It has been almost three years since the refinement of myself began, nine months since I became convinced a divorce was needed for my success, add in five months of marriage therapy and now four months since I separated from my husband, moved out, and moved on into this limbo of a “I’m not single-I’m not divorced.” world. As I move along – sometimes skipping, sometimes limping- towards a different life, I am constantly reaffirming my direction and applauding me. I leave myself “love notes”. I regularly review and update my goals. I take the time to do things that please me. I surround myself with optimism. I nurture me. At times, it may come across as fake or possibly pretentious. At times, maybe it is. It is the investment into my soul that I have been craving for a long time. This optimism is working and here’s why…
Let’s be honest: when you are going through a divorce, the whole world is NOT on your side. Relationships struggle. Friends are faced with decisions to draw a line and jump on either side, or sometimes do so interchangeably, often deferring to self interests. Family already knows what side of the line they are supposed to be on and struggle in the new role, often getting too involved or not enough or completely erase your existence from their lives. The balance is rarely ever clear. Acquaintances, friends of friends and/or family and others simply enjoy the black magic of gossip and underestimate its power. Then, there is the business side of a divorce where the world is not on your side. It’s not so easy to close out 20+ accounts, change benefit plans, change business ownership, pay off debts, update emergency contacts, beneficiaries, wills, etc. For every single one of these items that needs change, there is a system to follow, a form to complete, or a notary needed. Finally, the divorce itself is not on your side. The back and forth of negotiating a compromising outcome, navigating the legalities of it all, the hidden agendas, the (sometimes nasty) communications, even the length of time to get a divorce finalized seems to be against you. Add in any other demands or life changes like a major death in the family, changes in school/work, moving, (oh yeah…I’m moving to Atlanta in about 6 months) and from time to time, you find that your peace of mind is a bit disturbed, if evidenced at all. Not so surprising, ehh?
But here’s the deal. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the pre-occupation on the improvement of yourself and being your own biggest, optimisitc fan in the process. The phrase, “Fake it ‘til you make it!” is well known for a reason. In the past few months, I have created the equivalent of the Tabernacle Choir in my head (and I’m not crazy). My choir sings my praises for saving enough money to fund a cruise for my daughters and me. My choir lifts my spirits as I continue to struggle in learning the difference between alone and lonely and getting more and more comfortable with the “alone” side of things. My choir charms my ego as I have put together furniture, managed the purchase, assembly and use of multiple yard work machines and dealt with a flat tire on my own (yeah..I realize I have been spoiled up to this point.) My choir has preached to me about being strong and humble when all my inner-workings were directing me to be girl-interrupted-like. My choir croons to me that as long as I am being the best, working towards the best, and expecting the best of everything that is me, then the whole world IS on my side. And I believe my choir because it is honest.
I have been accused of being changed: “You are different, Alice. I don’t know you anymore.” I have been denying the accusation, believing it not to be so, but my choir told me today that I am guilty. I am. My world was disturbed once again this weekend by the angers of a bitter break-up, poisonous assumptions, and blinded action. The risks of my future are exposed further. I am completely changed, my choir tells me. I am calm. I do not react. I breathe. Not the same Alice I was two years ago. I am completely changed, my choir tells me. I am reminded that this is temporary. It is a process. I will emerge intact. Not the same Alice. I am completely changed, my choir tells me. I will press on to my goals – to my greater achievements yet to come and will continue to believe that the world is on my side. Not the same. I am changed – it’s me and the world.
And maybe the world is on your side, too.