Divorce gets a bad rep. The world looks at divorce as failure. As a way of saying you weren’t good enough or you didn’t try hard enough. But in reality, sometimes you find your way through the the thick forest and realize you’re not where you want to be. So you decide to go somewhere else. That’s not a failure, that’s clarity. And if you ask me, it’s bravery.
In my case, I wasn’t divorcing a horrible human, I was divorcing a good man. And when you announce you’re divorcing a good man, the world looks at you like you’ve lost your mind. Like someone gave you a gift and you decided to set it on fire for no good reason.
It takes a lot of guts to make a decision you know will make you the villain in the story. It sets the whispers whirling. The dirty looks from across the room. Even some of the people you thought loved you, might suddenly hate you. But sometimes you have to make those decisions in order to live the life you should be living.
It won’t be easy. Not everyone will understand. But the only person that needs to, is you. You’re the one waking up with the product of those decisions every day. You, alone. So if you know in your gut you’re doing the right thing, ignore the haters and keep doing you boo boo.
In my story, I’m the villain. It took some time for me to get use to that. I’m not accustomed to the feeling. And I don’t like when people don’t like me. But I’m working on it.
Divorce hurts. The hardest part for me was hurting my husband. He’s a good guy that’s done everything I’ve ever asked of him. He’s done nothing wrong. I think that’s why it’s so hard for him (and everyone else) to understand.
Everyone wanted some big reason from me, like I’m cheating or he’s been abusive. But that just wasn’t the case here. My husband was a unicorn. The kind of husband that cleans. The kind of husband that makes sure your dreams are put at the front of the line. The kind of husband that communicates. He was still human, he still pissed me off sometimes. But he was loyal. He was a good man. And there I was, unhappy.
If only life were simple.
You work so hard chasing a vision of what you think your life should look like, only to find disappointment when you get there. I had everything I wanted. The house, the husband, the kids, the security, vacations. I even had a back porch to sip my coffee on and my sister as my neighbor. And I swear, the moment I got it all, the universe laughed.
It was as if I could finally relax now that I was there. And when I did, I could feel my soul screaming. I wasn’t where I was supposed to be. All that work. All those plans. And there I was, unsatisfied, yearning for something else.
I’d been in my own way. I hadn’t been listening. I’d just been charging ahead towards my goals. Towards my plans. Never stopping to ask if it was what I really wanted or why I even wanted it.
And there I was at those goals and something was missing. Something was bothering me. It had been for a while. Like an itch I couldn’t scratch. What was wrong? Why wasn’t I happy?
Once Upon a Time
Once upon a time, girl met nice Prince Charming. And she thought everything would be sunshine and rainbows.
It was me, I was girl. And I’d met the nicest man. He was handsome, had a good job, treated my kids well, put his clothes in the laundry basket instead of beside it. He was a unicorn. The kind of guy you think went extinct.
So naturally, I married him. That should be the end of the story. And they all lived happily ever after. But… things rarely go that way in real life.
Just because you want something, doesn’t mean it was meant for you. The part no one talks about, is that not everyone should be with a unicorn.
Some people love ice cream but are lactose intolerant. Your body and your soul will send you the signs the whole time. But so many of us don’t know how to listen to those little internal messages (unless you’re lactose intolerant, then it’s pretty obvious).
It’s weird to think not everyone would want this perfect unicorn man. How’s it possible that I wasn’t happy?
I guess it’s because not everyone’s “happily ever after” looks the same. You know what you think you should want. What you think you’ll need. And you may even get fooled into living in that box for a while. It’s such a pretty box. It looks so nice from the outside.
But you forget to ask yourself what it is that you actually want. You forget to pay attention to yourself and the things that light you up. Do you even know what lights you up? Maybe you’re at the point in your life where you’ve never even asked those questions.
The beautiful thing about life, is that it’s never too late to start asking those questions. You’re never so far down the path that you can’t choose another one. How silly it would be to keep driving once you figure out you missed your turn? Turn around. Go left. Go right. But don’t just stay committed to the road because it was the road you turned on. You’re the only one standing in your way.
I would hear women describing the perfect man all the time. I felt a sense of pride over having found one myself.
You want a partner. You want to share your struggles with someone. You want someone you can count on. You want a guy that won’t cheat on you or lie to you. You know what I want? I want magic. MAGIC. I want to feel like I’m surrounded with possibilities and that anything can happen.
I mean, I want those other things too. But they don’t seem to matter as much to me in hindsight.
I didn’t know that’s what I wanted. I came from a very unstable family. So it seemed logical to me to choose the exact opposite. To choose someone dependable and good. Because that’s how you get a life unlike the life you grew up in. You choose the parallel opposite.
I wanted to be stable. I had pushed down anything wild or crazy inside of me. Pushed it way down. All my life I’ve had to be a grown up. I’ve had to do for others, keep a clear head, make good decisions. There was no choice. That was my life.
So long that part of me has been buried, I’d forgotten it existed. But it was there. And it was calling out to me. Like a part of myself that needed to be set free.
Like I’d been living a lie. A lie I wasn’t even aware I’d been living.
Something was wrong in paradise. All these things I had were supposed to make me happy. All these things I wanted.
I was having this nagging sense. You ever experience that? A feeling like life is trying to tell you something? Like it’s just on the edge of your vision, if only you could turn your head a little more to make it out.
That’s how I felt. And the feeling was getting worse. I was cranky. I was on the verge of hearing the message. But I couldn’t quite make it out. It was like someone was whispering to me in a loud room and I couldn’t hear them.
Things hadn’t started this way in my marriage. I was happy once, or at least I think I was. But in the last two years I could feel a shift. Growing pains. But I couldn’t pinpoint where they were coming from. Was it my job? Was it my life? Was it my marriage?
The storm was rolling in. The thunder was getting louder. You try to ignore the messages you don’t want to hear, but the universe has a way of getting through to you even if you don’t want to hear it.
I began to realize it might be my marriage. I told my husband I wasn’t happy. We talked about it a lot. We were trying to work through it. You know? Pinpoint the problem, and fix it. Go on dates. Actually sit next to each other on the couch. Feel more connected.
About a year ago I had a brilliant idea to go to a spiritual couples retreat. I love stuff like that and thought it would be a great way to get closer in our marriage. I had no idea how much this would backfire.
We went to the retreat. And the whole time I felt like a clenched fist. Like my whole body went on high alert. I wanted to bolt. Alarm bells were going off inside me.
What the hell was my problem? This was my idea. I loved stuff like this. Why was I on the verge of panic instead of embracing what was supposed to be a beautiful experience?
On the second day of the retreat, one of the guides asked us “What 3 things do you need, not in your relationship, but in your life, to be happy?” I don’t remember the other 2, but the first one came out of my mouth without any thought or my permission. I blurted out “Freedom”.
You’d think that’d be it. Message received universe. Thanks for playing. But no. That’d be too easy. Instead, I chose not to look too closely at that sign. I wanted this marriage to work out. It should work out. I should be happy. There was absolutely no reason why it shouldn’t work out. I could make things okay. I could work through this.
After all, I had a unicorn. It’s not like you see those strolling down the street every day.
The Truth Reveals Itself
You can only ignore the truth for so long before it becomes a much bigger problem. I tried though. Boy did I try. I tried for another year, wrapped up in complete denial. Ignoring the truth, trying to convince myself I was happy.
When I look back on it now, it all looks so clear. But at that point I had no idea I wanted a divorce. My husband knew I wasn’t happy. I knew I wasn’t happy. But we both thought it would get better. There are ups and downs in marriages, and this was just one of those dips.
But the universe was knocking on my door, telling me the truth and I was trying not to answer. I didn’t want to hear it. But the knocks kept coming, louder and louder.
I was snippy and moody. My husband started to get insecure and jealous, and he’d never been that way before. He kept cornering me and asking me questions about how I felt. Questions I didn’t want to ask myself, much less answer.
But the questions were forcing me to look deeper. And then I’d pull further away, and he’d strain harder to hold me. I was feeling like a caged bird. Like a cornered, caged bird.
In the days leading up to the real decision, my sister and I went on our annual trip to the ocean. I sat there, as the waves crashed in fury around me, and felt peace for the first time in many months. I felt as if I had escaped something.
I felt solitary and free. I felt blissfully alone. And I wanted more. I could breathe. I could relax.
I felt like I was shedding some skin, some suit that had been forced on me. I’d been wearing it for so long that I hadn’t noticed it was too small. It could no longer contain me. I needed out.
I’d outgrown my life. I’d outgrown my marriage. I needed to let it go. I needed to shed that layer of my life that wasn’t meant for me. That’s what the universe had been trying to say.
A Gypsy Can’t be a Unicorn
Just because things aren’t bad, doesn’t mean they’re good. You can forget life is full of magic moments. You can forget it holds endless possibilities. Maybe you get older and allow the cruelty of life to beat your dreams down. Maybe you just think that’s what growing up means.
But that magic is out there waiting for you. And I want it.
You might make a complete mess of your life and start all over. But it’s worth it. You may find heartache and mistakes along the way. But isn’t that the beauty of life? If you know what each day holds you’ll have stability, but stability is boring.
I want to live each day like an open book, ready to be filled with adventure. I want to laugh. I want to love. I want to embrace the journey and see where it leads me.
It hurt me to tell my husband I was done. He really was the best husband. He didn’t deserve to be hurt. But I couldn’t unhear the message. I couldn’t unknow the truth.
I don’t enjoy causing pain in others. But I knew it was necessary. I knew it meant and end, and endings are sad. I knew it meant others would hate me. I knew a lot of people would call me selfish and wouldn’t understand.
But the moment I told him, even with the sadness in his eyes, I felt peace. I felt a weight lift from my shoulders. I knew in my gut I’d made the right decision. There’s no greater confirmation than that.
I’m not a unicorn. I wanted to be. But I’m not. Deep down is that gypsy spirit within me that I’ve tried to contain. She has a wild soul calling out for exploration. She can’t live in that unicorn box no matter how pretty it is. No matter how many others dream of it and tell you it’s perfect.
It wasn’t meant for me. Over time that pretty box turned into a cage. The arms that felt like comfort turned to ropes preventing me from moving. That wasn’t my husband’s intent. But he could sense the winds of change calling out to me and desperately wanted to hold on.
And it wasn’t fair to him to stay when I didn’t want to. That wouldn’t be a gift. It would be a curse. To prevent him from finding someone that could love him better than I could. That would be real cruelty.
I was raised in a storm. And I thought to be wild, meant to repeat my family history. But it doesn’t have to mean that. You can still choose different, without going polar opposite. You can embrace your wilder side without being a complete mess.
I tried to pretend I could fit in that nice unicorn box and be happy there. But I can’t. And you shouldn’t pretend to fit somewhere you don’t. It’s a special kind of hell.
Others will tell you to appreciate what you have. That you have it so good. That it should be enough. But it’s not. Good enough isn’t good enough.
Life is a beautiful adventure and I plan to live it to it’s fullest potential. And so should you. We should all be brave enough to ask what things make us happy. You should ask it every day about everything you do and who you do it with.
At the end of this life, when you look back, you should smile at the beautiful adventure you had. There’ll be pain, there’ll be sadness. But all the bad stuff leads you to the good stuff.
It’s okay to be scared. Do it anyway. It’s okay to put yourself first. It’s okay to do what it is you love and tell everyone that doesn’t like it to FUCK OFF. It’s more than okay.
Live this life!!! Really live it. And someday you’ll look back and revel in all the moments that felt like magic.