A few weeks ago, I had a simple outline of a wave tattooed on the back of my left arm because I am in the middle of a roaring ocean. And while everything in me is screaming to jump out of the waves and fill my time and head with activities, busy-ness, noise, people, food, numbness… I am constantly telling myself “Sit in the wave, Kate. Let it wash over you. Let it carry you. Just sit in it. Feel the wave.”
This mantra has played over and over in my head for several months. Sometimes, I am bobbing on the surface, scanning. Sometimes, my toes are being gently lapped by the foamy tug of the sea while I stand firmly on the shore. At other points, I am sitting at the bottom of the ocean, anchored to the sandy floor, looking up at the surface and wondering how I’ll ever get there. Sometimes it’s tossing me around like when I was a kid on the Jersey shore, my boogie board sucked out from under me and at the mercy of the tide.
Other times? I just float.
Sit in the wave.
Tomorrow is the day my divorce becomes final.
Divorce is such a BIG word. It’s a heavy word and it begrudgingly bears the broken marriages of thousands and thousands of people before me. It will happen in an insignificant 15 minutes in front of a judge who will ask me some questions and sign a flurry of papers, closing the open parentheses of almost 10 years of a life lived together; children born, holidays celebrated, laughter, fights, lies, reconciliations, grief, joy, adventures. We will be ushered in and out by a bailiff and everyone else will go about their day, long after my sensible flats stop echoing in those cold courthouse hallways.
Feel the wave.
I am a planner and a doer and I so want to know what I will feel like when I walk out. Will I look different? Will I feel lighter? Will I want to cry or shout for joy?
Let it wash over you.
The end of the marriage is not what’s sticking under my heart today. It’s the continued shared life as parents of two incredible boys who asked for none of this. We have yet to unlock that mythical creature known as “co-parenting” and I applaud anyone who can consistently, purposefully, continue to parent with a spouse who no longer shares your heart, your joy and your dreams. I don’t know what it looks like to have that and I am learning that absolutely everything in life falls across a spectrum of so-called normal. My co-parenting and yours will never look the same. I’m also a little pissed off at the Instagram culture we live in and the stunning images over and over again of people doing this with seeming ease and grace. That’s decidedly not us. I marvel at shared holidays and weeknight meals- how did you get to that place? I can’t say I really WANT that place, but fuck, how did you do that?
Let it carry you.
There are many things about this breakup (THE breakup of all the breakups) that are uncharted territory. But the main difference is who I am in all of this. My natural inclination is to control, ignore and replace the feelings immediately with something else more fun, more distracting, more appealing. But this time, I am taking my time and not really doing too much of anything.
I am also not trying to get anyone else to own these feelings. These feelings are all mine; not my man-friend, not my kids, not my friends, not my parents, not my ex.
I have found myself actively pulling back hard from lashing out at those around me; holding my tongue, deleting texts, walking away from would-be reactions. It would be so easy to slip into passive aggressive fights right now. It would honestly feel GOOD to get someone else to feel a little bit as bad as I do. But. It’s not theirs, ANY of theirs. These are my feelings and I am stubbornly sitting right next to them, hand in hand, like peaceful protestors rallying for their cause.
Just me, holding on tight to my little buoy of jaggedy pieces; sometimes we sink, sometimes we float, but mostly we just hang out.
This is a tidal shift for me; this is a sacred move toward something becoming whole inside of me; that long-felt mismatched puzzle piece, all weird and busted and never quite right.
There was a meme on FB this week that I shared; a call to use just four words you’d tell yourself at 17. My friends responses were incredible– and mine?
“You will be fine.”
And even with everything the last few years have brought- I know those words are true. This will be fine. It won’t be like AMAZING, cause really? It’s a fucking divorce not a trip to the chocolate factory. But it will be fine. The kids and I will move through this; I will continue to explore my own heart; I’ll soar, I’ll crash, I’ll love my kids, I’ll find new passions & we’ll start over, likely more than once. And it will be fine.
We’ll continue to write this story that forms the strange little tapestry woven around us.
Sit in the wave, Kate. Let it wash over you. Let it carry you. Just sit in it. Feel the wave.