Thursday, December 27, 2012

I've decided it's time to start talkin' again, ya'll.

You can find me more consistently here: http://onewildandpreciousmelis

2012 is ending.

Frankly, I could not possibly be more pleased.

But that’s not entirely fair. 2012 came with its share of stresses and heartaches, yes. But it came with a lot of growth and big, big change. The kind of change that comes with an instant sense of relief (and terror, which gradually gets more difficult to ignore), and a deep inner knowing that you’re doing The Right Thing.

2012 was the year of my Divorce. Capital “D” intentional. It was kind of a big deal.
I was married for 11 years to my best friend. I’m 33. So, that was a third of my life. We started dating when I was 16 ½. So, that was half my life.

We don’t have a particularly remarkable story. This, folks, is NOT the stuff movies are made from. We didn’t fight every day—not even most days. No one was unfaithful (although he worked pretty hard to keep that story going in an apparent—and successful—effort to torture both of us). No one did anything that was particularly, noticeably dealbreakerish. I just could no longer ignore the incessant screaming in my head that something was wrong. It’s not that I was so miserably unhappy in my marriage (a fact I would have to remind my mother of nearly daily for the first months after my separation, which she would cope with by saying, “Well, I can’t watch any of my kids carry on in a miserable marriage.”). It was just that I was blatantly aware that I wasn’t happy either—and I knew that I wanted to be.

Indulge me while I act stereotypically 33 for a hot minute and say that the first time I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, I bawled hysterically. Like hundreds of thousands of other thirtysomething women, I saw so much of myself in what she wrote. “Yes, yes, YES, THIS,” to every paragraph on the first thirty pages. Gilbert says, “The only thing more unthinkable than leaving was staying; the only thing more impossible than staying was leaving. I didn’t want to destroy anything or anybody. I just wanted to slip quietly out the back door, without causing any fuss or consequences, and then not stop running until I reached Greenland” (pg. 12). It resonated in my bones. Two years after reading the book, eleven years after saying “I do,” after six years of marriage counseling, four years of personal counseling, 140 pounds of weight loss (now that, friends, is a story for another day), and at least three years of knowing leaving was more than likely The Right Thing to do—I left.

And imagine my surprise and delight to find that my entire life, physical, mental, and emotional health collapsed in a heap around me.

Gilbert says, “The many reasons I did not want to be this man’s wife anymore are too personal and too sad to share here…there are always two figures in a marriage, after all—two votes, two opinions, two conflicting sets of decisions, desires, limitations…I also will not discuss here all the reasons why I did still want to be his wife, or all his wonderfulness, or why I loved him, and why I had married him and why I was unable to imagine life without him…Let it be sufficient to say that on this night he was still my lighthouse and my albatross in equal measure” (p. 12).

I can’t promise the same tight-lipped intentions, though I think they are noble and essential to Gilbert’s telling of her own story. I am convinced that no one who has been there before you will ever tell you just how bad things will get when you go through your own divorce. There is a chance your entire life will, for a period of time, be completely unrecognizable to you. You will wake up gasping for air in the middle of the night—or day. You will lose things you never imagined you’d lose (ranging from material possessions to, oh, you know, that piddley thing called SELF WORTH). And you will find things out about yourself—and your former partner—you wouldn’t have believed had the prediction come from the lips of Mother Theresa herself. And you may—just may—learn how to ask for and accept help, pray, cry, and survive along the way.

My own divorce has been a little like an earthquake—with seemingly endless aftershocks. Around me is rubble, fragments of a life I once chose and invested myself whole-heartedly in, some pieces slightly recognizable, others only dust. Even the basic structural integrity is cracked and compromised. 2012—the year of my divorcequake—is coming to a close. In 2013, I have a lot of rebuilding to do. I tried—like many people before me—to just opt out of the process. Leave the rubble, skip the clean-up. It doesn’t work that way. And I owe it to myself—the self who had the courage to leave, the self who had the courage to change her life three years ago by gaining physical and emotional health, the self who used to play with her dolls and run freely through the woods on a windy day, and especially to the self I have the potential to be in the future—to pick up a shovel and get to work.

Welcome inside. Here is your complimentary hard hat.
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  • no profile photo CD13981092
    Well written article/blog. I truly hope things have improved for you. Happy Thanksgiving, my friend.

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    575 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6096849
    wow melis, this moved me to tears. I hope 2013 is going better for both you and D.
    2984 days ago
  • JEREMY723
    I hope that you have a very good 2013. Check in with us again soon!
    3084 days ago
    Glad to see you back.

    When I left my first husband in 2000, we had been together since I was 18 (together 8 years). I got to learn how to be an adult without him around. I was scared but it turned out to be a beautiful process.

    I have been remarried for 10 years and life is amazing.

    2013 will be beautiful

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    3089 days ago
    wow,you have made me think of my marriage.
    I loved my husband with all my heart,but I did`nt realize that I was a prisoner in my own home till he passed away.I could`nt handle his cigarette smoke so I basically lived in the back bedroom.
    We were 2 people who lived in the same place but we pretty much alienated ourselves from each other.
    You are lucky that you are in your 30`s.I`m in my 50`s and it will be much harder starting over again.
    This is a beautiful blog and I thank you for writing it.
    3090 days ago
    3090 days ago
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    3091 days ago
  • FREES1
    enjoy the rebuilding - I am guessing you will be pleasantly surprised down the road... one that does at times seem dark, going the wrong way, endless - keep the faith that it will bring you to a great new place... please don't regret the past, think of them as wasted or anything else on that idea... they made you who you are today and laid the foundation for that new you that you will discover in the future, once the pain subsides....

    peace and may 2013 be awesome for you!
    3091 days ago
    Welcome back. "Sometimes it takes a really big fall to know where you stand."

    If you need help, I'm a good shoveler.
    3091 days ago
    Even an amicable divorce is a HUGE change . . . and while you may not have been happy, this person is a part of who you are, for better or for worse. I hope that 2013 brings about better things for you Melissa, and that you continue your journey of self-discovery. I have learned so much from you here on SparkPeople.
    3092 days ago
    This story is a inspiration and a sad realization of my own going threw this year myself , expect there was a third person involved :( but with this blog , I know that my light I see at the end of this tunnel can do what it has done for you !!
    Thanks for sharing such a personal emotional and healing experience !
    3092 days ago
    This is so weird because I just saw that movie for the first time yesterday. I should read the book now....

    It sounded like it was a very hard but well thought decision. I hope 2013 brings you lots of happiness!
    3092 days ago
    You are a brave soul and I have faith in you.You will do the work to make things right for you Go forward and make the life fulfilling you deserve .hugs,Cheri
    3092 days ago
    Holy honesty! Thank you for opening up and sharing. I do hope that 2013 settles some of that dust.
    3092 days ago
    2013 is going to be a better year for you for sure.... hopefully for me too!

    3092 days ago
    You are brave to do this for yourself.

    You are a strong woman and will succeed.

    3092 days ago
    3092 days ago
    Wishing you all that you need to rebuild your life...I have faith in you that you will get there.
    3092 days ago
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    3092 days ago
    What a terrific, honest entry - thank you for sharing. Wishing you a healthy, happy and even-keeled 2013!
    3092 days ago
  • FABAT402009
    3092 days ago
    i love you so much, as you know i am in the middle of my own 'do i stay or do i go?' struggle and have been for years now. do i leap into the epic void, or string along on the few moments of happiness as they come along? it is hard to know what is right. for all your counseling to me i am always grateful, esp b/c in the middle of my stuff you didn't say 'hey, run!' you always have said here's side one, here's side two, you have to make the decision. i am still at a loss, neither of us is happy, but i still feel like me leaving would make one of us (if not both) truly unhappy - or maybe not. you have shown me there is life after, and the possibility of happiness beyond. as always i admire your courage and strength, your smile and your willingness to be brave and GO FOR IT! you aren't timid, you leap into the void (jobs, self) and you will always be rewarded whether immediate or down the road because you remain, at your core, a beautiful, soulful, strong, sensitive & loving person. i cannot express to you how much you mean to me, so i sign off with love & best wishes for a lot of positive surprises in the coming year! keep running, training, and making friends, i love you.
    3092 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/27/2012 5:16:58 PM
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