Today, December 15, 2016, is my divorce anniversary date. I don’t know that you “celebrate” a date like this, but I guess you do acknowledge it. It is a reminder of how far I have come, the progress I have made and the fact that I have an entire year full of uncertainty and heartache behind me. Now that, is worth celebrating! So, if you are here, tonight, reading along, and following my blog, let us toast:
“To facing fears, shedding tears, embracing heartache, and looking forward to a new year with endless possibilities! CHEERS!”
This past year was a challenging and rewarding year for me. There were a lot of ups and downs. When you hear people talk about divorce and the “rollercoaster” of emotions that you face, let me tell you that it is real and there is no other better explanation. One day you are happy, one day you are sad, another day you are angry and so on and so forth. It is absolutely nuts! However, divorce, in all its craziness, uncertainty, heartache, and pain, has a tiny silver lining, that does in fact exist.
You see, divorce, like many other positive or negative things that happen in our lives, is just a life experience. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything relevant to your well-being. It doesn’t hold some type of magic power or have control of your life. Divorce is just divorce. It just simply means that you are no longer bound to a promise or commitment of a marriage. Now, that doesn’t mean that divorce is easy. It also does not undermine all of the pain and heartache that you feel, but it is just an experience and in order to get through it, you have to feel it.
When Obed and I got married, it was without a doubt, one of the happiest days of my life. We had not been through a lot together, but enough to know that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. I suppose he felt the same way too. I don’t think either of us ever thought our marriage would end in divorce.
In fact, not long after we married one of my best friends in the whole wide world broke news of her divorce. I never-ever saw that coming and it broke my heart. I cried! Even though I wasn’t going through it, I felt her pain. I remember her text message so vividly and clearly, “My whole world just turned upside down. _____ and I are getting a divorce.” As a newlywed, it scared me, but I was so sure that Obed and I would never go down that route.
As soon as I read the message, I burst into tears. She didn’t want to talk about it then, but when she finally felt ready, she shared her story. At the time, I didn’t understand why she had chosen to keep quiet of her struggles in her marriage. We talked often and I knew of some issues, but I never knew of the contemplation of divorce, the real struggles behind closed doors and the fact that she was grieving her marriage all by herself.
Every story of divorce is different but they all share one truth: YOU GET THROUGH IT! I won’t tell you about her story, because it is not mine to tell but I will tell you, that when I finally went through it myself, I understood why she chose to keep quiet about her reality. It is not easy to talk about. I just felt horrible, because I wish I could have been there more for her. Now, more than ever, I understand that if she had never experienced divorce, she couldn’t have possibly given me the love and support I needed in my time of grief and desperation, while I suffered through my own divorce.
I wholeheartedly believe that God gives us these “crosses to bear” in order for us to share our story, give our testimony and help others facing similar struggles. As time goes on, the more I share, the more I blog, the more I open up and share my truth, I realize how much I needed this divorce. I didn’t necessarily want it and I certainly didn’t initiate it, but I did speak of it. The idiom “be careful what you wish for” never made better sense to me than now.
Marriage is a lot of wonderful and beautiful things. However, even with all the rainbows and butterflies, it ain’t always pretty. Marriage challenges you in so many ways. It helps you to be more selfless, it motivates you to think more rationally, it tests your patience and grows you in so many ways.
Today, on this somewhat somber and painfully memorable day, I have so much to be thankful for. Despite the many nights I spent crying myself to sleep, questioning God’s authority and plan over my life, I can sit here and type these words out in confidence and affirmation that regardless of my divorce, my story is still far from over. In my pain and suffering from the loss of my marriage and a husband that I thought would be mine forever, I found a lot of wonderful things.
I have rediscovered so much about myself and I have found my own identity without being attached to anything or anyone. I’m single! I am 100% my most authentic and truest self. There is not a person defining me. I hold my own value. Right now I am living as a single, individual, unique and beautiful person. I am whole. I thought I needed my marriage for my life to be complete. Divorce taught me the complete opposite.
I am stronger, I am bold, and I am brave. I am living a good life! Sure, I love Obed but I’ve never needed him. I needed the lessons. Marriage taught me a lot of great things about love and the meaning of sacrifice, but Obed taught me strength.
There are a lot of things that one endures in a marriage. Those things are not always the same for everyone. We all experience very different struggles. However, both parties are responsible for whether or not a marriage fails or succeeds. Blame does not fall solely on one person. Marriage is a team effort and if I had never gotten divorced, I would have never found my own strength. I guess I have Obed to thank for that.
Now, I am at a place of peace, comfort and solitude. I am my own MVP. I went from being married and chasing dreams with a man I thought I would spend the rest of my life with to being divorced and chasing my own dreams. Everything I thought I wanted with Obed is no longer. My vision and direction has changed, but he helped me to find focus. If I was still married, I likely would have never shifted gears and listened to my own self. There were things that I needed in my life that Obed simply could not give me.
I needed myself. I needed to be complete and happy with who I was so that I could reach my highest potential. Of course, I still miss Obed and sometimes I hate that my dreams with him are shattered, but now, I have a full life ahead of me with endless possibilities.
In this past year, I have traveled more than ever. I have cried more than ever too but I have laughed a lot as well. I’ve experienced a whole different side of life that has transformed me into a much better person. I do everything for myself. I am kinder, I am wiser and I am constantly changing more and more each day into who I want to be. I’m growing and learning daily in this process, but more than anything I am free to be me.
Photo Credit: Little Laugh Box Photography