The day I got married was a day I thought I was in heaven. After all, my ex-husband was the only man I ever knew since meeting him from a high-school dance. I was with him for 19 years and married with him for 15 years.
To divorce a husband that was not disloyal in the marriage was a decision that had ramifications of guilt in many forms. To keep the marriage, I looked for solutions that could save it; like separate counselling, counselling together, spending more time together to learn each other’s hobbies, taking more vacations, taking care of myself for my best look in my best suit, etc. But none of that could save it. Like a fabric that was already torn, I was trying to mend what was not going to make the same weave. Trust can be broken in many ways other than infidelity, and so does the sense of security get taken away without being abused.
We divorced from my choice to protect my children from a dysfunctional home where alcohol was chosen by him as a means to cope with the stresses of our jobs, raising young children, and being foreigners in an unfamiliar environment. The roller-coaster of emotions in a bad marriage took away my sense of control of the status quo I wanted to achieve. But I never regret the decision to divorce.
My divorce brought me to my lowest points in order to discover my strongest points. My being single raised me into new levels of thinking, coping, and managing. I knew I had to face the biggest challenges of what I was not wired to do as being able to jump-start my car, keeping my pool waters blue and not green, patching a hole in my wall, mowing my lawn and fixing the broken parts of my appliances. Today, I know when my car has either a starter, battery, alternator, or an engine problem. At one toughest times, the single income was also a jolt of reality where shopping meant that every item to be bought had to be listed down on a paper and vacations had to be infrequent. But without having gone through this season of my life, I would not be the way I am now as strategic and wise about my finances. The joint custody makes the children bounce between two houses, but it makes them see their parents as two separate individuals with stark differences; leaving them the mind and hopefully, the wisdom who to adopt the good traits from.
Being single, in contrary to the fallacy, is not a freedom to date and to be available out there whenever you like it. When the divorce happened, my sense of direction and my sense of self was not apparent; my sense of balance was at a tipping point. There was this fear of the untrodden; the question of, “what am I missing?’ nagged a deep sense of incompletion within. And at one time, I clumsily struggled trying to connect with the people I tried to connect with, consequently thinking of myself as not lovable. But it was not that I was incapable of loving, it was because I was not whole enough to engage and emotionally connect while I was straightening out the pieces that were distorted from my reality. Some call it that they were “broken”; I call it, “I was bent”. Maybe dented in many places.
This month fulfills exactly the five years that I have been on my own. And what a difference that five years has made of me. Not all dreams come true, and in my case, where I have meant myself to be and my present reality. I no longer own that caustic thought process that I should be “married” and “should be with someone”. I live in this moment of a mind-opening and soul-enriching journey. And heavens, what a serendipity and a wondrous season I was placed in for this blessed self discovery.
So raise your glass, say cheers and celebrate. Being by yourself is your needed blessing. You are not just enduring, you are growing. After all, "to reveal the gem in your stone, you will have to cut, grind, and polish it." -ML