The Things I Didn’t Expect

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A shadow of my former self...

A shadow of my former self…

I didn’t expect to ever check “divorced” on a form, or wake up realizing I’m on my side of the bed only out of habit.

I didn’t expect to change the high light bulbs myself, or roll the trash down to the end of the dirt road each week.

I didn’t expect to shop for one, or constantly catch sight of the dent on my fourth finger where my wedding band withered the flesh over the course of nearly seven years.

I didn’t expect to find myself on the cusp of my fortieth birthday, single, in a town two thousand miles away from the place of my birth.

I also didn’t expect to be happy.

And I am. I am fucking HAPPY.

Like, listen-to-80s-dance-music-and-writhe-around-the-living-room-in-my-skivvies happy.

Wha? How?

I don’t know, but I think it started with the last blog post I wrote. I cracked wide the fuck open as I wrote that; heaving sobs and spitting tears as the words just flowed out of me without need for craft or correction. I wrote, and I broke open all the way to my core.

I’ve started feeling so awake I’ve had to check my caffeine intake – but no, I’m still drinking decaf.

I’ve started singing along to the radio in the car – hell, I started digging up all my old CDs (yes, I still have all my music on CD – I’m nearly forty, damn it, now get off my lawn!) and blasting the music of my youth on the rather nice Bose system I inherited from my dad.

I’ve started to lollop along on my treadmill each morning to Concrete Blonde and the Clash, slinging sweat and singing harmony when breath allows.

It might seem lame, this half-crazed, greying girl listening to Nick Cave and the Psychedelic Furs at all hours of the day, barbequing alone in my PJs after dark. It might be lame. I may be every cliche in the book, but I have to say, I haven’t felt this amazing, this vital in more years than I care to count.

I’m not missing the man who was my partner for the last nine years. At all.

I feel ashamed of this.  Don’t I owe him more than to simply blank him out of my consciousness? Yet, while I wish him well, I don’t, right now, really want to know what he’s up to, or tell him little things about my day. I just want to have my own damn day and keep it for myself, a pleasure I savor to myself. I don’t feel his absence the way I expected to, or feel lonely. I just feel like me.

I suppose that says a lot about the rightness of the divorce. I’d no idea our relationship had died; I thought it was sick, yes, but that perhaps that was normal for a marriage after several years. That boredom and malaise were part of the package.

Now I see so many possibilities. I’m not stymied trying to accommodate someone who simply couldn’t want the same things I wanted. He’s not trying to please me, and making himself miserable in the process. Now it’s okay to want the things I want. It’s okay to enjoy Santa Fe, and listening to the Smiths, and to think about maybe making a permanent home here if I want.

I don’t know exactly what my next adventure may be. Maybe I’ll adopt an alpaca, or visit the Amalfi Coast. Maybe I’ll even learn to like green chile. I don’t need to know just yet. But the unexpected is beginning to feel more like a delight than a dread, and that’s progress.

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2 thoughts on “The Things I Didn’t Expect

  1. Every time a relationship has ended in my life, I’ve felt a surge of aliveness and “me”ness. I’m happy for you (and with you) chica.

  2. I can totally relate! I was in a six year relationship and when it ended suddenly and unexpectedly I was crushed–for about a month. Then I started feeling back to my old self. I was so happy because I never realized how much of myself I’d changed to be with him. I finally accepted that there were huge differences in how we envisioned our lives to be and what we wanted in a partner. What a favor he’s done me!

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