Just because it burns, doesn’t mean you’re gonna die

When there is desire, there is gonna be a flame.
When there is a flame, someone’s bound to get burned.
But even if it burns, doesn’t mean you’re gonna die.
You’ve gotta get up and try, try, try.
Pink

I’ve been hearing this song on repeat the whole last weekend, and it was an extremely emotional weekend for me, in a lot of respects.  I saw David every day from Friday until Monday, and let me tell you from personal experience: that is way too much time to spend with your estranged spouse.  Way too much time.  I also drank way too much over the weekend, and was way too emotionally invested in the Patriots/Ravens game (my boys lost, by the way, and yes, I’m still in mourning).  I don’t really feel like rehashing the rougher parts of my weekend, but suffice to say, I ended my weekend yesterday afternoon by bawling on the phone to my friend Drea about how it doesn’t matter how many advanced degrees I earn or A’s I get, or what I do or where I go or the experiences I have; in the eyes of society I will always be a failure because my marriage fell apart and I have no children.

Going to bed at 9:15 PM was probably the kindest thing I could do for myself, and that’s exactly what I did.  I slept on and off for most of the night, and woke up this morning feeling still tired, but a lot more positive and happy than I was.

There are some definite truths to what I was thinking last night.  My parents (particularly my mother) have put a lot of pressure on me to get divorced as soon as possible so I could move on and get remarried and produce grandchildren.  But from the start, my motivation to get divorced was never about having children as soon as possible.  It was about hope.  It was about knowing deep down that, so long as I stay married to David, there is no hope.  He is never going to love me the way I deserve to be moved, and I am never going to fully be able to trust him again after he had an affair.  I’ve tried.  It isn’t working.  And he’s never going to want to make it work the way I do.

Family life and kids DO factor in.   I want to marry and have children, I really do.  It’s not in the cards right now, and even if I was married, it wouldn’t be.  I put off the idea of having children in my 20’s when I signed on to finish my Master’s Degree back in late 2011.  I know too many people who either never went back to school, or had to indefinitely postpone it, because they had children.  I didn’t want to do that.  Nor did I want to try and juggle writing a Master’s thesis while taking care of a newborn or toddler.  One thing at a time.

More than that, even if the societal belief is that a woman who is divorced and childless is a failure, no matter what else she accomplishes, it is not true for me.  Society and I apparently have different definitions of “failure.”

Failure would have been staying in this marriage and letting it suck my life and soul and will to live away.
Failure would have been accepting a lack of love, just to retain the diamond ring and the title of “wife”, in the vain hope of one day getting back everything we lost.
Failure would have been falling down and throwing away almost five years of working on my anxiety disorder, and letting myself fall apart again.
Failure would have been allowing my personal life to overtake my education, dropping my grades and getting me kicked out of school.
Failure would have been accepting the love that I’ve always felt I deserved…which wasn’t love at all.

I didn’t do any of those things.

When all this is said and done, I will be single, divorced, and 30 years old.  I have about 10 – 15 years of childbearing ability (with any luck) ahead of me.  I am (reportedly) still young-looking enough to pass for mid-20’s, according to people who are not close enough to me to lie to make me feel better about myself.  I am smart, I have my B.A. and I will have my M.A. by the end of this year.  I will be financially independent, and comfortably so.  I will know myself better, because I have gone through this experience.

I know who I am, what I’m worth, and what I want.  Three things I didn’t know two years ago when I got married.

My plans for the next few months are pretty crazy.  My intention over the next few years is to do anything that I previously thought “I could do this, but it would be tough to do when we’re married and are trying to save money for a house and a family.”  I still want those things, but I also want…memories.  Life.  Joy.  Experience.  And to get married again, and have a family.  Those are dreams, too, but they don’t have to be the dream.

I’m going to buy my new (to me) car in February.
I’m going to apply (finances willing) to that course in June and go to study-abroad (if I can swing it).
I’m going to volunteer to be an organizer at Wildfire, and attend both May and August Wildfires, if I can swing them financially (will be about $240).
I’m going to climb Mt. Washington in New Hampshire with Drea and Sam in August (or September).
I’m going to write my thesis (and it is going to be amazing).
I’m going to graduate in December.
I’m going to throw my resume at colleges and high schools anywhere in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.
I’m going to live my life.

And I’m going to

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