You know what? I was a catch when I met my EX, damn it! I was full of energy, sense of purpose, self-love and a zest for life. I had dreams, goals, aspirations and was eager to share my life with him. I loved the idea of happiness and success becoming a joint project. And I couldn't wait to co-create a life together in which we both thrived personally and professionally while constantly evolving into better versions of ourselves.
Unfortunately, when I made that bold move cross-country to marry the love of my life, it was as if I had traveled through a time warp that erased the memory of what I needed to maintain that personal strength. In the midst of so many major life changes, I lost myself and the things that kept me grounded, whole and complete; the things that kept me connected to my inner child, my gut, my intuition and spirit. And so did he. We abandoned the selves that had originally fallen in love and ended up falling apart.
Three years later, I got it! I finally figured out how our seemingly perfect love affair, friendship and partnership ended in divorce. But I had to step outside of my emotions and look at our marriage as an objective third party to get clarity. And when I did, I was finally able to admit that, although my EX turned into a rat bastard, cheater and liar, I wasn't completely free from blame either. For example, when we first started dating, I ignored what I considered a major red flag in his character. I figured, "What's one red flag?" It certainly didn't define the entirety of his otherwise remarkable self. Big drinker? Big deal! Well, under normal circumstances it would've been a deal-breaker. But I brushed it off as insignificant. Why? Because I'd already let my heart fall in love with his "potential" and my vajayjay was hooked. Lesson learned. I should never let either body part interfere with my gut and intuition.
I messed up even further by letting my identity and sense of purpose lose value in the context of marriage. I got lost in pursuit of the American Dream. I got lost in what I thought marriage was supposed to look like. And I got lost in how I thought love was supposed to act. As a result, my life choices became misguided and inauthentic. And despite how madly in love I was with my EX, those choices whittled away at my happiness and I slowly morphed into a different version of myself; a less fulfilled version. And love, no matter how deep, can't be sustained by those who lose themselves in it. My reawakened self-awareness and newfound clarity brought a sense of peace to my heart. And this space of accountability, rather than blame and anger, made life feel expansive and full of possibility again.
But that didn't make it any easier when I arrived home one day to find a post office notice stuck to my front door. A piece of Certified Mail required my signature and I knew exactly what it was. Divorce Papers. Reality catapulted me back into a state of negativity, making my whole body swell with tears. While I'd convinced my mind that I was past the hurt and pain my body clearly contained their residue.
We had opted for a low-budget, on-line divorce since time and circumstances had dissolved our mutual assets. In fact, all that remained was substantial debt which we divided amicably along with our dog, Brooklyn, whom he surrendered reluctantly. So without a lawyer to mediate the process, it was up to a local postal worker to serve my papers. And, since the post office was already closed, I was forced to endure an anxiety-ridden, sleepless night of tossing and turning and asking the same questions over and over again about what went wrong in our relationship... even though I already had the answers. Yep, I had given that post office notice the power to crumble my fortitude. After willing myself out of bed the next morning to face the world as a total FAILURE, I had to do something to placate my feelings of worthlessness. So I dolled myself up with full makeup and a cute little outfit even though I didn't have the emotional strength to shower. Yet despite my contrived confidence, all I saw was FAILURE when I looked into the mirror and watched the tears streak through my mask of MAC cosmetics. Not only did I cry for my divorce, but for every relationship or fling (or crush, for that matter) I ever had -- each one ending in FAILURE and heartbreak. Mine! I was shocked by this uncontrollable release of emotions because I thought I had gotten to the point of no regrets. After three years of singlehood, I thought I was ready for this divorce. I thought I was ready for legal and financial emancipation from my EX. I thought I was ready to have my maiden name back! I thought I was ready to move on with my life. And I thought I was finallyready to date again without worrying how to explain my "legally married but emotionally separated" situation. But now that it was finally time to pick up the divorce papers, I realized I wasn't ready to stop crying.
I walked ten blocks North to my neighborhood post office trying to deflect the gaze of rubber-neckers straining to gawk at the tragedy known as Keex. I wanted to stick both middle fingers in the air as my personal escorts and scream "Fuck You!" at anyone whose eyeballs dared penetrate those daunting walls of protection. I arrived without getting into a tussle and, for the first time ever, there was no line at the post office. I guess, after three years, the Universe wanted to expedite the dissolution of my marriage. When the post office clerk handed me the oversized envelope, a surge of anxiety forcefully rushed from the top of my head and bolted my feet to the floor. I felt stuck. And I hated the way she passed me the envelope so nonchalantly as if the very contents weren't about to change my life and identity forever. The tangible evidence of my FAILURE as a wife was contained in that very envelope. Fuck her lack of compassion! As I exited the post office, I stepped straight into an out of body experience. I suddenly felt lost, even in the familiarity of my own neighborhood. I wanted someone to hold my hand and take me home. Or at least give me a GPS tracking system to retrace my steps. Instead, automatic pilot returned me to my apartment and into bed with my dog and my tears.
My most sensitive and dormant emotions had risen to the surface and I felt fragile... again.