Divorce hits different when you didn’t start a family together. No one talks about the way it’s assumed that you make a “clean break” after divorce if there aren’t children involved.
There is absolutely no part of me denying that I have no idea of the challenges you face when you go through a divorce and share children with a person. But can we not make our own suffering a competition?
Can I just please have a moment that I don’t feel shamed for admitting that sometimes I feel so defeated by the weight of my pain too? Can I not be told that I’m lucky my pain isn’t yours?
Because regardless .. it still hurts.
I honour your experience deeply. Sharing my own doesn’t invalidate yours. We aren’t all out here competing for bragging rights. There is no limit on how much suffering can be experienced in this life .. it’s unfortunately a free for all.
So here and now, in this moment of complete transparency, let me speak from the part of me that is still mourning the loss of the woman I thought I was and the life I thought I had.
When my relationship with my first husband ended, I was told, on repeat, by almost everyone “at least you didn’t have kids, and you are still so young - there’s plenty of time for you”
I would smile and nod and politely agree, all the while feeling my throat clench, my belly burn and my mind race with the fear of knowing that having plenty of time with no idea what comes next actually felt terrifying not liberating.
When you are a woman spat out of a marriage and there are no children involved - no one gives a shit. Everyone expects that you are going to be thrilled with your reclaimed freedom as a single woman and there is even an expectation that you should “live your best life now”.
Which I acknowledge you could (if resources allowed, which in my case - they did not) but the thing is, imagine at the lowest point of your own self concept being told to “get out there and have fun” .. how much fun can you truly have when you spend every moment you find alone crying with disbelief that your heart can continue to break over and over and over.
I thought that the worst of it was over for me after I managed to crawl my way out of the first couple of months following divorce.
I spent the last 6 years in defiance to the part of me that sat sulking in the corner of my psyche, devastated that everything I had planned for, everything I worked for, everything I had dreamed of for 11 years was gone.
I showed that part of me that I could build a new life, in a new way, with new dreams and that it could be wonderful. And it has been.
There’s a pressure I feel as a woman that divorced a man, and a life to move on without looking back.
The man I am now married to has a daughter with his ex wife, so they remain in communication, she is frequently the topic of conversation and is part of his life - understandably. There is no final goodbye. There never will be.
That might be horrible for some. I don’t deny the complexities of shared parenting.
But in the spirit of just letting me share my perspective from my standpoint, in this moment - please let me share without validating that I can’t speak for every single experience, and that mine gets to exist here today too with the purity of what’s activated within me.
I have had to deal with something tied to my past and my first marriage this week that popped up out of the blue and into my mailbox.
It’s completely thrown me off my axis and I’m struggling to feel as if the world isn’t spinning a little too fast - something I haven’t felt in years.
Disoriented I have found myself being lead back towards the pain within me that I had worked so hard to cover as I rebuilt my “new life”.
I felt my throat clench, my belly burn and my mind race as it did all of those years ago and the pain of broken promises, shattered illusions, muddied naivety and so much shame and blame cam flooding back into my system - the tears started.
There’s a different cry that comes with the kind of heartbreak that cannot be repaired. The heartbreak of knowing you have to carry something as part of your story that you would never have written for yourself.
I tell the story of my own infidelity now without flinching. It happened. But what I realised as I sat crying last night was that there is so much more to the story that has never been told. It’s almost as if I’ve gaslit myself into truly believing that was the only reason my first marriage ended… when it was the catalyst for the end, but truly not the beginning of the end.
There’s so much I’ve never said or shared. So much I’ve protected. So much I’ve tried to forget and it was so confronting to realise that my body hasn’t forgotten at all.
Divorce ends the relationship on the surface but it doesn’t end anything within you. I cried with the realisation that the pain I feel, the hurt that exists, the wounding within me is still there 6 years later - no different than it was.
I wish I could just excavate the part of myself that remembers. I wish I could rid myself of the parts that still wish it had never happened at all. I wish I could dissolve the parts of me that are still in shock. I wish that I could cut out the part of me that sometimes wonders if this is all just a bad dream and I’m going to wake up soon.
We suffer in silence because some of what we struggle with threatens the self concept we have worked so hard to rebuild.
How can I say I love my life but I’m still grieving the life I lost?
How can I make sense of the way my pain is infused into every part of my life now?
Today I feel defeated by the heartbreak I thought I had outrun - it feels like it caught up to me and now its taken my feet out.
Nothing in my world feels safe because I’ve witnessed the way it can all change.
I feel disconnected from myself. I feel unable to connect with anything in my life today.
I will finish my coffee, write these last words and then move into the day I have created for myself.
Prayer and somatic practices will recalibrate me and bring me to the part of me that is here, now, untouched by memory and devoted to creativity and creation of this moment.
I get to choose again and again to not identify with the pain and accept that it’s there waiting to be worked with, to be released, to be let go of.
Maybe we hold onto pain as a twisted momento of what we have been through. Maybe we hold onto it because we fear that if we let it go we welcome back the same naivety that made us so vulnerable to being completely heart broken in the first place. You can’t break what’s already broken, right?
Today, rather than telling myself to “pull it together” I play with the fragmented pieces of my memory, my emotion, my thoughts and my desires - sifting and sorting through it all, wondering if I can put it all back together or whether those shards of me are still needed scattered around me to stop anyone from getting to close, to protect my heart.
You see, my heart she still believes in love. She has never stopped.
She has remained open and optimistic and expanded time and time again uninterested in reflecting on the ways she has been bruised.
She’s a fool. But I think life is a fools game.
How do we win? None of us know and yet, because we are still here, we agree to play.
No clever summation to this share here today.
Just a devotion to sharing my experience in it’s entirety - as it happens.
I am not what I think.
I am not the way I feel.
I am not anything I have shared here today.
I am the observer of it all.
.. just like that, in sharing, I’ve found a little separation from it all.
Time to go and begin my daily practice and move with the glimpse of my inner being i just felt… there is so much potential there.
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