For my second blog, I thought I’d get into the ‘nitty gritty’ part of my past which I know is responsible for shaping the person that I am today. My Divorce. Certain people might hear the story of my marriage (which quickly turned to divorce) and immediately think that it was bound to happen. Although that may be one’s opinion, the driving force behind my marriage was Love. Let me clarify, this love was riddled with selfishness, obsession and insecurity, so it would be safe to say it is the worst kind of love you can conjure. However, I believe we are made to experience this type of love to teach us how to love effectively, appropriately and in a healthy way.
The story behind my marriage and divorce is quite simple. I was 18 and met a man who promised me the world, as did I in return. He was a nice, southern boy from a small town in Florida. He had joined the Marine Corps and found himself stationed in Southern California. The relationship we formed felt like it was a story right out of the movies (That should have been my first red flag, right?) We soon fell in love. I was still just a kid myself, but at the time I felt like I knew it all. I could make my own decisions as an adult now and I felt like I had won the lottery. I wanted a life with this man and nothing was going to stop me from taking the next step to get there. As you are probably guessing, my family was extremely opposed to this relationship growing at the pace it was and when I eloped, this created a seemingly irreparable rift between my family and I. Eventually, my family grew to accept my marriage and it felt like life finally began to move forward once again.
Fast forward two years to another exhausting Friday night. I had come home around 11:00 PM from working both of my jobs to find our condo, empty. Part of me wanted to be surprised… part of me wished I could be surprised… but at this point – I had to accept that this was not a surprise. Unable to process the amount of shame I was feeling, I made up my bed on the couch, which had practically become my permanent resting corner and… I just cried myself into slumber. Around 3 AM was when the front door opened and here he comes stumbling inside of the house. Drunk. Again. I squeezed my eyelids shut so tight that I felt like my skull was going to swallow my eyeballs. I thought, Maybe if I shut my eyes tight enough I would seem invisible… That night my wishes came true, and after stumbling through the living room, went into the bedroom and to sleep. Other nights, I would not have been so lucky.
Other nights he would not have been so preoccupied, other nights he would not have been so kind to my face, to my body, to just…ignore me. I think you when get to a point where someone you love so much, disrespects you, hurts you both emotionally & physically… and you still stand there and rationalize their behavior – you’ve drowned. That’s where I was, drowning. Every day, slowly, losing more air and becoming more and more and more lifeless. That night, I realized that I had lost me. I was gone. I will never forget the moment where I stood, looking in the mirror, bruises on my arm and a fresh one on my chin and in my mind thinking, “This is my life”.
If there was ever a defining moment in my life, that night was it. I still do not know what bravery inside of my weak soul came to the surface, but I will forever be thankful for it. How did we get here in such a short period of time? My husband, my beloved, my ‘forever’ was kicked out of the military shortly after our marriage and in response turned into an abusive alcoholic. Unmotivated to better himself, or strive to make a better life for our marriage during a recession stricken economy, he turned into a monster and I turned into the best liar on the planet. I successfully masked my torn, abusive, failing marriage from almost everyone close to me. That moment on that Friday night, was the moment that I realized if I continued this life, one day I would wake up and there would be nothing left of it.
Soon after that moment of clarity, I gathered what strength I had left in me and I left him.
I have since accepted the fact that some wounds will probably never heal, but at least they will be there to remind me of the lessons I learned. I am now 25 and having just celebrated Easter with my family, I was reflecting on this part of my life and how far I have come. I think divorce in any sense of the word is a sad occurrence, but at some point you have appreciations you gain from the experience altogether. For me, I have 5 post divorce appreciations that I’d like to share.
5. Any love you experience, is worth the wait. I think the expression goes, “Good things come to those who wait” and I believe it rings true to all types of relationships, not just marriages. My marriage and divorce taught me to have patience with love. It taught me to recognize my feelings and take the time to really understand it all before jumping into anything. Lasting relationships will build at a pace that is healthy and appropriate where as forced relationships have the possibility to end just as quickly as it began.
4. Appreciate those around you. This concept is something I feel all people deal with but for me in my life, it has been quite hard. On paper, it seems easy! People are there for you, support you, love and you just appreciate it. Right? How could you not? As humans, we are selfish beings and sometimes it takes a situation similar to mine to really take a step back to realize how good we have it. Despite the fact that I turned my back on my family, when I came to them asking for help – they were there for me. Some of my family that supported me during this time of my life still do not know exactly why I got a divorce. It’s possible that they have their own opinions, or judgement on why, but ultimately details were not important. There was only one question which was of my happiness – That’s true love.
3. Find yourself, over and over again. I have read so many articles or have heard people mention that up until age 25, you are still finding yourself and finding out who you are. I believe this is a process that should be on-going for the rest of your life! Everyone and everything is forever changing and I believe it is healthy to find yourself throughout all of these changes. Continue to find yourself over and over whether you’re dating, married, divorced, or even just separated. During my time of healing, I took a lot of time to find myself and prepare for my life moving forward. I have continued to indulge in new things, activities, people and everything unfamiliar to me. These experiences have become an essential part of how I find myself, and how I have come to love every bit of myself.
2. Divorce is not the end. One of the hardest parts of my post divorce healing was accepting the fact that my divorce did not mark the end of my future in love. For several years I dealt with depression and spent so much time worrying about how I would explain my divorce to old friends, new friends and lovers. Once I had come to accept that this was a part of my life journey, I realized that I could not control what others would think and I could only control how I choose to let that part of my life contribute to my life moving forward. Looking back, I wish I could shake myself and shout, “You will get married again and no one will give a damn what color your dress is! It will be YOUR wedding!!” I’m considering electric blue 🙂
1. Time Heals All. The most prized appreciation I have from my divorce is that time heals all. After I got divorced it wasn’t all daisies and rainbows. I needed to not only heal myself but heal all of the relationships in my life that I had forsaken. Getting a divorce had just as much of an impact on my relationships as getting married and again I felt some of that damage was irreparable. There were many times where I felt that I could never heal and this shameful part of my life will forever hang over my head — but it didn’t and it still hasn’t. I am not saying that I have morphed into some magical angel incapable of making mistakes, but I can say that I have grown into a much wiser person because I understand that with patience and understanding, time will help heal all wounds.
I’m sure this will not be the last time that I reference this part of my life and I do hope to bring some insight on a topic that is not so easily discussed. I hope all had a great Easter and spent it well with good food and good company.
Until next time.
-Master and Commander, FjB