Saturday was a year since I left Ben.
I spent part of the day reflecting on the path I’ve traveled since April 6th, 2012, what I’ve undertaken, how I’ve dealt with the choices I made, where I am now and how I’ve gotten here.
I completely started over. I moved to a new city, where I didn’t know anyone so I could live, at least in the immediate present, without those around me knowing anything more than what I chose to tell them. That was one of the things that rescued me: anonymity. At the beginning, it was just too hard to face everyone. It might not make sense, but the sympathy of friends and family was too hard to bear at times. I began a new career working in communications for a union. I’m not a teacher anymore and it’s just bizarre because so much of my identity was centered around that aspect of my life. I decided to pursue a dream I’ve had since high school: performing stand up comedy. I’ve seen success, but I’m not an overnight hit apparently. It’s only made me want to work harder and do more and go further. If this is all I have, if this is all I ever do, if I can be creative for a living, I will feel satisfied.
It truly is possible to start over, though daunting, I guess. But, in hindsight, it absolutely saved me. I could never go back to being the person I was before, not with a divorce. Maybe it shouldn’t be anything, but it felt (and still feels) like it means everything. When I look at pictures of myself before I was married, I think: those were the good times. That was when I didn’t know what misery or real heart ache was. I miss that ignorance so much, it’s almost unbearable at times. But, the truth is, we can bear all things and I do and I move on. Doing comedy probably helped to save me as well. It reminded me that I’m not a failure, even though I failed at one very big thing. It has also taught me to trust myself and trust my instincts, even though I don’t think I’ve really earned my trust back.
The last year was filled with a lot of pain. Most of it was self-inflicted and all of it in the heart. I punished myself for failing because I wanted to feel all of it. I didn’t want to be taken by surprise six months, two years or a decade down the road by buried pain and I knew that if I didn’t just experience the loss, that I’d be one of those women with serious baggage and issues. I did not want to be a person with problems she didn’t acknowledge. Regardless of the assurances of my friends that I made the right choice, which I knew anyway, and regardless of them admonishing me for the blame I continue to (unnecessarily) put on myself, I can’t seem to let it go.
I’m hoping the adage that time heals all wounds is right. And now I’m to the point that I can wait. I know that life will get better. I’ve had a year to teach me that the pain will lessen and it will become less important with every new experience I have. There was a time in the beginning when I never thought I’d make it to where I am now. I don’t cry every day, although when the sadness hits me, it doesn’t pull any punches. I’m not sure if I believe that I will find love again, but I’m not unwilling to try. I am still angry at myself, but I no longer feel guilty, which is a huge burden lifted and I’m not embarrassed or ashamed any longer. I’ve learned to own it. The last lesson will be forgiveness.
All that having been said, I am so much better than I thought I would be. I am at the beginning of a great career and I am no longer dependent on anyone financially. I truly feel happiness most of the time and I have faith and hope that everything will get better. I have been blessed beyond what I deserve with supportive friends, loving family and new experiences. I have been given an opportunity to be someone different and pursue a new life.
The last two years of my late 20s were wasted. This year was filled with light and joy and renewal and opportunity. I’m living the rest of my life to honor the two years that I was miserable, the worst version of myself. One year down, the rest of my life to go.