On January 1st I dropped a bomb in the middle of my life, setting off reverberations that echoed to my core in ways I never expected.
I’ve been married for 21 years, and on the morning of my 21st anniversary I asked for a divorce. I never thought I’d be “one of those people” who had long term marriages that failed. I never thought I’d be one of those single women again, back to dating after having something they were sure they’d always have. I always believed that, despite our issues, we’d never leave each other permanently.
But 3 years ago, the spiral started in a way that I just couldn’t recover from no matter how desperately I tried to set it all right. You always think you can forgive, forget, move on. In hindsight, I know the two moments that ended up being the final destructive factors, but in those moments, they didn’t seem as monumental as they turned out to be.
September, November and December of this year solidified things, and set them in motion, making me see things I could never unsee.
But oh, if I’d known what was going to happen in 2011, I haven’t always been so sure I’d make that same decision again. Or would I?
The mirror of my marriage breaking and falling to the floor revealed a truth behind it that couldn’t be ignored anymore. My marriage had been providing a cover, a rug, a wall, a series of dysfunctions that kept me from facing the truth that my childhood issues really hadn’t been resolved. Almost immediately, the monsters that were hiding under the bed came up to try to claim me.
Abandonment issues, undiagnosed PTSD, a deep-seated feeling of never truly connecting with anyone showed up immediately. Some other things took a little longer to be revealed, and my guess is, I’m not to the bottom of it all yet. An intensely verbal communicator who processes nearly everything by speaking or writing about it, had absolutely no outlet, not even once, as a child. A person who craved physical affection, even if it was as simple as holding hands in the night, never got that as a child. Now it was gone again, and that utter loneliness ached in a way that shocked me. 15 years as a child being told, every time I cried “You’re crying? You want something to cry about?”…generally followed by receipt of something to cry about, taught me tears weren’t okay. They turned into anger because we need to release those emotions. I married into a situation that supported the restraint of those tears. I literally avoided crying for over 40 years.
But now, the tears that came up from this bomb I exploded in my life made me feel like I was drowning, like there was no bottom to this ocean of pain. Days turned into weeks turned into months until I began to think I didn’t want to breathe anymore, because the crying was killing me.
But it’s 5 months later. And I’m alive. I survived. . . I’ve seen the bottom now. I know what it looks like, and I know I can survive nearly any pain now. I still cry, but crying doesn’t equal dying anymore. The knowledge that my heart can ache that bad, and still beat, is absolute empowerment. I have nothing to lose anymore. I’ve already risked it all and survived.
And the richness of this experience, the good and the bad, the light of resurrection and redemption I see in my future, the possibility of finding a true connection with another man, while creating some true deep connections with the people who have shown up for me now, are worth the price I’m paying, even on my worst days. I get a new chance to find what I crave, to find a fit for me, whoever I turn out to be. There have been so many precious gifts along the way, including the gifts of the poems and essays that have come from my heart during this journey.
In this 5 months, I’ve found the most amazing friendships; people willing to hold me for hours in person or listen to a pit of pain on the phone as I let it all loose. Friends who have inspired me to survive, and who are inspired by me to make the hard choice for happy, whatever the cost. I’ve been able to begin truly discovering who I am, what my gifts are, and how I can change my world with the time I have left.
Every single day I’ve learned more about myself. Some of it has been brutally painful to face, as I’ve made mistakes that have almost cost me important relationships I want to preserve. But I’m falling forward as fast as I can, failing, facing, fixing and flying.
The changes have started to be visible on the outside, too. Little by little, almost without my own awareness of what I was doing, I set my life up in a way that can ultimately support what I want to do. I have a car now that doesn’t break down, I reduced my work overhead by closing our physical offices and reducing other expenses, I’ve gotten knowledge and will soon have control over my finances, and at the end of May, I’m leaving for awhile. I’m going to go on what I know will ultimately be a life changing journey, going to Arizona, California, Utah, Colorado, and then back to Texas. I will visit friends along the way, I will be working, too. But mostly I will be thinking, reading, writing and changing. I’ll have me, Sophie Sue, my bike, some of my music equipment, my computer and lots of pencil lead.
Today, I filed for divorce in Hays County. Another friend of mine has decided to do the same, so we made a field trip out of it to reduce the impact, the sadness, for ourselves. The filing location was called the Justice Center, which I found so very fitting. It was a memorable day, as I broke the copy machine, dropped my papers everywhere, laughed so hard people looked out of the courtroom at us, made friends with the County Clerk, and helped my friend through it as she helped me.
One particular moment stands out as a great representation for this entire journey. When we first went into the Center, I went through security a little too quickly for the security guard’s taste. I can’t remember which thing he said to me:
“Are you running from something?”
“Are you in a big hurry to get somewhere?”
But in either case, the answer is YES. Even though the marathon has been over for months, I am still running for my life. And this Field Trip today has been one in a series of field trips that have altered the journey of my life in a way I intend to use as fuel to fly through the rest of what’s to come.
I will not go through this pain and these experiences for naught. I don’t believe things happen for a reason. But I believe we give things that happen a reason. And the reason I’ve done this is because I, CJ, will ride any roller coaster I need to ride, suffer any pain I need to suffer, do any work I need to do on myself, and go through anything I need to go through, if happiness, fulfillment, satisfaction, and love are where I’m headed.
And with my resilience and tenacity (which, with the help of my friends, I see is my core), I believe, finally, that I will find exactly what I’m looking for. It’s been a long time coming, and I’m sure I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m on my way. And what a ‘Feel-ed’ Trip this has been. 🙂
Originally posted at SparkPeople.