Even a year ago I wouldn’t have believed I’d now be a divorced woman. Back then I didn’t even realize that part of what I thought of as my identity was wrapped up in being a wife. I honestly didn’t realize that until my lawyer asked me what I wanted out of my divorce after the judge rejected the first filing (sorry, I share a lot but some details need to stay private).
I actually paused for a few and had to sit down after the lawyer asked me that question. What does a person want from their (childless) divorce? I mean, we divided assets, divided pets and pictures, and left behind bits of one another and our pasts. We were all ready divided in person and just waiting for the legal world to be able to work during a pandemic to make it official. What else is there?
My therapist says I’ve made years of progress in a few months because of how much I’ve assessed and realized since July. I made another leap that day when I realized that I wanted “me” back. I wasn’t the person who was “the other half”. Nor was I the person I saw in his eyes or the person described in the rumors running through town. I don’t know why at some point I decided that I was supposed to be a reflection of the person I thought he wanted me to be. Or why I allowed myself to live on autopilot. I can’t even pinpoint when “me” wasn’t someone others from my past saw or heard anymore.
So I said I wanted to find a quick resolution that the judge would agree to that would be as close to the original agreement my ex and I made when we hashed out the nasty details of divorce. I had all ready transformed a lot since I had decided to leave, but knew that deep down I needed that page from court to make “The End” to our book together, because I was in another book and still needed to finish finding the real me that was hidden in all the corners of my habits, perceived flaws, and transformations.
I’ve learned that I’m still into gaming and can have a lot of fun beating the tar out of guys on Super Smash Brothers. I finally made peace with my miscarriages and abuse when my future stepson put the memorial ornament next to the “our first Christmas” ornament on the tree last December, “…because they are part of our family, too”. Nothing like youthful innocence to make you see the truth or wonder why you were ever ashamed in the past, or to realize just how blessed you are to have such beautiful souls in your life.
I was surprised to learn that I’m not a Misfit Toy, either. I’ve spent years feeling like one. I just wasn’t around others like me that enjoyed and celebrated the truest parts of me, most of the time. I’m blessed to have one man and two young men that are patiently helping me get reacquainted with myself. I’m nerdy and encouraged to continue pursuing a variety of educational and creative endeavors without the slightest feeling of anything but pride. I learned that I’m not just a people pleaser because I have self esteem issues. It’s also one of my main love languages. I don’t dress to impress and often wear what my fibro tells my body feels okay today without feeling like a slob or like a town may judge me; my stepson loves to wear different colored socks on each foot every single day because “why not?”. *grin* And I don’t lose myself in a pixel world because I’m escaping life. I do it because I have fun and it’s another creative outlet for me, plus I have the bonus of getting to interact with others and even make special moments with my family and friends in them. If I feel like dressing like wearing a vampire killing kit tee with leggings; or a hi-lo sweater with lace cami, skinny jeans, and boots; no judgment. Being a spiritual mutt who is still finding my way is super okay too, along with my obsession with some fandoms and my love of putting labels on everything/everywhere.
I can’t pinpoint when I put on the mask and started to cover up that I wasn’t happy or all right anymore. I’ve been sick and that’s what everyone thought was what was wrong when my mask slipped. I wasn’t going to just wait to die, because although I’m sick and disabled, I have a lot of living left to do, no matter how many days I have ahead of me! I don’t want to just have an avatar that has adventures I admire or does the things I wish I could. Sure, I can’t do a lot of what she can, but I can sure fill the rest of my life book with adventures and happy memories, instead of wishes. And I literally have mini adventures written down for us to do every single month of the rest of this year. It’s not just a trip a year to look forward to and keep me going.
This is the real me. The one that is planning for big family trips, day trips, and sporting events; Just Dance and Ticket to Ride competitions, gaming nights once a month with friends, or saving spoons all week so I can help teach my stepson to make soaps, do a chemistry experiment, or art project. I researched and made a shadow box of stones to help keep the nightmares away, with the properties of every stone written out for him to read and find comfort from. I learned how to lure the teenager out of his bedroom for a little bit every so often and actually get him to linger.
As one of my best friend’s most helpful quotes said, “When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower”. (Alexander Den Heijer) I am blossoming because I’m finally in the right place, at the right time in my life. I AM the silver lining in some situations, I matter every single moment, I am loved, and most importantly, I’m honest with myself and the world. I may love POTO, but I don’t have to live behind a mask. I actually like “me”. I guess that’s what I really wanted out of divorce. I wanted to like myself again.
I had to take a step away from most media and such while I dealt with some big life changes in this past year. If you’ve been following me for a while, then you know that I contracted Covid, survived despite the belief that my illness equaled no survival of contracted, and went through an intense few months of Home Health while recovering from Post Covid Syndrome (finally made official in some circles). I worked extremely hard to get part of my health back and ended Home Health better than I was pre-Covid due to the incredible Physical Therapists and intense independent PT. I became more functional than I had been in a couple of years, although I’m still disabled and face daily challenges, and continue some parts of my PT independently to this day.
While recovering I began to feel strongly that I had been given a second chance at life, especially since I was not supposed to survive and had actually improved to have a better quality of life. I had been preparing to die because it was inevitable that I would contract it, so I couldn’t continue letting life pass me by when I was given such a massive gift.
For many years I had been unhappy. It was a combination of things, but one part that we kept very private was that our marriage had hit hard times years prior and never recovered, although we tried. We honestly were better roommates and friends than as a couple, and he was a thoroughly amazing caregiver and provider. I have been accused of a lot of things over the past months, but I’ve always given him credit for helping me with my disability, being a much needed friend when things went badly with Kid’s adoption, and we were comfortable with one another. But we hadn’t been in love for a long time. I don’t feel that it’s appropriate to debate our thoughts and feelings from early on, prior to when things became a real struggle years ago, and I won’t go there, so I’ll give credit where it is due but be honest about the fact that the marriage failed a long time before I declared it. I honestly had waited for my illness to progress until I’d die and then Covid came along, so I waited for that to end my life and the marriage.
Instead, working so hard to recover gave me the strength to decide I was going to file for divorce and leave town, when it had just been something I had wanted to do for some time, but felt it was pointless because it seemed like my health was going to decline fast enough that marriage wasn’t a priority anymore. But I was lonely despite living in a house with my legal husband, aka roommate and friend, and I wasn’t going to ruin my second chance at a life by remaining unhappy.
During this time Fate intervened. A former fiancé from 19 years ago reached out to catch up and it was as if our friendship had picked right back up from the moment we parted (a sad miscommunication that I won’t get into). He was going through a divorce and we talked about my decision to file, and he explained all that he knew about the process, etc, and our friendship continued to strengthen. I could talk to someone that hadn’t been involved in my married life at all, had no stake in it, and could work through my thoughts and feelings without fear of judgement, while he also helped me change my way of looking at my disability as part of my life, but that it hadn’t changed ME. For the past several years I had felt like disability had to have changed me, because I didn’t feel like I was in a loving marriage anymore and felt that my health needs had ruined my chances of meeting my romantic and “life” needs. One of my best friends sent me the perfect pin one day that sums up my sudden realization when I was able to see myself in his description (of still being me, but just not in the right situation and having extra challenges in life).
It was time to fix my environment now that my mind and soul felt strong enough, even if it meant I’d have to go on Section 8 and get extra state assistance.
We had been texting and emailing throughout all of this, but decided that he would come from across the border to the house to game with me, since he wanted to see SL for himself and we had spent a lot of our relationship when we were young gaming, so it was the most perfect first hangout in person. During all of this I hadn’t gotten to the point that I was ready to tell my husband about everything, because I hadn’t figured out all of my plans yet and we had known for some time that things weren’t right, so it didn’t feel like I needed to bring that up. I was completely honest about rebuilding my friendship with J, we’ll call him, and I was upfront about the plans for Luke to drive down to come game with me (it is so much easier to learn the basics in person if you’re going to hang out with a seasoned SL user). There were no motives beyond having an awesome time reconnecting and gaming, and hanging out with someone that was willing to drive over an hour to come hang out in person, especially when L seldom felt like taking me to hang out with friends on my good days for years.
The moment that J parked, got out his laptop, and then started walking up the sidewalk, I had this sudden feeling unlike any other. It was this sudden knowledge that my life was about to change completely from this moment on. And when he looked up and we smiled, it was like I got hit by a lightning bolt at the same time that the sun came out after years of darkness. I didn’t pinpoint the other feeling until later, but it had hit me that I still loved him as much as the day he proposed. I just felt something slam into my chest and mind, and everything felt right in the world again, right in the middle of a pandemic.
It was a magical night of catching up on life events (he had 2 sons now!), our marriages, showing my scrapbooks, and gaming. Although we spent part of it catching up, it was as if we had just picked back up from where we ended. When L’s alarm to wake up and get ready for work went off I went and made his lunch, and was back to explaining SL while sitting beside J when L had finished getting ready and came out to get the last items before leaving for work. J stood and shook L’s hand when I introduced them, and L later told me that when he shook J’s hand he knew that this was the man who was going to marry his wife. I just thought it was an awkward moment, tried to make it as easy as possible on them both, and we went back to gaming when L waved that he would head out without needing me to see him off. So J and I continued to hang out until it got late enough that he really needed to start his drive home because he still had to work in the morning. And no, despite rumors, we did not have an affair.
After having such an incredible time and a lot of deep conversation with J, I knew I needed to end the marriage despite not having my next living arrangement established yet. On the way home from a dr’s appointment in July, after a very disagreeable time together, I told L that I was filing for divorce. He actually guessed it when I said we needed to talk. We spent a long time talking, which was seriously overdo, and he had avoided, but actively participated in finally. Although he hoped things could be saved, he since acknowledged that I had tried for years to get his help to save things and I just couldn’t anymore. A person gives up hope after trying for a long time and once they realize there is still life to be lived, but that it doesn’t include that marriage, I don’t think anything can save that marriage. Definitely not our marriage.
I needed a break from it all, so I left for a few days to hang out with J and old friends that I had lost due to everything, and it was amazing. I suddenly saw an opportunity to live somewhere where I wouldn’t be watched or ostracized; where I had access to public transportation and Uber instead of always relying on others, and could get something as basic as a meal delivered when I didn’t feel up to cooking. And I had friends around me ready and happy to have game night, or hang out, and happily went out of their way to spend time with me without making me feel like my it was a hardship to be my friend or come hang out. Plus I was in an environment where I could go hang out or go shopping at the Dollar Tree or Hobby Lobby without having to make it a planned affair or dependent on if someone else felt up to it on one of my good days. I had lived in a small town for so long I had forgotten that cities actually provide a lot of opportunities for a disabled person and allowed for a lot of independence, which I desperately needed. So I decided that I needed to move to a city, whether it be the city J lived in or another, but not another small town.
During this eye opening and magical time the bond between J and I snapped firmly into place, and I finally fully realized that I was still in love with him after all these years. My love of going to Branson to see the Christmas lights… J had proposed at the Christmas tree. Even he kept lights up on his apartment balcony, and had sought the joy and comfort of lights throughout all the years without realizing why. I could fill a blog post alone of things we had independently pursued or enjoyed over the years without realizing that it was based on something from our time together. We had literally spent our time apart doing things that connected us, even during the better times during each of our marriages. And sometime during this time away to hang out with my formerly lost friends and figuring out emotionally what I was going to do (which is a massively different step than the practical part where you tell someone you’re leaving and start researching the best options for the different life), J and I became bonded fully. We had obviously formed a deeper bond than realized, in light of all the coincidences of things we both did while apart that connected us, but it was as if we found HOME by being together and without really having some profound moment, we just knew that we had kept loving one another throughout marriages to another and would spend the rest of our lives still loving each other. There wasn’t much of a decision to make…we would be living together.
The first few months after the decision to live together had rocky moments. We developed a week on/off visitation routine around his week of split custody of his sons and I packed to move in with the three of them once the time was right. During this L and I finally talked about pretty much every subject and re-established that we are best as friends while there’s no way the marriage can be saved. Thankfully the divorce is very amicable and straight forward, although Covid caused our hearing to be canceled for the foreseeable future. I tried to make sure that he had a support system to be there for him with me leaving, which caused some situations that hurt me deeply but I truly want the best for him, even if it requires my sitting there quietly while false accusations are slung at me. I’m a very honest person though, so I can’t handle the lies very well and avoid those that believe them without even asking me about my feelings, while instead they focus on their religious beliefs or what they think happened or how they feel it should be handled.
Although Covid has the legal aspect of the divorce at a standstill, we are legally separated in the eyes of the state of KS. I officially moved last month, although I spent most of October living in MO with J anyway, and we’re preparing for our second, first Christmas together, but this time as a family, while we wait for the legal system to catch up and grant us each a divorce, so that we can someday get married to one another. One of those little glitches that ends up meaning a lot, because we look forward to even having the option to plan getting married.
It’s a big adjustment. I work nearly daily on my PT in some way, I work on establishing a relationship with each young man including helping with online based school, and we are learning how to mesh our lives together. The apartment is starting to become organized again, now that I’m almost done unpacking and sorting my part of the assets L and I agreed up (and wrote into our divorce agreement for the judge). We even recently got back from a small trip to Christmas in Branson; the first time I felt fulfilled because I was sharing it with the person that made Christmas so magical for me. And although we have challenges ahead and a lot of legal stuff to still go through, everyone says they’ve never heard me sound or look happier or more content. Our love languages and love needs compliment one another’s too, so we naturally nurture one another.
I don’t talk about religion often, but we (and those close to us) truly believe that we were Fated to come back together and that nineteen years ago wasn’t the right time for this stage of life – but it was the stage that created a bond that has remained and grows. We got back together when we needed one another and were ready for the intense bond that we have. I’d usually be super skeptical and rolling my eyes if I read or wrote this at any other point in life, but for the first time I have absolutely no doubts or questions (beyond when can we progress legally so that we can continue to progress naturally). I remember asking my mom after accepting L’s proposal “how do you know that this is really it and the right one?”. We just somehow know it’s right and we are meant to be, as corny or cliche as that sounds. I didn’t know that it could feel so natural.
Anyway, I had a lot to do and go through before I could honestly blog again, and figured that this was the right time to finally set the story straight. If Covid hadn’t interfered, my divorce would have been finalized a couple of weeks ago, so now I feel like I’m just waiting for the legal part to catch up and feel like we all ready went through the divorce when we separated our assets, talked so much, did the divorce paperwork, and officially live separately and are working on trying to retain the friendship we have had since we met when I was just 18. we have been friends my entire adult life and although we didn’t work in marriage, I hope that we can remain friends throughout everything, and hope that I helped him become the man he needs to be for the next female in his life. I never would have expected to have gone through so much in less than a year (and surprise, surprise, actually survived Covid and Post Covid twice despite my immune system!) and would never have believed I’d have J back in my life again, let alone have a family now (interesting side note – it can be split custody, but you love the children as fiercely as if they’re with you full time! And not surprisingly I still can love them just as strongly, just as quickly, as if they were my own or I had adopted them!). Plus, I can finally admit that the male alt I created in SL a few years back was based on J (although disguised physically), but I never admitted even to myself until after we had reconnected. My mind and heart kept showing me and I just didn’t catch on. He literally dressed up as Phantom for Halloween when he was young. You’d think my obsession with Phantom would have clued me in. Lol Buh me on so many counts. *grin*
And just to put it out in the universe and set things straight. I’m not able to teleport or do anything magical. It was literally impossible for me to have had an affair for a year. I barely had the chance to even leave the house and Hogwarts certainly hasn’t sought me out, nor do I have a Tardis or self driving anything to take me elsewhere. And in a small town with eyes always watching, there was no way I could have had an affair with someone coming over without that being heard about. So seriously, if you are one of the people that questions things, it’s a hard no-possible-way. We did not pursue a relationship until after I had all ready announced my intentions. And this is the last time I will ever clarify or explain this again. Accept me, my choices, and my new life, knowing that I made what I feel are the best choices for me, without judging or questioning me, please.
Anyway, I had to work through a lot before I could write about things, since I wanted to wait until the divorce was finalized. Now that I’m just waiting on the court to reschedule the hearing to complete the legal part, I felt it was okay to break my silence. I hope that the past months have treated you readers well, despite a crazy pandemic, and that you’ve been able to carve out a way to be happy throughout all of the craziness. And I can officially write “happy pampering” again, as I got to teach “Little Man” how to make some Star Wars soaps and I made soaps myself for the first time in almost two years. I hope you’ll stick around and welcome back “the real me” as I begin to blog again. 😁 Happy pampering! 😉