Confession time: I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.
What’s interesting about this is that I am a contributor on sites for moms, single and otherwise. And I’m invited all the time into conversations. Asked to write posts. First, let me say this is awesome. People connecting with my story and my style of writing is an absolute dream come true. Yes.
But. (There’s always a but.)
More and more I am realizing that I don’t have answers and it feels false to write listicle (you know, the “6 things you need to know about…”) after listicle about a topics where I feel wildly un-expert.
Also, I didn’t ask to be a divorce expert. In no way did I ever want to even know what this feels like. And so, I’ve just been quiet. I know I could pump out great prose… but should I? That’s the question that’s been haunting me for the last several weeks, where I’ve been silent on some of the sites I write for.
When I first separated I went all out into the world with my thoughts, feelings, and advice. Don’t misunderstand, I know that I have things that people can relate to. But responding to prompts about how to do your separation and divorce, when I am feeling like I am just grasping at straws in a long, dark, winding tunnel, feels weird.
(And parenting? Even less so! Dating? I adore my man-friend, but expert? Not even close.)
The process of divorce is non-linear and I am a person who likes progression. Clear paths. I work with short term goals and project plans. And this? There’s nothing logical about it.
I went from being all shouty in the early days and like HERE’S WHAT THIS IS to um, hello, world, are you there? It’s me Kate and this is uncharted territory. Throw me a life-jacket, please?
Which, frankly, is probably a really good sign. When I get shouty and certain? Totally when I am least sure of anything at all but dammit, I’m gonna make you (me) believe that I’ve got it covered.
When I say, “I’m fine.” I’m not.
When I say, “I don’t need help with that.” I do.
When I say, “Eh, don’t worry, I’ll figure it out.” I am bullshitting the hell out of you.
My offering to you on this subject matter, dear readers, is that it’s ok to admit that you really don’t know what you’re doing– and then keep on keeping the fuck on.
I don’t know how to date, really. But I am anyway.
I don’t know how to parent, really. But I am anyway.
I don’t know how to survive divorce, really. But I am anyway.
I used to think that my schtick was truth telling at all costs– and as you know, I am a very truthy gal. I tell (and write) it like it is. But more and more, I feel like I am connecting with “do the thing” as my north star. The best thing that I can do. My guide post.
The past couple of years of finding out the very hard truth about my marriage, to single parenting, to dating, to putting my needs at the top of the list, have had one common theme: DO. THE. THING. Even when it feels like I absolutely could not, or that I would fail and face-plant spectacularly… I did it anyway.
Which brings me back to a piece of writing from right after my thyroid surgery, where we discovered the tiny spots of cancer:
You need not always be strong, but you must be brave.
Brave is being terrified and doing it anyway. Brave is one foot in front of the other. Brave is taking the leap and trusting that the parachute will open at the last minute, violently pulling you up… only to gently float you back to earth a moment later. Brave is showing up even when you can’t find the words to say. Brave is letting yourself cry when you want them all to think you’re fine.
What prompted this? Well friends, there’s an end date for the marriage. 15 minutes in court a couple of months from now, where a judge will tell me that I can have my name back and finalize agreements. Where I will raise my right hand and swear that shit, I never saw this coming, but here I am. Right here.
And I have no idea what to do, say, or feel about it.
Relief? Sadness? Grief? Anger? Closure? Ambivalence?
But guess what? I will be there. And I will do the thing.
I’m no expert, but I will show up. And keep showing up. Cause sometimes that’s the very best we can do.