Wednesday, April 29, 2015

With This Ring?

Divorce is never easy. It can be devastating, crippling. It can be freeing and give you a new purpose in your life. Divorce can be many things, but it's never easy. There's nothing easy about looking someone in the face and telling them you just can't continue, or hearing whatever their response is going to be. It's not easy to go to a lawyer and divvy up the life you've built together. It's not easy to tell people and expose your failures.

It's oddly easy for me to write a blog about it, but we're all different.

I've made it because I have no other choice. For a while, it felt like everything around me was crumbling to the ground. Some days I wanted to lay around and sob, but I always had something to do. Life doesn't stop even if I feel like I have. So, I pushed it all down and pretty soon I started to just not feel it any more. 

Divorce isn't easy, but I know we'll both be happier going our separate ways. 

That didn't make it any easier when I gave him my wedding rings. We barely had any contact over several months when he came to collect some of this things. The engagement ring was a family heirloom, and under no circumstances could I keep that from him. So he came over, I handed him the rings, and he left in a hurry since he had plans. I stood there and watched him go, heard his truck start, and listened as the sound grew fainter as he drove away. In the silence I was suddenly aware of my own breathing, and how choked I felt. It was like trying to swallow a pill that just won't go down, leaving a weight in your chest and making you feel like your throat might close.

Handing him the rings he put on my hand felt final. It was a hurdle to get over and a step toward healing, sure. But if you ask anyone that's gone through something like this, the path to acceptance and happiness isn't a gradient from black to white. It's a path in the woods that'll loop around itself, with patches of light and darkness along the way.

People have pointed out I seem different, and in many ways happier. This divorce has been as simple as one could hope. Sometimes, I even call it amicable. It's the impetus to set me on a journey to get out of my comfort zone and find where I need to be.

But it's never easy. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Flying Solo. Literally.

I’m sitting at some charging station in O’Hare airport. My phone’s nearly dead, so it’s on airplane mode while it charges.  I also learned that the current version of iTunes on my Mac doesn’t support Quicktime, so I won’t be watching Downton Abbey until said phone is charged.

Here’s a fun fact about this airport: it smells like pizza. Everywhere. If that’s some ploy to encourage travelers to buy food and drive revenue, it’s a brilliant and delicious one. I’m screwed if they ever start pumping in the smell of Thin Mints.

#LaylaFliestoGermany: Part Deux is finally underway. My flight yesterday was cancelled due to weather and poor planning on the part of the airline I’m flying with. To remain professional, I won’t name it as I’m sure this trip will be mostly complaints about how this airline does business. Let’s just say it rhymes with Schmunited. Also worth noting, Schmunited doesn’t give snacks during their flights. Delta gives snacks. Delta gave me free cookies on a flight from Charlotte to Charleston.

I’ll be spending a weekend in Amsterdam with my brother, and then a week and a half in Hanover. I haven’t taken a solo trip since the separation, save the long weekend last time I came to see my brother. Really, I’m still not alone this time but I will have daytime to myself to ride around northern Germany. I’ve always worried that doing anything alone would be awful. I’d have no one to share the experience with, or share a meal with, or get lost with. Then it dawned on me that I can still eat and enjoy myself, and now I don’t need to worry about someone poopooing my ideas of places to visit.

Over the past few months, I’ve learned to really appreciate being alone. Perhaps I should say I’ve learned to appreciate spending time with myself, because the other thing I’ve learned is that I’m not alone or lonely. It’s an important thing to realize but we’ll get to that in another post. Still, I’ve found I like not having anyone else to answer to. If Layla wants to watch Justified or Downton Abbey all night while she makes ravioli for dinner, Layla will. There’s no one to change the TV or say they don’t like the meal I cooked.  If I want to fly to Germany for vacation, I’m flying to Germany and enjoying the time I get to spend with my brother while I do whatever else I want.

This isn’t to say the time and trips with my former spouse were unpleasant. We had a fantastic trip to Ireland, and typically enjoyed one another’s company. This isn’t about him at all. This is about me, and that’s a phrase I haven’t been able to say for nearly a decade.

This trip is about me, and doing what I want to do. More importantly, this trip and experience is about me realizing I can do whatever I want. I don’t need someone else to give me the courage that I should have in myself. I can be alone and still have a wonderful and fulfilling life. And really, shouldn’t we all know that? Fear of being alone because we think it’s an empty existence is how we end up in unhealthy relationships. We just think being with someone we aren’t happy with is better than being alone.

If I ever get into a serious relationship again, I want it to be because I want that person in my life and not because I just need to have someone there. I would also like it if that person doesn’t expect me to wear real pants all the time, or will bankroll vacations, or is Tom Hiddleston.

I think these are totally reasonable expectations. And if I never find someone, I’m still happy.