Okay, okay. I did what I said I wouldn’t. I began a new blog, promised not to abandon it, to post as though it were my journal… and then I abandoned it after a few tries. My justification was, “no one reads this any way, I’m not changing lives or making a difference, so who cares if I don’t post?” Well, I care, because even if I’m not making a difference with the stories I have to tell, it had been therapeutic to get it all out- even if writing my thoughts down helped no one but myself, at least I was doing something to help myself. I like writing better than therapy. So rather than starting a whole new blog and beginning again, I’m picking up where I left off. Because it feels good to organize my thoughts. Because once I put something out there, it’s like some form of acceptance. Because maybe, just maybe, someone who can relate will stumble upon my words and find, if not clarity, a companion in what they’re feeling.
(End philosophical justification of insignificant blog posts.)
There are two excuses to which I gave way when it comes to keeping up with a blog. The first, my new job as a middle school English teacher, a valid and time-consuming excuse, has changed my life in so many ways and will be the topic of many more posts or rants or epiphanies to come. The second, the finalization of my divorce, is one I hope to ramble out now and leave here (no promises).
Divorce is tricky, painful, and thrilling all at the same time, or at least for me it was. I was eager to remove myself from a relationship which involved three people, eager to hack away at and make sense of the debts that my ex-husband and I racked up both together and prior to our marriage, eager to establish a routine for my son, eager to reclaim the identity I lost when I changed my name. In approximately twelve minutes, the court did just that. It wasn’t the actual divorce that weighed me down for all this time; that part was easy. It was the task of self representation, drawing up the custody and visitation plans, dividing all the assets and debts, determining who would pay health insurance and life insurance, calculating child support, filing fifteen packets of forms and paying legal fees to the court that ripped my well being to fragments and threatened to throw me back into the intense therapy I was so determined to conquer, all the while faced with a husband who had no interest in the ordeal other than the ability to move in with his girlfriend, in addition to the duty of keeping both his family and mine at peace and in comfort. It took me six months to draw up the paperwork, and the only thing that kept me going through each and every dissective agreement and counter-petition was the knowledge that an attorney would have left us both bankrupt. He happily let me shoulder the entire burden, even though it had been he who had strayed, he who refused to cut the girlfriend out, he who had asked for the divorce with the simple mistake of being so careless as to let me find him in bed with her after eight months of separation and his insistence that I was crazy, that nothing was going on.
All the while, all I could think about was my poor son. He will never know a life in which mommy and daddy loved each other, even though that was what we had planned for him. With every form I completed and every step I took toward finalization, I promised him and myself that this would be the one and only time I failed him.
We went to court together, and my husband cried. He cried when we were married, too. I thought, at the time of the wedding, that those had been good tears. I think now that he was afraid, remorseful, doubtful… Anything but happy. And I think that his tears in the face of a granted divorce were those of releif, of freedom, the kind that are only released when a great burden is finally overcome. Either way, he cried like a baby and I finally was granted some piece of satisfaction. It took months, but my efforts paid off.
Now, I have no money. I am one late payment away from declaring bankruptcy, and no institution will give me a debt consolidation loan or work with me on restructuring payments. My son and I live with my mom. I have at least 5 years until I can pay off some of my debt and be considerable for a home loan. But I have my son. My ex-husband didn’t lift a finger to fight me on custody, and because of that I can never hate him.
I am not okay. I am full of regret and bitterness and what-ifs and if-onlys. But I have everything I need. I have support and love, a roof over my sons head, food to feed him, a good job, good friends. I will be okay. My son will be okay. And I’m sure that, in time, I will remember who I was before this mess. I will be ok. I have my son. I have everything I need.