It was never part of my plan to be divorced, and a single mother of two sons. I don’t remember blowing out birthday candles, scrunching up my eyes and wishing “oh I do hope my relationship completely collapses one day!”. Nor do I recall throwing pennies into wishing wells and asking for a prolonged period of emotional anixety and legal bills.
Yet here we are.
At times, I felt like a complete failure. A bad role model for my kids. A let down to my family. A burden to society. I drank too much. Cried a lot. And flirted with guys way to young for me (not ALL bad then). And honestly? It was a pretty dark time for me for a few months. If this is you right now, I feel ya. It’s actually awful.
If everything is a lesson, which I truly believe it can be then I learnt this from divorce;
I have more courage than I thought (and you do too)
In the months after the break up, I realised that I simply had to start doing the things that my husband had always taken care of. So, for me, that meant learning to drive to new places and use Satnav. Silly, I know. But for me it was a HUGE deal! So, I started to test myself out and take small journeys to places I kinda knew. And then I would go a bit further aaaand a bit further again. And before I knew it I was doing it! Last year, I landed one of the best teaching jobs of my career so far which involved driving to somewhere completely new and unfamiliar for a corporate retreat – at one point I would have turned that job down because of this fact! Crazy huh?! The amazing thing is, once you start pushing your comfort levels in one area it spills out into so many others, and then you’re in the flow and making small successes every day, which matters. This is how you re-build.
I have a sense of purpose and I’m valuable
I didn’t want my children to see me as broken and powerless after the break up. For me, it was important that I showed them that adversity doesn’t mean quitting. That struggles will happen but it’s how you face them that’s important. So, after the dust had settled a bit… I entered a marathon. Now, you don’t have to go that extreme, of course, but I’d been enjoying running shorter distances and it was really helping me gain some much needed mental head space so I thought – I wonder if I could…? And as it turns out, I could and I did. The sense of pride I felt when I crossed that finishing line and my family were there to cheer me on was indescribable! And I knew in that moment that I wasn’t a let down, and that if I wanted something bad enough I would always find a way. And I also knew, that had I still been in my marriage I would never have attempted anything as epic. This is how you grow.
I fell in love with myself
I started to do things my way. I took time to make myself a tasy supper when the kids weren’t around. I started letting my hair dry naturally curly instead of straightening it like I had done for years, because he preferred it that way. I experimented with my style and started dressing differently, testing out my new identity, realising profoundly that I could literally be whoever I wanted to be now. I accepted every dinner party invitaton, and connected with my soul tribe – that important collective of girlfriends who always had my back and who nurtured my dented spirit when it needed it the most. I explored the city with my kids, I went to places that I’d never been to before because it just wasn’t “our” thing. I watched TV shows that resonated with me, and found myself delighting in the fact that I never had to sit through another football match AGAIN. And for the first time in a long time, I felt free and I felt like ME. This is how you transform.
Have faith gorgeous ones. Praise yourself often. Notice the Good Stuff. And remember;
The worst thing in your life might just be putting you on the path to something so much better.