So, the past year of my life has been pretty rough. I haven’t talked about it a lot with you all for a few reasons.
- I try to keep my blog lighthearted and fun.
- I don’t want to offend anyone.
- I want to have a record of happy things to look back on, not sad, painful things.
- I don’t want to piss people off.
- I don’t want people to hate me.
- I don’t know what the future holds, and I don’t want to regret anything I share here.
For these reasons, and probably others that I can’t adequately verbalize, I’ve had a hard time being completely authentic with you. I’ve been hesitant to write about my divorce, about dating again, about seriously dating someone, and about all the dark, oppressive lows and beautiful, freeing highs that have come along with those things.
Because of all of that, my posts over the last months have been more like lists of things I’ve done and not so much things I’ve felt or real stories of my life. Yes, there are parts of those things in here, but not like it was way back when I felt comfortable sharing pretty much everything with you.
Well, no more!
I want to be authentic. I want to really feel things. I want to express those feelings. I want to tell anyone and everyone about my messy, faulty, screwed up, beautiful life. I want you to rejoice in my highs and cringe at my mistakes and comfort me when life’s rough. Anyway, what’s the point of living if you don’t really live? And what’s the point of really living if you don’t really share it?
My divorce was painful. It took me a while to feel that pain, but it definitely came. I’ve been living on my own for over a year now, and it’s still painful sometimes. I’m pretty sure that’s normal. It surprised me. I didn’t think I would ever get divorced. It was never a possibility. And it happened. And I lost my best friend and the person with whom I shared my whole life and for whom I cared so deeply. And I hurt him terribly. Yes, the divorce was a decision we made together, but it was a terrible, excruciating process for both of us. And there’s more to tell but I’m not feeling that authentic yet. And I regret that it caused him pain.
Besides losing my marriage last year, I lost lots of friends. Some lost respect for me. Some didn’t agree with my divorce or how I handled it. Some didn’t like my new boyfriend. Some say we’re still friends but never return my phone calls. Two didn’t even know about my divorce and still contacted me out of the blue to tell me they felt it was time to end our friendships. I had to change churches. I had to leave my Bible study. I had to move to a different side of town where I had to learn how to get around and where to grocery shop. Lots of people didn’t announce that they were stopping contact with me, but I definitely haven’t heard from them in 13-ish months. Some have merely unfriended me on Facebook. Some have written terrible things on Facebook before unfriending me.
Some days, this seemed worse than the divorce itself.
Unfortunately, most of these people are Christians.
Because of this, I also lost a good bit of my faith.
I used to volunteer at church. I used to look forward to Sunday mornings. I couldn’t get enough of fellowship with other believers. I could read scripture on people’s Facebook statuses and not want to take a flying leap off a cliff. I used to pray all the time.
Now, I’m scared to pray because part of me has been tricked into believing I’m a bad person. I get physically nauseous walking into church. I’m afraid people already know my history and are going to judge me. I’m afraid if they get to know me, they’re going to abandon me like so many others. I’m afraid they’re going to think I’m just one of those people who only goes to church when she happens to wake up early enough to make it. Many Sundays, that’s exactly who I am.
Often, I’m lonely. Often, I lack confidence. Often, I’m not sure how to be an unmarried woman. Often, I feel fat. (I’ve gained 15 lbs. since last year.) Most of the time, I’m broke.
More often, I’m happy. More often, I feel beautiful. More often, people tell me I’m beautiful. More often, I feel sane. Lots of times, it’s fun to be a broke, unmarried woman in the city. Fairly often, I hear God tell me that he still loves me.
Here are some more good things.
- I love music. I always knew I loved it, but now I LOVE it! It fills my soul. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend my free time and the little money I have left after bills on concert tickets. I’ve been blessed to have Courtney and Katharine and a handful of others to go to all of these concerts with.
- I worked two jobs over the holidays to pay my bills and have extra money for Christmas gifts. I never thought I’d have to do that. It kind of sucked. It was kind of fun. When my second job ended, I got promoted at work. Now, I’m a real professional woman working directly under the namesake of the company. I love my job. I feel smart.
- The friends I have now, though smaller in number, are genuine and true. I’ve met so many new, amazing people. Some of the people I hang out with make me uncomfortable. It’s good for me. It’s probably good for them, too.
- My faith is more dynamic. I’ve reexamined every facet of it. Now, I know why I believe what I believe. You may not agree with it. The old me probably wouldn’t agree with it. I think God’s ok with it. My faith is bruised, but it’s mine.
- My boyfriend is great. Here, I’ve referred to him as “B” to be secret and mysterious, but his name is Bryan. He has a beard and he owns five different kinds of bikes and he plays music and he’s dirtier and more complicated than anyone I’ve dated before. We have led very different lives and disagree on lots of stuff. It’s fun. I hope it stays that way.
- I have the best family. I’ve been more candid and honest with them than ever before. If they’ve hated the stuff I’ve told them, they haven’t shown it. At least, not in a negative way. I tell them every detail about everything, and they still pick up the phone when I call. That’s just crazy.
- I recognize myself in myself. I didn’t know how much of myself was still undiscovered. I always knew parts of myself and had an idea of what made me feel alive, but now I’m coming to know it. And I like myself! I’m interesting and creative and unique. I feel free.
I went alone to a brand new church on Easter morning. I didn’t know where I was going when I walked into the building, and I sat alone in the back row, and I began to cry when the music started. It was a song about how, as Christians, we’re called to forgive and love, but all I could think about was how that has been the complete opposite of the way most Christians in my life have treated me.
After the song, the preacher invited everyone to tell God, aloud or silently, the first sentence that came to mind. Some people shouted, “Bless you!” and “Praise Jesus!” and “Thank you for this community!”
I shouted, “The way some of your people have treated me has been complete and total bullshit! And it fucking sucks!”
Then I cried harder.
And I swear, I heard God’s voice tell me clear as day: “I know. And I’m sorry.”
And then the preacher gave a whole sermon about leaving the past behind – whatever good or bad it entailed – and looking toward an authentic future.
And so here we are.