It’s been awhile since I posted and I’m not going to make excuses either. Nothing as monumental as COVID happened to me, but it has taken me a really long time to get the courage to write. Part of me felt like if I did begin writing, I would never stop. The other part of me could not bring into words the pain inside. Not one book that I read could have prepared me for the overwhelming sadness, sense of loss, and the emotional roller coaster ride of going through a divorce. Although my ex and I had a conscious uncoupling and remained friends for the most part, it does not make the loss of a decade of life spent together just disappear.
At first, I wanted to delete everything—every picture I had on my cell phone, every social media post, and every reminder that he ever existed. Then I had the revelation. Why would I want to erase a decade of my life? He was part of me and our lives were enmeshed for a decade. Part of who I am today is because of him. So….then I started just leaving things as they were. If I saw a memory post show up in Facebook, I just looked and smiled and remembered a happier moment we shared. I stopped trying to delete that “we” happened.
What has happened during this COVID time is that I realized by remaining “friends” in good standing, I was actually halting my healing process. I was not truly letting go. I was using our “friendship” to reach out consistently for support and for connection. I also realized that to truly begin healing and letting go, I have to not be his friend for a while. What else has happened?
While I had not been working due to COVID, I was the most unproductive person on the planet. I slept. I ate. I cried. I rarely went for walks. I read some. I did depression and pity party pretty well. It seems that peeling back the layers of this stinky onion means there’s more stuff bubbling up to the surface—like my emotional eating struggles, my anxiety, my depression, and some emotional pain from my childhood. I have been treading water to take care of myself and what a chore it has been.
I came back to work this week and it was tough. I am grateful that I had a job to come back to but I felt so much regret for the time I lost at home. I decided to give myself some grace. We were/are living in a pandemic! I had to recognize that maybe this time off was meant for me to see just how much pain and hurt I had been burying for so long. I have begun to acknowledge and address it. It will be a slow process but I am finally trying to move on. It has been a few weeks not hearing my ex’s voice or his goofy laugh, but I know I will be fine. God has a plan for me and if I stick to it, I will be ok.
One of my 2020 goals is to try and write and add more to this blog. Working full time, suffering through anxiety and a bout of depression–mostly due to the ending of a decade long marriage; has left me barely keeping my head above water. On evenings that I blow dry my hair instead of falling asleep with it damp, I call it a win! On mornings that I wake up just 15 minutes earlier to drink a full glass of lemon water to start my day, I am pumped! Never in a decade would I have been able to convince myself that these were small reasons to be proud of myself! I am learning to let good enough, be good enough.
It’s been almost three months since my divorce was final and there have been highs and lows. We are still friends and talk once in a while and I miss the sound of his voice and laughter. At first, I found myself deleting everything related to him from my Facebook and Instagram page and then I had an epiphany. Why do I want to erase a decade of my life when that relationship played a role in who I am today? So, I stopped trying to erase a part of my life that I am actually grateful for in spite of how it ended. Maybe that means I am finally finding some peace in this whole experience.
Learning to be single again is weird with a capital W! Of course, I haven’t been single long enough to really feel single but the aloneness has set in. I have friends who divorced and went buck wild partying and hitting the bar/club scene like they were 25 years old all over again. That is not for me. I also have friends who became a gym rat and starting dating immediately after the breakup. That isn’t for me either. And then there is the “soul searcher.” That is me! I feel like I’m waking up from a decade long coma and everything has changed around me. I’m in somewhat unfamiliar territory and don’t quite feel safe just yet. I know I probably need to invest in some type of therapy or life coaching to help me out of this funk and for now, I’m doing something similar on a much smaller scale. I’ve joined Danika Brysha’s YouYear 2020. She’s a self-care and lifestyle expert and God knows, I need that right now. I am hoping for camaraderie, inspiration, and accountability. It is a small step in the right direction in learning how to take care of myself again. I’m also doing tons of reading and I’ll be adding those books and ideas on my book posts. In the meanwhile, I’ve jumped on the WORDS of the YEAR bandwagon. What are your words? Mine are:
During the last few weeks leading up to my divorce hearing, my emotions were all over the place and at times seemed to be spiraling out of control. Although our divorce was mutual and we took the time to consciously uncouple, it has been difficult to fathom a life without my best friend and partner of the last ten years. My emotional eating was out of control. Sugar and carbohydrates were my best friends. I was on a roller coaster of highs and lows. I felt like I was losing what little control over my life that I had.
It’s been three weeks since “the divorce.” I’ve begun the healing and moving on process. I realized once again just how important taking care of myself is; especially at this time in my life. It has been a chaotic, messy, and emotional year but I am confident that I will come out stronger and more resilient as long as I continue to stay focused on finding my happy place again. Recently, I was faced with rethinking the boundaries and self-care regimen I thought I had down pact. I was reminded that sometimes we lose sight of what we need to be doing to stay in that healthy place. Sometimes, life just happens and before you know it, you are in the thick of a tough situation and begin to feel the overwhelm creeping in.
A few years ago, a coworker walked by my desk and asked me if I made any New Year’s resolutions. My immediate response was, “I don’t make resolutions. I make boundaries.” She came back to my desk and we talked more about what that truly meant for me. It was a profound moment in my life because I had finally begun to realize that my inner work on boundaries was beginning to take hold. Like most empathetic individuals, I was always doing more than my fair share of giving. We are the peacemakers. We are the caregivers. We are the ones to be counted on by family, friends, and even in the workplace. Taking on everyone else’s problems can be a daunting task and can wear you down emotionally and physically. For decades of my adult life, I spent it people-pleasing, being afraid to speak up, and tolerating negative behaviors—all for the sake of keeping the peace and not wanting to be confrontational. I ended up working myself to exhaustion with a serious bout of anxiety with depression. That was the beginning of my wake up call.
For the first time in my life, I accepted that it was ok to
say no. It was ok to live with limits. It was ok for me to not answer the phone
when “that person” called me for a favor. It was ok to speak my mind and stand
up for myself. I was not a bad person. I was a tired person who had given way
too much and needed to focus more on myself and filling my cup in ways that
made me a better person and eventually a better ‘giver.’
What I learned through so much introspection and therapy is that we can only give what we have to give. Setting boundaries and limits are difficult. It is even more difficult if you’re a wife and a mother. It is necessary. Do I feel guilty or bad about saying “no?” Absolutely! Do I allow those feelings to force me to give or do more than I am capable? Absolutely not! I love my family. I love my friends and even the work that I do. I love with boundaries now. I love in a way that helps me take care of myself. If you’re sensitive or an empath, please don’t ever be afraid to say no. Sometimes it is necessary.
I’ve waited a long while to write this because every time I began, I started to cry. I read a quote somewhere that when you can tell your story and not cry, you are on your way to healing. For the last several months, I have been going through a divorce and honestly, I’m not on my way to healing just yet. This was the second biggest event I have ever gone through and although it was amicable and we chose to consciously uncouple; the pain and heartache was and IS still there. How do you let go of your best friend because your marriage sucked?! I couldn’t even begin to understand how hard it was going to be to adjust to so many little things I had become accustomed to over the decade of our relationship. The first week I slept alone was awful. I hardly slept more than a few hours each night. All of the little things we take for granted in relationships will be the things you miss the most when they’re gone. Even so, I am grateful for the years we had together.
I’m not sure of the stages of divorce but mine was anger at
first. I was mad as hell. Once I calmed down and was able to think with a more
rational mindset, I began to understand and accept that this was for the best
for both of us. We both deserved to have peace and for a long while, we had
none. I used to have this idea of marriage as something we just “did” in spite
of how wrong it felt or how difficult it became. Now, I believe differently. I
resort back to my youthful belief that “good love” makes you both stronger, a
better person, and you grow together. Is love always easy or good? No. It can
be hard and sacrificial as well, but in the end, the good should always
outweigh the difficult.
And now begins the WORK….
I am beginning to realize the dynamics that played a negative role in our marriage. Everyone brings their “stuff” into their current relationship. It is part of human nature. We bring our family of origin. We bring our past experiences with love and relationships. We bring our current mindset of what we believe our version of love to be. In the end, it is truly the uniting of two lives and all of your past experiences that shaped you into who you are today. It is important for both of you to be aware of your “stuff” and be willing to work on overcoming it. You have to be a united front going in because you will face so many challenges as a couple and if either of you are not fully embedded in the success of the relationship, it allows cracks to seep in and over time, those cracks will break you apart. I was listening to a podcast the other day about the topic of divorce. Two things I arrived at after listening to it—nonnegotiables and dating. What are my nonnegotiables going to be when I begin dating again and when will I feel ready to begin dating? I kind of have an idea of what my nonnegotiables will be and as for dating—two puppies sounds more up my alley right now! I need to spend lots of time on myself (self- care) and in nature when I can. Nature, water, friends and family fill my cup!