You have been mired in the shit for so long that you forgot that life is not all shitty and hard. You are no longer lost on the horizon’s of other people’s lives. You have your own life to lead, your own path and though scary, it is yours at long last!
You have fought for it to be sure. I am going to use divorce here because it is easy...but we all walk through our own storms every single day. Over and over again. In fact, each person you pass on the street, at the grocery store, they are all fighting and/or surviving something. Could be cancer, the loss of a spouse or child or pet, losing a job, a break up. The storms come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but the one thing they all have in common is that whatever we are surviving will change us.
It is always darkest just before the dawn and I will be the first to tell you that there is a lot of darkness in divorce. And it often feels like it will never end. It just keeps going and going.
I tell people all the time: “Divorce has a beginning and a middle, and a middle, and a middle. And an end. They feel like they last forever, but all divorces regardless of how bad, do end eventually.”
The longest one I have ever known was ten years. So in almost 28 years, I have only seen one go a decade. It was exceptional and crazy. And the damage done to each other and the kids was exponential.
But most of the rest of us, divorce takes a year if we are lucky and two on average. The more you have to fight about, the longer it takes to resolve. And the more you try to cowboy it yourself, the greater the likelihood that you get it done only to find out that you really should have gotten some counsel and help before finalizing it. I swear the most money I have ever seen spent on a divorce was people trying to unfuck what should have never been fucked in the first place. But again, we often are the last ones to know what we don’t know...
I have walked a great many people through their divorces and break ups. And I have walked through my own. And I can tell you that it was one of the most liberating and life changing events of my entire life. The person I became because of it, could have never evolved had I stayed in the confines of that particular relationship. There was no room for me. There was no place for me at all really.
And I struggled. I worked hard. I tried. I stayed in that marriage for at least five years longer than I wanted to because I just couldn’t figure out how to leave. I was so afraid. I was so lost. In fact, I learned that sometimes, you are so lost that you seem to forget knowing that you are even lost. Lost just becomes a place that you take up permanent residence.
But I left that marriage and endured the questions of well meaning family and friends. I reclaimed my own life when other people said things like this to me:
“But your marriage isn’t awful! Are you sure you want to leave the safety of it?”
“But you guys seem so well matched”
“You are going to regret this decision. Being a single mom is really hard.”
Well for me, safety had become a prison. We were not really all that well matched and I have never regretted the decision. Being a single mom was and is hard. But it was so much harder to parent with someone who was not on the same page. And so much harder to endure one more day than I did.
But it was worth it! Every single minute of suffering, being willing to walk through the suffering and pain was worth what I got on the other side. And I have had the privilege of holding that opinion every single day since.
It isn’t that I do not have regrets. I know my children would have been better off being raised by the two of us and not me by myself. But, I also know that them being raised by two unhappy and depressed people would have likely caused them more long term damage. I have needed to rise to the mothering occasion many times and I do not believe I would have been able to do that if I was still in the marriage. All that energy freed up when I left. And I had it to give to my kids sometimes because I had to, but more often, because I now had it to give. I wasn’t being bled out over the floors of my nice, well appointed home.
So writing things like this makes me smile. It gives me a vantage point to review all that I have overcome and all that I have done in the last eight years. And fuck if I don’t smile...a lot. I am so lucky. I am completely blessed. Both of us were able to move on in our lives, and I believe we are both happier for it. I know I am. But I would say he is too.
I fought hard for my freedom. And it was worth every tear, every sleepless night, all the worry, confusion and fear. It was worth every painful step I took to leave that marriage that wasn’t horrible, but was just so not right for me.
And I have become more me. Leaving required it actually. I used all the events of my divorce to get to know myself better and more fully. And today, I can swear that I was worth it. All that effort and push. I was worth the effort to reclaim my life and make it mine. I am proud of my fight. And even more proud of the person who was so afraid and lost, taking that first step towards liberation and release. I would be honored to help you do the same.