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March 7, 2006

The Seventeen Stages Of Divorce

Stage 1: Denial
I called my parents, but there was no answer. I am such a daddy's girl. They're on vacation.

Stage 2: Hunger
I will eat this snack-size bag of Cheetos, even though what I need is the grief-sized grab bag.

Stage 3: Presumption of Okayness
I was holding up just fine until my co-worker said, "Are you all right?" and then I had to leave, I just picked up and walked out the door, thank God it was raining anyway. It was yesterday, a Monday. Took me this long to even get the words down, I want it all to just end, I want to be Moved On, to be Finished, to be shut of this.

Stage 4: Recognition/Honest Now
But when I got the email, I immediately assumed the position (all those months right after he'd left and then again during the divorce you could find me in The Position half the day) elbows on my desk, keyboard pushed away, fingers outstretched on my closed eyes. Head bowed. Breathing. Trying so hard to just breathe. Do it. Breathe. Now. I can tell you this story -- A True Story-- because it is very late and I should be asleep. I miss one thing and it isn't him, it's the smoking, so I smoked tonight, I'm fallible, but at least I am not heartless. I don't care about the smoking. Or the heart, anyway. Who needs it. I was going to smoke in Paris anyway, and ya'll don't tell my dad.

Stage 5: God Help Me
Does there ever come a point where I will completely not care if he is dating the entire waitstaff at Hooters? Please, someone, tell me a day will arrive where I just. Won't. Care.

Stage 6: Realization/Let's Be Honest Ya'll
Clearly, I don't want him back. Clearly he did not love me the way I need, want, deserve. Clearly, it was a bad pairing and all the good things have come at a price, the disentanglement of me from my vision for myself, but anyway. It hurt. Because Shannon sent me an email yesterday, on Monday, confirming what I already knew (suspected?) that Mr. X and his girlfriend did indeed move into a new house together, and the ink wasn't even dry on the divorce papers when he did it. Two days after the divorce. But he hasn't told me himself and didn't want our mutual friends to tell me. BECAUSE THAT'S EASIER? For whom?

Stage 7: Clarity of Issues
The problem is not that there is another woman (that makes it easier, somehow) and anyway, I already knew. He never told me, he never had the backbone or moral stamina. No, you see he told me he needed his creativity back, that we (we!) would be happier for it, we could work on our relationship. (Oh please.) Or because telling the truth was so hard? (Yes, it is hard to tell the truth but you owe it to people, this much I have learned, you do it not because it's easy but because it's right.) He was scared, or weak, or just a liar all the way into his very bones. How can he be present, show up for a whole new life with a whole new woman when he never showed up for the end of this one? No, the problem is not that I still love him. I don't even know him. I have no idea who he is. The problem is the ease with which he has moved from Life A to Life B. And the inversely proportional unease ... the complete, utter mess I have been.

Stage 8: Begging
Tell me, please tell me it gets easier. That one day you bump into your ex-husband and he's with the entire waitstaff of Hooters, and you could care less. God, tell me this happens, that I will be with my best friend, or ... maybe even someone else? and i'll just look at him and wonder WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING.

Stage 9: Acceptance of Blame
When did I move from people-pleaser to husband-displeaser? was I: too hard, too soft, too demanding, what is demanding? Too much, not enough, too loud, too soft, too willing, not willing enough? Please pick up some laundry detergent on the way home? Was I so hard to live with?

Stage 10: Placement of Blame
He lied, he cheated long before he left, if she cooks his dinner now each night, pulls back the covers, lies next to him (he was someone else's husband when she met him) then good riddance to them both, no relationship borne of lies can ever be true. Also: I hate you both. You deserve each other.

Stage 11: Anger
I am good and I am true and I wish you a virulant and painful case of herpes, I hope she gets knocked up and you can know what real responsibility is all about, I hope you are made for each other, I hope you miss me, deeply, in the middle of the night, when I have somehow miraculously moved on and have someone to hug me when I wash a plate, sautee the zuchinni, pour a glass of iced tea. This will be better because it's real and you were a lie, a stranger.

Stage 12: Disbelief (More Anger)
I cannot believe here I am, so many months later and this news was like being kicked in the stomach, the very thought that the death of my marriage changed my life in every conceivable way and yet he just slid so easily from one bed to another, and my life is: figuring out the details, piecing together an entirely new future, a new set of friends because the old ones were the "married" friends, financially on my own, the way I see myself, my life, my future, when something breaks I am the one to fix it, it's all been changed forever. And he's set up house and has settled in already -- living with this woman! -- and I can't even picture what a date looks like, I feel like I can't ever trust a man, I'm terrified, I'm unassailably alone.

Stage 13: Insanity
The very idea. I guess his creativity came with boobs. Convenient, that one.

Stage 14: Prayer
Oh God. I do not know even how to put it into words, the feeling I had, at my desk, assume the position of shock and grief. But like all these times before, that's never stopped me. Help me.

Stage 15: Poor Grammar
He is LIVING WITH a woman, and I cannot commit to a mascara.
I've changed.
I don't know if I can ever let anyone in again.
I've changed.
I'm not as needy as I was.
I'm able to sit alone.
I like it.
It scares me that I may never want anyone. I may never trust anyone. I may never love anyone again.
He never could fix anything, anyway.
I should never have married him.
I'm furious that he has it so easy.
That leaving was just one day, a hassle, he'd left long before he moved out. Did he ever show up at all? Or was it just a lie?
I feel sick to my stomach.
I'm mad that he gets to bumble along, play house, have someone wash his socks and cook his meals, and it's so easy for him.
I'm scared to GO ON A FREAKING DATE and he has set up house and has someone in his bed, plays wifey to him, how does one trade warm bodies so easily? How?

Was I so easy to forget?

Stage 16: Exhaustion
He isn't worth the time it takes me to blow dry my hair.
I'm bored with the whole thing.
I want to be shut of it even more than you -- you, who've had to listen to me bellyache for a year. Really. I'ma tired of it all. So he lives with his girlfriend. The man cannot wash a pair of socks.

Stage 17: Hope/The Future
One thing is true, I know who I am every day of the week and twice on Sundays. I kept my sense of humor. I worked through this thing so that when I do decide, one day, to hitch my wagon to someone I will be fully present, no hidden agenda, and one of us got their creativity back, and I can garandamnteeyou it wasn't him. It's OK. he comes home to someone else each night, shakes the raindrops from his coat, they have dinner, have a cocktail, go to bed. I do not have that. I have: reality. The knowledge that I am true and real. I don't lie to you. I show up. I make promises that I keep. I pet the cat and stretch out, pour another in a long line of solid cabernets. Life isn't bad. I show up. I am present. I'm here to take whatever comes. This? Just something those of us who are GETTING OUR CREATIVITY BACK thrive upon. The future is wide open. I'm scared, but I will do it anyway. Because I have hope, and humor, and love inside me. The cat settles in for a long night. I'm fine. Surprisingly, I'm fine.

Posted by laurie at March 7, 2006 12:04 AM