LETTING GO OF THE FEAR AND STIGMA OF MY DIVORCE
There were different times in my marriage that suggested an end might be near but one in particular stood out, yet one can say it was one of the seemingly most inconsequential things – I had the steward change the sheets on the master bed.
Something I always insisted on doing myself, because I preferred it a certain way.
At that point, I knew I was done.
The first signal was when I stopped wearing my engagement ring three years ago after a very traumatic experience in my marriage, and the second was when I stopped wearing my wedding band altogether.
I expected to feel a sense of pain, of loss, but all I felt was emptiness.
After 7 years of being married and grappling with the difficulties and differences in our marriage; trying to make what wasn’t working, work, in January 2018, we commenced divorce proceedings.
Divorce is a very peculiar thing and has been the ultimate learning experience.
You are trying to make sense of the change looming in your life, to normalize your soon to be new existence and find ways to heal.
Everyone else is offering up their best advice and telling you what exactly is best for you, as though you are not a living entity in your own life.
You have a million iterations of the same kind of meeting with different groups of people.
People are carefully trying to shroud their own selfish beliefs, wants and desires in supposed “love” for you.
Everyone is talking but no one is listening!
Some accuse you of not trying enough, without knowing the extent of the difficulties in your marriage and how hard you’ve both tried to make it work.
Some offload their emotions on you and try to make you feel bad by telling you how YOUR divorce will impact THEM.
Isn’t it amazing how some people can shamelessly center themselves in someone else’s pain?
I had people tell me all manner of things and it was very difficult. A lot of times I was made to feel like my life was changing for the worse.
I found a lot of people, a lot of whom were women, wanted me to remain in my marriage because:
he wasn’t abusing me physically
all men are the same
he was from a good family
I was too assertive for my own good anyway
I worried a lot about the change looming in my life.
I had known my husband for 10 years (married for 7) and all that was about to change. I asked myself over and over again if I was sure I could do this, but even with the fear lurking in my heart, I knew I was sure.
The only reason I didn’t break down physically and mentally is because I had been broken once before and I was tougher this time. In the weirdest of ways, it was as though the previous trials in my marriage had prepared me for my divorce.
I had lacked the courage in the past to take a chance at being happier and to be true to myself. So, I had to learn to be brave and courageous and to let go of fear. I had to learn to fight for myself and push for what I believed I deserved, even in the face of great opposition.
I found the courage to keep moving and to embrace the change in my life forcefully. To shed the negative feeling of despair and rather, see it as triumph, which is exactly what it was.
I didn’t want to be resentful, I didn’t want to be angry, which were natural emotions to feel but I didn’t want them. I didn’t want this significant change in my life to be tainted by an acrimonious divorce and have me expending energy on what would have been a wasted effort.
My marriage drained me emotionally and I chose to see my divorce as the end of something that was detrimental to me, and the beginning of the hope of finding something new and beautiful.
During the proceedings, my dad called me Every. Single. Day, sometimes multiple times a day and when he got off the phone he’d call my siblings, reminding them to check up on me too. My brother reassured me and my sister was quite frankly my rock!
My mum on the other hand was so saddened by the hand life had dealt HER (pun intended), that every single conversation with her was so excruciating and infuriating that I stopped speaking to her altogether.
It took her six months to ask me how I was doing. She was so concerned about what people would say and didn’t want to deal with the burden of a divorced daughter and the stigma that came with, that she forgot how to be a good mother.
She spent the time she should have been supporting me, feeling sorry for herself, highlighting my flaws, throwing me under the bus to my husband, his family and anyone that would listen and trying to manipulate me into staying in a marriage I was unhappy in. She would constantly chastise my dad for his emotional support towards me.
Our relationship suffered because of this and things haven’t been the same with us.
It’s been a year now; my divorce is final and I have breathed a deep sigh of relief.
I have fully embraced the change and I’m enjoying my new lease of life.
I love my new place, which I’ve done up very nicely and my amazing friends are still my amazing friends.
I have a new spring in my step, a new love and I am looking forward to the best chapter of my life.
By Kemi Williams