A marriage is, by definition, this partnership sort of situation where you join with this other person, keep your fingers crossed real tight, merge your shit and share a life. You become a unit. You’re an “us” and a “we” and a “they” and while you’re still you, you’re also still much more than that. You go out alone, anywhere, and someone always asks how they are, what they’re doing, why they aren’t there with you, and when everything is merged – your home and your work and your friends, it compounds it.
You don’t get to be just you very often, and that’s ok. You come to embrace it. You love this person, hopefully, and you’re probably maybe proud of the things they’re doing, so you fill people in on their life, because you can, because it’s your life too, and you get to speak to it as well, since you’re in this shit together, you’re one part of a pair, so you get to tell their stories for and with them, just like they tell yours.
So when it ends – and pretty much everything ends at some point – it’s a little confusing.
The word about the end trickles out slowly, reaching some corners faster than you’d like, and others much slower than you have the patience for. You never know, in half your conversations, who knows what. You wonder if someone is being nice to you just because they heard you’re getting a divorce and you get these looks that make you put on the bravest face you’ve got left and you smile, because really, you’re fine.
Everything is fine. Everything is ok. Really. Really.
Telling people is hard, because it’s like admitting failure and you’ve tried hard to avoid that shit, so when people ask about that other part of your pair, the part that left, the part that wasn’t in it as much as you were, you just say nice things about them and get on with your day because it’s far easier to be a nice person and to tell someone something they want to hear rather than to have a whole conversation about how your marriage is ending, about how you’re suddenly alone and starting over at 30 and some days, especially in the beginning, saying it out loud to anyone can be more than enough to make you feel like you’ve been thrown down the stairs six or seven times, dragged by your hair back up to the top each and every time.
And really, it’s hard to say it because it makes it real. You know it’s happening. You know it’s ending and ended, but to say it out loud to near strangers makes it that much more real and maybe you can’t take even one more god damn look that screams of pity and concern.
It’s fine. I’m fine. Really.
That’s a lie for a while, that whole bit about you being fine, until one day someone asks how you are and you say that you’re actually doing pretty fucking good and you realize it’s the truth and then you realize that maybe you haven’t been breathing for the past year or the past months or the past however long, because saying you’re good and actually meaning that you’re good feels like a whole new start, like the first day of the year, a fresh fucking snow, and you finally exhale all this shit, all this heavy, horrible shit that’s been taking your life and your breath from you for so long and you know everyone said you’d be fine, but you didn’t believe those fuckers, your best friends, the people who love you, but damn if they weren’t fucking right.
So it’s just me now, is the point, I guess. I’m getting divorced. I know that’s not news, know I’ve shared it here before, know I’ve written my fucking guts out about the pain and shit and the absolute suck of it all, but I’m ok. I’m more than ok.
Turns out, I like me. I wasn’t sure I did for a while, but now I think I can say I really do.
I laugh too loud. I overanalyze things far more than I’d like to. I love popcorn and chocolate and tulips and lazy Sundays. I’m a runner and a forest creature. I’m really good at drinking beers and scotch and I collect stray cats. I drive too fast. I want to explore the whole god damn world and I will, alone, with friends and probably with a man I love someday. I love food and my dogs and my home and my friends. My life – this solo life that’s now mine – is full of incredible people and incredible adventures.
And yes, it’s lonely sometimes. I can fill up my days and nights and weekends with friends and races and chores, but there are some moments when all I want is to not be alone, when all I want is to be a part of a known pair again, when I can’t get the fucking top off the hot sauce or I can’t get my necklace to clasp or when I wake up alone – again – and feel that aloneness all the way into the marrow of my bones. Those moments are rare, mostly, but they happen. They’re there.
I’m still me though. I’m still here, this person that I’ve always been, but different. This is me without him. This is just me.