There has seldom been a time when I haven’t heard the words, “I’m sorry” when I tell people that I’m divorced. I’ve received the most sincere condolences (for lack of a better word) from people who knew how long I had been married. I also get the question, “Are you okay?” more times than you can imagine. The true heartfelt sympathy that’s extended in those words is genuinely felt in the core of my heart. I appreciated everyone who has said them to me. Here’s the thing, though: my divorce was an occasion to celebrate.
What many people don’t know when they are extending their condolences for the death of my marriage is that I had been abused so deeply, mentally and emotionally, that I almost died. Those who do know about the years of hell I lived through, congratulated me. My ex-husband didn’t bother to tell his older children that we had gotten divorced so when I did, my step-son simply said, “I’m so happy for you, Trease. You deserve better.” The friends who knew enough of the details sent messages telling me that they were thrilled that I was finally free.
I had been left with a high school senior who needed a positive male role model more in the days right before he left for college than he ever had. My son had become a father at 17. I believe one of the strongest influences in a child’s life is the same-sex parent. My child had seen the absolute worst example of what a man should be and how he should treat his mate. What I wish people would understand is that it’s better for a child to be completely removed from the presence of a rogue parent than it is for them to be exposed to that person’s shenanigans. I am blessed in that my son chooses to do things the exact opposite of the way he saw his dad do them. That includes everything from the way he treats his girlfriend to the way he makes sure his daughter knows she is what he lives and breathes for. He’s not verbally abusive to his child the way his father was to him. For that I am grateful.
Did getting divorced hurt me? Yes. I went through the cycle of wondering what I could have done to make that thing work even though it had been in a coma for at least 10 years and actually needed the plug to be pulled. I had tried. I had hung on with both hands for years and ultimately, the man who should have held me closer and tighter than any other person in the world was the one who pried my fingers off the ledge so that I fell.
What people need to understand is that I’m perfectly content with my life. Does that mean that I’m settled where I am? Nope. I want better. I have to do better. I’m ready to have my new home built. I’m ready for my book to reach the public. I ready for my blog to reach more women. I’m ready to graduate with my MFA so that I begin work on my doctorate degree. There are a million and half things to do in order for me to accomplish those goals, but I cannot express enough that the journey is just as exciting as the destination. Don’t be sorry for me. Don’t worry about me. Celebrate!