I wasn’t ever supposed to get divorced.
Every time I try and come back here, to my blog, my happy place, my words – I seem to get stuck after that sentence. It’s so difficult for me to articulate something so intense and complicated and yet so easily written in one sentence.
Growing up, I dreamed in white gowns. I have pictures of me dressing up as a bride when I was 5 years old in our living room, dancing by the fireplace with my dad. When we played house, I was always the mama. It was (and is) a roll I played well. My husband was usually my next door neighbor (who I loved desperately by the time I was 6 years old) and he would wiggle away from our make believe game as he ran off to play cops and robbers with the other boys in the neighborhood, while my girlfriend and I stayed behind playing in our fort.
I knew what I wanted. My whole life all I wanted was to be married, to be a wife. To be with someone who loved me for everything I was, who treated me the way I watch my dad treat my mom. To be with someone who made me laugh and who made me happy. I resigned myself to the idea that someone else could create happiness within me by the time I was 17 years old and would cry myself to sleep at 21 thinking I would be alone forever (because I am nothing, if dramatic).
I remember one night in particular at my girlfriends house. We were sitting on the couch in her living room, having a few drinks when I started to get teary eyed and said “I’m just afraid I’ll be alone forever.” My friend Lynde laughed until she couldn’t breathe, reminding me that I had just had my first legal drink a month ago and that she was sure I’d be fine.
Sure enough, I was married by the time I was 25.
I had everything I had ever wanted.
It’s not to say that I didn’t want Zyan, quite the opposite. But I waited for him to come along so I could enjoy every moment of being a family of two.
The problem came in the secrets of the night. The verbal abuse, alcohol and slew of slow betrayal that broke my heart bit by bit. And every time something would happen, I would call upon my faith. I would pray. I would look up biblical passages on the vows and commandments. I would cry myself to sleep. And then in the morning, it would be as if nothing had happened. A happy family once more, full of love and joy.
The thing about denial is this; you won’t wake up until it’s time. You can have a friend witness behavior and say “are you okay?” You can watch the faces of someone who loves you scrunch up during an incident and tell them with every inch of belief in your heart: “I’m okay.” Until the moment you realize you aren’t, you will not wake up.
It took years for me to open my eyes. And the most telling moment was when I arrived at al-anon one day prior to the beginning of the end. I learned so much from them: how you can stay and love someone who needs you, how you should leave if you feel unsafe, how faith is always there for us, how we need to be gentle with ourselves and most importantly, we are never alone.
But the lesson I heard the loudest that day was “when something is happening, allow.”
I am a healer. A rescuer. Someone who is always saving others. Every fiber of my being screams to help others when I can feel them hurting and I will run to anyone’s side. Especially my ex-husband. I would drop everything, always, to make sure he was okay. In my mind, that was what it meant to be married. To be by their side, to love, cherish and yes, even obey.
But that one night, I didn’t run to his side. I let events unfold. And in that moment, I awoke.
I opened my eyes the next morning and stared deeply into Zyan’s eyes – knowing in that moment that I could make a choice to create a safe environment for the both of us. In the past two years, I have done just that. I pulled my shoulders back and lifted my head high in order to do what I needed to for us as a new family of 2 (+ Apollo).
I was never supposed to be divorced. I didn’t believe in it.
In the moments to come since I left, the most telling conversation I had was with my cousin’s minister. I ran into her the night I was officially divorced and told her about a conversation I had with my own minster; how I was still grappling with the idea that I’m divorced. She leaned over and held my hand, saying “just because you didn’t break vows, doesn’t mean they weren’t broken.”
In that moment, my heart broke. I awoke even more. I stepped into my new path as I lowered my shoulders and lifted my head as high as it can go for now.
Two days later, I left someone who had held my heart all last summer. I started reading more books, going back to my mat and taking time to re-develop programs and plans for the studio and my new non-profit. And I could feel my head rise even higher as I walked into who I will become.
It’s been months since the moment came, the one I never thought would arrive. And it’s a strange feeling.
Heavy. Light. Beautiful. Heartbreaking. Lonely. Scary. Amazing. Rejuvenating. Restful. I feel every emotion now, deeper than I have in years (even if I have tried to actively keep that big ole’ heart of mine closed).
I never thought I would be divorced. But I am.
And now it’s time for me to start writing to you once more.
The journey of being a single mama.
The divine acts of self-care.
The awkward moments of first dates.
The laughter of girlfriends.
The support of my incredible family, friends and loved ones.
The joy of alone time. (BOOKS!! Writing. Yoga.)
It’s time for me to be open and honest in it all. It’s time for me to share.