So, want to know how it feels to go through a divorce?
It’s absolute hell.
You feel like you’re insane; ergo, in an attempt to quell some of your loneliness and pain, you talk to other men (friends or acquaintances, whatever) and become inexplicably clingy with them, to which they instantly recoil in response.
It’s not surprising that they do this. I mean, if I weren’t in the situation I’m in right now, I’d recoil too. I can understand where they’re coming from and I do not know why I’m acting like this – it’s out of character for me to say the least.
I used to love being alone. I loved it. I craved it. I missed the days when I could just go unbothered about my life and be who I wanted to be. I still mourn the one-bedroom apartment I lived in for two years while I was attending UT at Austin.
At 32, I don’t like to play games.
I’ve been with the same man for 12 years. On January the 1st, he bitch slapped me with a divorce that I didn’t see coming. Not even close. We’ve ALWAYS had our ups and downs; it was just a part of us. I thought that this was another one of those lulls. I didn’t ever anticipate that it would end in a conversation where he said to me, “I don’t love you anymore. I’m tired of pretending. I’m sorry.”
I don’t give a fuck about being “PC” or pandering to the masses for the moment. I’m sick of it. I’m falling the fuck apart. I’m NOT okay.
“Put on a brave face, Kelly.”
“If anyone can do this, Kelly, you can. You’re strong enough.”
“You are so strong. You have to do this for the kids.”
STOP telling me what to do and how to do it. I have so little control over what happens right now that it’s gut-wrenching.
One of the fallacies in being from a town named Niceville is that everyone suddenly knows your business and wants to know why your spouse of 9 years, with whom you have two beautiful children, and in a relationship with for 12 years, would leave you. They phrase the question in a way that implicates that I MUST be somehow at fault. How could I not?
The other disadvantage to living our lives the way that we do right now, in the digital age, is that it is lonelier than ever to go through a traumatic event like this. Tonight, I’d been with my children all day, dealt with their daily acting out and drama and was about to blow my top. So, here I sit at a Starbucks close to my house, listening to angry music and writing this. And doing some light people-watching. (Psst: Wednesday nights aren’t that exciting.)
As I stated above, I’m 32: I’ve been with the same man since I was 20 years old. I don’t know how the hell to live my life without him! Shit, we met my junior year of college and I just never looked back. We used to celebrate our monthly anniversaries – and our 12 year is just around the corner, on March 26th, 2017.
“You’re so gorgeous. You can get anyone you want.”
That’s not the point. That’s not what I want.
I want to feel okay. I want to BE okay.
I’ve never, ever been a codependent person. But I believe(d) in my marriage and trying to make it work and sticking it out.
I let myself fall completely and totally in love with him at that young age; so much so that it hurt. We dated and lived together for three years before we were married. We had our first child soon after. Four years later, we moved to a bigger house and had another child. After I had Jackson, I went back to work full-time at the bank when he was only 10 weeks old. Two and a half years later, after speaking with my spouse about our finances and hectic schedules, he and I decided that I would quit work full-time to stay at home with the children to cut the costs of daycare and thus, eliminate the lack of disposable income.
That’s when things really began to take a turn for the worst. I was no longer bringing in a second income, so my spending had to drastically change.
I never felt like I was doing the right thing with the kids or with myself; I was constantly second-guessing myself and how I was doing raising the kids. It was a time full of uncertainty, self-doubt, and, yes, on some days, self-loathing. I am not impervious to emotion. I am not impervious to suffering.
Here’s where I’m at right now: I don’t know who I am yet.
It’s not about the destination, but the journey, the battle, the struggle, and the ultimate rise in your self-confidence and learning how to trust again. I don’t know when that will be for me or how it will ultimately go, but I know that I need to have faith. Though shaky, it’s there. I do have faith.
I also want you to know that the reason I’m being THIS candid and THIS transparent about what I’m going through is for those of you who might be suffering as well. This is for those of you who feel alone, abandoned, hopeless, and have a bottomless pit full of suffering.
I’ve become defensive and perpetually angry; and, you know what? If I am bitter for a while, then so be it. I don’t give a shit. Why do I HAVE to rise above? What IS it with our culture these days that tells us that we aren’t allowed to have a bad day or a bad time and just be bad at life? That’s the kind of shit that leads to hoarding, drug use, and all kinds of other unhealthy manifestations of unhealthy behavior. Because what the hell else are we supposed to do? No one likes to listen to someone who’s going through a hard time. No one wants to be around it. So, then, inevitably, the person adopts a coping mechanism.
My soon-to-be-ex is not sad about the divorce. He’s the one who initiated, so apparently that means that I’m the only half of the marriage that feels like hurling themselves off of a building while he’s absolutely fine. I never knew that that was a thing. That that was possible; even if you’re the one initiating, shouldn’t you sort of mourn what you once had? All the years spent together, the experiences?
I’m sick to DEATH of the facades and the personas we all create and put-on as we face the internet world. It’s not true and it’s unfair. So, let’s say that someone like me reads an upbeat, happy-go-lucky, go-getter article from a woman who’s in a similar situation: it will crush that someone. It will make them feel even more like a failure.
I read article after article after article about how these “perfect” social media faces lead to depression; so, here I am, being as transparent as I can be in order to offset some of that. I always end up taking a lot of flak for telling it like it is, for saying that I am sad, that I’m destroyed, and am told to “SMILE!” and I’m told, “It will get better!” and “Kelly, stop being so negative.”
So, I personally feel (and know) that it’s more helpful to read something where someone’s honest. It’s more helpful to hear about how someone’s struggling and that they are, in fact, sad, rather than read an article about how a woman in my situation is doing great, rising above her daily minutiae, unaffected by her impending divorce, and that she’s simultaneously crocheting her entire family personalized pillows while pan-frying salmon for dinner. And then she posts a flawless “selfie” where she’s wearing a monogrammed shirt and holding a glass of pinot grigio.
And I’m cleaning pee off the bathroom floor, yelling at everyone in the house to “settle down!” And the ever-popular, “Don’t you make me come in there!” while I wipe sweat from my forehead, my heart pounding out of my chest, the dog barking at a random solicitor that she can see out of the side window.
And in between cleaning up pee and quelling arguments between my kids, I’m making them snack after snack after snack, attempting to clean the kitchen, and search for full-time jobs.
THAT is reality.
Kelly Fitzharris (Coody)