For the last week I have awoken in strange beds. I wish that were as fun as it may sound, but it’s because after 9.5 years of living together and 4.5 years of marriage, Francisco and I are going through a divorce.
Why? Irreconcilable differences. There’s no bad guy/girl here. There’s a lot of love, and remorse over the realization that we can’t make it work in spite of that. That we may even arrive at the same destinations, just not at the same time. We’ve tried so hard to avoid it, and have talked, cried, and hugged our way through it.
There was a month-long separation, where I went on what my friend Sara called- to my chagrin- my own mini Eat, Pray, Love. I holed up in a hotel to re-design the blog, I went to a clothing optional resort where I could meditate, and I traveled to spend time with my family, have adventures with my nephew, and think about what family means to me. Increasingly I started to use “I” and “me” language, in place of “we” and “us.”
Last week marked the end of two weeks of going through the wringer…or more aptly the shredder. Of going through ten years of shared history in stuff and on paper; school, research, apartments, cars, travel, jobs, marriage, taxes, purchases, home ownership, photos, videos, love letters. Of figuring out what to keep, who gets it, donating, selling, packing, or shredding. Piling bales of shredded evidence into recycle bins…shredded paper that looked and sounded like my high school cheerleading pom poms, when no one felt like cheering.
Moving at least every 3.5 years for my entire life and even being excited to take minimalism to the next level didn’t remotely prepare me for this, and why would it? Heartache + dismantling a joint life + uncertainty of what/where I’m packing for = awful. A friend asked me if as days went by it got easier- if I became numb to it. But in fact as days went on and moving day approached I became rawer, and it felt unbearable.
I’ve been thinking a lot about that line in the Rage Against the Machine song “Freedom” where Zack de la Rocha whispers, “Anger is a gift.” I get that. This might be easier if I was angry. I might be more certain or feel stronger. But then again, I’m glad that’s not the case. We’ve been compassionate, kind, considerate, and supportive through nearly all of this. We’ve even gone together to friend’s events, parties, etc. Why are we doing this again?
Our amazing friends helped me move out and into their homes and garages last Sunday- all approximately 6X6’ of what physically remains of my life outside of me, by choice.
Now I’m of two minds. One is dealing with this breakup as one might expect- mourning the loss and feeling a little worried about the future. This sad side carries all my insecurities and displays them often. The other side of me is excited for my life to come even as my current life is dismantled and few remnants remain. This side is thinking, “You can redesign your life radically and you have the courage to do it- the sky’s the limit!” The other part of me thinks, “Get lost bright side- you’re too early.” I feel guilty even admitting that there is a bright side right now, but I also believe that happiness is a choice- part perception and part action- and I want to be happy. Without ignoring the hard stuff, I’ll try to focus on the positive.
I’m also counting my blessings. Among them is Francisco. I feel grateful for our time together and I’ll fondly think of it as a gift to be cherished and learned from. I’m so thankful that we can be friends. I’m also fortunate to have amazing family and friends who have helped me in so many ways, and understand that there are no sides to choose from.
And then there is this- my blog, which has brought so many awesome, inspiring, caring, supportive new friends into my life. It will continue, just transform like me. And of course, there will be travel…lots of travel.