Well, it has been over a year since I have posted a blog. It seems flaky on my part- or at least I think so. Don’t think I haven’t thought about writing on countless days, or said out loud to myself and those around me – I need to write a blog post. But the truth is, I wasn’t ready until now to put all of this in writing. But I am now. I’m ready to let you know where I have been and welcome you back into what I hope is a safe space for us to talk about what we do when things don’t go as we planned – when we find ourselves knee deep in the mess of life.
This past year, I got a divorce from my husband of 8 years. There, I said it! Whew. Let me express how hard that is to say out loud as well as believe and contend with. I also sold my house and moved. Oh, and I graduated my son from high school and took him to college 1,000 miles away. It has indeed been a “helluva” year. If you have read much about my story on my website and other blogs, you may think all of these changes are nothing compared to what I have been through. Initially, I thought the same, but I was wrong.
I haven’t been able to write about all this before because I was still “in it”. If you have read my posts before you know that I tend to be very open about my story. But I didn’t know how to write without writing about my divorce, and the problem was, I wasn’t ready to write about my divorce. I had no perspective. I had little clarity…very few words…and honestly at times, any hope. I realized with each stage and passing day that I needed to get to the other side of all of these changes and losses before I might be able to talk about them. Make no mistake, I still have very little perspective, clarity and sometimes hope. But I am ready to write about where I have been and what I have learned.
We all need to talk about these things. The hard things. The stuff we are afraid to admit out loud and to other people for fear of how they will react or judge. But I am now ready to tell you the story of how I came to the most difficult decision of my life. I am ready to talk about the pain of telling my children, and what it looked like to sit with them in their sadness, anger and fear. I am ready to be honest about how much shame I felt in choosing divorce. Especially as a ‘marriage therapist’. If I can’t keep my marriage together then who can? I want to tell you about how my codependency caused me to want EVERYONE to validate, agree with and support my decision (and how that did not happen). And how I had to cling to my own truth even when others didn’t agree or validate. I think you need to know about how hard it feels and how much shame is involved when you start your life over at the age of 44. Or the fact that for the first time in my life, I live alone half of the time and wonder what in the world am I going to do with myself now? I want you to know how hard I am on myself (as evidenced by some of the above statements) and how I want to stop doing that but my shame won’t let me.
As you can see, I have a lot to say. Those of you who know me will not be surprised. However, none of this is worth talking about if I am the first and only person in the world to feel these things. But reality and experience tells me I am not. For that reason, I want to be an authentic voice talking about painful experiences. So maybe you don’t have to feel so alone in your experiences- and your pain. You may not have had these exact experiences – but I am guessing your heart has known loss and pain. So let’s get the conversation started….. I know I’m glad to be back.
Shame is a normal feeling that everyone experiences–even trained therapists like myself. However, if you asked me on any given day if I struggle with shame, I would probably say, “I don’t struggle with toxic shame. I feel really good about myself and the accomplishments I’ve made in my life. I’m confident and feel good in my own skin–hence, I don’t have these issues.” I have been saying this out loud to my closest friends, even to myself. The truth is, over the years I have become pretty adept at covering the shame of my woundedness. The even deeper truth is, I still struggle with believing I am valuable or worth very much.
Life can hurt like hell sometimes. As a person who has experienced immense pain, (more than I would have ever chosen for myself) I’ve learned through it and because of it that those dark clouds eventually pass and you will feel the sun again. It may be hard to believe, but there are gifts that come from pain. When we have the courage to admit we are struggling and stop medicating ourselves or trying to ‘fix it’; when we let the storm wash away layers of who we thought we were supposed to be; a resilient, more compassionate version of ourselves can arise from the storm.
What pain does to us Continue reading “Waiting for the Sun”