This Thursday, my divorce will be final.
I’ve been working and waiting and pushing for this day for a year and a half. And strangely, though I’ve been mostly calm and collected with the occasional burst of frustration, I find myself looking for just the right emotional reaction for the conclusion. I’ve been weeping over this all week, although I know I don’t want to remain in this marriage. There’s such a sense of loss; a finality in all of this that causes me to simultaneously grieve deeply and gasp for air as though I’ve been suffocating for months. I find myself grasping to find other people who can reassure me that these feelings are normal. Thanks to the world wide web, I’ve found several commentaries to ease my troubled heart.
The closer I get to it, the more I realize that the loss I feel is more selfish than I initially thought. I am find I’m so disappointed in myself, my awful choices, the weak girl inside of me who stayed, the sad woman who agreed to a marriage in the first place, already knowing it was abusive. In all 7 of the years we were together, I occasionally saw or heard stories of women being emotionally abused by their husbands, and every time I felt bewildered. Why don’t you just stand up for the beautiful person you are and leave that asshole? How could you let him make you feel that way? Didn’t you notice you were working 60 hours a week and looking for another job while he stays home and plays video games? Didn’t it ever occur to you how empty it felt when he didn’t want to talk to you, know about your life, or support your future? How could you let him make you feel like the only way you were ever pretty enough to have sex with was with the lights off, from behind, silently? How could you ever let that sick son of a bitch convince you that it was okay for him to sleep with other men outside your marriage, because you didn’t have all of the parts to satisfy him?
It becomes so easy to justify when you’re there.
You don’t think your marriage is falling apart.
You think you have a few things to work though.
You have some communication issues.
You couldn’t possibly be wrong for each other, you have so much in common.
You both like Thai food and sucking cock. Bonding activities.
And yet, in the midst of the anger, the hurt, the uncomfortably “oh yeah, it just didn’t work out”‘s I invariably have to explain to everyone I know, I’m human. Human and compassionate and plucky and sentimental. I replay moment of our marriage in my mind every day. I remember so many of our memories as some of the best times of my life. And that’s the messy truth of it all. I will always love that memory of him and me, the good times, like a fairy tale out of a book I’ve shelved and misplaced. Over the years new memories will come and fill new pages in my mind, and I know I’ll think of him less and less. But the best memories he and I shared really aren’t romantic, in the end. Our shining moments were the few moments we spent truly connecting over a shared interest. Mostly, the interest boiled down to “doing something out of the norm.”
I always had this theory that he was an escapist. He never fully understood or functioned in real life. It was hard, and so any “real world” things fell on me. Bills, apartment renting, doctor’s appointments, finding work, social “obligations”, taking care of pets, etc. If it wasn’t in a book or on a screen, it would never be worth the effort, ultimately. And for me, I think I spent so much time caught up in how much I hated being the mother, father, husband and wife to one human being, that any time I could sneak in a vacation, it was so needed. So, we bonded in the moments we ran away together. Road trips. New restaurants. Museums. Anything that let us momentarily forget the life we were failing at building as a team. But I don’t for a second look down to the beauty of the adventures we shared. I understand now that in a strange way, that was the only time I was ever really allowed into his world.
So here I am. 3 days to divorced. Worried like crazy that my maybe-gay, man-child, soon-to-be-ex-husband hasn’t finished signing his paperwork, or hasn’t switched his bank accounts, or won’t show up in court. And ultimately I know I have to breathe and take the opportunity to “let go and let God.” I can’t help him. Lord knows I tried.
I’ve been trying all week to figure out how to commemorate this day. For some, the over the top “divorce party” is a great thing. For me, I think it’s just as much a day to grieve as it is to celebrate. I contemplated a tattoo, but let’s be honest: I cry when I stub my toe. A good bottle of wine, a walk on the beach, a new haircut? I’m not sure. Re-purpose my wedding and engagement ring? Maybe eventually.
Switchfoot’s “The Beautiful Letdown” comes to mind these days. Redemption for the foolish, if only they come forward and ask? Sounds like something I can use a dose of.
And a new beginning. I’ll take a big helping of that too, please.
A fitting daily prompt: