(Thank you to Wayne at this blog for the above quote from Fight Club. Wayne stopped by my blog a couple weeks ago as someone else that had been through divorce, and this quote was one of the most helpful things anyone could have said. It kept rolling around in my head for weeks and I knew I eventually wanted to do a post titled with it).
[And now by saying I’ve lost everything, I don’t want it to sound like I’m completely destitute. I have a lot of things I haven’t lost. Friends. Family. My health, apart from the bastard of TSW. My job. My faith in God.]
But I’ve lost a lot of things with my impending divorce and TSW. These things have robbed me of my husband – someone I dearly loved and someone who was my best friend. I still love him and I still want to be friends, but the way he’s reacted to me makes it very clear that all love is gone on his end and seemingly all friendship too. He told me he doesn’t want to hear any communication from me apart from what’s legally necessary. I’m facing the stark reality that I may never see this guy again. Someone that I shared so many things with has vanished, only kept alive in my life by photos and memories. My wedding anniversary is coming up – a few months ago I THOUGHT I would be spending it taking a cross-country adventure together to celebrate our years of marriage. This year I will be spending it in divorce therapy class – oh the irony. My self-esteem has been taken from me. The whole future that I had predicted for myself has been shattered. My very self-worth and identity are often in question during this state of flux, as I sift through the pieces of who I was and who I THOUGHT I was, to get down to the inner core of my being and what I WANT to be and DESERVE to be.
When I got engaged and knew that I was going to take the vow of being with my husband until death do us part, I thought my life would take a certain planned trajectory. Marriage, home ownership, perhaps some kids eventually, a few nice vacations, keep working at my job, get caught up in the general mundane doings of everyday life. This trajectory was simultaneously comforting in its predictability, but now I realize it was also off-putting in its constraints. Society and my family had certain expectations of me in my role as a wife, and these may not have been expectations that I was best able to fulfill.
I thanked God for my husband and my comfortable life every day. I didn’t always verbally say “Thank you”, but there was always a general appreciation for being very fortunate. I had someone to love, the money to live adequately, the resources to pursue higher education, the financial luxury of not ever being in need or want.
But just because something is comfortable and we feel satisfied doesn’t mean that it is the best thing for us. It’s comfortable to sit on the couch in sweatpants all day and watch TV, but like this situation, comfort often means that we are stagnant and we are not growing and developing into the pinnacle of ourselves. There have been DOZENS of days with TSW that I wanted to lay in bed doing absolutely nothing, but doing too much of this really wouldn’t be helpful. It was more of a triumph and boost to my endurance that I persevere through going to work or school, even if it was uncomfortable.
When I look in the mirror and see my ravaged skin, the scars and marks on my body from what seems like a lifetime of scratching, scabbing, and shame, I see the potential in the person underneath. I see what I was and what I can be. Staring into my red, blotchy face, I see the same brown eyes that have looked out at the world for 20-some years. They stare back at me bravely, wiser now, having seen loss and heartbreak and what feels like moving from a childish state to one of an adult. The person I am has not changed. I am the same Me behind those eyes. I am a product of how I choose to react to the events around me and I choose to be an optimistic warrior.
A few weeks ago I was clinging to the shred of hope that maybe my ex-husband would change his mind; wanting nothing more than to get a text, email, or call from him saying, “I’m sorry. I want you back in my life and my marriage; I love you; will you forgive me?” Now I know that was delusional. I have to be honest with myself. I didn’t want to face the fear of being alone, so I clung to the happiness of the past like a drowning man on a sinking ship instead of just letting go and swimming into the abyss. I was making up a new reality for myself that didn’t exist and would never have existed, because it was…. COMFORTABLE.
Now, even though I’ve been overwhelmed with all the soul-invading emotions of grief, sadness, fear, frustration, rage, and self-doubt, I’ve also been opening my heart to the welcome rays of hope that are Optimism, Perseverance, Faith, and Relief. Now my life can take any trajectory it wants and honestly, that’s pretty exciting. I’ve been making a mental list for myself of the kind of person I want to become – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I don’t need to cling to a husband or a failed relationship to become a whole person. I may still regress and get sad and I may still long for the past, but I have a vision for myself and I’m ready to set forth on achieving it.
I close with a quote from one of my favorite books, Atlas Shrugged.
“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists…it is real…it is possible…it’s yours.”