Posted on | November 19, 2013 | 4 Comments
When my marriage ended, I thought I knew how to spell divorce. It started with an “F” and ended with “ailure.” I was a failure. My marriage was a failure. My family, my world, my self-image… failures. I had failed at choosing a life partner, failed at being a wife, failed at keeping a husband, failed, failed, failed.
And as a perfectionist, I LOATHE failure.
So I spun myself into a cocoon of self-loathing, not trusting anything about myself or my choices or my ability to reason, think, love, or exist. I was my divorce. I was my failure. There was just no other way to spell it out for myself.
Slowly, through that first year, I started to re-think how I thought, how I spelled, how I loved myself and my short comings. Slowly, I started to redirect my anger and frustration and sense of failure towards my ex-husband. HE was the failure, he was the one who failed and I was this perfect pristine goddess of purity and righteousness. I started to spell divorce with a capital “B-L-A-M-E.” As in he was to, as in I was not, as in SOMEONE HAS TO BE WRONG HERE, DAMMIT AND I CAN’T KEEP HATING MYSELF. I wrote sonnets in my head about his failures, my accomplishments, how hard I worked at being awesome… how awesome I was at working hard. It wasn’t right, it wasn’t fair, but it was coping. It was coping with the secret, number 2 definition of divorce that says “divorce: failure of one or both parties to make a marriage work.” If it wasn’t my failure, it had to be his.
Then, as the weeks crept into months and the anniversary came and went, I realized there is a third way to spell divorce… a way to spell it that makes it just a word, just a silly word made up in English to signify the end of something. Just the end of one thing, not of all things. Just one end, not all the endings.
Divorce became just a word, just an afterthought, just a surprise addition, not the sole definition of who I was or am or will be. I am not just a divorced mother. I am not just a former wife. I am not a failure. I am not to blame.
And neither is he.
Because divorce, when it’s the best course of action, when it’s the right thing for the parents or the kids or the people who tied themselves to each other without really understanding or knowing who was on the other end of the rope… THAT divorce is also spelled “B-E-G-I-N-N-I-N-G.”
A do-over. A chance to be better. A chance to believe you deserve better, you are worth more, you can be loved and give love the way it should be done. So while the first part was about failure, and the second about blame, this part… this last part… is about beginnings. And I’m a big fan of those.