I have not posted in some time. So much has happened in the last couple of months that I have no idea where to begin. I know I have to start somewhere so here it goes: I am going through a divorce.
It happened for lots of reasons. There are two sides to every story including ours, blame we can both share, responsibility we can both take, things that both of us said, and feelings that neither of us said but the other clearly felt. All of it secondary to the truth of this moment which is that my marriage has ended. I have been through a set of challenges in the last year and this is yet another hurricane added to that crazy mix. The year 2018 has tested me in ways I could never imagine. I had to put a lot of work in to heal, to reflect, to be different, to stop doing some things and start doing other things. All of this in the name of creating the life that will best serve me.
One day six months ago, I woke up realizing I had finally come home to myself. I felt a love and acceptance for myself – flaws and all – unlike I had ever felt before. This was a process that took a long, long time. I felt grounded and changed in the best possible way and moved into my life showing up differently. I accepted that it was not my job to fix what was broken in other people, including my partner before they met me. Knowing that it was not my job to do their work was liberating. When it came to my partner, I realized that focusing on healing him was equal to me not trusting his strength. It was me not giving him the space to figure out his own feelings and take control of his personal growth. Me trying to do it for him, or even tell him how to do it, for many years was what was making things worse – for me, for him and for our marriage. It was not fair to either of us. This is one area where I know that the impact of my actions didn’t match my intentions. So I made the commitment to let go and look inward. To focus on my inner work in order to manifest the outer changes I wanted to see in my life and my marriage. I started to trust that he could heal himself. Though I wanted a role in his journey, I could not appoint it to myself. I needed him to define it for me. So I put my faith in his wisdom and resourcefulness during our conversations, interactions, and arguments. I focused on the one thing I could control and the one thing I had been putting at the end of the line of my priorities for years: healing myself. I believed this was the only way for me to be a better partner. To do the work necessary to heal from my past traumas and all my shit so that I stopped projecting it onto someone else. I started reflecting and doing the painful, methodical work that never ends in order to truly know myself. Perhaps in my going inward to do this work, I made my partner feel abandoned. This is one of the things, among many, that I take complete responsibility for. Perhaps me making this decision in this way was one contribution I made to the end of my marriage. There were also a host of other factors that got us to this point but that is not a story I will share here.
What I will share is this:
One day we had a conversation that changed everything. In this conversation, a word I never thought would be in our vocabulary is uttered: divorce. I felt like the floor was pulled out from under me. Everything changed immediately. At some point, I had hoped the rough patch in my marriage would end. I had hoped we’d come out of it as the best versions of ourselves. I had hoped we’d meet somewhere in the middle ground of our opposing perspectives. I had hoped both of us would be forever changed by the experience. I had hoped that through this we’d feel a deeper sense of love, respect, and admiration for each other. I had hoped that our resilience would help us navigate this storm and leave us stronger as a couple. I had not hoped for a divorce.
I fully own and acknowledge I was not a perfect partner but I loved my partner with all I had. I loved through all the ups and downs one should love their partner. And on the days when it was hardest, I remembered that love was a choice, not a feeling and gave it all I had. It just so happens that what I had was not what he needed and what I needed was not what he had. Maybe, as a very wise friend told me, we both already took what we needed from one another without even knowing it and this is just what comes next.
Maybe going through the extremely emotional transition of unmerging our lives may allow us to still do some of the things I had hoped for. Things I know we hope for each other. I pray each day that is the case. Though it did not come easy, I have accepted this divorce as a gift. I am holding on to the notion that we will both be in a better place as individuals after all of this. Though, truth be told, holding on to that each day is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to learn to do. Every day I work to see the wisdom and lesson of all this instead of the negativity. As with everything else, learning to embrace a new normal means having good days and bad days. This transition is hard for both of us for different reasons. At the end of the day hard is hard – it doesn’t matter why.
We simply were not meant to be in that better place together. However, there are things we were meant to do together: we were meant to meet when we did, to share laughs, to conquer challenges, and to witness each other’s personal and professional growth. We were meant to teach one another the hard yet inspiring lessons about who were as people. We were meant to push one another to consider what type of partners we wanted to be, needed to be, but ultimately could not be for each other. We were meant to be a mirror for one other revealing the sides of ourselves that were lovable on some days and a pain in the ass on others. I am grateful for these lessons because I would not have them to learn from at this moment had we not met.
As I am building my new life this is what I am choosing to hold on to. Not anger, not resentment, not hurt. However, I am human and these feelings do visit me from time to time. I take my cue from Rumi’s Guest House poem, I welcome them in and know that they are messengers holding for me a new reflection or lesson. They remind me of the things that were meant to happen. They give new reflections of the woman I was in my marriage and who I want to be as a partner to someone in the future. They remind me of the lesson of what I am worth, what kind of love I want, and what type of boundary I need.
I had been told that one of my superpowers is duality. All my life I have been able to feel and understand things that are opposition or contrast to each other with ease. This process of divorce has been no different. I would argue that people who go through this experience nothing but contrasting feelings the entire time. I have felt sadness and joy, anger and love, fear and hope, grief and relief – that is the duality of divorce. In the midst of those feelings, this poem flowed from my hands and heart. I share it here in hopes that those who need it can find it, those who have been through this can relate, and those who may also be going through this in the future can know they are not alone.
The Duality of Divorce
Once the word is uttered
It takes up all the space
A constellation of painful clarity
A blessing and a curse
A double-edged sword
Cutting me deeply with one end
Cutting me loose with the other
Tears flowed out my eyes
Tears of sadness in one eye
Tears of joy in the other eye
Part of me afraid to let you go
Part of me longing to be free of you
An ending and a beginning
Part grief part relief
Swimming together one last time
Clinging to fear and hope and possibility
Saying goodbye to one chapter
Saying hello to another
Thanks for reading.
4 thoughts on “Learning from Divorce”
Beautiful, so much strength in your words and I pray healing as well. “The wound is where the light enters.” Rumi
Thanks Willa – Rumi always knows just what to say ❤
I hope your healing is going well. I am genuinely a fan of your use of words. I love it. You’re an excellent writer. The poem at the end was a nice touch. I feel your words & poem all spoke to me in a way that I wish my ex-wife has spoke to me when we went through our divorce. Sending you good vibes during your healing process.
Thanks for sharing this.