My Story Mondays: Divorce, Part 5
What I Learned about Love from Divorce
Read The Quixotic Jedi's story over on his blog!
Well, we've reached week five of this first installment of My Story Mondays. I hope that you've enjoyed our stories, and I hope I've been able to convey that love, marriage and divorce exists far outside the realm of black and white, and occupies many, many shades of gray. Each marriage, each partnership and relationship is its own beast, full of complications and compromises. If a relationship ends, while there will be many similarities and blanket statements one can make about break-ups, each one is unique...a pattern of decision and heartache and healing.
So, what have I learned about love from divorce? I suppose it's much like I said in my last installment:
"...our emotions are so much bigger, more infinite, even more finely tuned that we think. We do have the capacity to love again and again, to laugh, to have great first dates with many, many people, to care and to cry, to hurt and ache, and to get up the next day to do it all again."
I believe that I learned to love and was to ready to love quite quickly after my divorce. Commitment, on the other hand, at least in the traditional sense of the word (read: marriage), well, that's another story. I am terrified of marriage.
There, I said it.
I feel as if marriage has a smell; it's a tinny sort of mustiness that fills up my nose and sends distress signals to my brain. I do love my boyfriend, but I cannot imagine marrying him, and only because I am scared to death of what might happen if we do get married.
Bear with me here, because this is going to sound totally irrational...and I'm not even PMS-ing,
Of course, if we tied the knot, we would have exactly the same chance of breaking up than if we didn't. Whether we are married or not, we can avoid a break-up by working hard at our relationship, by openly communicating with each other, but muddling through those bad times where sure, we love each other, but we don't like each other. We could have kids inside or outside of a marriage, and we can be blissfully happy inside or outside of a marriage.
But I can't do it. All I know of marriage is who I was during a very unsuccessful one...and I don't like who that person was. I know, I KNOW, I'm different now, but it's sort of like how one might feel visiting an old high school. One might think, "I'm totally cool now, but the paneling on this wall, the linoleum on this floor makes me remember what a dork I was then."
I know there is beauty in marriage...it sounds silly, but I saw the movie "Up" this weekend, and it showed the sweetness of true love in marriage, and I wanted that. (Goddamn kids' movies). But I also get palm-sweaty-panicked when I think of it. Maybe I'm just not "ready"...and honestly, I don't even know what "ready" means. My parents would say that not being "ready" means that I'm not with "the One." I disagree. In my case, I believe "not ready" just means "scared shitless."
But I digress...a-HEM.
Divorce has taught me that I can love, and be good at it. It has taught me that pain can be a useful conduit toward accessing creativity. It has taught me to judge a person's situation less, and be empathetic to break-up craziness more. I've learned that a divorce never quite goes away; it marks you, and changes you, and leaves a long, tender scar in your life. Divorce taught me to be wary of the poison of bitterness, to embrace my ability to be kind to a person I shared a portion of my life with, to drop the dead weight of friends who refuse to understand. I've learned that I have stores of courage to do what I know is right, even though I also know the consequences.
Oddly, divorce taught me that the split of a marriage can lead to the creation of a whole individual. And that, I think, is worth it all.
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