I thought I was okay, I thought I was fine but then it all hit me (again) and I wasn’t. I’m not (again).
This time last year some shitty stuff was happening, it was pretty rough. I spent the following couple months hermitting and trying to find a way to cope with my new reality. After a bit I did just that and life went on as it tends to do. It went on and on and suddenly I realized it had been a year. Somehow just realizing that (combined with the stress of my current schedule and some frustrating interactions with the ex) brought me right back to where I was last year. All the positive momentum I had seemed to just drop right off, it vanished and left me wanting to hide under the covers and not come out again.
The thing is, I thought divorce would be an end and a new beginning. The end of something bad and the beginning of a new life where I’d have the ability to continue what had been positive about the old one and move on from what wasn’t.
It’s not, it hasn’t been.
Maybe for some people it is but when you have kids you’re still tied to that other person and when that other person is determined to make your life miserable and exert whatever control they can over you it’s more of the same terribleness that it was when you were married. Don’t get me wrong, it’s better because now you have your own space with more options and the ability to just walk away from the other person even while they’re telling you how stupid and lazy you are, what a failure you are, and maybe that you’re getting fat to boot. It’s a little easier to distance yourself from that voice and their sphere of influence. As an individual you do get something of a fresh start in some parts of your life. So personally it is better, much better, and I would never go back. But as a parent, jeez. It might be worse. I used to do what I wanted with the kids and he rarely cared. Now everything is a battle, an attempt to establish what a superior parent he is and show what a poor job I’m doing at holding it all together. Had I known it would be like this I’m not sure what I would’ve done. Maybe that’s why we don’t get to glimpse our future (ala A Christmas Carol) when we’re making life decisions. The perceived outcome helps determine our decision but the actual outcome cannot. I’m pretty sure it would create some kind of weird paradox if it could.
So here I am, a year out from my terrible divorce (maybe even exactly though I’d have to look at a the papers to be sure), still angry, still fighting the urge to cry at any given moment, barely mustering the energy to move through my very busy day so that I can get to the next very busy day. Rinse and repeat. It feels bleak and hopeless. I know it’s not though. I’m trying to remind myself it’s temporary and that I really am okay; I’m past all this. Somehow the ghost of a January Passed has come back to haunt me for a bit though.
I’ve heard people say that divorce is like death without the casseroles. It is. And like the death of someone very close, this first anniversary has been a tough one. All the pain of the loss of the life I thought I’d have with my kids hit me like a sucker punch to the gut knocking the wind from my sails. The feelings of betrayal and defeat feel like a fresh wound again. A flare up from the ex trying to keep me in what he perceives to be my place with thinly veiled threats of how he’ll (try to) bury me if I even attempt to change this shitty situation we’re in, well, it took me out at the knees as effectively as Tonya Harding’s hired thugs.
So yeah, I’m down for the moment but one thing I’ve learned from this whole process is that people suck and “the system” won’t help you…
Wait, wrong lesson…
Inevitably time marches on and you just find a way to deal with it. You can give up and watch it roll on by you or you can pick yourself up and do the best you can to make it better. It might not be easy but it probably won’t be as hard as it was a year ago either.
Right now this whole idea of choosing happiness is popular. There’s this perception that you can and should just choose to be happy. You must be happy at all costs! Well, I’m calling bullshit on that. You can’t always simply decide to be happy and okay with life. Nor should you. Some things suck and there’s no happiness about that. You kind of have to find a way to be okay with that though. Find what you need to pull yourself out of the muck and keep taking steps forward. And sometimes even when you do that life gives you a little push back down. Get up and try again. Be as strong as you need to be to get through it and (hopefully) before you know it you’ll be okay again, maybe even better. And next year when(if?) it all comes around again you’ll know to just keep moving. Feel angry, sad, and terrible but know that February will come. Be not okay for a bit, but then…be okay, be better.