When things began to look grim, I went in search of blogs dealing with divorce. It seemed only rational to look to people on the blogosphere who were sharing my experience, or the experience I was fairly certain I was headed toward.
I didn't find much.
Oh, it's not that no one out there is writing about divorce, it's just that none of it was right.
There were the bitter folks: those who blamed everything on the other party and hated them like fire for the horror they'd caused. You know, I have those moments, I suppose everyone has those moments, but the truth is that sustaining that kind of anger takes a lot of work. I don't have the energy. Plus, I figure we're both pretty stricken right now. No need to make it worse.
There were the sad people: those who felt like everything they'd ever been was being yanked away from them. I guess I have those moments, too. Let's not forget that in addition to being my husband and the father of my kids, The Ex was my best friend. For about fourteen years. Losing that person is sad and hard and there are a lot of days where I just feel like no one will ever get me again. But that's not the sum, or even the majority of my experience.
I believe that what we are doing right now, no matter how hard and sad and rage-inducing is right. We tried, we did. We made a valiant effort and now we are making an effort to move on, be cooperative, co-parent and live happy lives.
I never saw myself here. I never imagined that we would be part of the half that don't make it. Not for one second. But now that I'm here, I don't feel any of the things I thought I would feel. I'm hopeful and mostly happy.
Just before Christmas, someone who works in my building heard the news. "Congratulations," she said. I blinked. Said thanks. Blinked again. Then I started crying. Happy tears, because I swear to pants she was the first person who didn't say they were sorry or that they hoped we worked it out or that it must be so hard. She was the first person that saw in me that this was better.
When I told her that, she told me this story. When she and her husband split up, a well-meaning friend said how sad it was that her kids had to grow up in a "broken home" now. My friend, let's call her Abby, said, "No they don't. It was broken and I fixed it."
That's largely how I feel. We were broken. And we were living our broken lives, convincing ourselves that it was better, it was healthier, it was more moral and better for the kids and that broken was just a temporary state. We were wrong.
We're still not to the point where we talk much, but I can tell you about me. I'm not broken anymore. I'm adjusting. I'm struggling some days, but I'm not broken. I'm finding myself and remembering all the things I used to like about myself. I'm pretty spiffy, actually.
And here's what I want to say: Divorce is never easy. It's never pleasant or nice or comfortable. It's not ideal. But it's okay. It's fine. It's okay to be mad. It's fine to be sad. But it's also okay to be fine. It's okay to see the way your life was and the way life is now and say: That's better. It's okay to dust off your hands and start putting your life back in the order you prefer. It's okay.
People are going to say stupid things. Because they do. People are going to do stupid things. Because they do. But when people say you are in denial or that you're cold or that you should be feeling this whole list of things that you just don't feel, just remember. Fixing is hard work, but that's what you're doing. And you're doing a fine job of it.