Divorce is a funny thing. Even in a case such as mine, where everything is amicable and hunky-dory, divorce by its nature represents change. It’s now been almost 14 months since my ex and I filed for divorce, and nearly three years since we officially separated. And not surprisingly, the impact of that action has continued to change, morph and mature as time has gone on.
Thanks to my friend Jade for posting this.
For more on my story, read here.
One of the most common tactics non-profits have to draw attention to their cause is to declare a day, a week, a month. For example, October is well known to be Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You may even know that it’s also Anti-Bullying Awareness Month. According to this governmental website, the month represents 11 different causes including SIDS, Eye Injury Prevention, Down’s Syndrome, Physical Therapy, Medical Librarians, and more. And that doesn’t even count the more than a dozen other special weeks and days, such as Drive Safely Work Week, Walk to School Day, Mental Illness Awareness Week, World Food Day, Psoriasis Day and International Stuttering Awareness Day.
And let’s face it, (almost) all of these causes are important. There are any number of reasons why they should be recognized. But at some point, we may have to consider that we’re asking an awful lot of of October, especially considering we haven’t even gotten to Halloween yet.
And October has it easy compared to May, which has no fewer than 17 month descriptions (including National Mediterranean Diet Month, Ultraviolet Awareness Month and my personal favorite, National Toxic Encephalopathy and Chemical Injury Awareness Month), 10 weeks and 10 days devoted to a wide swath of other worthy causes.
But when I learned that this week is “Banned books week,” well, I could hardly wait to sound the bugles. As an avid reader, the prospect of books being actually banned breaks my heart, no matter how inappropriate the subject.
Some things get clearer the older you get. Some people discover (at 30-something) what they want to be when they grow up or that they don’t really want to have children or that a midlife crisis may not come in the form of a car. Some journeys of self-discovery can take decades, some take years, months or just days.
Funny thing about this August – I’ve had the chance to catch up in person with quite a number of high school friends – some of whom I haven’t seen in about 16-17 years. And it’s been kind of weird. When you go this long without seeing people, they tend to remain eternally frozen in the moment you last saw them. Think Han Solo in carbonite. Though hopefully without the look of intense pain. And somehow against all practical reality – despite knowing intellectually that a decade and a half of intense change have passed – some deep-seated, emotional part of you half expects that your friends will thaw out from that carbonite of time slightly worse for wear but fundamentally with the same boyish good looks, rakish smile, devil-may-care attitude and smartass remarks.
This week, J moved out. We knew it was coming. It’s been more than two years since we agreed to divorce, and it was past time. While it’s a necessary step, and one that in some ways I welcome as the beginning of a new phase in my life, that doesn’t lessen the tinge of sadness that accompanies this inevitability. It’s hard to say goodbye to someone who you’ve been so close to for so long – even when you know he’ll be just down the street.
There’s no question that we have an unusual situation. Of course it has certainly been a challenge, and figuring out the best way to acclimate K to it has been the most important part. But I’ve been surprised that the most frustrating aspect of the transition has been dealing with the perceptions of other people.
Here are some of the comments we’ve heard in recent days:
- “Why are you guys getting divorced? It seems so amicable.”
- “What’s the deal? Why such a cheerful divorce?”
- “Oh no! What happened? You guys seem to be so great together!”
- “Wait, am I reading Facebook correctly? Are you guys getting a divorce?!?!”