I have divorce on the brain.
On the 24th, Janie and I had a court date to finalize the dissolution of our partnership. Three months ago I finally got around to filing the papers to get this process rolling, postponing the inevitable out of laziness or disinterest, and I am proud to say that we have crossed the finish line. DIVORCED.
You should have been there the day I told Valerie I was, technically, still married. AWKWARD!
The truth is that I felt not-married the moment I sat on the couch in the living room late on a Sunday night in May of 2010 and told Janie I couldn’t do it anymore. That makes it sound so much simpler than it was at the time. There was a lot of sobbing and heaving and saying I’m sorry again and again while Janie tried to console me. I remember not really being able to stop saying THIS IS SO WEIRD. Then there was this moment where it almost seemed like nothing had happened. We drove to McDonald’s and got milkshakes and french fries. We went to sleep in the same bed, like we always had, but in the morning when I woke up she was not there and things were very, very different. Quiet. And then angry.
So much time has passed since then, and so many strange and difficult milestones have come and gone. I have talked so very little about it here, beyond the depression and medication and sadness, because I didn’t know where to start or where to end. I wanted to respect privacy, I wanted to respect feelings, I wanted to give space and time to some things that seemed delicate. Sometimes the things that are going on aren’t the kinds of things that can be written about. I guess that is to say I’m learning when I need to just keep my head down and do the work that needs to be done. It doesn’t make it easy, especially considering that writing is something incredibly therapeutic for me, allowing me a way to express what is going on inside when it is otherwise hard to figure it out. Sometimes the only way to understand what I feel is to put it down on paper or type it into a computer, to let it pour out so that I can make sense of it that way. The last several months have been hard, because I’ve not been doing a lot of that kind of writing and I’ve been keeping many things to myself and then ranting wildly about them to my therapist.
Last spring when I went to visit Leah, I got a tattoo on my foot of a dandelion being blown by the wind. I wanted to stamp on myself a reminder to let go of the things that I didn’t need to hang on to anymore. As a friend of mine recently and so beautifully put it, “I am closing the door to what doesn’t support, respect, love, nourish, and care for me.” And what better reminder to let go than having a permanent mark on your body that looks like a third grader drew it. You guys, IT WAS SO BAD. THAT TATTOO WAS HORRIFYING. But I had it covered expertly once I got home, with a phoenix. This phoenix is not only a reminder of letting go, but of how something ugly can turn into something beautiful and then, ultimately, how I can rise up and soar. With this beautiful reminder in place, it was time to do the work. Medication. Therapy. Therapy. Therapy. I have never worked so hard and been so proud of who I am and how far I’ve come to heal.
In therapy I’m still learning that one big lesson of letting go. I’m not to the actual letting go part yet, but I’m working hard on not reacting and building up some immunity to certain situations and experiences. I’m being thoughtful and I’m being emotionally healthy. In that way I’m better than I have ever been. Stronger.
As for what life is right is all about right now – the condo is going up for sale, again. It’s the last of the things that tie Janie and I together and it’s time to cut that and move on. I’m praying for a quick and easy sale because I am so ready for what comes after, the life that will open up beyond this moment. It feels like that second just before the Kentucky Derby starts, the horses all lined up behind the gate, so ready to burst out and run full speed. I’m there, in that moment, and any minute that gate is going to open and the finish line isn’t even the point. I just want to run.