This is a different kind of post and I debated whether or not to share it. It’s a letter I wrote yesterday to my 24-year-old self who five years ago to the day was about to end her marriage and turn her world upside down. She didn’t have a clue what was about to happen and what she would go through. I want her to know it will be painful but it will be worth it. It will be the right thing. If someone else is going through this, or is about to go through this, I want them to know too.
There are no pictures because this isn’t about my life then. It’s about my life now and paying tribute to my journey.
Take a few deep breaths. Everything will be OK. All flowers must grow through dirt, right? Trust yourself on this.
When you get home from work and sit Him down on the loveseat, don’t talk yourself out of it. Don’t try to convince yourself again that things are fine and you’re just getting in your head too much.
Tell Him what is going on inside you. Tell Him the thing you spoke aloud for the first time last weekend when you were out at the bar with one of your closest friends and couldn’t hold it in any longer. Be honest, you should have had this conversation a long time ago before that day you woke up, popped a Xanax, and went through the motions of a wedding day. Even then, you knew it wasn’t right.
Well, this is your chance to make it right. This is your chance to set each other free.
Now, listen to me: You will never forget how His face crumbles when you say, “I don’t think I want to be married anymore.” Your heart will continue to hurt, even five years later, when you recall how He cried and asked, “You don’t want to be married anymore? You don’t want to build our life together? You don’t want to have babies with me?” You will be numb to His pain. You will be numb to your own pain. You will be numb.
Then, without even realizing it, you will slowly but surely lose your mind. You will spin wildly out of control in the most euphoric way and then you will wake up to utter devastation when you realize what you’ve done. You’ll feel guilt, shame and pain like you have never known. You will feel betrayed by people you consider family and friends who don’t understand why you are doing this and think you are wrong. You’ll be accused of sleeping with your boss to further your career and they’ll call you a cheater, toxic, bitch. He will tell you to, “eat shit and die.” Know that you are none of those things and be strong in your own conviction. This is what needs to be done.
Take another deep breath, honey, cause you haven’t thought about this next part yet. You’re going to lose your baby boy. The funny looking little dog you brought home after his first mom passed away will not get to stay with you. The pup that was your good morning snuggle buddy and your companion during crime scene stakeouts will not be there for you any longer. For the rest of your life, you will pathetically ask mutual friends if he is still alive and if they’ve seen any recent pictures of him. You will be crushed if the answer is, “no.” You’ll wonder if he is happy and if he remembers you. Listen to Scott and take one last photo with your beloved boy. Even more – sneak back in the apartment while He is out at work and get in some final snuggles and kisses before he is gone forever.
In three short weeks they will be gone forever. But somehow they’ll still be everywhere all the time. You’re going to listen to a lot of Kate Nash and rapidly transition between dancing in the kitchen and crying on the bedroom floor. You will simultaneously withdraw from some relationships while constantly seeking out connection from others. You’ll want to be alone in despair and you’ll want to never be left alone to feel what you’ve done. Do not hide during this time. You need to own this. You need to be honest about this. And you need help with this.
Jon is going to tell you that divorce is like a death in the family. He is right. When you begin to feel that – to feel that your family is dead – it will be compounded by guilt knowing you are the reason it died. It will take you four full years to forgive yourself and be absolved of that guilt. Courtney will tell you, “There are no rules for how you get through this.” That will help you feel OK even as your entire life seems slip through your fingers like sand.
Embrace the chaos. It is taking you somewhere better. Know that despite the insanity of losing what you thought was everything in life on purpose, you will discover that you have the power to cultivate your own style of life and you can slowly, painfully, chip away at everything that isn’t you until you’ve revealed who you were meant to be.
You were not meant to be His, honey. You were meant to be yours.
Dear 24-year-old me, don’t ever forget that.
Sending you so much compassion and love and understanding,