Friday, April 17, 2015
Why Do I Write About My Divorce?
Why do I write about my divorce? It's a reasonable question. Often, when I'm asked I have to step back and evaluate who is doing the asking. Is it a genuine curiosity or a judgment? The answer is the similar either way. My ex is a very private person as are many of my friends. They can't imagine ever sharing intimate details of their life in writing, much less online. They think I am an "over-sharer.” I get that. As long as I can remember, "talking it out" has always been my processing method. I detest passive aggressive behavior and always prefer to discuss and even fight if it means there might be resolution or better understanding. Writing about my divorce is just an extension of that processing.
I write about my divorce because I am not special. I am not an expert or a professional. I am not a celebrity or a politician. My divorce is not out of the ordinary. I am not particularly interesting. I am a suburban woman who is VERY close to 40. I am raising two girls and I work from home. I transplanted to Ohio from NY and decided after 14 years of marriage and 20 years together, to get divorced. No one is writing a movie, or sitcom for this one. I am not glamorous like the women who star in The Girlfriend's Guide To Divorce. But, guess what? Neither are most of the women going through this. When I write and women respond, it's because I am just regular and so are they. Seeing that someone else like them came out on the other side and did not combust, well that seems to be helpful. I know it was for me.
I write about my divorce because I felt so alone. I am blessed with an amazing family, friends and community. However, when this was happening I have never felt more alone. Those who love you do their best to be there. The truth is, unless you have walked in my shoes, you simply cannot fully understand. When I started writing and sharing, women (and men) came out of the woodwork. Many called and wrote to share their experiences, to give support, guidance and just a shoulder. I felt understood. I started a "secret" group on Facebook with women in my community who had been or were going to where I was. Many of us hardly knew each other but we are there to support each other daily and without question. These women have become sacred to me. I still often feel alone. Then days like today, someone from my past who was merely an acquaintance reaches out and asks to talk. Then I know I am doing the right thing.
I write about my divorce because I have daughters. Daughters who know that I write as a way of dealing with my feelings and who encourage me to do so. Daughters who I want to share themselves in whatever way feels right to them. Daughters who are strong and funny and smart and independent. Daughters who I am as honest with and who know they can tell me anything. Daughters who have their own feelings about all of this and who I encourage to express those feelings in creative ways as well. Daughters who I hope one day feel strong enough to make the best choices for themselves, no matter what life or society or anyone else might dictate. My mom has always been my biggest advocate and I'll be theirs.
I write about my divorce because it's cathartic for me and for others. Writing heals me, soothes me and helps me focus my feelings. When I publish it and others encourage me, that too is invigorating. Being helpful fills my soul and brings me a sense of purpose. Knowing that I am here to talk, to listen, to hold a hand or be a shoulder, that is immensely fulfilling for me.
I write about my divorce because the process sucks and I don't want to pretend it doesn't. I am not an advocate for divorce. I have no ability to paint a pretty or rosy picture. For the most part, divorce is a shit storm. Lawyers and courts and 8 million versions of the same documents. Splitting up your marriage, time with your children, your possessions, the life you made, your friends, your family, your home - all of it sucks. Even the most civil, kind and gentle divorce is still life altering and devastating. Everything changes and everything is different. Even if you wanted it, you don't want it.
I write about my divorce because it's not over when it's done. I've written about that before, but it's still true. I've not been at it long enough to know if eventually some sense of total normalcy is established. I hope so. Thus far, there are still issues and feelings and legalities to deal with on a regular basis. Co-parenting means you are entwined forever and navigating that is a delicate balance.
I write about my divorce because I can. Quite simply, I am the boss of me. I can now decide on my own what is best, what works and what makes sense in my life. I am working on letting go of other people's judgment and my need for affirmation. I am working on the 2.0 of myself. I am working on my confidence, my spirit and feeding my soul. I am working on all of it and while I do, I get to share it.
So this is why I write about my divorce.
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