“Divorced” is this odd label I feel I have written all over me. One day I wasn’t, and the next day I was. Sometimes I wonder if I avoided my inevitable divorce for so long simply because I didn’t want to be associated with the label. Even now, almost three years since my new title became official, I cringe at the world. This is clearly a “me thing.” I know plenty of people who don’t think twice about it when I sheepishly admit I am divorced. I don’t know why it has this affect on me. It’s my truth. My reality. It’s a part of my life, of who I am, and I still wish it wasn’t. This doesn’t mean I’m not happy that I got divorced. I am ridiculously proud of myself for getting out of my marriage. I guess I’m still living in the land of “I wish I’d never met him in the first place.”
If there is ANYTHING I have learned from the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life”, it’s that you meet the people you meet for a reason. I still have my fingers crossed that marrying my ex-husband was in some way a decision that will eventually lead to something wonderful, but I haven’t seen a sign of that hope coming to fruition any time soon. The upside in my divorce is that when I walked away I was able to close the door on so many unhealthy humans in my life. There isn’t a trace of him in any of my current friendships or family members or colleagues. If you met me today and never knew “married me” you wouldn’t see any remnants of my married life. They’ve all disappeared. Which means a clean slate, but also leaves me wondering, “What was the point?”
I know other divorced people who can see tangible signs of why they were supposed to marry their ex-spouse. I don’t have that. And I desperately want that. Not so I feel like less of a failure at marriage. I think, in many ways, I’ve moved past that. I want it so I can better explain to people why I am the way I am. The effects of my divorce still linger in my life. I joke with my boyfriend that I need “constant love and affection.” But we both know it’s not a joke. I do need that steady reassurance that everything is ok. I’ve thought my life was ok before, and it wasn’t. What’s to say disaster won’t strike twice. Troy shouldn’t have to make up for someone else’s mistake, but that’s part of the “divorced” label. Worrying about every life decision, fretting about finances, weighing myself constantly, learning to make back-up plans for the back-up plans. These are products of my divorce. I have absolutely nothing positive to show for my marriage. And that makes me angry. I want the devastation I went through to have meant something. I want to find purpose in the pain.
To be frank, it pisses me off that I have to wear this label with nothing to show for it. This label of shame. Shame that I couldn’t make my marriage work…and shame that I didn’t see the signs beforehand and married the chump anyway. Shame that I’m a 34 year old woman and can’t shake the insecurities left to me by my ex-husband. Shame that I still wear this label like a scarlet letter across my body.
But I also think that’s why I write this blog. To acknowledge the shame in a world where we are constantly supposed to show how happy we are. It’s exhausting to hide the shame. It’s freeing to say “This is how I feel and some days it sucks and I don’t always deal with things well, but I’m trying.” We filter our lives so much these days, in so many ways. Maybe the good to come out of this tragedy, of any tragedy, is honesty. The honesty to clearly show our imperfections to the world so others can say, “Thank God. I feel just like she does. And it’s ok. And I’m not alone.” Honesty. That’s a label I’d be proud to wear.
2 Timothy 2:15 – “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”