My dear readers. How are you? It’s certainly been a while since I’ve written. I hope you all are well.
I want to let you know what’s been happening with me. There’s been a lot going on, and I haven’t told you anything about it.
Because it’s been hard.
Because I’ve been ashamed.
Last August – yes, that’s August 2017 – I separated from my husband. I moved out of the home we had shared for seven years and got an apartment a few miles away. When I moved out, my apartment wasn’t ready. I spent two weeks staying in a friend’s guest room and then another week in a short stay. Basically, I was homeless for three weeks.
You couldn’t pay me a million dollars to relive that time of my life. Honestly.
It took me about a month to settle into my new apartment, get the furniture I needed and set a good shared custody routine for our two kids. In September, I began some special testing to diagnose my ongoing fatigue. My mom visited in October. In early November, a college student ran a red light at the end of my street and t-boned my car, totaling it. I was on crutches for two days with a bruised foot. I spent Thanksgiving day with a friend at the Outer Banks of North Carolina while the kids ate with their dad.
In January, I traveled to Costa Rica with my organization. In February, I started physical therapy for leg and back problems unrelated to the car accident. In March, my mom (and her dog) moved to Virginia and lived with me while she looked for a job and a house. I finished PT in June, which is also when my mom moved out. I bought a cane for my leg that was stubbornly refusing to heal and visited New York City for a weekend.
In July, I went back to my doctor to try to diagnose the source of my fatigue. I saw a neurologist this August and underwent more tests last month.
In the midst of all of this, I’ve been working full-time, doing weekly psychotherapy sessions, processing trauma, adjusting to new meds, rebuilding my faith, trying to date, helping my kids through the separation, resisting Trump, and managing my own place.
To say it’s been a brutal year would be an understatement. As you can imagine, much of my capacity in that time has been limited to lying on my back and staring at the ceiling.
I’m in a decent place right now mentally and emotionally – not by accident, either. It was hard won. Much of it came through caring people offering to help and me accepting that help. I’ve worked through most of my grief and anger over my marriage ending, and I have a good co-parenting relationship my ex.
But I’m embarrassed.
I tried so hard to make my marriage work, and it didn’t work. I prayed, and it didn’t work. I begged, and it didn’t work. I made changes, and it didn’t work. I was sure I knew all the right things to do, and it still didn’t work.
What happened? I woke up one morning and didn’t recognize the person lying next to me. The man I had fallen in love with was gone, replaced by a stranger. I tried to give this stranger a chance, to get to know him and connect with him. But I soon discovered that I didn’t even like this person. And I don’t think he liked me much, either. We shared none of the same values, interests, or perspectives.
So now I find myself exactly where I didn’t want to be at age 35: single. I wanted to be married for 50 years. I wanted to raise kids, build a career, and then retire with my spouse to travel the world and do many of the things we had been putting on hold. I never wanted to start over with someone else and make all those forever promises again.
But here I am anyway.
So…what does that mean?
In my personal life, it means I pick up the pieces and move forward. There’s a lot I’m trying to figure out around the direction my career might take or where I might live once my lease is up again next summer. I’m still attending the local Unitarian Universalist church and finding a supportive community there. And I want to find a new companion who is a good fit for me – sooner than later. I’m ready.
As for the blog, I’m not sure. I imagine I’ll come back and write about some faith-based things that have been stirring in my brain lately. But with my life taking such a drastic turn, I don’t know if the blog will stay the same.
Do I want to keep pounding nails into the coffin of Christian fundamentalism? Or do I want to forge a different path into something new? I think only time will tell.
Hi April, I’m really happy to hear from you: I was worried. Sounds like the instinct was correct. There was an article recently about some Texas lady evangelicals (TEXAS!!) that are voting for Beto O’Rourke and not Ted Cruz, so maybe the nailing is done? I am so sorry about your life changing situation, and happy you have a strong support network. If you do decide to do something else, will you post the new site link here so that some of us can continue to follow you?
Bless you and lots of big hugs,
Julie in Texas
Absolutely! You and many of my other readers have been so comforting. I appreciate it much.
My heart is with you as you go through this drastic change in all your plans. Please try not to be embarrassed! While I understand why you might feel that way, this is not something to be embarrassed about. It just is. It hurts, it isn’t what you dreamed of, it’s hard to start over, and it just is. One of the things that will actually likely be a good thing is that you will find someone who loves and “gets” the you that you are today, and is not hanging onto a memory of someone you no longer are. May you experience peace, find joy, and live in love!
I enjoy learning about your journey. As long as you don’t lose faith, you will continue to move — what direction remains to be discovered.
Another one of my personal faith heroes has been walking a very similar path of late:
Wishing blessings and peace to you through all of it, my friend. You are so valuable; never forget that.
You are a blessing.
Oh sweetheart. You aren’t the first and you won’t be the last. (((HUGS))) No room for shame. Divorce is hard. I wouldn’t want to go through it again, however I am a better and different person for it. I learned a lot about me. It isn’t what I wanted for my kids either. We still deal daily with that decision, but in the long haul we are all better for it. It rattled my core beliefs which I still struggle with. It certainly wasn’t how I was raised. I found a path that works for me. you will too. Hang in there. Give yourself some Grace. No shame/blame needed. ❤
Hi April. I love you too. I hear you and affirm all that you have been through and all that you have been feeling. There is no reason to be embarrassed, and I will be your friend as long as you want me to be. I am almost 66 years old now, and it has been my personal experience that life is filled to the brim with both great difficulty and great happiness.
All my life, I wondered why God allowed me to be born and raised in a home under very difficult, soul-wrenching circumstances—by a severely mentally ill mother. It was all done to get me ready for the time that I am in now—so I would have the experience and strength to endure the agony and unhappiness until the day I die.
You might say that my life has been like an ice-cream sandwich. The thick ice-cream in the middle was all my years of happiness. The the thin, dark brown cookie parts on each side are the agony and unhappiness. The cause is a person—cannot say who—and what this person has done with beverage alcohol across the past 10 years. I have been close to this person for 40 years, and just like that moment you awakened in bed and understood that your husband was no longer the person you married—neither was my person. Just be aware that sustained alcohol abuse and untreated mental illness (bound together) changesa person profoundly.
I have no idea who the drunk person in my life is. It…yes…I call this Hyde thing…it. It is a person I do not recognize and do not like—much less love. The person I once knew was quite literally Cinderella in all the best and most loving ways. She shows up occasionally for an hour or two each day—usually in the early morning—and then leaves for the rest of the day—while still being present. You cannot imagine the depth of pain that comes when a person leaves you forever—while still being present in your life. It is worse than death. Death is a better actor than this situation–a conclusion—a finality—a destiny—an end. What I experience each day seems to have no end. It is just something that I have to endure—with occasional help from my psychiatrist and Al-Anon—until my end comes—or Hyde’s end comes.
I do not want you to fret over this because you can do nothing about it. It is my pain to endure alone in order to see Cinderella—who I still love so deeply you cannot imagine–just for an hour or two—occasionally—without gin on her breath.
Why did I write all of this? I have lived much longer than you, and I wanted to let you know that I understand about all of the pain you have been through over the past year. You are at a good point now. At 35 years old, I broke through the brown cookie into the ice-cream. Let me assure you—because I have been there—life begins at 35 years old. All the good stuff in life starts now, and if you work on it and make wise choices along the way, it will last until the pains of old age begin to set in decades from now. Trying moments will come sometimes in the Ice-cream, but doing snow angels in the ice-cream helps to chase them away quickly.
I am still a member of the Trump resistance—and still putting nails into the fundamentalist coffin. Feel free to visit my blog at any time. You are always welcome. You might not like some of the strange things I think, do, or say—but it is the way I feel called to do coffin nailing.
Charles, what is the name of your blog? It sounds interesting.
Hi Elise. It is called “Flee from Christian Fundamentalism,” and the safe link to it is:
Have a nice day and God bless you.
Iam so sorry to hear about all of your troubles. It is a difficult thing to go through.
I am so glad you have had help and support. When I went through my times of difficulty, I found my way to the UU church as well. Welcome. I pray that you find the peace that we are all promised, as I have. Blessings on you as your path becomes clearer and the issues start resolving and joy and peace fill your days.
Elise Von Holten
PS in my own life, I have been healed of the pain of my chronic illness and spirit picked my broken (many joints replaced) body and danced me in church last week—ballet, in a spirit filled meeting. So God is amazingly good, don’t lose faith. I came down with the RA at 35-at 66 it’s gone…❤️❤️❤️
Not sure about the blog etiquette – is it too late to comment on this post? Just wanted to say how much I appreciate your honesty, sincerity and seriousness. Who can understand life? But you don’t stop trying. Wishing you a good new year!
Not too late to comment! Thanks so much for your encouragement. I hope you have a good year, too. 🧡