This is the thought that goes through my head sometimes, fifteen months after separating from my ex-husband (our divorce is still not official).
"Am I brave for moving forward with him, with the divorce? Or am I insane?"
Originally when we separated, a year or more seemed so far away. I thought for sure I would feel better -- for good. I didn't predict how tough it would be. I didn't predict how sharing our child would still, fifteen months later, suck. Yes, suck. Splitting our daughter's time in half has been tremendously difficult. When she is gone, it's like I'm in the black & white scenes from the "Wizard of Oz": twisters, an evil neighbor, and the dreariness of a flat Kansas plain about to erupt in a storm. All the color goes out of my life to some extent, and the house is eerily quiet.
Fifteen months down the line, I didn't think hearing the news about a girlfriend would be so tough.
I didn't think I would still grieve. Sure, I knew I would still be broke (and will still be broke for a while) and life wouldn't be smooth or sunshine and kittens each day, but I didn't realize how long it would take me to sew up my heart. To sew up my self-esteem again.
To believe that I am good enough to be loved and not a failure, even though the marriage failed.
To have faith that this too shall pass, and for good-- not just for a few days or weeks.
Fifteen months down the line, I didn't think dating would be so difficult. I didn't think I would be so naive about how all these dating sites, apps, and random real-life run-ins with the opposite sex would be so complicated or simply void of substance. That I would be so hesitant and unsure.
Sometimes, I feel as if I am a teenager again: unsure of myself, unsure of what to do, and emotional at most turns.
I begin to wonder if I made the right choice. It wasn't me who decided to divorce. We decided together. There were times I asked if we were doing the right thing. Times I asked if we could make this work. If we could try again.
I often think that even though I was thirty when I married that I was still immature when it came to relationships. Now, I am not immature. Now I have a whole other perspective on love than when I met my ex-husband.
And it makes me wonder if love really does exist in the way poets and musicians describe it, or if it's all just a mirage or temporary state of particular hormones.
We decided to divorce and there I was, a woman dependent financially on a man, trying to get back into work full-time after motherhood and college, and we went forward with this.
Was I crazy? Or was I brave?
The answer is both.
The answer is in order to be brave, in order to find the love I want and the life I want, I had to be crazy enough and brave enough.
Yes. Divorce is hard. If you think it's going to be easy or that the grass is green on the other side, think twice.
Yes, it is hard moving on. Yes, it is hard sharing my daughter. Yes, it is hard being broke.
But here is where the color kicks on:
Fifteen months later, I am working up a storm and building a career and bringing in an income for myself. I am still broke, but I am paying bills. I am making a mark and cutting ground.
Fifteen months later, yes I have been picky, but I have not let anyone into my child's circle. I have protected her.
Fifteen months later, I have lost my home and found another. I have begun to start over completely, 150%.
Fifteen months later, I am still here writing, and still here hoping for the life I want, for the love I want.
So while I may have been crazy to have agreed to walk away from the only love of my life, I was brave to want more. I was brave to say I deserved someone who loved me for me, instead of hunkering down in my misery and loneliness and praying for it to end.
No, instead I took the wheel and decided to go out into the world to find someone who loves me as is, and not how he wants me to be. Insanity would have been staying with someone who didn't accept me for who I was. Insanity would have been trying to squeeze myself into a box to be someone else so I didn't have to be alone.
I decided to live an authentic life, and yes, it is hard and sad sometimes and I am truly scared on what is to come, but I did it.
And I guess that makes me brave.