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Reflections Post-Divorce

I've now lived without a man for well over two years.

I lived through November 1st without tremendous emotion... that would have marked a 24th wedding anniversary... there were so many sweet sweet years. I did take some time to reflect on what was and what is, taking in the whole of it and particularly where I am headed in my independence. So much of this includes finding forgiveness of self... accepting that you can never go home again, so to speak. Past is past. Need to focus on building again.

Most of my friends say to me that for someone who shares and exposes a great amount of inner reflections about almost every subject in the human experience , I haven't been so openly expressive about the divorce thing all this time. Take my blog for example... it's pretty void of a lot of discussion about the divorce. Isn't it? I guess that's because the journey is so very confusing and complicated for me that attention focused on progressing forward.

A great term in Gestalt psychology is "cognitive incubation," which means simply that we have a natural way of problem-solving and we use incubation as a stage in the process. Specifically, when we are unsuccessful in getting an immediate solution to a problem, sometimes we set it aside, removing it from conscious thought and no longer think about it. What happens, however, is that the unconscious is at work and solutions are considered, despite the individual’s lack of awareness of the process. Now, two years later... I can see that all along I have been working through much inner conflict.

But wait... this isn't a blog post about all that deep shit, although methinks I don't know how to NOT be deep. I want to sort of lightheartedly tell you some of the things that suck and don't suck about being divorced. I got to thinking about this topic tonight while I was sitting on my bed practicing a new fingering pattern on my guitar (very exciting and I feel so gifted when I get a new technique flowing).... BUT THEN when I leaned back against the wall where my curtains were hanging, I apparently pulled on them, causing the whole friggen support and rod to come crashing down (again). I looked at the half-assed nail hole with the stud I tried to use to get it to hold in the wall. It's definitely a "chick's" attempt at guy's work. I know that sounds sexist (sorry), but for me, I'm pretty handy but I tend to jerry-rig shit because I don't have drills and guy stuff... heck, the heel of my pumps makes a damn good hammer in a pinch.

Being divorced, I have only a tool kit I got for free at a real estate closing a number of years ago... they're not even real tools... cheap stuff. I decided I'm going to buy me a tool kit. So, one thing that sucks about divorce is that I don't have access to tools or a man I could nag the hell out of to do handyman crap. As of right now, I can list probaby 20 things needing done around here that I do not have the strength, or a tall enough ladder, or the interest in tackling (except that I will.. I know I will.... who makes it happen? I do). So... point is, that's something that sucks post-divorce.

My son is moving out soon. He's 20. He's graduating and probably going to finish his higher degree in Canada. Sigh, my idealist, peace-passionate, liberal/socialist son is unhappy in this country where the promised land failed to provide him evidence of the American Dream. It really sucks that my divorce has influenced his thinking... Oh, sure... this is a much longer discussion. Let me say... my children are overall BETTER and STRONGER because of the divorce, but the sort of reality they have entered has its intensely sad downside. With his leaving and knowing Kelly will be shortly behind him in leaving the nest, I cannot begin to tell you the gasping adrenal pumping fear I feel (not always, but alone in the dark -- sometimes) of becoming that eccentric old woman living alone with her books and chihuahuas and playing sad songs on a guitar. Although, in some sick way, that sounds lovely.

Another thing that sucked about divorce ended up being a cool thing. FEAR was paralyzing. I had to learn to go places alone... parties, art galleries, events that people usually attend with a date. I have overcome that fear and rather enjoy being my own designated driver. I meet new people and make friends easily... in fact so much so, I have to keep them at bay because I do prefer a loner lifestyle. I'm learning to balance social life, or at least HAVE one. Sometimes I force myself to get dressed and out there. And I've learned to enjoy doing many things alone that I used to do with another (going to the movies alone is wondrous).

I really like that I can flip a finger to tradition now. I am known to go to bed at odd hours (in fact 2 AM is my usual bedtime)... so making dinner for the kids at 10 at night works great since we are all night owls. I really like that MY WAY is acceptable and nobody criticizes it. If the kids want cereal for dinner... fine. I don't have someone telling me I'm working too much or too hard or that my priorities are 'effed up. I am defining what's good for me.

What sucks about being divorced is that nobody is here to scratch my back. Literally. I bought two wooden back scratchers. Nobody is here when I writhe in my satin sheets alone. (Did I just say that?) Heck, even marital sex after two dozen years was convenient. And I say that purely from a industrial perspective.... I can be so crude, no? I do miss some of the things that aren't always available. And to be even more candidly truthful... my opposite sex relationship skills are that of a 16 year old because let's face it... if you marry young and aren't single again until your 40s, you have no clue about any of that stuff. Bumbling mumbling goon I can be... and I now see how my mother says (after the death of daddy now 10 years)... "I'm not going through all that shit again with another man... And no man's dirty feet are gonna be on MY couch. I've served enough sandwiches to a man layin' around watching football." God I laugh at her reality. She has emerged a strong independent woman with a grand sense of humor and a strength nobody ever knew she had until she was alone.

Sigh... I am a romantic. You know this. And I am 45 and there's a certain reality that grabs you by the balls (yes, i have those brass things)... that says to you.... Make your own way. Nobody is going to rescue you, dream about you, fix your flat tire. So I make sure I have AAA car service and I check MYSELF that the doors are locked at night, and I drag the garbage can to the edge of the sidewalk when I'm dressed in heels, and I pay the little Vietnamese man with the big straw hat $15 to cut my lawn, and carry my own groceries, and I nourish my soul with song and books, and I try to keep a sense of humor. I take care of me with no expectation that someone is there upon whom I can depend.

I am tarnished and flawed... but seasoned and stronger. I have lost so very much (particularly financially), but somehow I am still in one piece.

Perhaps of all things post-divorce, my dissertation research is my immediate quest. I feel powerful in what the future holds for my research project and the publishing opportunities with it. I feel that soon it will be "my turn"... for good things. Another season.... and a stronger me.

I love so very deeply... the few in my world. I have to say that there are significant forces around me who have saved me from myself through this process (my self-loathing ways)... and some of you are reading this... knowing it is you I appreciate.

God there is still so far to go to become whole. These thoughts tonight only touch the surface of the many things I ponder....


doreenmary said...

P.S. Yes, Alex, this post comes on the 29th day... just as you might predict. LOL.

Jilly said...

my guy isn't handy AT ALL and is more than likely to break something worse than it was before than fix it. I've had a half-built swing set in the middle of my yarn since 7/4/10. Rest assured, you don't need a man to fix ANYTHING, you just need money and time to sit around while the other person does it.

Spidey said...

i have never needed a man. i have one, cause i want one. ;)

doreenmary said...