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Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Some days I move confidently throughout the daylight hours — delivering Violet to the school bus on time, library book secured in backpack on Tuesdays, gym shoes on Wednesdays; keeping Henry and Charlie’s ratio of TV/play time in check while accomplishing all the household stuff I don’t get to during my work week and then retrieving our girl from Kindergarten, and onto the dinner dance and business of bedtime.

We text Dad photos of our day, Henry often requesting I snap a photo and “send that one to Dad!” I always oblige.

I’ve got this, I tell myself. Things are working out. We never fight. We are kind to each other. We’re divorcing more successfully than we ever managed marriage. I keep that thought at the forefront of my mind, often turning it round and round: We’re negotiating a divorce a whole helluva lot better than we managed marriage.

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Why is that? Because the pressure is off? Because we can retreat to our respective homes and choose to tune the other one out as opposed to living out a stifled existence ignoring each other in the same house?

Maybe. A profound feeling of relief laces itself through all the pain and sadness I experience on a regular basis. Relief that I’m not that woman anymore. I’ve only recently begun to come to terms with the fact that I didn’t like who I was when I was married. It’s not Serge’s fault. I have only myself to blame. Or can I blame Serge? I certainly feel responsible for turning him into an unhappy person, so why can’t I throw some of the blame over who I became on him? Does it even matter who’s to blame? Not really. The marriage became toxic and it is over and here we are.

If it doesn’t start to get incrementally better from here on out then I might fall to pieces.

I have a shot at becoming the kind of person I always wanted to be. I guess I had that shot while married but for some reason I wasn’t able to make it happen. So this divorce needs to mean something, it needs to be the beginning of something better. But I’m struggling. For as many moments that I tell myself I’ve got this there are other moments of stark terror.

What am I doing?

I keep dragging out the tired cliché "one day at a time," and most of the time it works. Cliches are clichés for a reason, so I keep telling myself that too after I whisper “one day at a time” for the tenth time in a day.

My therapist asked me if I’ve properly mourned the end of my marriage and I couldn’t answer her. But if I haven’t I guess I never will because it’s been so hard for so long it can’t get any harder. It just can’t. I can’t have a whole mourning process to deal with looming in my future because I need things to start getting better now. If it doesn’t start to get incrementally better from here on out then I might fall to pieces. I need better.

RELATED: My Marriage Isn't a Failure Because of My Divorce

I am trying to enjoy the small things: my children at these specific ages, their sweet faces creasing in laughter over silliness, a sunset on my back porch, an episode of "Derek" with Ricky Gervais, the awesome home I’ve just moved into. But on the grand scale of my life, I need something good. I need it to get better. It’s been a devastating grind for so long that I desperately need it to get easier. I want to laugh and feel light again and release some of the heaviness that has been residing in my soul for so long.

Still waiting.

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