In many ways I calculate time in “before divorce” and “after divorce.” No, this does not mean I think about my divorce constantly, it’s just that my life changed drastically after my divorce. I changed drastically. Everything is different, and not, all at the same time. Obviously before my divorce I was younger. Definitely more naïve. But, if I’m being honest, I also fell into that HUGE category of people who tried to make everything as perfect as possible. I’m not saying I tried to make my social media life perfect (which is how 99.9% of the population handle social media), I’m saying I tried to make my WHOLE LIFE perfect. Looking back I think “how exhausting…and sad.” But that’s the pathetic truth of the matter. I tried to hide all my imperfections and fears and doubts. Honestly, maybe that’s an easy thing to do in your 20s. I forget.
Fast forward to age 34. I wish I came with a “WARNING” card that I could hand out to people. It would make life easier and I could talk less. Just a little card with all my ugly truths. I’m not ashamed of them. It would just be more productive if I could let people know ahead of time the rotten parts of me. The damaged parts. It’s a time saver really. Divorce damaged me. I’m not an idiot, I know that. But it also gave me the opportunity to assess myself and learn about myself and decide to like myself. And when you like yourself you don’t have to prove yourself to anyone else. It’s a “take me or leave me” mentality. It’s refreshing and freeing and saves money on make-up. This new super power of mine also makes me keenly aware of when others are trying desperately to disguise themselves as perfect. My friend, Amy, and I often joke about such humans. We just want to scream “YOU WIN” so they will shut up and move on. We’re having t-shirts made with that slogan. Once again, so I can talk less. Just read the shirt, kiddos, and be on your merry perfect way.
All joking aside, I want to talk about how I’m damaged because it’s OK. When I’m uncomfortable I try to be hysterical, so I often refer to these damages as Divorce PTSD…which I actually believe is a real thing. About two years ago when I started writing this blog, I wrote about scars and mentioned three major areas in my life where I feel scarred. Some of those issues have gotten better, but mostly I’ve just added to the list. I’ll give you a small example of damages incurred:
*trust issues (gee..I wonder why)
*fear of abandonment
*fear of conflict
*HUGE body issues
*trouble trusting my instincts
*fear of being wrong
*need for constant words of affirmation
*depression about possible reality of never being a mother
Sounds pitiful, huh? Stick with me. All of these fears are ok. I mean, I need to work on getting over them…but they don’t stop me from living my life and being…wait for it…HAPPY! Here is another list. A list of reasons why I am a better human:
*learned to surround myself with the best friends this planet has to offer
*grown closer in my walk with Christ
*can go 5 days without washing my hair and not freak out about it
*understands the world does not revolve around my wants and needs
*much more compassionate heart and WAY better listener
*less of a people pleaser
*still ridiculously emotional, but I love that about myself and it’s not changing
*prefers gym clothes to dresses and proud of it
*Rock star aunt
*and most importantly, I’m glad I got divorced
Being able to be honest and self-aware is super empowering. Learning to love your growth and your journey is necessary. Accepting that the most important validation comes from you is life-changing. No, I am not happy every day. But if that’s what you are searching for, you will never feel fulfilled. Focusing on your damages won’t change the past, but it will affect how present you are in your life.
There are certain subjects we aren’t supposed to talk about. Divorce is one of them. And I don’t like that. You certainly aren’t supposed to say that you are a better and happier human because of divorce, but I am. God hates divorce, that fact has been drilled into every Christian I know. But God doesn’t hate me. He hasn’t forgotten about me. And I like to think in this “post-divorce” life I am living, he believes I’ve just gotten cooler…damages and all.
~special thank you to my boyfriend for never seeing my damages as damages.
Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”