I’ve been struggling with how best to say this, something so quiet and private, a thing that hurts to even name.
There’s no easy way, so I’ll just dive in. Jerome and I separated. Tomorrow will be the first step towards making it final.
I’ll meet with a divorce lawyer (ay, that word, divorce, still cuts me like a dagger). Soon, both of us will go together. We’ll pick up a pen and sign papers and have a record of an official parting. It will be another stage of mourning; I’ve cycled through quite a few already to arrive at this point.
For those of you who are new here, this might be confusing. You might never have even seen posts where I talk about Jerome. For those who have been with me for awhile, you might have noticed that I mentioned rough times at first, but then, on the whole, observed silence on the matter.
It’s been a strange balance not talking about the personal upheaval here. I consider myself quite open; I invite you into my life. But at the same time, it’s not just about me. There’s another person involved – and the most important, intimate of relationships. For that reason, discretion seemed best. We rode our storm away from the screen.
Not only for his privacy and ours, but also – how do you even explain what you’re trying to understand yourself? Confusion, hurt, anger. Embarrassment even, shame. When you’re in the middle of it, sometimes you just have to go through what you’re going through.
If you wonder, is all that I’ve been writing on this blog just a veneer? How could I sound so positive when all of this has been happening?
My gratitude is real, too. It is the hot, burning truth. This I’ve learned this past year. I need to name my happiness, to remind myself at each turn that I am blessed by this life even when it challenges me to the core. I’ve experienced some of the hardest moments I’ve ever had – and I also feel like I’ve been granted miracles, too.
I feel like I’ve grown as a person, a writer. I grow, keep growing. I already considered myself an empathetic person, but that has only increased more as I travel the road of pain and recovery. How could feeling and understanding not deepen when I now know what it’s like to have my legs buckle from underneath me, the weight of sadness so heavy I could no longer stand?
How could I not be better when I am tested, made to make decisions, each moment asked to confront who I really am?
I know now (again) that perceived limits are only that – perceptions – and sometimes we have to face things we didn’t think we’d be capable of facing. We can. We do. I know what it is to howl, and then be able to laugh, too.
I’ve gotten better at recognizing the small, beautiful things in each day to keep me going. I don’t deny the difficulty, but I try actively to choose, to give more power to the beauty. This is why I mean it when I say I am grateful, too.
Because it has been a time of love, as well. (Any time can be a time of love. Yes, Live it, live it). Just think, I remind myself over and over: when a heart breaks, it breaks wide open. Space for even more love to enter.
And I have felt it. I’ve cried on people’s shoulders who I did not know cared about me so much until I needed them most. I have new friendships and old ones that are more profound. Unexpected saviors. New possibilities. People who have picked me up, told me what, really, I do know myself inside: I am strong. I am worthy. We are here on a journey.
I began dancing again after being away from it for several years to remember the intelligence in my body, to find a way to express myself when words failed me.
But words returned, too. I took up writing again in earnest. The act of creation while my marriage was dissolving. I don’t think I’d be so far along in my novel without these trials. My book has become my baby and it will have a birthday some day. How bittersweet that out of the destruction something new will be born.
I have been in Paris for awhile. But now I face things fresh. You will see me with new challenges. I am scared. Actually, yes. Quite scared and nervous for the future. I don’t know what will happen, just as we can never know. Where will I live? What will I do? I’ve never navigated this city before so on my own.
But I’m not alone. I have friends. I have dreams. I have family. I have you all, too. I cannot tell you how wonderful it’s been to have you come here and share in my day; at times it felt as if your comments saved me. You’ve been helping me all along, without even realizing.
And this, too, is a lesson. You never know how much your kindness may be helping someone. And you never know what battles people are fighting. This is why I have even more compassion. This is why I see light even in darkness. This is why I can smile, even when I cry. What a gift. To be able to feel this much. I am alive.
It’s not the classic love story. But sitting here, in Paris, which feels like home, yes, still, even as everything shifts, sunshine streams through the window. I accept the journey, however rocky. Because it’s authentic and real and true. I am still on the journey. Tomorrow is another day along the way. I still call this a love story. An imperfect ending, but new beginnings await.