When I started this blog in August of 2011 (really? that long ago?), I had no idea what the future held for me. My marriage of 16 years had fallen apart and I was so scared of what I was facing.
Here it is, almost 3 years later (damn!), and almost 2 years since my divorce was final, and I feel like I’m getting to know me better.
I feel like I spent the 16 years that I was married to him defining myself by what he wanted me to be. I was to be the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect partner.
Except, I was never good enough for him.
But, here’s what I came to realize.
No one is perfect.
And that’s not what love is about, anyway.
I have a friend that is in a situation that is not great on any level. And the woman that he loves is giving him grief over it, blaming him for the results that have come about because of her choices. What I told him is what everyone should realize about love:
Love is about accepting a person for who they are at the moment. You don’t make them feel bad about choices that they made in the past. You don’t hold them accountable for your choices. When you say you love someone, you accept all of them: past mistakes, faults, failings.
So, what I’ve come to realize is that he never loved me. Not in the way that he should have. And, honestly, I probably didn’t love him in the way that I should have.
And for awhile after I moved into my new place, I felt guilty about the fact that I had failed at my marriage. I felt like it was all my fault that things hadn’t worked out.
But then I realized that it takes two to make a relationship work. It definitely takes two to make a marriage work.
So, I decided to forgive myself for the fact that my marriage collapsed. Sure, I could have done things differently. But he could have, too. We both could have been more supportive of the other, could have given each other more understanding and room to grow, have grown with each other.
But we didn’t.
And here I am, single and happy.
And there he is, engaged and (by all accounts) happy.
When I moved out, one of the things that I promised myself is that I wouldn’t go jumping into a relationship. I didn’t wantto be that woman that had to have a man to complete her. My life is not Jerry Maguire. I’m not Renee Zellweiger and some Tom Cruise wanna be is not going to come along and make my life amazing.
And I didn’t need that. I didn’t need a man telling me how to define myself. What I needed was time to figure out how I like my eggs.
I needed a chance to figure out who I was, what I wanted.
And, although I’m happy, I’m not in a place where I want to open the door to someone else. Not yet.
Maybe not ever.
I like being single. I like the fun it affords me. I like not being tied to any one person. I like not having to answer for my actions or decisions. I like all of that.
Because my marriage was not a partnership. It was me being held accountable every day for every word, every move, every decision. It was him holding me up as some kind of failure in his eyes because I didn’t behave in the way that he felt I should. It wasn’t marriage. It was prison.
I get to spread my wings and do things that he wouldn’t have approved of. Things that will give me joy and experience. Things that make my heart happy and smiles come to my face.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not all a bed of roses. Sometimes it’s hard being the only one around to make decisions. To not have anyone that you can fall back on to hold you up when you need it. Sometimes it truly sucks.
But those moments are so outweighed by the joy that being single brings me.
Before he left me, the ex told me that his greatest fear was being alone.
How sad is that?
I am my own best friend. Maybe that sounds weird or sad, but it honestly isn’t. I love me. I love who I am.
Granted, I have areas I could work on. We all do.
But, for the most part, I’m really happy to enjoy my own company. I’m comfortable taking myself out to dinner with a good book. I’m happy to stay at home and enjoy the wonders of internet movie streaming.
And, let’s be honest, no one laughs as hard at my jokes as I do. I mean, really, I’m hilarious!
So, the woman that started this blog is no longer here. I left her behind, like I did all of my undesirable baggage. I have moved on without her (and him).
But I will never forget. I will never forget who I was when I was married, right after the separation, the divorce. I will never forget that I was that woman: scared, unsure, not ready to face the real world.
I will never forget that I was that woman and that I never want to be that woman again.
So, here we are. Starting a new journey together. I’m glad you’re along for the ride. I know I’m excited to be here, too!
The challenges of being single in today’s weird world of dating is going to be a fun road to travel together. The harrowing adventures of truly being a single mom are another path that we’ll travel down. And let’s not forget the fun that we’ll have together talking about all sorts of things from books to movies to life.
I’m so happy to have you along. The journey would have been taken even if you hadn’t been here, but road trips are just that much more awesome with a friend.
So, we’ll start with a song. Something that embodies the strength that I’ve found within myself. A girl “anthem” if you will. Because, I think, sometimes women forget that they are strong. Our strength comes from the inside and often doesn’t show itself until you really, truly need it.
Let’s start this journey with a little Beyoncé. Just because she’s fun. And strong. And because I like the song 🙂
See y’all in a bit…..