Life post divorce is difficult in more ways than I could’ve ever imagined. Not that I imagined being divorced, because it was never even on my radar. I for sure thought I’d never be a statistic in that way. But, here I am, divorced. And I’ve learned a lot along the way.
There really isn’t anything easy about having to start over. Getting divorced completely changed my life. First of all, I had to fall out of love with someone that meant a lot to me, someone that I saw my forever with and dreamed of a future with, someone that I tried my hardest to put first and love unconditionally. Talk about hard! It did help that he hurt me so much, but it still was no easy task. It’s not something anyone can prepare you for.
Besides that, I had to get used to living alone again. No husband, no dog. Just me and my thoughts, my feelings, my emotions, my craziness. And let me just say, the silence was deafening for a long, long time. I tried filling it with different things, but the emptiness was still there. I struggled to find a new normal, to make my home cozy and warm and somewhere I really, truly wanted to be and be okay being there all alone. And eventually, I did, but boy did I struggle.
Part of getting used to being alone was cooking and eating. I wasn’t used to only feeding myself, so I wasted a ton of food that I bought and couldn’t get around to eating or drinking before it expired. I didn’t have a routine of when I’d eat or what I’d eat. And most of all, I really hated cooking for only myself. I felt it was wasted effort and time. It was much easier to just grab a frozen dinner and pop it in the microwave for a few minutes, eat, and throw it away. No dishes, no hassle, no fuss. I felt like it made it easier, but what I really learned was that it made it harder on myself. I’ve slowly learned to enjoy cooking again and how to balance buying groceries and planning meals so that I don’t waste food. Those quick, no fuss dinners also weren’t very healthy. I’m not one of those people that just stops eating when I’m depressed or upset. I eat my feelings. All of my feelings. So, in the darkest moments of my life, I turned to food for solace. It’s strange that so much food got wasted when I felt as if I was doing nothing but eating. But, that’s how it all went down, and I’m so thankful to be past that point. Now, I plan meals and shop for groceries weekly. It’s what works for me and I’m running with it. Although I’ll still sometimes struggle with sticking to the plan I make for myself. It’s definitely a work in progress!
Another work in progress is my finances. Oh my, is that a work in progress! Before any of the divorce or separation came about and I thought all was well with my marriage, we were finally in a really good place with our finances, and I was finally able to not stress about money so much. It was nice! But then my world came crashing down around me and that contentedness I felt was long, long gone. I had to completely start over from the beginning and pinch every single penny once again. I had to really stick to my budget and stress over every dollar. I felt like all I was doing was crying and fussing over money. It was my life for many months until I felt I had a handle on it. It’s definitely gotten better since then, but I’m nowhere near where I want to be and $20 is still a big deal to me! I pray for financial stability every single day, and I know that one day I’ll be there again. I had gotten a taste of it and now I want it more than ever. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and dedication, but I’ll feel it again. I have to.
And then there’s everyone else in the world that kept living their lives and enjoying milestones while I wallowed in sadness, hatred, and self-pity. Engagements, birth announcements, weddings, home buying. It all just sent me spiraling back to my dark place as all of my dreams of beginning a family and buying a home were obliterated. Of course I was happy for those who were experiencing it all. They surely deserved it! But it made it that much more obvious of where my life was and how things were turning out for me. Let me just say, they weren’t. I cringed at every Facebook status, blog post, and tweet about a new baby or a new ring. I just couldn’t handle it. It’s what I wanted so badly for so long! But it wasn’t meant to be for me. Not just yet. And that was definitely a hard pill to swallow. It’s still working its way down to this day.
I had to turn down attending friends’ weddings and graduations and all kinds of events because I wasn’t in a place to be happy for someone else. What was the point in going? Sure, the people who I turned down understood and didn’t make me feel worse for skipping out, but I hated not being able to be there for them in their joyous moments. I hated not being a part of the celebration. But then, I was finally able to buck up, put my strong face on, and just do it. I attended the first wedding since my divorce on November 1, 2014. And it was a biggie. Two people from my hometown were getting married, which meant anyone and everyone would be there. I dreaded the awkward hello’s and the “so when are y’all going to have a baby” questions. I was really praying that most people would’ve heard or found out in some way, but I also didn’t want to just be ignored because of what I was going through. But instead of worrying about it and freaking out, I just went. With my mom and my brother, I went and was able to be genuinely happy for the bride and groom and in their love for each other. And in my heart, in that moment, I knew that I’d be there again one day. I had hope that I’d find love again, and with my family by my side, I got through it. It wasn’t easy by any means, but I did it. And I’m proud to have gotten past that hurdle. I learned that through my grief and disheveled life, I could be happy for other people in their joy and in their love.
What I’ve learned most of all, is that there’s really nothing easy about starting over.