My divorce was messy. It lasted almost 4 years. Appearing for court, depositions, custody evaluations, and completing interrogatories consumed my time. But I needed to work. Or how would I pay for groceries? And the deposit on an apartment? I didn’t know which job would fit around my kids schedule, and that would hire me with a 6 year hole in my resume. I saw the sign on McDonalds billboard that offered stay-at-home moms a convenient work shift of 9am – 2pm. I hung my head and covered my eyes with both hands. My bachelors degree didn’t do me much good.
It seemed impossible to hold it together as a mom, comply with the divorce proceedings, and work a job in order to put food on the table. Each of those three areas seemed to be a full-time job by itself.
I felt the temptation of turning to the refuge of drugs and drinking my pain away. I would pull the covers over my head and wish that I could disappear. Then I wouldn’t have to face the shit storm going on around me. If it weren’t for my kids, I would have given up.
My story is not unique. I have met many women who have struggled with similar feelings. Then why did I feel so alone? Like nobody knew what I was going through? There wasn’t a helpline or a youtube channel I could follow.
But, I pushed through. I focused on putting one foot in front of the other. I forbid myself from pondering the painful topics like: will my kids be ok? Will my career ever recover? Will I be alone for the rest of my life? Will I always be on this uphill battle?
Time heals wounds, and weathers out the sharp edges. Looking back on my journey, I am happy with my progress.
The first year, I wanted to hide in a cave for the rest of my life.
The second year, I started to come to my senses.
The third year, I accepted my fate, and started to rebuild my life.
The fourth year, I got good at rebuilding.
The fifth year, I’m rocking it.
Reflecting back, this questions screams out to me: why did I feel so alone? In the past few years, I have met many other women who have had similar journeys. If it is such an earth shattering life change, then why isn’t it a more public topic in our society? Maybe it’s my midwestern, church-going roots that stifled this “taboo” topic? Is it more acceptable to talk about divorce and find peer support in other parts of the country? Did everyone else know how to handle their finances and the legal process? Was I the only fool who didn’t know what how to navigate divorce?
I am not a sociologist, so I don’t know the correct answers to these questions. Maybe there are secret resources out there that I wasn’t aware of, or maybe other people don’t struggle with it as much as I did. But by golly, I am not going to go quietly.
I stuck my flag in the sand and declared that I will be shameless about my divorce journey for the next year. I will share with the world my struggles and triumphs. I will openly talk about the familial, legal, financial, and emotional challenges I face.
Will this just be added fertilizer to the already fertile gossip field I have sowed for myself? Probably. But a beautiful byproduct of going through the toughest valley of your life, is that you are no longer afraid of the dark.
So, I will hold my head high as I complete my one year challenge of shameless discussion about the divorce journey.
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