My Facebook feed is brimming over with wonderful news: Friends are getting married, having babies, going on vacations, following their dreams and, for the most part, celebrating the recent SCOTUS ruling that has resulted in a jubilant rainbow-colored feed. This is why I’ve hesitated to share my own life-changing news.
Seventeen years have passed since I met an 18-year old skater with whom I would fall head over heels in love, write many poems about, bicker with, grow with and eventually produce a wonderfully opinionated little boy who, when he laughs as he runs through the sprinklers, fills me with so much joy my eyes fill with tears.
Seventeen years have passed, during which we have accomplished much, and sacrificed much, in terms of education and careers.
Seventeen years have passed, and we have exulted in our ability to preserver through circumstances that would have shredded apart any other couple.
Seventeen years, and I have realized that we didn’t come out on the other side completely unscathed; like sharks, we bear the marks of past battles. And the wounds have kept coming, more and more often, so that prior wounds have never had a chance to heal. I have found myself limping through life, cleaning myself up and making myself presentable to the world, but finding it harder and harder to just keep swimming.
Out of respect for my mate of 17 years, I won’t go into details. It’s enough to say our marriage is over.
I don’t regret our history together. Our entire adult lives were tightly interwoven, and we experienced so many good things together that I could never wish to undo that. What I do wish I could undo is the darkness that overtook us and managed to leave us so mangled that we became unrecognizable to each other. Again, I’m being purposely vague here because, despite my innate need to use writing as a means of catharsis, I can’t open our lives up for inspection like that, not at this moment anyway.
The last 48 hours have been particularly rough as the person I thought I’d share the rest of my life with balks, understandably, at my decision to end things, and is now so angry with me that he wrote to me that he fears he will hate me for the rest of his life.
“Things fall apart” indeed… I’ve shed many tears over the years, but now when I cry it’s because I’m mourning the loss of the person who knew me better than anyone else, at one point in time. I’m mourning the loss of the person who was my best friend. The thought of not being married to him is, frankly, a relief, but the thought of embarking on a horrific, post-divorce, hate-fueled journey of crappy co-parenting is almost more than I can bear.
My Facebook feed is a welcome reprieve. It brings me comfort to know that my friends and loved ones have reasons to celebrate. Sometimes, though, as I scroll through my feed, liking and commenting, I feel like I’m drowning, not waving from the open water. I’ve done such a good job of not airing my dirty laundry that no one has known there was something wrong. Or at least, no one has said anything.
So here I am waving, frantically waving, in the hopes of being rescued through a few kind words of support. I know I’m breaking all sorts of social media rules of disengagement by not posting something celebratory, or a photo of my plate of food, or my latest jogging route. Not being a chronic offender, though, I’m hoping for leniency. In the meantime, I’m still a big believer that #LoveWins, and I look forward to the future and all that’s in store.