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November 21, 2012

One of the best things about this website–something more careful and less whiny than a journal, but less phony than an article written for pay–has been the ability to go back and see what I was thinking a year ago, two years ago, and so forth. (Or, at least, to see what the more careful/less whiny/less phony part of me was trying to think, trying to articulate.)

Two years ago in November I wrote this:

I am weary of the old thoughts, of the old chin-up pep talks I give myself when I feel low.  There are days I feel hopelessly over-extended, and days I feel terribly lonely and bereft.  I know this is not divorce, per se–it is just life, it is like this for everyone, it was like this for me when I was married, too.  But I wish I did not have to tell myself again and again that this is a difficult stage that I will pass through.  I know it gets better–I have seen things get better myself. Will it ever get all the way better, though? That’s what I need to know. Is it foolish even to expect that, to keep waiting for that?

A clever and especially prescient commenter responded with this:

What does “better” mean to you? Wealthier? With an all-new residence with no vestiges of the old life? In a better romance? Remarried? Finding some other way to be with a person than legally married? Traveling? The eternal sunshine of the spotless mind? Changing into a completely different person on the outside? Or on the inside? Or does your idea of “better” just change from one setback/annoyance/sorrow/low point to the next?

I then wrote:

Those are damned good questions. What I want? Well, it’s not money, for sure. Not remarriage. Not even living together, though living nearer might be nice. Travel will come, and I’m freer now with my days than I have been in decades. I don’t want to change into anything or anyone (possibly unwise, but there you have it.) I want–well, I suppose I want a clearer vision of what I want, which is a conundrum. I want not to miss my kids when they’re with their father. I want their father not to bug the living shit out of me on a regular basis. I do want to move, but that’s out of my hands, more or less. I want contentment instead of these violent swings from glee to misery. I want a bit of my life to be rote, and not to feel always that I am barely getting by.

I want, I suppose, to accept what I have now with the grace and gratefulness my situation deserves. I want to slide quietly out of view and into calm acceptance. I want to sit down, as it were, and take a load off. To stop worrying, and stop fighting the worry.

These are all abstractions, and will come with time. Having wrenched myself out of a rut, I’m bouncing along the surface. I’m terrified of becoming re-(or newly) entrenched, so for now I skitter nervously here and there, a bit rudderless, I suppose.

I want that old feeling of rightness, of seeing the future stretching ahead of me, happy and full.

It makes my spine tingle to read this. I remember how I felt back then, and yet I can’t feel it any more. It has been quite some time since I felt so lost, so unmoored, so desperate and bereft. Back then, I really did feel as if my life hung by a very thin thread. I had no idea if what I was doing was right; I was like a rat in a cage, pressing levers in superstitious and wholly random sequences, being rewarded and punished (or so I thought) at the whim of an incomprehensible universe. Well, that’s melodramatic. But worse than the feeling that I was lost was the feeling that I didn’t understand how to find my way again, didn’t know whether or not I ever would.

And now I have. Life isn’t perfect; life never is. But I’m here at my mother’s house, the night before Thanksgiving. I just read Days With Frog and Toad to my three year old niece, who was fresh from her bath in clean pajamas, cuddled between my boyfriend and me. My kids are with their father, and somehow that’s completely fine. My mother and stepfather are going to sleep across the hall. My sister is in the living room. Tomorrow my family and various friends will all head to my grandmother’s house–my grandmother, whom I’m named after, and to whom I’m very close, is 93. That’s something to marvel at, something to be happy about and grateful for.

I am, most of the time, quite content. I do not worry so much. When I do, I don’t fight it as desperately. I do not feel as if I’m perpetually bouncing along the surface of things, and I do not feel rudderless. Most importantly, I actually do see the future stretching ahead (a different future than I’d once imagined, to be sure, but no less exciting for being different). And the future I see stretching ahead is both happy and full.

I owe a real debt of gratitude to all of you who have been kind enough, since I started writing here three years ago, to read and comment. By taking the time to do both, you have helped me find my way. Thank you.

25 Comments leave one →
  1. November 21, 2012 11:11 pm

    Making the transition from then to where you are now is no small thing. You made it happen. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Your new home is beautiful, by the way.

    • irretrievablybroken permalink*
      November 24, 2012 11:43 pm

      Thank you, thank you. It really is beautiful, I love it. I’m rather astounded at my luck.

  2. Sam permalink
    November 22, 2012 12:08 am

    You give me hope. Your writing is eloquent. It’s nice to see you growing more content. My brain does not work tonight, but I assume you get what I’m trying to say.

    • irretrievablybroken permalink*
      November 24, 2012 11:43 pm

      Totally get it, thank you.

  3. Was Living Down Under permalink
    November 22, 2012 8:51 am

    “I want that old feeling of rightness, of seeing the future stretching ahead of me, happy and full.”

    We moved last year. Across the world and back home. It through me into a pit of depression (it’s the only way to describe it). Trivial I know compared to other people’s problems. But it’s not until you’re out of it that you know how deep that pit was.

    I’ve read all your posts, followed your journey and love your writing. I’m really glad you’ve found your peace. Peace is good. Happy Thanksgiving

  4. Was Living Down Under permalink
    November 22, 2012 8:52 am

    Agh I can’t believe I made a grammatical error. Threw me not through me! 🙂

    • irretrievablybroken permalink*
      November 22, 2012 10:08 am

      Typo! That counts as a typo in my book. I’ve done stuff like that, then posted. And everyone who gets the blog in their mailfeed then gets my error, er, typo, and there’s no way to fix the version they got.

      • Was living down under permalink
        November 22, 2012 7:19 pm

        Thanks! :).

        I don’t think I could handle that pressure. When people (friends) suggested I start a blog chronicalling my life as a SAHM in Australia, I thought about it and then decided writing was the easy part. But I would probably end up spending hours editing and rewriting that it would either a) become an onerous task or b)so time consuming I would end up neglecting the very children I was writing about. Needless to say, I never did it. And now I’m home. And working. Sigh. Working on the peace bit.

  5. November 22, 2012 4:57 pm

    This post made me happy. I’m grateful for your blog and virtual friendship and all the hope and inspiriation you’ve given me. Have a truly wonderful day.

    • irretrievablybroken permalink*
      November 24, 2012 11:44 pm

      Likewise, dear. I owe you an email and shall soon oblige. xxx

  6. telechick permalink
    November 22, 2012 10:22 pm

    I am very glad that you have made it to a place where you see a happy and fulfilling future. I hope that in time I will feel the same way.

    My mother and I ateThanksgiving lunch with my 94 year old grandmother and her 100 and 103 year old friends. None of them (aside from my mother) can hear which makes conversation difficult, but they are all lovely ladies.

    • irretrievablybroken permalink*
      November 24, 2012 11:42 pm

      You will, you will. Promise. I’m very impressed with your Thanskgiving lunch attendees. Wow. My grandmother is fading, but still lovely as well, and there are moments with her when her old personality wakes right up, if you know what I mean. She’s in pain from arthritis and various ailments, and takes a lot of morphine, so she sometimes drifts away, but at other times she’s completely herself. I don’t know how she does it.

      Anyway, hang in there, you’re brave, and you’ll be fine, better than fine. All shall be well.

  7. November 24, 2012 10:18 pm

    Your blog gives me hope in more ways than I can enumerate. Thank you for that! I love your style of writing!!

    • irretrievablybroken permalink*
      November 24, 2012 11:43 pm

      Thank you, too. For reading and for your encouraging comments.

  8. November 26, 2012 10:08 am

    This is really beautiful, and – well – wise. I spend so much time vaguely dissatisfied with where I am in life, and not nearly enough time trying to articulate the way you have here what, exactly, an un-dissatisfied life would look like.

    • irretrievablybroken permalink*
      November 26, 2012 10:21 am

      It’s forever hard to pin down. But the Zen thing of just kind of noticing dissatisfaction and letting it be there is probably the best strategy I’ve found–you know, just being patient and letting the dissatisfaction pass. It’s startling when you come across tangible evidence–like my post from two years ago–that it does, with no special effort, just time.

  9. November 27, 2012 11:26 pm

    This makes me so happy to read – I’m really pleased for you. The word I was looking for just a few minutes ago to describe how I felt post-divorce was “adrift”. Rudderless would have been ever better. It’s bloody good to be on the other side. Congrats again on the new place.

    • irretrievablybroken permalink*
      November 28, 2012 7:45 pm

      I’ve just clicked over to your blog, and am about to commence reading. Thank you!

  10. November 29, 2012 10:25 am

    re-reading this with a new perspective. last night my husband told me he wants to move out. i knew things weren’t good; i had no idea he was thinking of leaving. i slept maybe 15 minutes all night: just lay in bed, trying to imagine a life i want nothing to do with. i am heartbroken, stunned, bewildered, devastated. trying to imagine the conversation we will soon be having with the kids about why daddy isn’t going to be living here for a while. or maybe ever again. i never, ever, ever thought this would be my life. i am grateful for your blog. i’ve been thinking about it off and on since the news broke last evening, and a tiny voice in the back of my mind will occasionally whisper, “she’s ok, she made it through, eventually so will you.”

    but i don’t want to. i don’t want any part of this.

    • November 29, 2012 1:42 pm

      I am just so, so sorry. I have nothing useful for you, but know I’m just so sorry.

    • irretrievablybroken permalink*
      November 29, 2012 4:18 pm

      Vikki–I, too, am just so sorry. You WILL be okay, you will be happy, but you have a very long hard time ahead of you. I think you are equal to it, though. Don’t think about it all at once, or your head will explode. Just think in terms of days. What can you do today, what do you need to do today? Don’t worry about anything in the future.

      And remember, if it gives you comfort, that all kinds of people get divorced. This gave me the most comfort of all, somehow. Just knowing that there were people walking around intact who’d been divorced.

      And email me if you like. I’ll do anything I can to help from afar.

      Hang in there. Be brave. I’m so sorry you are going through this.

      • November 30, 2012 1:26 pm

        thank you both ladies….and i’m glad to learn, andi, that this is where i know you from 🙂 i am trying to surround myself with people who love me, and take care of myself as best i can. tonight means a conversation i never thought i’d have with my kids, but my husband and i will be grownups about this in a way my parents were not. in the end i trust that we will be ok.

        • irretrievablybroken permalink*
          November 30, 2012 1:55 pm

          The day I told the children we were getting divorced was the worst day of my life. The absolute nadir. So listen to me, and listen well–tomorrow will be better than today. You will make it through to the other side. I will be thinking of you.

  11. November 29, 2012 1:48 pm

    But for you, IBr, I am so, so happy. It’s lovely to read of peaceful satisfaction, especially that of someone who notices it and remarks on it with interesting and lyrical language. Though I am a tiny bit afraid that your newfound daily bliss will mean fewer and fewer blog posts until… no. I won’t think of it. Keep writing. Tell us about happy things with all the power you told us of hard things.

    • irretrievablybroken permalink*
      November 29, 2012 4:31 pm

      I will. Thank you, lovely.

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