Saturday, October 26, 2013

Divorce Times: The Holidays Are Bearing Down



Full disclosure: This post was partly precipitated by a touching scene in the new Bridget Jones novel. That’s how girly I am.

Things are happy and friendly between me and Sweetie. I still call her at the end of most days as she’s leaving work. I still high-five her over smutty achievements. But it’s over soon, and I’ll be alone.

She’s supposed to be moved out by the end of November and I have no idea how we are going to get to there. Free and self-actualized as I’ve been in the past few months, I suddenly don’t want it to be over; I don’t want to let it go. She’s been my best friend and my love for all these years. She’s been my family.

And I don’t know how to make it on my own. I was hired this year to cover a maternity leave and though I’ve been told I’m keeping the same position when that teacher returns in December, I don’t feel like I’ve been earning it, so I really don’t know WHAT is going to happen. Even as I’ve grown more confident and person-like, everything in my life feels more fragile and more precarious. I wish I knew what to do to get through it.

I’m trying to bring dungeon-confidence into the rest of my life, to plant my feet and smile big and know I’m worthy, to ask for what I need and scroll past rejection with grace. But after a lifetime of being apologetic about existing at ALL, none of this comes naturally, and the stakes are much higher at work than at play. Learning to fight the reflex to apologize and make myself small is rewarding but taxing. Mostly I just have to go to bed early a lot to give myself time to grow.

In a few weeks, the holidays will start. I’ll do my yearly Black Friday shopping with my sister and come back to the house with my holiday-themed Real Simple and one eggnog latte, not two. When I made my goals for this year, this is not where I saw it all going.

I’ll probably still ask Sweetie to set up my Christmas tree, and I’ll help her with hers as well. It’s tempting to skip Christmas altogether, but after all the years of assuming we didn’t deserve one because we didn’t have children, I am never going to unperson myself like that again.

We split up the decorations months ago, but how could we really? For years, our hobby was birdwatching and so people bought us bird ornaments. None of those birds could be just mine or just hers. It will take so much more work than I’ve yet admitted to take it all apart.

I need to both find some serious inner resources and also just give myself a break. I feel the way my special-needs students must feel sometimes—I’m trying to give life what it’s asking me for, but I don’t have all of the tools I need yet. I’m getting all kinds of accommodations and modifications (My therapist makes housecalls, for crying out loud!) but everything’s just hard and slow. I think this is why I over-identify with my students.

For all I love the future I’m doing an awesome job of building, I’m slowly mourning the family I made with Sweetie, the household rituals that have left us one by one. In a few weeks, friends will start disappearing into their own families and I am afraid of how alone I will feel. It’s all part of learning to love myself, but I don’t know how to face it.

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