Somewhere in the early days when all I could think to myself was, "When will this feel less like a semi just hit my life?" I was consulting the all powerful Google and found this admittedly arbitrary formula. Recovery time from a divorce averages about one half the length of the marriage. 10 years marriage = 5 years recovery and so on, so I planted the seed in the back of my mind that I would give myself the first full year to focus almost entirely on healing myself up, and I have.
This is the year I will always remember as the year I slept just as much as my body asked me to, which sometimes meant going straight to bed at 6pm and waking up 14 hours later. I ate any and every thing I wanted and I let myself talk about my experience endlessly, processing it out of me by virtue of sheer repetition. I bought myself presents --nice dresses and red high heels, jewelry, and a guitar. I took myself on weekend trips, road trips, trips to the theater and movies and beach. I bought myself a reliable car and moved back to the home I'd left in a hope to appease The Mr. Then, I allowed my soul to let go of 9/10 of my earthly possessions to pursue my education (another luxury out of reach to married Frowfrow) in the two things I love most - art and teaching...in Hawaii, and when a beautiful African man said to me, in his adorable accent, "Come outside, I'm going to kiss you." I said, "Okay."
To some this year may seem overly indulgent or self centered, but it has been exactly what I needed to get my sea legs back. I had to learn that I can take care of myself. I can meet my needs. There isn't a man alive that can fix the broken parts of me, and I can stop looking, because Jesus and I are enough. My poor little terrified, broken heart and soul have been quieted, soothed, cradled and nurtured back into functionality, and I must say, today, 365 days after the best worst day of my life, I am thankful for what's happened.
I was making up a whiteboard for the students at work the other day and came across these wise words from the mouth of Oprah. "True forgiveness is when you can say, 'Thank you for that experience'." I cannot say I am grateful for every aspect of what the past three years of my life have been like, but last night when I was talking to God about the whole thing, this is some of the list we were able to come up with:
I'm thankful that I learned so much about myself through this experience, that I now have a much deeper understanding of the importance of my own needs, hopes, dreams and establishing boundaries. I'm thankful that I get another chance at life, and that being in an unhealthy marriage helped me to see more clearly the things that are most important to me in life. I'm thankful that I know how much I love being a wife and how much I love having a husband. I'm thankful that I was married -- that someone, at least at some point, loved me enough to ask me to be his wife and that I had the time I did in Long Beach as a newly wed. I loved that short season in my life so immensely.
I'm thankful that dating again has opened my eyes to the things I did to contribute to the problems in my marriage and that I have all the time I need to work through those issues and becomes a healthier individual. I'm thankful that The Mr. had the courage to put a final stop to everything, and that he has been very respectful of my request that he not contact me again. I'm thankful for the new world that has opened up to me with possibilities that were once completely off the table. I'm thankful for all the long hours those who love me have put in with me--helping me move, inviting me over, flying me out for a visit, taking me out for an adventure, sitting in with me for the night, all the talking, all the prayers, all the hope and all the love. I'm thankful for the incredibly cathartic, healing experience writing this blog has been for me, and ultimately, beyond any other blessing to come from this experience I'm thankful that I have new understanding of exactly what my Savior is willing to go through, just for me.
So thanks for being a part of this first year of recovery. Thanks for reaching out to help me know I am not so alone in this unexpected stage of my life, and thank you, thank you, thank you that the first year is finally over. : )