divorce will be final any day now. Assets have been divided, custody sorted,
signatures scrawled, papers filed and mandatory classes completed. Now we wait
for the final papers on which we scratch our terminal signatures and it's done.
I'm dreading it. Wanted to leave all the divorce business behind in 2014 but I
guess getting it all over with in January is good too. It will be a rough day.
For ten years, my life has been linked to his. And now? Bizarrely, or maybe
appropriately, the words free agent keep coming to mind. I experience fear in connection with that notion more than anything.
Alone. On my own. It's scary and liberating and I feel each of those emotions
separately and together depending on the minute of the day. I'm a mess,
basically. Empowered to the point I feel high and alternately scared out
of my mind: A strange state of being.
Sometimes, when the pain gets to feeling like
it's more than I can bear, I envision myself six months from now: June, maybe
July. It's hot. I'm laying somewhere, maybe a beach, maybe on the grass in my
backyard. The divorce is six months old. A mental fast-forward through all the overwhelming
emotions it's going to take to get from here to there, even though I know it's
important to walk through the pain, not fly over it. I've been slogging through
it for more than a year now. It was this time last year he moved in with his
mom before finding his own place. Fast-forwarding would be nice, at this
point. But, just as I'm dealing with the wicked cold that’s overtaken my neck of the
Pennsylvania woods this frigid January, I’ll buckle down, grin and bear it.
It’s the only way forward.
One time my therapist told me to close my eyes
and imagine myself at my happiest. I complied and she instructed me to describe
what I was thinking. How old was I in my imagination? Where was I? I am
me now, I told her. Except maybe a little bit in the future because
Charlie is sitting up all on his own. I'm on the beach, the sun radiating
warmth on my body, toes in the sand and I'm watching my kids play at the
water's edge. I'm happy. They're happy. That's all.
That's very good, she told me. That you're picturing yourself
as you are now. A lot of people return to their younger years, which they view
with nostalgia. They tell me they are carefree children or they describe their
wedding day. They return to the past, somehow. But you're imagining yourself
now. That's a good sign, I think.
Sometimes, when I'm at work, I experience a kind
of mini panic attack. It feels as if someone walks up and socks me in the gut
or like I hit my head really hard on something. I feel dazed, can't catch my
breath, tears form and I head to a restroom stall for a minute and stare at the
sign on the back of each door that says TO AVOID A TOILET OVERFLOW, PLEASE DO NOT
OVER FILL TOILET. Inevitably, the stupid sign cracks me up and I think, No
shit (literally!) to myself for the millionth time. More often than
not, it's that damn sign that grabs me by the sense of humor and drags me back
to reality. And then I start thinking of similar "no shit" sentences:
TO AVOID GETTING DRUNK, PLEASE DO NOT DRINK
TO AVOID SUNBURN, PLEASE DO NOT GO IN THE
TO AVOID DROWNING, PLEASE DO NOT GO IN THE
TO AVOID A BROKEN HEART, PLEASE DO NOT
That last one. It's different than the rest,
isn't it? It makes no sense but it makes perfect sense.