I am well aware of the fact that each person on this planet faces and handles matters in different ways. There was a time when I cried, screamed, threw things, and became hysterical when I was hurt by another person, especially my ex-husband. After many, many hurts, most of which were intentional, I became numb and despondent. I couldn’t feel. Looking back, I’m glad I couldn’t. That protective wall that I built up shielded me from things that happened after the numbness set in that would have killed me.
The death of the 19-year marriage I fought with all my might to save despite the overwhelming amount of mental and emotional abuse came on April 5, 2013. By the time my ex-husband called to tell me that it was over, there was not a tear left in my ducts to shed for that thing. It’s not that I didn’t care because I almost died trying to hold on to our union; it’s just that all that caring had stripped me of every human emotion except where it concerned my son. I felt nothing. I knew that I would have to regain the human side of myself that I had lost along the way.
Rebuilding the Head
It took me a very long time to get counseling for the depression and anxiety that plagued me. My reasoning for not wanting to get help were the typical Black chick ones:
- I didn’t want to appear weak
- I didn’t want to tell me business to a stranger
- I couldn’t bear to hear myself speak all the crap I had endured over those years
My primary reason for seeking that help was to rebuild my son. He was a mess. It wasn’t just the divorce that had battered his mind and psyche. He had seen far too much trash over the years between his father and me. He was a mess. I contacted the counselors at our church, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship and we began our sessions. I started that thing to get help for my baby, but it became clear during the very first meeting that I needed just as much help, if not more.
At the end of that first hour, the counselor said to us, “All I hear from you two is that he did this or that, or he said this or that. You two are so consumed with him that you’ve lost yourselves.” He was right. I paid attention. I didn’t need to hear that a million times. I began working on the turn-around immediately. There was, however, nearly two decades of damage to repair so the fix didn’t occur overnight. When I tell y’all, it took much, much prayer and supplication, believe that. My son and I were each other’s source of support. We were each other’s source of strength. All that damage and the subsequent repair brought us closer if that’s even possible because we’ve always had an extremely strong bond.
Rebuilding the Heart
There was never a time when I lost my faith in love or the institution of marriage. I’ve always had enough sense to know that the actions of the man I was married to were not indicative of the actions of all men. I knew better. I knew that there would be a man out there who would love me the right way. I knew there was a man out there would be amazingly kind and loving, yet take his role as head of our household to heart. I knew that there was a man out there who would love my foolishness, but recognize my vulnerability. I knew there was a man out there who would see, love, and thrive on my strength and determination, yet would allow me to lean on him when I need to. I’m blessed.
Regaining the Woman You Are
Life happens. Pain happens. Divorce happens. Nothing irritates me like hearing someone tell another to “get over it already”. Time heals all wounds. It really does. Take your time, but know that you owe it to yourself and the folks who truly love you to rebuild what may have been lost. That includes love, trust, happiness, and joy.