husband’s integrity as a man and his commitment to our marriage. But that only made me try harder. I loved him, I was happy (or so I thought).

Wasn’t that enough?

No. I learned the answer is no. It is not enough.

When my husband left me and we agreed to divorce, it felt like the ground beneath my feet crumbled.

Friends and family kept telling me I was going to be ok, that I was strong enough to get past it.

I believed in their words and accepted their love and support. They were right. I did get through it and came out with an incredible sense of clarity about my marriage.

I let go of my love, I let go of the anger (somewhat). I made the commitment to myself to be happy. That was my biggest struggle toward the end of my marriage—all I wanted was to be happy with the man I married. But he didn’t want the same thing, so what’s a girl to do.

It didn’t matter how hard I tried because you can’t make someone else happy, and you can’t make someone else try.

I don’t regret it though.

My marriage taught me that unless I gave my all, unless I strived to live my life with no regrets, that I wouldn’t truly be satisfied and clarity wouldn’t exist because in its place would lie wonder, doubt, curiosity.