10 Things I Learned After My Divorce

Posted: December 31, 2010 in Featured Content, Life Lessons
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Teachable moments, people.

Teachable moments, people.

  1. Growing up is a process, and it doesn’t stop when you turn 18. I grew up more this year than I have in any year before, and I’ve just turned 32. You can’t really grow up until you’ve gone through some changes and faced life head on. I did that this year and it was scary as hell. But it was also the best thing I could have ever done, because all those parts of me that were scared to be an adult and unsure about how to tackle anything in life were just…gone. Because I had to act like a grown up out of plain necessity and suddenly, it wasn’t an act any more. And I also learned that being a grown up means you realize you are human, and you allow yourself room for bad days, grumpiness, and black cloud moments. And all the while, a little voice is saying, “Cheer up, because this, too, will pass.” And it does. I’m still growing up, and I have a feeling I will be for a long time.
  2. What they say is true: time and distance does heal. It just doesn’t make the getting through it any easier. I started 2010 feeling like I’d been cast into the pits of Hell. I guess it’s just a natural feeling a person gets when her whole life falls apart on New Year’s Eve. Not exactly the best way to start the new year. But every day went by and I got through it. And then I got through the next one, and the next. Until, sometime around summertime, I realized I wasn’t just “making it through the day.” I was actually living my life and doing what I pleased, taking care of me and my child. Piece by piece, my shattered life was coming back together. And now, at the end of 2010, that person that started the new year sad and broken seems like a distant but necessary memory. I can barely remember the pain I felt, but I know it was there. And that’s the important thing: learning that I don’t EVER have to go back to that point in my life. And it’s only because I made it through it that gives me that power.
  3. Sometimes people hide who they really are, even from those closest to them. You hear it all the time, from wives and husbands and family members and friends, “But I never thought they would do that. I never saw this coming. That’s not the person I knew. How could I have been so wrong?” When you are with a person every day, living life, taking care of the endless details that go into a marriage, a friendship, any relationship, you feel your view of that person is who they are. Sometimes it is. But sometimes it isn’t. People hide themselves from you for many reasons: fear, pressure, helplessness, judgement, and on and on. Just because you think you know a person, it doesn’t actually mean you do. Suddenly, when that person leaves, you feel like you actually didn’t really know them at all. All the things you thought were true about them were actually lies, cover ups or the remains of the person they used to be. It’s sad, it’s disappointing and it’s hurtful, but it’s also where you learn that the only person you can truly count on in this life is yourself.
  4. You can show a brave face to the world while feeling yourself crumble on the inside, and nobody will ever know. This is what people refer to as strength, and I found out this year I have a lot of it. Every day I got up, got ready, got my child ready, went to work, did my job, took care of my child, smiled at people, bought groceries, had conversations, and many other things. And I felt nothing. Not happiness, not sadness, not fear or hate, just…nothing. I was completely numb. But I pretended like hell it was all okay. Smile, nod, “I’m okay.” Smile, nod, “I’m getting through it.” Inside, it was just a wasteland that I kept hidden out of necessity. But little by little, I started to feel things again, things beyond just numbness. And one day, someone said to me, “You are such a strong person.” And for the first time in my life, I not only believed them, I agreed with them. “Yes, I am a strong person, thank you very much. It took me a while, but I finally found the strength to overcome the total nothingness I thought I would have to live with forever.”
  5. People can and will disappoint you. What hurts the most is when you see how badly the people you love the most are disapppointed by others. I can handle my feelings of disappointment pretty well. But seeing others go through the same feelings just frustrates me immensly.
  6. Holding it together for your child leads to…just holding it together. And one day, you both realize Mama is okay. My child is privy to some things NO four- or five-year-old should have to witness. She has cried with me, I have cried with her. Sometimes we just cried in order to cry. She lived with tension, frustration, anger, helplessness and fear. I never should have let her witness the ruin of our lives, but at the time I just didn’t know. I am so amazed by how resiliant and strong she is. And every day, she saw me get up and do the same things we always did. And I hope it taught her that girls are strong, Moms are strong and we can get through anything. It’s not easy and sometimes it’s not fun, but it can be done. Some days the only reason I even got out of bed was for her, and now I’m so glad I did. Mama’s okay, honey. And so are you.
  7. A lot can happen in one year. A lot. In the span of one year, I literally rebuilt my life and my view of myself. If you had asked me one year ago if I thought I would be at the point I am today, I never would have believed it. Everything I thought I knew about life changed this year, and despite that, or maybe even because of that, I am doing things I never thought possible.
  8. Feeling broken does not necessarily mean you are. Whatever you have to do in order to get through it, do it. Write, cook, draw, read, paint, talk, sit, cry, run, punch something…the list is endless. But in the end, when you realize you are in fact not broken, you see that all the things you did for yourself are what helped you put the pieces back together.
  9. I wish everyone could have my family and friends to get them through rough times, especially my parents and my best friend. I don’t know what I would have done without them.  Having somebody to lean on is everything. If you don’t think you have that kind of person in your life, you’d be surprised. I would never have made it through without someone to say, “Whatever you’re going through is fine. Whatever you’re doing is fine. And you will be fine.” God bless ’em!
  10. Just when you think nothing is going to change, everything changes. And suddenly you realize you can feel again, and the future is suddenly just that: a future, with new experiences to have and new people to meet. Hello, New Year! I think you and I will be just fine.

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