I am fond of saying I can always change my mind. What I decide today may not work tomorrow.
And I also believe in creating opportunity, having options.
I prefer taking responsibility for who I am and how I am at all times. I prefer that over blaming others, or making circumstance responsible.
There are times in life when there is only one choice. There are circumstances that don’t offer many options
This summer I had to make a choice: save myself or my home.
Some think that it was a real choice. Some think I could have fought harder and lived to tell it. Some think reasoning with someone who cannot reason is feasible. Some think suffering the anguish of having my heart trampled and ripped out again and again would be worth the investment. Some think the abuse could have been endured and would have been worth it.
Forget I had no legal leg to stand on. Forget I could not afford to go to court. Forget I would have no peace living in the house I lost. Forget I was merely surviving on all levels. And forget that this has nothing to do with being a fighter or not.
This has to do with looking at all my options and feeling like the only viable realistic option was to give up my home.
Forget my heart was breaking from the deception of having a marriage I thought was happy and was not. Forget the shame of thinking what a bad person I am for being so stupid and the guilt for not doing more. Forget the anguish of letting go of what I thought I knew to be true and trading it in for what I was facing.
Forget all that.
And then yes, maybe I had a choice.
And in fact I did have a choice and I chose to save my heart and spirit and surrender the only thing I have resembling material security in this world, the one gift my dad gave me so I would always have a home, as he made this home I had possible with his checkbook. Forget my heart weeps in writing this. Forget all that.
And remember no two divorces are alike.
Remember imbalance is a curious animal and sometimes that animal is a cruel rabid beast. Remember choice for the many is a luxury and gift, though I take choice as a duty: a duty to myself to be best person I can be in every instance.
I chose to give up my home. I chose to save myself. And though the shame and guilt of all I lost and what I compromised live in me, I can live with that if only a few would understand the choice I made.
And how did I make that choice? What would I recommend when the life you know falls away and you feel love’s skin peeled off of you, layer by layer?
- Breathe and remember the adage: this too shall pass.
- Hold your grief like a newborn as it is just as tender.
- Find your feet literally and metaphorically so you can keep grounded. Breathing is vital for this.
- Pamper yourself. I got many manicures I could not afford during the breakdown.
- Talk to those who love you and can hold space for you.
- Make a plan. Think about what you need to survive and make sure you get it: financially and emotionally.
- Be willing to make changes that you may not want to make…like giving up your home.
- Let go. What was, what is and what will be always change, sometimes more drastically than others. Letting go involves holding that grief.
- Be grateful for all you have and all you lost and all you’ll learn.
- Find the lesson. They say you go through it till grow through it.
Of all 10 things here, the first suggestion finds me almost daily in situations where I feel stressed or on edge: I remember to breathe. I remember all is impermanent. And I know every moment passes to the next.
I have also found how common separation and divorce are. Share what worked for you. There are times I feel alone but I know inside I am never alone as I feel.
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Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Allen Skyy / Flickr