Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Things I have not been doing in the 6 months since I wrote last:
1. Falling in love.
2. Getting married.
3. Having babies.
4. Even dating, for that matter.
5. Writing anywhere near as much as I want to
6. Traveling to exotic places.
7. Getting enough sleep.
8. Sticking to my diet and exercise plan
9. Staying on top of my homework
10. Beating myself up about any of the above mentioned things
I just felt a need to clarify numbers 1-4 because I feel like those are the usual suspects when a person goes MIA. What can I say? I'm an original. I have to do it my way. I have, however, been doing two things you may find interesting. One is writing a book for you. It's a how-to guide for surviving divorce that takes you through the first full year of recovery. I'm revamping the site a bit and hope to have the book ready for purchase by the end of this year. I ran out of weekly updates on my divorce recovery progress, so I've been channeling my vast array of acquired wisdom into a hopefully somewhat comprehensive guide for those who walk this path.
The other thing is I've been doing is graduating from college. I'm 30, so maybe this isn't a big deal to some of you, but it's a big deal to me. One of the biggest areas of contention in my marriage was that The Mr. didn't support me going back to school and belittled my creative efforts. In two and a half weeks from now I will be graduating from BYU Hawaii with my Bachelors of Arts in Painting and Drawing, and (not to toot my own horn) I'm not too shabby at it. It's a victorious moment for me, and a very crazy time. When you grow up in a neglectful home and live through an abusive marriage and divorce, stability becomes a really key component to wellbeing. It's something I've been learning to generate for myself, but this is a time where it's inevitable. I will and am losing my footing. All anyone wants to know these days is what's next for me, and all I can say is, "I was wondering the same thing myself!"
I was just re-reading a post I wrote a while back. Blogging is my journaling. It's good to remember. I've been absent from this blog for a while. There are a few reasons why. One is I really have pretty much run out of new things to say in terms of regular updates. Life is going on. I moved to a house a few miles off campus, directly across the street from the ocean. (No joke. I can see it from my kitchen table.) I am making new friends, meeting new people, getting things done, but life now has so much less to do with my divorce than it did before. When I think of my divorce now I think of it as an exceptional challenge I went through that has shaped me in to a much, much better person than I ever could have become while in my marriage...but the aching is mostly gone. The big moments of wallowing in grief and resentment, feeling victimized and wondering what The Mr. is up to now, all that is over.
The post I was just reading has some things to say about how intensely I love living in Hawaii, how much it feels like home. I do love living in Hawaii. I have a hard time explaining to people who come from stable families why, exactly, I feel so much happier, more at peace, more myself on this extremely remote island, but you can think of it this way: there is a full sized ocean cradling me away from any and everything that has ever hurt me. If I get too caught up in my past, all I need do is go stand by that ocean and complain to it a while. She hears me out and then soothes me with her endlessly lapping waves. Shhhhh she says. It's going to be okay. I know, she says. And she's pretty much always right. That ocean, holding back everything from the world I knew and opening for me a whole new world of creativity and kindness, giving me the chance to make the world I want, exactly the way I design it, is a force for which I will always be grateful. I am now trained in the art of design and I put all my principles to work: balance, composition, light, contrast, variety, texture, color and scale. I made a world that, for a time, seemed to be the perfect safe haven from any new heartache or pain inherent in life.
And then, pain came anyway. Life is funny like that.
It's not anything serious. My parents are still alive and (as far as I know) so is my cat. No one did anything overly cruel or vicious, but in the last 6 months since I wrote I left my job on campus due to some exceptionally unfair circumstances. I was working as a graphic artist and I loved the time I spent there. I've lost some friends too. One went sour, one went home for the summer and one is moving home for who knows how long. I ran out of financial aide and every person I know is having children. Even my friends little sisters are pregnant. My situational depression likes to peek out and say hello from time to time, but I've learned something really powerful and I feel like it's worth sharing. Momentary lapses and times of what feels like regression are nothing to be afraid of. They're just a part of life, and one that I now know how to take care of.
All this is to say that tonight I am reminded that no place is immune from some degree of suffering, and that's ok. I let people in close to me and they disappointed me. I try things and they fail. I take risks and they don't always pay off. This is all really normal stuff and important to remember that that's just how God and the world work. I was incredibly blessed to be able to give myself a fresh start, and I have done that. I have taken full advantage of that "get out of jail free" card and intentionally built a life here, and God saw fit to put in the painful experiences He sees that I need. And I do need them. They aren't what I want or what I signed up for. They are hard and uncomfortable and, at times, embarrassing, but they are good.
This is one thing my divorce really did teach me - that pain is something that can be managed. It's not something we need to fear. It's normal to feel discouraged at times, and even safe havens have their drawbacks. That's ok too. There's power in accepting that as reality and moving through the times when we do get stuck, out of balance, confused, frustrated, stressed or hurt. Life is good, and life hurts. Both are true, and because both are true, life is also beautiful.