Marital status: single, married, separated, divorced, widowed. It took me six months of therapy to be able to mark divorced. A check box should not be so daunting. Divorced, I am divorced. That should not be so difficult to say but yet somehow, even today, it is.
I’m fairly certain I can say that no one sets out on a journey of marriage to be divorced. That is not the ultimate end game; at least it wasn’t for me. I was getting married once, one and done. But life had different plans. Ones that involved intense embarrassment – I couldn’t make a marriage work, how horrifying is that? Plans that had me blaming myself – I must bear the responsibility 100%, the fate of my marriage rode solely on me. And finally, plans that sent me to a therapist, with doubt plaguing me constantly – therapy? I must be a serious head case.
The perfect façade that I had been protecting for so long was going to come crumbling down and people were going to gossip. I make a conscious effort each and every day not to be a gossip – don’t repeat what you hear and don’t judge another’s circumstances. And now, that was going to happen. To me. People were going to gossip. About me.
And in the midst of the web my life was weaving for me, a web I had been fighting and didn’t ask for; the universe sent me something else I hadn’t asked for – my life hostage, the yin to my yang, my best friend and the absolute love of my life.
He made me laugh, a guttural deep belly laugh that bends you in half until you can’t breathe. He made me roll my eyes, almost daily, at qualities he had that absolutely annoyed me. He made me cry, on more than one occasion, at the fact that I had 30+ years of my life where I didn’t know him. And he put a twinkle in my eye, which to this day, remains strong.
I was extremely protective of him, I still am. I never wanted anyone to gossip about him. They could talk about me all they wanted, but no one should touch him. He was not the cause of my marriage’s demise. He was my champion, my protector.
I remember being out to dinner one night and saying to him, “You put me back together.” Without missing a beat, he looked at me and said, “You put yourself back together, I was just here observing.”
What I realized in that moment is that sometimes you have to accept the fact that certain things will never go back to how they use to be. And that’s okay – that’s the part no one ever tells you! Why do we insist on keeping this from each other? I’m divorced and that’s okay. I’ve moved on and that’s okay. I’m happy and that is more than okay.
Being divorced will forever be part of my story, I can’t go back to what my story used to be. And that’s okay. People say all the time, your story is so much better now. I don’t think of it as better, honestly I don’t compare the before and after.
My Gram always tells me life is an adventure. You learn about yourself each and every day. You’re going to hit bumps in the road, you’re going to go through phases of strength and weakness, you’re going to laugh and you’re going to cry. But in the end you’re always going to be you, and I’m guessing that’s pretty spectacular.
A hot mess held together on a daily basis by dry shampoo and probiotics, Rachel is still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up but for now is a communications professional by trade. A true Chicagoan through and through, she is an East Coast transplant trying to set down roots. Although the height of her high heels may be getting shorter, Rachel’s expectations are not getting lower and she is on a mission to change the world one person at a time.