Chase the wind and touch the sky

It’s over.

I will not be writing out a blow-by-blow account of my divorce experience.  I know me, and I know I will go back and read it over later and I do not want to remember every detail of the four hours I spent in court (90% of it spent sitting there waiting).  I don’t want to remember that.  I am hoping that, with time, the finer details will eventually fade and fuzz and I won’t remember them clearly.  I have, to be honest, already forgotten what the judge actually said.  He spoke the words so quickly.

What I will write down, and what I do want to remember, is how, an hour after leaving court, when the numbness wore off (yes, I did cry, but not until the decision was pronounced and we were leaving), I finally felt the weight of the world shift from my shoulders, to be replaced with…lightness.

And then the tears flowed again, but they were tears of relief, tears of happiness, tears of realization that finally, after twenty-two months, there were no more “what-ifs’ there was no more hope of reconciliation, there was no more push for me to fix what I had known for months in my heart could not be fixed any longer.  There was no court date hanging over my head, there was nothing left to tear down and set on fire.

Freedom.

 

Please don’t take this to mean that I am happy that my marriage ended, or that I’m thrilled to be divorced.  The best way I can put it into words (and this is after almost 48 hours of thinking about it) is this:

I’m not happy that I’m divorced.  I’m sad that our marriage ended.  But I am so happy, so relieved, so thrilled, that there is nothing left to burn.

I had been carrying this horrible burden since September of 2011, this push, this drive, to fix this marriage, to make it work.  Even knowing as I did that David gave up on us back in 2011, even if he didn’t admit it until almost a year later, I still felt obligated to fix what I could.  Which was ludicrous in hind sight, because from Day One, it was on David.  He was the one who was unhappy, he was the one who didn’t want to be married, he was the one who decided, on that day in September 2011 that I will never forget, not if I live to be 100 years old, that he was ready to tell me that he didn’t want to be married to me anymore.

If anyone says, “Divorce is not an option, you MUST fix your marriage“…well, that’s all well and good, and it’s a noble thought.  But for a marriage to work, both individuals need to want it to.  Both need to strive with every fiber of their being, every single day, to make it work.  You have to wake up every morning, determined to keep your marriage strong, whether consciously or unconsciously.  If even one of the two people in a couple is not on board…it isn’t going to work.  It took me a very long time to figure that out.  And even after I had realized it, I still kept hoping, against every hope, that David would change his mind.  Even knowing as I did, that it would never work.  My trust had been broken far too many times.  There was no realm of being where I could have ever trusted him again.  Without trust, you cannot have a healthy marriage.  (I sort of laugh when I think about how often I said that before we were married.)

 

But once the divorce was final, there was nothing left.  There were no more expectations, no more hopes, no more fears.  What was done, was done.  The worst had truly happened…and I had lived through it after all.

Months ago, acknowledging finally that my castle in the air was long since abandoned by its other inhabitant, who had no interest in coming back, I made the decision to burn it metaphorically to the ground.  All of it, burn everything.  I knew that if I held on to even one scrap of those dreams, if I looked back for even one moment, I would be trapped in a dying dream forever, like Miss Havisham in Great Expectations.  I didn’t want that.  Only when everything was ashes could I step out and rebuild.

As of July 8th, everything, every last piece, of that lovely mad dream, is ashes.

My heart has never been more full and open.  And I’m shaking the ashes off my feet, and walking forward, never looking back, to build myself a bright, beautiful new future.

 

There’s one thing I want to say, so I’ll be brave
You were what I wanted
I gave what I gave
I’m not sorry I met you
I’m not sorry it’s over
I’m not sorry there’s nothing to save

I’m not sorry there’s nothing to save…

– Stars, “Your Ex-Lover is Dead”

Strength

We are coming up on the end of this journey.  Within the month, D will be my ex-husband.  Except…only on paper, because he’s been my ex-husband since November 18th, 2012, when I moved out.  I keep reminding myself that we’ve been divorced, physically, mentally, and emotionally, for seven months now, and that the court date is only a mere formality.

So why I am so afraid of it?

I couldn’t tell you that.  Maybe because, to me, it’s too ceremonial, it reminds me so much of a mockery of our marriage.  Something we so lovingly cared for and crafted and planned out, dreamed of, rehearsed, and found such joy in…eradicated in ’30 seconds’ (which is what the court clerk assured me yesterday).  Four and a half years with someone…burned away to nothingness?

Yes.  All of that.

You’d think I’d be excited.  You’d think I’d be happy.  The things that he’s said and done in the last eighteen months were heinous.  He has not treated me the way you would even expect someone to treat a casual acquaintance.  To quote one of my friends “there is a difference between murdering someone and torturing them to death”, and when it came to how our divorce was handled, he definitely chose the latter path.  His reasons for doing so, I will never know.  I’d like to think it was all misguided fear of hurting me.  He didn’t want me to know.  He didn’t want me to be hurt.

Or I could choose the more likely scenario — he was protecting himself.  His ego, his reputation.  He didn’t want the world to know what we were, who he was, what he really thought of me, what really went on behind closed doors.

I feel so old beside him these days.  And it’s not even because he’s 28 and I’m going to be 30 in just three months.  I just feel so much older than him.  I remember when we first started dating, how weirded out I was by the fact that he was a mere four months older than my younger sister.  Over time, I stopped sensing the almost-two year age gap between us; it didn’t seem relevant.  And in the last two years…it’s there like a massive rift between us.  It’s not even that I’m so much older than he is (I’m not), it’s just that I want so many different things than he does.  I was ready.  He was not.  And it fell apart.

I hate when people say “well, you kind of rushed into marriage.”  We were dating for two and a half years before we got married…I don’t really call that “rushing.”  And you can’t really put a time limit on something like this.  My parents were engaged after only six weeks and they’re going to celebrate their 33rd anniversary in October.  It’s not a “one size fits all” sort of scenario.  And I think that’s been the most difficult thing about it.  There’s no rhyme or reason, nothing I could have done.  Sometimes it just doesn’t work out.  The end.

 

All I want now, is strength.

Strength to get through the court date — July 8th — with my head held high, and no tears.

Strength to know in my heart that I am making the right decision; the only decision.

Strength to look beyond July 8th, and see that the world isn’t ending.  This world, maybe.  But the new one is coming, and it’s brighter and more complete and fulfilling than this world was.  Even if I can’t see where the path leads right now.

Strength to hold my anger, my pain, and whatever bitterness I feel inside, because releasing those thoughts, those words, out into the world, solves nothing…but it may destroy something.

Strength to be classy.  I never wanted to be trashy, I always feared loud confrontation and drama and theatrics.  Please, when this is over, let me have the strength to have carried myself in such a way that nobody will be able to say anything about me except that, through it all, I redefined “class”.

And above all…

Strength to never reproach myself for what has occurred, for any of the choices I have made.  They may not have been the easiest decisions, but they were the right ones, no matter how I felt at the time.  I may not be happy with them now, or with the direction that my life has taken.

But oh, I believe, I believe with my heart and soul, I am not done yet.

There is beauty left in the beyond.

 

Boston, You’re My Home

The Marathon Bombings have taken all the wind out of New England’s sails today.  Boston is a wreck.  Nobody knows who did it, or who is responsible.  There is blood in the streets.  Men and women are missing limbs.  Parents went to bed last night without their child.  The city is in chaos, it will be weeks or months before we know who did this, years before everyone feels normal again, and never before we find out why.

I am not from Boston.  My family is.  My ex-husband’s family is.  I have so many friends who live in Boston that my heart was in my throat as I scanned my newsfeed on FB yesterday, mentally ticking off each person who checked in and said they were all right.  That beautiful city, my favorite in the world, torn to pieces on that most special day ingrained in Massachusetts’ history — Patriots Day.  It’s rocked Boston, Massachusetts, and New England as a whole.

But there is not a single doubt in my mind that Boston will rebound from this.  Boston is scrappy.  Boston is defined by its strength, by the legacy of the thousands of Irish immigrants who came to the city, forced there by the potato famine in Ireland.  The tenacity that makes the rest of the country call its people “Massholes”, some fondly, some in irritation.  The tough but loveable accents, the dropped “r’s” that sound like “a’s”.  The magical city of dreams where a ball team that hasn’t won in 86 years can defy all odds and take home the title.   The birthplace of our nation’s freedom, where the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired.  The beginning that has no end.  Boston has everything.  Boston is everything.

And she will overcome.  The city by the bay will rebound from this, stronger than ever.  There is no doubting it even for a second.

Not-so-realistic Idealism

My life trips by on a sequence of “busy nothings” as Jane Austen would say.  I’m busy trying to find a new apartment, busy with school, busy with work, busy with trying to keep my brain occupied and not think about K, the relationship that could have been but wasn’t.

I wonder sometimes if I am idealizing it.  K was, after all, the first man who paid me any sort of attention, post-marriage to D.  He was like an oasis in the desert, he showed me how special I was, and how not all men would take me for granted.  It’s true that we clicked, in many ways — we shared many similar interests, we made each other laugh, we were certainly compatible in many ways.  But it disturbs me how much I compare everyone to him these days.

I never went through a period where I compared anyone to D, because my relationship with him had already withered to the point of nonexistence by the time I was ready to shelve my marriage and proceed on.  How does one compare prospective loves with a man who hasn’t been your love for some time?  Although D and I just separated six months ago, and just filed for divorce in February (though we had to re-file in March), our relationship had been breaking down since September of 2011.  It’s been so long since we were close, as husband and wife should be, that I can hardly remember what that life was like.

I had expected my interaction with K to feel…forced?  Difficult?  Guilt-ridden?  And I experienced none of those emotions.  I was like a child exposed to sunlight for the first time after playing in darkness for years.  Like a flower that withered on the vine for eighteen months and is suddenly drenched in water.  I felt alive, vibrant, special, vivacious…ready to take life by the horns again.  For several days, I felt that liveliness…and then it was snatched away, and darkness fell again, though to be as dark as it was before.  Potential was realized.  If not with K, then with someone else.

I never thought it would be the friendship I missed.  Someone calling me every night, asking how I’m doing, how my day went, what is happening with me.  I wonder sometimes…did I let him go too easily?  In a world where it took me so long to finally convince myself to let D go…did I cut ties with K, did I let him go, almost too quickly?

No time for second-guessing.  This is life, you don’t get a re-do.  I could call him, I suppose…but I promised I wouldn’t, that I’d give him the space he said he needed to work out his life.  And it hasn’t even been a week yet.  Would be a good way to look like a grade-A psycho!

No, it’s better to let silence speak for me.  Focus on school, focus on work, focus on getting an apartment.

On living my life.

 

 

Exactly one year ago today, D told me he wanted a divorce.

And look how far I’ve come, what I’ve accomplished, since that day.

A bigger victory

I haven’t written in a week and a half.  I haven’t posted “Little Victories”, and that’s in part because…I didn’t know what to write.  Period.  So many things have happened since Monday, March 25th (when I last wrote), and it’s difficult to go back and write about it.  Some things were fantastic, some things were incredibly hard.  But I reached a turning point in my life, somewhere in the last eleven days.  And while I don’t want to go into too many details, especially on a public forum (I have a more private journal for that), I have to address it, in order to move this blog forward.

I met someone in the last month.  He is not someone I am going to have a relationship with (at least not any time in the foreseeable future).  Although we realized over the span of a month’s time that we had a lot in common, we were attracted to each other, and we were both exactly what the other was looking for…the timing was appalling, for both of us.  He is going through some turbulence in his life right now, as am I.  When we realized this, we both spent about four days agonizing to ourselves about it, before finally coming clean to each other last night.

Another time, another place, but not today, not now, and not any time soon.  When we ended our conversation last night he said that he wouldn’t be calling me soon, but he WOULD call me again.  He didn’t expect me to wait around for him, put my life on hold, all that…and that, if he called me and found out that I was happy, that I found someone who made me so, then he would know he had made the right decision.

I’m not happy, per se, over this decision.  I will admit that I cried when we said goodbye and hung up the phone last night.  But on the other hand, I am so relieved, because in the last month, he gave me everything I needed.  He was someone who gave me the time of day.  He reminded me that I was beautiful, intelligent, funny, worthy of love and respect and compassion and honesty — all of the things that D wasn’t giving me.

He made me realize that I was better than I was giving myself credit for.

I closed the door on my past this week.  On the 25th, I wrote that I just wanted to be on the other side, at that point of acceptance, to look back on the last five years of my life and be able to say, “Yes, that happened, and it hurt, but I am going to be better for it now that it’s over.”  And in the past eleven days, I got that wish.  I closed the door to my painful past and I opened the door to my future.  And that…that gift, he gave to me.  He helped me find myself.

Who knows what will happen to him.  I can’t predict the future.  I’m scared for him, and I hope that he manages to crawl out of the hole he is in, to get better.  I hope that, if and when the day comes that I see his name on the caller ID on my phone, I will pick up and he’ll be happy, truly happy, in his life.  I don’t know if anything will ever come to pass between us again.  I certainly won’t bank on it.  Life is too short to wait around, wondering if what happened can happen again.

But in the last month, he picked me up, out of the hole I was in, and he flew me to a place I hadn’t been before.  He put me on the path I was meant to be on, and then he gave me the gentlest of pushes forward.  He showed me who I want to be, but more importantly, that I wasn’t there yet.

Go.  Live your life.  Be the woman you can be.  Claw your way out of this.  You did it before.  You can do it again.  Close the doors to your past and open the door to your future.  Because it’s so much brighter than you can possibly imagine.

And that was worth more than any relationship ever could be.

 

 

I’m going forward.  Big changes are coming to my life.  I received our divorce case number in the mail this week.  I’m going to my XMIL’s house this next weekend to give her back (or try to give her back, at least) the engagement ring.  I started looking at apartments with my future roommate, Samantha.  We may have found one (*fingers crossed*).  School is seven weeks from ending.  I got my June Wildfire ticket.

I closed my heart emotionally on all that happened with D.  Granted, there will still be times when I am sad that it didn’t work out, and I imagine it will hurt on July 8th, the day our divorce is finalized.  But I will never, ever again feel like I could live that life, pretending that the little he gave me was enough.  My self-worth is back and I will never lose it in the same way again.

I’m on the right path.  And I’m going forward from here on out.

Never look back.

Thank you, K.  Thank you for showing me I was worth it.  I hope you realize someday that you’re worth it, too.

And I hope, whenever we meet again, that you will be okay.

I am not

I hate to write “downer” entries, but this blog is called “Honestly, Megan”, and I can’t always be 100% optimistic.  I am not feeling well today.  Part of that is due to staying up until almost 1 AM watching the Oscars.

Part of it is because D told MIL yesterday that he wants a divorce…and then told me on the phone how truly miserable he is.  All this time I’ve been telling myself how happy he is, how much he wanted this, when in reality, it’s not that he wanted it, it’s because he was too scared to do anything except step aside and let this marriage fall to pieces.

Part of it is because I look back on the last two years and see a beautiful relationship that imploded, and it just hurts, it hurts to see every hope and dream we ever had in shambles, damaged and irreparable.

Part of it is because I am so tired that it truly hurts.

Part of it is because I am tired of crying, and I’m even more tired of people telling me that I am foolish for crying, foolish for hurting.  I hate that certain people act like I have to put on a happy face all the time, because sometimes, I am anything but happy.  Sometimes I need to grieve.  Sometimes I need to hurt, and shunting my feelings under the rug?  Doesn’t help.

I am sorry that my crying and my pain and my grief is offensive to people.  I am sorry if people think I am better than that, and in reality, I am not.  That I am tough and strong and I DGAF that my marriage fell apart, that the man I love changed into a completely different person, that even though so many have told me that this isn’t my fault, I still feel responsible because we were each other’s responsibility and I never realized that something was really this wrong until it was too late.

I’m sorry that people don’t want to see the mess left behind.  They want me to feel nothing.  They want me to be stronger, and I’m not.  I’m just me.  Honestly Megan.  Just me.

And even though it’s just one more nail in the coffin, and a nail I’d been expecting, I can’t pretend that it doesn’t hurt like hell when it goes in.

This is not going to be an easy ride.  You can get off it at any time.  I can’t.  I am in this until the end.  It’s started, I can’t stop it, and I only have two choices.  Ride it out, and pray that there’s something good at the end.  Or throw myself out and die.  I can’t do the latter, so it has to be the former.  I’m sorry if the ride is longer than you thought it would be.  It’s much, much longer than I expected, myself.

But I have no choice, I have to ride it out.  Ride or die.

If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you can go.  This is unfortunately as good as it’s going to get right now.  I can’t promise that it will get better soon, but I can promise that it will get better.  I just don’t know when.

Right now, it just hurts.  And I need to grieve.  I don’t mean shut myself in my room, I am not doing that.  I am not sitting here mourning all the time.  But I am going to break down and cry.  I am going to be sad.  I am not going to be gleeful as my soon to be ex husband falls apart.  I can’t sit and calmly talk about severing the marriage that we so lovingly built up.  I can’t think about seeing my MIL for the last time, of never seeing my IL’s again, and not tear up.

I am not made of stone.  And I can’t apologize for that.

Frederick William Elwell – The Wedding Dress, 1911

Give me the simple life

I have a “Fought with Comcast All Day Saturday/Super Bowl Sunday” hangover today.  I barely even drank, but I’m pretty sure my body is punishing me for the metric TON of crap I ate yesterday, between the Super Bowl and my friend’s Partylite party.  Which I actually had a lot of fun at, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Saturday was the WORST day I’ve had in a long time.  Like…a really long time.  It was terrible.  I got up at 9 AM and immediately began tangling with Comcast.  And it did not go well.  Two errands out and one new router later, at 5:19 PM, I finally got online.  And let me tell you…it’s almost worth the hassle.  I forgot how awesome unlimited internet is, and I am so happy.  Also, I have access to Netflix again.  YES.

Finances are…well, they are.  Because of the screw-up with D’s car payments, the loan company automatically deducted $300 from my bank account, instead of his, which didn’t put me in a hole (thank God) but I was pretty upset when I discovered that.  He paid me back $150 this Saturday (because I was on the verge of an intense meltdown when I saw him) and agreed to help me pay out of the Verizon upgrade we did last year when we were just merely separating and didn’t want to add another bill for me to have internet.  Unfortunately, I realized this past month that there is no way I can download scholastic articles for my thesis research on the limited data plan that we had, so that’s out.  Anyway.  That’s how we handled it, and it’s all but done now.

Yesterday I went to my first Partylite party, at Jess’s house.  Because it was Super Bowl Sunday, she themed the party “superhero” — everyone was supposed to come as a superhero or their “alter-ego”.  And of course, even though my beloved Pats weren’t in the Super Bowl, I wore allllll of my Pats gear one last time this season, down to my red, blue, and silver-tipped nails (and toenails, though nobody saw them).  My superhero identity was “Lady Denial.”

See the little #12 in my stripes?  Oh, Tom Brady.  Thanks for the stripes, Drea!

Anyway.  The party was fun, especially for my first one.  I usually hate parties like that (I’ve gone to Tupperware and Pampered Chef and was bored at both), but I actually like Partylite.  I got a bird-shaped tealight holder, a pillar candle, and some tealights.  I didn’t spend much because my sister is having her own party in about two weeks, so I’ll pick up some more there.  Plus, hello, budgeting.

The only bad part about the party was that the consultant overheard that I was getting divorced, and started asking a whole slew of personal questions.  Not cool.  Drea sat next to me and gave me a neck rub while Tina answered for me in short, one-word answers, trying to get her to drop the subject, which she finally did.  But again, that was only about five minutes of awkwardness and at least she didn’t bring it up later.

D is going to talk to his mom this weekend in person and tell her that we’re getting a divorce.  I’m not looking forward to it…well, I am but I’m not.  I love my MIL and it makes me cry to think that she’s not going to be “mine” anymore.  But it will be a relief to have the lid blown off this whole thing.  Plus I want to meet up with her — I told D that I wanted to give her the diamond from my ring back (it’s a family stone) and I want to make sure she knows the truth about all of this.  That it’s not because I gave up, or because I didn’t want it to work.  She needs to know about the other woman, too.  And she may hate me for it, and she may not believe me…but there’s a lot of circumstantial evidence that points to the truth, and least two of D’s other family members know what happened.  I think she will hear me out.

I haven’t seen Crazy Bruce in two weeks because he hurt his hip last week 😦  I miss him a lot.

I also have nada on the docket for this evening except getting home early and getting a good, long night’s sleep.  And eating healthier today than the last few days.  I had way too much crap yesterday and I’m pretty sure that’s why I feel like complete ass this morning.  A long bath, a good healthy meal, and more chapters of The Behemoth sound like an excellent way to spend Monday night. 🙂

I have an unfamiliar feeling in my stomach for the first time in months…I think it’s hope.  And I’m scared, so scared to hope for something good to happen…especially something this good.  So I try not to think about it, because I don’t want to get hurt, I really don’t.  But sometimes, that little butterfly of hope is all that keeps you going.  Sometimes I feel lately that’s all it is.  Just a tiny little butterfly…flitting through my life.

All I want to do is hope again.

A girly crisis

I know we all go through “crises” in our lives.  Mid-life crisis.  Quarter-life crisis (I think I hit this at 22, but whatever, close enough).  Is this what’s called the divorce crisis?

Because in the last few months, my obsessions and outlooks have changed.

I want to travel so badly it itches.  I dream about Paris, London, Prague, St. Petersburg…anywhere, everything.  I want to see it all.  I want to ride on a double-decker bus again and disembark in front of Westminster Abbey.  I want to wear a cute little sundress and ride an overpriced gondola in Venice.  I want to see the Northern Lights in Oslo, skate on a frozen pond in Salzburg, have an oh-so-cliched kiss at the base of the Eiffel Tower…I want it all.

And I want to do it alone.  (God, that is so Eat. Pray. Love. and overdone)

But I want that.  I want to find myself on cobblestone streets that are hundreds of years old, breathe the air of thousands of pilgrims in ancient cathedrals, revel in my complete inability to understand other languages, and speak rough, American English alone in the center of a thousand foreign voices.

This isn’t me, guys.  The person I am got absolutely completely panic-stricken at age 23 when I went to England with my best friend.  And I wasn’t alone.  And I spoke the language.  But it was less than a year after my accident, pre-medication, pre-therapy…pre-any real conception of love or heartbreak.

I’m obsessed with all things girly, feminine, delicate.  I am 29 years old and I’m suddenly seized with the desire to make my entire apartment airy and pastel.  I spent my 20’s eschewing pink in all shades and becoming obsessed with football.  My wardrobe was built around bootcut jeans, long-sleeve t-shirts, and sneakers.  Now I want to wear sundresses and lace and ballet flats and skinny jeans, I want to deck my entire apartment in candles and pictures of Europe and white lights and birds.  I want to paint my fingernails sky blue.

I want to replace the beat-up piece of furniture that’s serving as my dresser and vanity table for this:

I was in the mall the other day and I couldn’t resist trying some of the L’Occitane Rose hand cream, and it brought me back to being a child, in my grandmother’s pastel-bedecked spare bedroom, sniffing her bath products and dreaming of the day when I’d wear makeup myself, when men would think I was beautiful, when I’d think I was beautiful.

Who is this person?

Everyone around me says that my weird changes are harmless.  I’m not blowing tons of money or doing anything particularly destructive.  It’s not like when I was 19 and going through a really abusive relationship and breakup, where I hacked off all my hair and went through a brief “punk grunge” phase that thankfully, no photographs exist of anymore.

But it scares me, because underneath I feel stripped, and if these brief moments of girly euphoria, solitary excitement, and finding joy in just myself fade away, what’s underneath will be ten times more raw.

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

Painful Memories

Autumn, 2005.  I am twenty-two years old.  The last two weeks of twenty-one were spent in the hospital, and then recovery, after a brutal car accident that broke my pelvis in three places, cracked three ribs, punctured one lung, fractured my tailbone, and left facial lacerations that will eventually need corrective surgery.  I spent two months healing, getting better, learning how to walk again, dress myself, take care of myself.  And finally, I was able to go home.

That’s when I realized — my body was repairing.  My brain was still broken.  I was lost.  Stuck.  Trapped in my apartment.  Every time I went to the door, my hands would shake and I’d break into a sweat.  What will happen this time?  I got lucky the last time.  I survived.  Next time, I won’t be so lucky.  The next car accident I get into will probably be my last.

I am alone.  Nobody talks to me.  Nobody realizes that, despite my outward appearance, I am not healing, I am not healed.  I sit alone in my apartment for hours on end.  I am screaming on the inside, and nobody can hear me.  Sometimes I feel like the part of me that was real died that day, and I’m just a shell of who I used to be.  People say “I don’t understand why you’re like this.  You survived.  You’re going to be okay.  Be happy.”  They don’t see me.  I am invisible.

 

October, 2008.  I am twenty-five years old.  My boyfriend David and I have been together almost six months.  I have been battling anxiety and depression for three years.  It is just another day.  Nothing special.  But I am uncontrollable.  He can already tell…it’s another one of “those” days.  Days when the smallest thing will send me into a tailspin of anxiety, leave me lying in bed crying for hours.  I can’t control myself.  I am out of control.

He is going to leave me, I just know it.  He’s going to decide one day that I am not worth it, that he is tired of grabbing me around the waist and holding me while I sob.  He’s going to go find a simpler girl. 

He swears this isn’t the case.  “I love you.  Nothing you say or do is going to change that.”  But he is reaching the end of his rope.  He knows that I have a prescription for anti-anxiety drugs in my wallet.  My doctor prescribed them to me five months ago.  He wants me to take them.

“They aren’t going to change who you are” he says, “They’re going to help you.  They’re going to let you be the person you should be without the anxiety.”

And that day, I cave.  That day, I fill the prescription, I take the first pill.  I never, ever look back.

 

August, 2009.  We are engaged now.  David has just returned from Massachusetts.  His estranged father won’t speak to him, won’t look at him.  Doesn’t care about him.  This is the way it has been for almost ten years.  I have known this all along, but this is the first time that it has really seemed to affect David.  This is the first time that he has seemed to care.

He lies in bed, in pajamas, staring at the wall, too upset to do anything except cry.  I hold him, he leans his head against my chest and sobs.

“Promise me,” he says, “that if I ever do this, if I ever push you away, if I ever become like my father…if it’s genetic and I can’t escape it, promise me you won’t give up.  Promise me you’ll do anything to make me get better.  Drag me to a doctor, drag me to a therapist, I don’t care.  Just please, please don’t let me ruin your life and mine the way my father has ruined my mother’s, and my brother’s, and mine.”

I promise.  After all he has done for me, it is the least I can do.

 

December 2012.  We have been married for two years.  I am twenty-nine, he is twenty-seven.  I have been medicated for four years, I have had a therapist for almost three.  I am not healed.  I never will be.  But I am better.  I can count the number of panic attacks that I have in a year on one hand.  That is amazing progress.  But the minute I started to get better, David fell apart.

In September of 2011, he told me he wasn’t in love with me anymore.  He told me he wanted to separate in April of 2012.  In November of 2012, after months of trying to make things work, I moved out.  I told him, repeatedly, that if he is not going to seek counseling, if he is not going to remove the negative influences from his life, and if he is never, ever going to love me the way a man should love his wife, then there is no sense in us even trying to reconcile.

I go to his apartment, our old apartment, the day after Christmas.  I am upset.  I am fed up.  He has been lying to me — again.  And I can’t take it anymore.  I want to move on, I want to find someone who loves me, who makes me feel like I am worthy of being loved.  And I tell him I am ready to file for divorce.

He crumples, there on the couch next to me.  Dissolves into tears before my eyes.  He cannot move forward.  He cannot move back.  He doesn’t know where he’s going.  He removed me from his life and he is still unhappy.  He thought that I was what was holding his happiness back, but that’s not true.  Though he has been told — months ago — by our marriage counselor that he needs therapy, he is unable to bring himself to face it.  He prefers to work constantly and surround himself with people who tell him that he doesn’t need help, that he is fine the way he is.

I once did that too.

I thought I was doing the right thing, telling him I wanted a divorce.  I thought he’d be relieved.  I thought that was what he wanted all along, he just didn’t want to be the one to pull the trigger.

But he sits next to me, sobbing into his hands, “I don’t know what to do, Meg.  I don’t know what to do.  I never am comfortable in my own skin.  I feel so alone, all the time.  I am never home, no matter where I am.  I am so unhappy, and nobody realizes it.”

And it breaks my heart, because I have been there.

I am just as lost as I was before.  I sit there, and I hold him as he sobs.  And I wonder…where do we go from here?