Do You Regret..the Divorce?

I have asked my close friend this very question on more than one occasion. Do you regret the divorce? Her answer – yes. She would have stayed married if she had known how things would have turned out when she got a divorce. Her ex-husband was extremely hurt by the divorce. The hurt morphed into anger and the anger has been fueled by his current girlfriend. Who is suffering? The three innocent children caught in between. So had she had known, she would have stayed to avoid the hurt caused to her children on a consistent basis. But no one can predict the future. Even a well thought out divorce can stray from the initial intentions. Nothing is ever easy.

Asking her this question, made me think about myself. Do I regret the divorce? I don’t. I am sad. And there are still moments of grief for what was lost. Sometimes the sadness can even present as regret. But as the days unfolded during our separation and ultimate divorce, the reasons why it was for the best slowly rose to the surface. Initially, I felt guilty, feeling unfulfilled in a way which made me feel awful. What I didn’t understand then was why. Why did I feel this way? I was very much on the surface then, not digging or discovering how I got to that point. Yet, there was so much.

So no, I don’t regret the divorce.

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Epiphany

Just got back from a run. No longer running with headphones listening to music, I listen to the sound of my breath, my sneakers hitting the ground, and the vibrations of my thoughts. Suddenly during this run, it hit me. My ex-husband is a version of my mother. Their personalities are plagued with anger and manipulation. I suppose there was no irony in the fact that during the time of my separation I was also creating distance with my mom.  The need to free myself of this world I had lived in my whole life was great. It all makes sense. It makes sense that I do not want my sons’ worlds to be contaminated with these harsh emotions. Although it is a reality, a space needed to be created to allow for a healthier life. For all. I had been continuing a life when I got married that I had lived as a child. And as a result, providing that life to my children. No longer. They deserve better. And I think I do too.

It’s all coming together. Piece by piece.

Serendipity

Just last weekend I had the good fortune of being invited to a house party to watch the movie “Bad Moms.” Because it was a friend of a friend, I was in a way the “odd man out.” It was a group of women who all lived in a particular neighborhood…except for me. While the movie is definitely well worth watching – and let me just say I picked up more of the sentimental excerpts the second time around more than likely because the first time I was just laughing so much I simply missed them – it was the conversation prior to starting the movie that cements in my mind. Let me share….

The woman hosting made reference to her “soon-to-be-ex-in-laws.” This is a mom of three, full time mom and full time social worker, a woman of great humor, what sounds like a very trying past, and one I met through a mutual friend on a ski trip about three years ago. After that ski trip I honestly didn’t even remember her name. I had seen her maybe twice in passing usually at the school. But we ended up at yet another mutual friend’s home just a month ago and I became part of a conversation that included getting together to watch the movie “Bad Moms.” So here I was a bit of an outsider at a gathering with women I mostly did not know, but I knew the laughter for me would be medicine. However, the night presented me with another surprise.

This woman told me during the ski trip about three years ago she remembered starting her car to warm it up before making the three hour drive home. (She had only stayed one night so we didn’t share much conversation up until this point). When she came back in to gather the last of her belongings, our mutual friend and I had been discussing my separation. At this time, my husband and I were sharing two homes – which we continued for a year and a half. I remember the woman telling me I should travel and give presentations on how to separate in a healthy manner. I took this comment with a grain of salt. She was a social worker and I knew she was trained to be a good listener. And she was…she was listening. Before we all knew it a solid hour had passed and she suddenly remembered her car had been running this whole time.

Fast forward to the present, and she told me that conversation was life changing for her. Little did I know, her marriage had been struggling. She had been desperately trying to determine a healthy transition to separate but had only believed that was in theory and could not actually be executed. My story…my experience!….actually gave her hope. It gave her the courage to move forward slowly, but positively. And at the heart of all this are her three young children. The unfortunate part is that her marriage is dissolving. But the wonderful part is that it’s amicable. And knowing that that is occurring as a result of me and I actually gave someone hope, in return, gave me hope. Hope! Serendipity…it was all serendipity.

Who is the Expert Anyway?

Is there such a thing as an expert when it comes to divorce?

When we too often follow the opinions of others and what mainstream is doing, we lose our “expertise.” Taking bits and pieces from here and there can help, but overriding our instincts, that deep-in-the-belly feeling of what is right and what is wrong, can lead us astray.

No one has walked in my shoes, lived my life, experienced my experiences. And so how can  anyone be an expert on my life? Although in a state of weakness, wouldn’t it be nice to have someone expertly know what you should do – and all you have to do is do it, to make everything ok? Seems easier. Less work. There would be less feeling. Actually, I am not sure there would be any feeling at all.

Let me confess. There have been moments during my lengthy separation and ultimate divorce I was led versus leading. And I have fought and continue to do so against society’s norm as it relates to divorce. Realizing I stretch the limits, I can’t help but stay true to what I so strongly believe. Telling myself “If I were to die tomorrow, would I regret doing this or not doing this?”

At the heart of my choices are my boys. But my ex-husband (I can’t stand that word! Isn’t there an alternative??) can be quite flimsy in his views. And…he has had a girlfriend for several  years now. The boys have not been introduced to her nor have I. And in fact, the boys are not aware he has a girlfriend. Honestly, for now, I like it that way. Even though I am acutely aware I am playing into a state of ignorance.

Somehow in other’s minds though, she has become a priority on a level. Family holidays, car pooling to games, day trips, all must be considered with his girlfriend’s feelings. Wrapping my brain around this is beyond difficult. So I must consider her insecurities ahead of what would be best for my boys? Please understand I do not want this woman to hurt or feel hurt. And ultimately it would be ideal if she were included in large family gatherings at some point. But we are in the now. Today. My boys are only this vulnerable age once. And this is the time we emulate strength as a family or forgo that because the “norm” says it’s not okay.

So really tell me, who is the expert in this case anyway?

 

Others too…

At dinner last night with a few old high school friends (I use “old” very loosely here!), discussion filled with separations, divorce, and pregnancies. One friend separated when I did, but has since officially divorced. Last week she prepared dinner for her ex-husband and her boyfriend who sat with her two boys at the table. What a gift!! There are so many beautiful, amazing lessons that sat in abundance. Christmas was spent with her ex-in-law’s and her family AT her ex-husband’s house. She said it was wonderful.

There is something to be said about finding AND delivering peace during a time when one would think peace is not anywhere to be found. Her actions are modes of paying it forward.   Means in which possibilities, positive possibilities, can open up…and spread.

And this is one I hope does spread….like wild fire.

A New Year…Beginning?

I can not believe it has been nearly two months since my last post. I could blame it on the holidays, the busy-ness of it all. But honestly there were many a  night I lied in bed having so much to say, so much to write and yet my computer felt so far away. And so my thoughts drifted into dreams until I awoke the next morning to start again. Maybe even anew.

The new year, 2016, marks three solid years of my separation. Three solid years. I surely feel more stable, but not healed. Will I ever? Can I be honest? I miss family vacations. Family vacations were always guaranteed fun. Everyone was on their best behavior, we had so many laughs, and we were exploring. An adventure – and I LOVE adventure. I remember family vacations explicitly as a child. I remember my mom so stressed about getting everything together (at the time she was afraid to fly, so we drove everywhere to vacation). “Did you turn off the iron?” And a U-Turn we’d make to make sure the iron was in fact turned off. I feel like this is a big piece I am robbing my boys of – family vacations. It creates a void inside of me that I am not so sure can be filled. It’s a squeezing of my insides when these realities fill me. So when will I be healed?

Today I am participating in an all day Reiki workshop. Friends have asked “Why? Are you going to teach Reiki?” No. Not now anyway. That is not my goal. Right now I just want a way to heal myself. To teach..myself. I know I can do it. And I am ready. I have never been a part of a Reiki workshop. But I have always been intrigued. In fact, the discussion of Reiki three and a half years ago sparked great change in my life.

My yoga teacher asked me a couple of weeks ago what I was running from (she had noticed how incredibly tight my left hamstring was and knows my running history).  I smiled and let out a small laugh. But I didn’t feel like I was running from anything. I feel I am running towards something. And so I begin. A New year…beginning.

Waiting?

Much like a roller coaster, my life has been moving at what at times feels like warp speed, up and down. It’s been a year and a half of being separated. Yes, we are slowly ripping the band-aid off. Some may say it would be easier to just pull it off already. But this process, journey really, is much too important, much too sensitive to push through simply to just get through. I do find that each step feels like my heart is being twisted. Just as I recover from one step, anther one follows not too far behind. However, after each step, I become stronger. Do I question myself? Absolutely! But I have no choice. I am a mother above anything else. It’s my job, my responsibility to make sure I am doing what is best first and foremost for my children. So I decided about a year and a half ago I would model what it means to work through adversity; to remain respectful; to always hold love; to keep priorities in line; to cherish family; to know empathy and compassion; to have self-respect; to know peace; to collaborate; to embrace. So what am I waiting for? I’m not actually. I moving forward if ever so slowly.