I’ve christened it the worst year of my ever loving life. 2015 has been dubbed, knighted, crowned, awarded, acknowledged and left the motherfuck behind. It’s also the year that I experienced the most personal growth.....ever. Funny how that happens.
After a year of separation, my divorce was made final in March of 2015. Like any levelheaded, newly divorced single lady, I decided almost instantly to jump into the dating scene with both feet. Partly because I felt "ready" to get out there and see what I’d been missing for the past eleven years and mostly because I needed a distraction so I didn’t have to actually feel the heartache that comes from losing everything you are and everything you ever believed you were or would be, in what feels like an instant.
Though the breakdown of my marriage happened over the course of many years, it felt like it was gone in an instant. Before I even knew it (or better yet, was willing to acknowledge it) it was too late. Too late to try. Too late to change. Too late to make it better.
I still wonder if I will ever fully recover from the loss; from the failure to acknowledge the demise along the way, the failure to make it work. But I digress.
After countless hysterical, yet somewhat traumatizing Tinder experiences, and a few short-lived relationships, I realized I’d jumped into dating prematurely. I wasn’t ready. At all. I still hadn't dealt with the actual fallout from my divorce. I could have won awards for how neatly I packed away the emotions that I didn’t want to feel regarding the end of my marriage. I had conveniently skipped over the ‘coming to terms’ part of The Big D.
The thing is, Reality has a way of crashing down The Pretend. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was running. I was hiding. I was afraid to face the grief and accept the truth that the beautiful little family I’d dedicated myself to growing and loving had fallen apart. My life, my marriage, no longer looked like it was “supposed” to. I’d stepped into a story that was no longer mine. No longer me.
Eventually the trauma caught up to me. You can only go so long before the hurt starts to gnaw, pull, poke, prod--until it’s almost impossible to ignore it anymore. And even the most amicable of divorces equals trauma.
When trauma takes over, you have two choices. 1) Continue meandering down that crooked little path of “I’m okay”. Wasting energy. Finding distractions. Resisting the gnawings. OR 2) Bear down and face it.
I decided to face it. Head on. Just me and the trauma. I gave myself permission to sit. In the darkness. With the heartache. And let myself feel. I let the heartbreak flow through my being and penetrate my soul. No running. No distractions.
I gave myself what I deserved--time. Time to come to terms with reality. Time to process everything I’d lost when I signed that insipid piece of paper which canceled out 11 years of my life and broke apart my little family. To say it was painful is an understatement.
It’s difficult to express in words the feelings of loss, failure, shame, unworthiness, gut wrenching despair, regret….that comes with divorce.
It’s dark, it’s ugly, and it sucks the life out of you.
It felt as if my entire world had fallen apart. And I had no idea how to put it back together again.
There were days when I felt like I was going insane. For the first time in a very long time I had to make choices. On. My. Own. I questioned my every decision. I didn’t trust myself, or my feelings. I wondered if I would ever feel peace and happiness again. I agonized over trying to make sense of what it meant to be starting over at this stage of my life and learning how to be alone. Ugh, alone.
What I found is that moving on and letting go is a process. It's an art that takes practice, perseverance, complete awareness, and endurance. Once I was able to process one trauma/emotion/thought pattern, another one popped up in its place and I had to begin the process of letting go all over again.
I found that when we hold hard to the way we think our story was supposed to go, we give ourselves incentive to stroll down the treacherous paths of negativity, shame, guilt, hurt, anger--and that puts us in victim mode, and nothing productive comes from being a victim.
I got damn good at being the victim.
But, eventually, I got sick of feeling unhappy. I started facing my feelings and my fears and releasing them.
I got out of my house--even when it was the last thing I wanted to do.
I went to movies and restaurants. By myself.
I embraced solitude in all its splendid glory.
I learned to love having time to myself.
I surrounded myself with amazing, inspiring, women who had been down the same road I was traveling. I gained such an appreciation for learning from other's stories, from listening to people who have been where I've been and know what it's like. Many parts of my heart have healed by telling my own story and being vulnerable.
The thing of it is, no matter how much healing happens, how much progress I make, there will always be something else to heal, to change, to make better. And that’s okay.
When I choose to recognize and acknowledge the faults/weaknesses/thoughts/ emotions/patterns, that aren't serving me, it's impossible NOT to MOVE FORWARD--even when it feels like I’m stuck, or being held back.
There is something powerful that happens when we accept those parts of us that aren't perfect and instead show ourselves patience, love, and compassion. When we give ourselves the time to work it all out. It is through that healing process that we come to know who we are at our core and gain the strength needed to live as that Being.
So, maybe 2015 was awarded my "Worst Year Ever". But I don't regret a single moment of it.
I am who I am because of what I have been through and as I travel along this healing journey I will continue to be who I am...
Until I become who I am meant to be.