All the experts say that experiencing divorce
is like experiencing a death; the death of future plans, the death of financial security, the death of your family unit…and they are right! The moment I became aware that divorce was inevitable, to be honest, the pain I felt was not in losing my partner but in losing all future dreams; my daughter’s education, my retirement, my acceptance of growing older.
It wasn’t that I didn’t love my husband, but I had become so secure in his place in my future that everything was dependent upon it. He was my world, my past, my present, my future…yet it was all gone. In one night all that had been so concrete evaporated. In a flash I was alone with my infant daughter. Everything that I thought “would be” was no more. The pain was overwhelming and nearly unbearable. I dropped to 85 lbs. and could no longer nurse. I was defeated and nearly inconsolable. My home was up for sale, my existence packed in boxes, and the love of my life was dating another woman. The seeds of love had all but died.
I Began to See Things Differently
Once the smoke of pain, anger, and resentment clear you begin to see things in a new light. It’s as if you wake from the Matrix and view things as they truly are and not as society, your ex or your subconscious wants you to perceive them. The pain becomes more real but also more manageable! For once you see things as they are, you can then face them with profound clarity. You are no longer a victim of circumstance but a warrior. Armed with truth and perseverance your life is yours to be tamed; like a wild beast bucking in the corral of reality, you finally glimpse your future and yourself free from others expectations.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s scary as hell to look the beast in eye and realize that you are the only one that can tame it…and you must tame it alone. But the truth is that the beast was always there; it’s just impossible to look behind the wall of denial and illusions of marriage. I waltzed into the corral to take control of my life and was immediately knocked flat on my ass. Although, my intentions were pure, I hadn’t yet learned the lessons required to grab the reigns and seize control. While lying flat on my back one night, a glass of wine in one hand and a cigarette in the other, I was forced to look up. Only then did I begin to grasp all the things that had eluded me. I stood up, dusted myself off and rather than taking a giant leap; I began to take baby steps…one tiny step after another, planting tiny seeds of love along the way.
First Seed Planted: Acceptance
The moment you realize and accept things for what they are the dust begins to settle. You’re no longer clouded by preconceived notions, judgments or expectations. You become free from your former life and are empowered to build a new one. By accepting the circumstance, you accept yourself. Only true self-acceptance can give you the wings required to sail through such turbulent skies. Self-acceptance allowed me to overcome all the obstacles that stood in my path. It gave me the power and strength to endure when all I wanted to do was escape and hide. But I couldn’t. I had a little girl that looked to me for all her love,
support, security, and strength. The most beautiful gift in my life, the source of my extreme fatigue became my most powerful energy source; my fuel to carry on. I had accepted that what once was, would never be, and THAT was Ok. It had to be! For as time went on I discovered that I liked who I was, I liked the “me” outside the “we” and knew that I possessed all that was required to prevail over this or anything else that stood in my path to happiness. Accepting things as they are rather than spinning your wheels fighting or redefining them helps you to gain perspective and conserve your energy. Difficult situations no longer become insurmountable obstacles.
My seed of acceptance bloomed large enough to encompass my ex. I had to accept that due to our daughter, he would always be in my life. Forever! Yay, me. This was by far, the toughest pill to swallow. I had to accept the person that he is and the role he would play in our daughter’s life. I had to accept that my actions, words, and attitude could impact his relationship with his daughter…for good or bad. I had to accept that my anger and resentments only collateral damage would be my daughter’s wellbeing. While fighting the desire to do the contrary, I inhaled the sweet smell of acceptance and forgiveness and exhaled the animosity and ill-will. With that deep breathe, I grew larger. I learned that I had the power to set aside intense emotions in order to do what was right. I had become more mindful, principled, and secure in my ability to remain accountable for my actions.
Second Seed Planted: Happiness
When you’re married the lines between what makes you happy and what makes your partner happy begins to blur. You lose sight of the things that bring you genuine joy. It’s as though you feel selfish for seeking pleasure outside of your spouse. Now, I’m not talking about hopping into bed with another person or spending your life savings on a convertible. I’m talking about the little things that become huge when ignored and that’s different for everybody. Divorce provided me the opportunity to discover
what it was that I wanted, liked, and thoroughly enjoyed. And I have to tell you it was amazing to rediscover myself again.
Free from expectations, I explored the world like a kid in a candy store; a giddy little 30-something running amok! The greatest fruit from the seed of happiness was the realization
that my happiness is not dependent on another person. I can be happy in a relationship or single. I can continue to do what makes me happy even if my partner doesn’t enjoy all the same things. When things seem to fall apart, I can make the choice to be happy. There are time when in a relationship, your partner can contribute to your feelings of happiness and sorrow but ultimately genuine happiness is a gift you give to yourself…a selfish gift that everyone around you benefits from and no one can take unless you choose to give it away.
Third Seed Planted: Love
With the seeds of acceptance and happiness blooming; the stage was set to plant the most important seed…love. I grew in my time alone post-divorce and unearthed parts of myself that had been buried for years. Now, it was time that I find love, not in a new relationship but in myself. I liked who I was, but found it hard to let old judgments and expectations go. I became my own worst enemy with negative self-talk and the continual drive to BE better. In my mind I continually fell short; better mother, better wage earner, better employee, better housekeeper, etc. I just couldn’t cut myself a break. One day I called myself “stupid” in front of my daughter. My friend saw the look on my daughter’s face and confronted later. “Do you want your daughter to grow up thinking that calling herself stupid is ok? Or that it’s ok for someone else to call her stupid? Or even worse…that she believes she IS stupid?” I answered, “Of course not” My friend continued, “Then why is it ok for her mother?” I had no rebuttal. I worked with kids my entire adult life, have all my child development units, and yet didn’t apply it to myself! I would never have spoken that way in front of a child I worked with; why was it Ok to speak that way in front of my daughter?
From that moment forward I began to observe the words that I said out loud and in my head very carefully. As my self-talk improved and became more positive, I began to give myself a much needed break. I am a good mother. I am a good wage earner. I am a good homemaker. I AM GOOD! I learned to love myself, including my imperfections. Once I granted myself permission to love myself, love began to flow through every part of my life. Relationships with my family and friends grew deeper. It was then that I even began to go out and date.
On Solid Ground Again
I woke up one day and I found myself on solid ground again, holding the reigns of life, and smelling the flowers I had planted. I started to view my divorce as a positive experience; shitty but profound. Life was no longer happening to me, I am creating it. Through one of the most distressing events, I emerged stronger and more capable. I not only grew, I flourished. I continue to tend my garden and will never stop…ok, maybe once in a while in order to enjoy the roses.
Marrie Lobel is the Geekalicious creator of the hottest online lifestyle magazine, Dirty In Public. A California based freelance relationship writer, dating consultant, and globally recognized brand that combines wit, wisdom, and a splash of audacity to shatter outdated perceptions, stimulate conversations, and ignite relationships between the sexes. You can read more on her website, Dirty In Public, Follow her on Twitter, Pin her on Pinterest, and Like her on Facebook.