Divorce


That’s the bad news. The good news is that this means I’ll live until 121.

I’ve stopped. The blur of the last five years is winding down.

I’m in a place ripe for planting a new life. But I’m like the North Carolina farmer who wants to continue planting tobacco even though nobody wants to smoke it.

I’m a homebody with a daughter who is balancing needing me, trying to find her own way, and rejecting me for all her problems. I am there for her, but it feels like I’m hugging a cactus. Besides, the ultimate goal is that she, like any kid, become an independent person. When you’re widowed, divorced, or both (as in my case), where does that leave you when you’re wired as homemaker? I enjoy making a home for myself, so I guess I’m not really a homebody for nobody, but I’m feeling an aching hole.

I’ve begun looking into volunteering. I think that would help me as well as others, but then you always hear how family is what really counts in life. So if you’re rejected by a spouse due to death or divorce, and your kids are supposed to be independent from you, is that really true that family is the most important thing? Aren’t we all destined to end up alone? Or am I “supposed to” remarry just to get a family? I don’t feel like it.

I know I’m “supposed to” get with people with similar interests. I am making attempts to connect over and above going to work every day. I get it. I’m doing it.

It’s just that my homemaker job turned out to be a temp position, and I’m pissed and upset with the layoff.

After you land, you think about the trip and gather what you have. Then you stand there waiting to walk through the portal.

Figuring out what happened to me will not happen talking with family and friends. It will not happen in a therapist’s office. They will all give me the hints and ideas and truths and non-truths from other perspectives. That’s it.

I was the one in the marriage. I could just walk through the portal. But I need to pause first.

This is what really happened. I know because I was there and because I want to be honest and face it.

Today I will face the tough part. Today I will face my role:

I was myself in the marriage, but not completely. This wasn’t honest. I was the part of myself that is endearing. The confrontational part was always finessed during confrontations because of my fear of being rejected. This was a well-founded fear, because when I finally did confront directly, I was rejected permanently.

Since an incident in October of 2008, I’ve gone through separation, family therapy, therapy with what became left of the family, pouring my thoughts onto paper, pouring my thoughts into cyberspace, lawyers, divorce, realtors, job interviews, moving companies…

I love where I’ve landed.

The visual of my experience is no longer the streaks from motion. I’ve stopped and things look different now.

I am starting to see through the eyes of a realistic woman. I am not a cynical woman. I am a woman who wanted to see magic and who got hurt by that.

I am a woman who knows that the world is already magical, and that it is best experienced while looking through clear lenses.

Plan B

This evening, my daughter and I went to the store to buy bagels, and she showed me this decorative spatula. I started crying and put it in the cart. I told her I hadn’t been able to post on my blog for almost two months, but that I’d take a picture of this and write. I finally was able to see what’s been happening through the haze.

After a stressful clinical, I finished my phlebotomy course. A few days later, I was offered a job (not in phlebotomy—maybe part-time someday?) that is right for me that has good benefits, bought a house with an iffy closing date which I need to move into before the closing on this house. Our family dealt with all the issues of the house I’m living in now (the homeplace owned by us siblings) going on the market and being sold. My new job is interesting but stressful since I don’t know what I’m doing yet. When I look at my finances, I see that things will be very tight, which is wonderful because a few days ago, before I decided to apply for early retirement benefits from my last NC job, they looked impossible. In the middle of all this, I flew out to South Dakota for my brother’s wedding and had a fun weekend.

Plan A was security, security, security. Which I found was a f**king lie.

Plan B is real life. Which I’m finding I’m pretty good at.

The spatula will hang in the entrance of my new home, welcoming all to my “Plan B”. It will have a special, sacred, dedicated place.

Then, as real life gets real, I might find I need to take it down from time to time to help me scrape by.

There was a big tree on the playground, and we would play tag around it. The tree was home. You couldn’t be tagged “You’re It!” if any part of your body was touching any part of the tree. If you didn’t venture far enough or often enough away from the tree, you were accused of being a home sticker.

I’ve always been a homebody. I like all the quiet, nurturing, and domestic things. Hearing the pop of the lids after canning a line of jars with my tomato marmalade makes me happy. I like being a homebody.

But I think I’ve also been a home sticker. I insulated myself within what I thought was an emotionally and financially secure life. When that illusion blew up, I was forced to go it, maybe not alone, but as a single person.

Now, if I’m going to survive, I need to put myself out there. Away from the tree.

I worry. What if this? What if that?

What is the worst that can happen?

The worst that can happen is that I would be tagged “It.”

I would be “It.”

Finally!

Well, next week I begin my phlebotomy class. I will turn 60 this Thursday, and will be embarking on a new career in healthcare.

A few days ago, a lab coat that I will need for the clinical training arrived via UPS. I wasn’t sure about the sizing, since the design was not gender specific.

I put it on. It fit perfectly. It felt comfortable. When I looked in the mirror, its bright white color made my face light up.

This is where I screwed up.

I always felt (and still do) that family was the most important thing. I was the parent who worked outside the home, but making the home was my real job. I enjoyed working for the most part, but never developed a career. We were comfortable enough with my husband’s disability benefits and my hourly jobs. If I got laid off, it wasn’t the end of the world until I got another job. Meanwhile, I identified with “Wife” and “Mom”.

I wasn’t the type to get divorced, and I thought my husband was my soulmate.

You always hear about the idea that nobody ever wishes they spent more time at the office when they’re on their deathbed.

But we also need to hear about the idea that nobody ever wishes they put all their energy into the home and neglected making sure they are able to support themselves when they’re at a table with an ex and two lawyers.

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