Part 1: Divorce and Its Life-Sucking Black Hole

1.

I hopped on my flight back from London knowing full well I could cry at any moment. It was the best week of my life or, at least, I thought so when I left. I wonder if I felt this at the time because I had been so emotionally absent for the few months prior to this trip.  

I thought over everything which happened in my week of traveling: the Christmas party with new friends, dancing in pubs until 4 in the morning, meeting a sweet soul with the same name as me who convinced me for the first time to open my damn eyes and see what’s in front of me. That part made me tear up thinking about it. Thank you, Meg.

The whole day traveling back to Oklahoma was anxiety-inducing. I knew Andrew was coming to get me from the airport. I knew he would try and hug me and kiss me and smother me in physical affection, something that actually made me want to throw up more than it made me want to smile. He was so good at pretending things were fine and I… was not. I knew all of this would happen and I thought of every possible excuse or reason to avoid it. I would hardly look at my clock because it only showed I was minutes closer to a moment I never wanted to experience.

It’s painful to even say it so bluntly, but it’s exactly how I felt. I hadn’t felt in a long time either, so I don’t argue that my emotions were much more escalated and overwhelming. I had finally unlocked Pandora’s box and decided suppressing my feelings was preventing any chance at happiness. Do I kiss him back when I see him? Do I keep the peace in front of my friends who will definitely take notice if I don’t return my affection?

I questioned this all day, contemplating the best option. But I was tired of catering to everyone else. I was tired of concentrating on everyone’s comfort and discomfort only to go home, look in the mirror, and resist the urge to spit on my reflection. Above all, I was tired of feeling tired.

I hated myself for reasons that were and weren’t his fault. I don’t want to go into the details of how we got here because I don’t expect anyone who reads this to trust one person’s experiences when there were, at least, two sets of very focused eyes, zeroed in on all the chaos that was our marriage. But, as much as I don’t want to say it, his issues and my issues are both contributors to the dissolution of our relationship.

Nonetheless, here I was, left with one of two decisions to make: leave or stay. Both of those things felt wrong. I knew leaving him would mean lots of judgmental, curious eyes and lots of noses poking around where they don’t belong. I had already lost myself in this relationship. I stopped writing, a part of me I never thought would die. I stopped laughing, another part of me that fueled my entire being. And I stopped caring. About anything and everything. I was self-medicating for what was the last six months of our relationship. I watched movies that made me feel better, ate whatever made me feel fuller, and filled that void with anything I could muster. I was dwindling so slowly, no one really noticed for awhile. I loathed him for that.

But, I also loved him. He was my first REAL love. The kind that totally swept me off my feet and surprised me. He was creative, generous, kind, and had the best smile. He made me laugh so hard, I couldn’t even keep my eyes open. And he always opened doors for me. I’m not sure when we lost all that, but we did. I often woke up in the morning and felt as if I was looking at a stranger, someone I didn’t know and had never met. It would sometimes scare me. But I know he would wake up and think the same thing sometimes, too.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this, I woke up, most likely while I was having the time of my life in London, while also still bobbing around like a sad ostrich, looking to feel anything that felt good. I realized how much I missed my life and, more importantly, how much I missed myself. I was suffocating and I longed for air again. So, I did what I had to do. I took my first breath.

 

2.

“It’s over. I want a divorce.”

It was the day before Christmas. I felt relief and shooting pain all at once. I had already cried all day, every day for at least a month. We had already been separated for awhile, but somehow this all hit differently. I watched Eat, Pray, Love 19 times in December and ordered the book as my first read of 2020. It was the only thing giving me solace, that there was, indeed, life after divorce. I was young, not even 24 yet! I examined that concept a lot and how much life I had to live, how I would definitely be okay and return from all of this, strong and agile. But it did not feel that way. I grieved and grieved and grieved. Fortunately, up until this point, I had never had anyone very close to me die, but if I were to say what it felt like, that would be exactly it: someone, or more like something, had died. I grieved my dreams of having children with Andrew, growing old and laughing with him. I grieved the concept of being a wonderful wife and mother and instead adopted the idea of being a 23-year-old divorcee with little to no friends, which felt incredibly lonely. I yelled at God. A lot. Yelled at him for letting this happen, yelled at him to help and fix me, yelled at him to just make the pain stop.

There was a lot of anger, at first, especially leading up to the divorce. Anger at my ex-husband, his family, myself, my friends, random strangers on the street who just simply could not understand the idea of walking with purpose when strolling across the crosswalk. I was angry. I was hurt. I felt robbed of life and I had no idea who to point my fingers at. I am terrified to even admit how many times I have analyzed every moment, fight, teardrop. Mostly in my bathtub with a glass of wine and a candle.

I didn’t know what to do next. How does one pick themselves up from such a mess? I was a million pieces and staring at the puzzle before me just felt overwhelming and too tedious to even think about putting together. But I would look at that mess every day as it seemed to beg me to do something with it. I wanted to sweep it into a dustpan, put it in the trash and cheer as the garbage services picked it up. But I just let it sit there, pathetic and broken.

3.

I remember in our first apartment together, we lived in a studio with absolutely no privacy, whatsoever. I would dread going home. I am sure I could list a plethora of reasons, but when you are miserable, all you WANT is “me” time. I didn’t even have a bath tub which I’ve now learned is absolutely heinous for my personality and vowed to never sign another lease or mortgage without a tub I can climb into for safety.

I had never wanted to be left alone so much in my life. I missed introspection, goal-setting, motivating myself internally. I missed reading and being in my own thoughts. Yet, when I was with him, I felt far away. Which version of alone do you choose? The one that fills you with spirit even if there’s no one to celebrate it with or the one that drains it like a hole in the bottom of a bucket but still has that slight comfort of “at least we’re both miserable”? So I chose the only one that seemed to make some sort of sense.

Having asked for a divorce just before the holidays was probably the riskiest thing I could have done. Christmas was HARD. It just felt like there was a big, fat elephant in the room and we all were just pretending to ignore its existence.

I went to bed Christmas evening crying. Probably the most I had cried yet over these circumstances. I feel like in the two weeks after that, I still pained and ached in loneliness. Hai voluto la bicicletta? E adesso pedala! Italian for “You wanted the bicycle? Now you’ve got to ride it!”

You WANTED to be alone, Meg, I thought. Why are you cursing it now?

To which I replied to my inner voice: Because I wanted to be alone, not lonely.

5 thoughts on “Part 1: Divorce and Its Life-Sucking Black Hole

  1. you are so strong, and so beautiful, and I admire you for admitting that sometimes it feels like no one is in the wrong in these situations. and sometimes it’s just not right. I am so sorry you had to go through divorce to figure things out for you. just know you are not alone if you don’t want to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing. I have struggled with this in relationships too, but never really knew how to describe it until reading this. That anxiety is nearly unbearable. I appreciate you sharing! You’re an amazing person! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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