Seven months can feel like nothing… a moment or two forgotten by time’s eraser. But then there are slices of time that transfigure us forever. Divorce is certainly one of those times. When my parents split, I recall the first half year vividly, as if from a nightmare. What happened after that, I barely recall…until another strand of memorable time changed me again. As this period of my own divorce winds down, I am astounded at how I’ve transfigured. I am fragile and so, so fierce.
The dreams I had for myself before my ex’s decision to leave are flickering out. Without the attention for detail to make a small business successful, and lacking the fortitude to push forward an art agenda with two kids at home, I’m beginning to look for practical solutions to the question of income. I’ll always paint, but there are more pressing responsibilities at hand. This is what adults do: make decisions which best serve the family, and not just one’s wishes. Really, I’m okay with this, and look forward to working with other people again. I recently became lonely at the studio; it was like a tomb from which to be reborn.
Surveying my emotional landscape, it's more complex than I’d imagined it. I find courage and honesty in my soul I didn’t know I had. Though sometimes I feel sad and angry; about many things, I don't give a shit. Developing a cool indifference for what I cannot change, I’m learning to be more gracious, and to not make judgments with limited information. Patience is another virtue I’ve developed, and it’s helped me to manage hostile situations skillfully.
Empty space in my life has loosened a knot within my spirit, and I see my worth is only partly tied up with the care I give my family. After all these years, I am more than a caretaker. I don’t know what this void will manifest, and at first the lightness of it was nearly unbearable. Yet there is peacefulness in the empty space, and rest. When it’s time for action, I know I’ll do the right things in the right way. This new-fangled confidence is something I never would have realized in my marriage…I would have always been a prisoner of doubt. Confidence is the greatest gift of this transfiguring time: learning to have faith in myself.
Interacting with others has changed for me. With some people, I am more open and vulnerable, and with others, I am careful. I handle advice differently now, too. I receive hefty doses of it from loved ones. Everything from my weight loss to career plans, to my choice not to date yet has been commented on. Before the divorce, others' advice made me doubt my path....or lose my nerve. Not now. Thoughtfully, I sift through what may be useful wisdom and toss out the rest. Always, I appreciate the gesture.
It’s up to me what I do and how I do it; and I work tirelessly to maintain a balance for my family. It is the complexity of the balance that confuses some, and I understand. It’s impossible to see all the moving parts of my life from the outside. It’s a paradox of loving each other: we want to advise each other wisely, yet rarely have all the information needed to do it.
Trying to write the next chapter of my life is giving me writer's block. Who I am becoming, I don’t even know. It’s time to make commitments to myself, and I want to be mindful this time to make the correct ones. An opportunity, this strand of time is, to become both fully myself and completely new.
What a beautiful, terrible thing change is…. And yet it’s the only thing that sets us free.