Divorced: Finding the Woman Within
September 23, 2007, a woman inside me died. And on that day, I realized I would soon be divorced. Over the next five years I searched for the woman within. That woman has struggled; shed tears, lost weight, lost friends, lost things. BUT she also gained. She gained confidence. She gained valuable insight. She gained a large circle of wonderful friends who support her, love her, cherish her, and who believe in the woman she has become.
Anytime life throws us a curve ball we have the chance to find out who we really are. We also discover who our real friends are, and who are not. Family becomes tighter and closer.
My curve ball was unwelcome, but with it my transformation began. It gave me cause to reflect on who I was. It also stopped me dead in my tracks and made me re-evaluate my life. I was forced to think about who I was, where I wanted to go, and who I wanted to be. This was a time for growth. I had a chance to reinvent myself and that was a fabulous gift.
Divorced: Going Away, Staying in Place
In my mind, I was often in some distant unfamiliar place, like Frances in Under the Tuscan Sun, who says:
“Do you know the most surprising thing about divorce? It doesn’t actually kill you. Like a bullet to the heart or a head-on car wreck. It should. When someone you’ve promised to cherish ’til death do you part says “I never loved you,” it should kill you instantly. You shouldn’t have to wake up day after day after that, trying to understand how in the world you didn’t know. The light just never went on, you know. I must have known, of course, but I was too scared to see the truth. Then fear just makes you so stupid.”
While in the the same mental space as Frances, I had to remain where I was, in the life I live with my children. I had to be strong. I had to survive as a single mother. I had to raise my three beautiful children, and provide a life for them that remained as close as possible to what they had always known. All this while undergoing my own transformation.
Divorced: The Married Part
Married at a young age to my high school sweetheart, we began our family in the “traditional” pattern: marriage, house, dog, children. Many years later, 18 to be exact, my marriage ended and I was thrust into the world of single parenting and dating.
Raising children: this I could do.
Dating: I had no idea where to start.
Prior to being divorced I was a runner, marathoner, triathlete. After getting divorced, I found solace on the roads. Lacing up my shoes and pounding the pavement gave me a place to filter my thoughts and channel my aggression. Some days my mind would wander so far off, that I never felt my feet touch the ground. The miles unfolded before me. Running gave me the time to organize my thoughts. Some days, I couldn’t wait to get home and write. Thus, the beginning of journaling my post-divorce life and the posts in this series.
Divorced: The Dating Scene
What unfolded – the experiences, the mishaps, the laughter – were all so outrageous that I felt they needed to be shared. There were times I wished I had a guide or a manual, as I ventured into this new phase of my life. But I didn’t. So this is for you, not quite a guide, but a series of adventures that might offer guidance. I invite you to share stories/comments of your own post-divorce journey. Share what you’ve learned. We are all struggling here. Why not do so together? Here’s something that helped me as I got started on the dating scene.
Tip #1 – Enter the dating world with an open mind and no expectations. Mr. Right may not be there but you can have fun trying to find “him”.
In closing, I welcome you to the tale of finding my place in life and the place deep inside me that was eager to surface. Each post is an excerpt from what might become a published book.
Mine is a simple journey. It is no where close to the struggles that many women face in complicated divorces which involve emotional as well as physical abuse; financial ruin; loss of house and home; addictions and much more.
My hope is that you enjoy the soul search of Finding Me, and that it might help you in a search for your own soul.
Come with me and enjoy the ride.
To read the next installment in Anita’s Adventures click here