Once upon a time there was a girl who would grow up to be a woman, a wife, a mother. She would live in a beautiful house on a lake. Flowers everywhere. Sunshiney days. She would stay at home to raise her sweet kids with their good manners in their perfectly cute outfits, their hair always in place. She would probably run the PTA. Her husband would come home from his successful job every night to a delightful house smelling of home cooked meals. The refrigerator would always be stocked with healthy and delicious foods. She would create a family buzzing with love, energy, fun, smiles. There would be art projects and cuddling. Her kids would be well-behaved and adore her. Her husband would cherish her because she was loving and kind and sexy. every day. She would treasure her family in return because they made her happy and fulfilled….ever after.
Record scatch. LOUD GIGANTIC record scratch. Stop. Halt. Grow. Up.
I swear it’s true. I know…it’s embarrassing. However, I am that girl who had the dream in her head…that hazy glowy cloudy vision that sits somewhere in the back of your brain as a guide to how your future will be.
Once in a while in the middle of a regular day, which, by the way, almost never includes a stocked fridge, I will be struck by the thought. I’m divorced. WHAT!? There must be some mistake. To be in that category is completely outside of my vision. I try to place myself there and it feels humorous. My mental picture of what “divorced” looked like was a group of men and women who smoked and went to bars and let their kids do whatever they wanted. They were the people who could never really get it together. They were not me. Definitely not me. Please don’t judge me on my judgment. I promise that I never consciously opined about divorcees. It was just a stereotype unconsciously floating around in my brain that I now happen to be able to conjure up as I find myself puzzled at my position in the world.
When I disengage from my tortured mind and preconceived ideas, and step back into reality, I reflect on my situation in a different way. Here I am. Kinda brazen. I am excited about my possibilities, grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, happy about my evolution. Proud. Sometimes i can even feel a bit over-proud. Something like a Divorced Superiority Complex. Feeling sorry for the ones that are lacking passion and connection in their marriages. The ones who are settling. What I noticed is that the only time divorce really really really really hurts is when the dream of my life as it was supposed to be flashes through my body and spears my heart.
I was discussing how life was “supposed to be” with my sister one day as sisters do. She told me how she had recently faced this head on. She had written in her journal about everything that she ever thought she wanted, wished, and fancied her grown up life to be. She then analyzed which were unrealistic expectations and decided to kill them off. She had a mental funeral for every single vision of sugar plums. She immediately felt happier and lighter to be free from the fairy tale trance. Brilliance!
The truth about my life right now is that it is completely different than I imagined. I rent a tiny house and my backyard always seems to look trashy. I don’t like to cook no matter how hard I wish I did. I can barely make it to the grocery store. After being a stay-at-home mom, it’s now difficult to find a job to support myself. I’m not in the PTA. In fact, I barely check homework. My kids aren’t always polite and their outfits aren’t what I had in mind. Also, as it turns out, I’m not sexy every day.
However, as I sit and breathe in my now, I can see that I’m lucky and that the life that I have is amazing exactly as it is. My daughters are imperfect and I love their pluckiness. From time to time, they say things that make me know they admire me. Their spirits are in place. My house is adorable and easier to maintain in its tininess. There are messy art projects on the table. I am in love with a man who lives too far away…but he adores me and is right for me and is happy to challenge me and grow with me. I laugh every single day. even on the days that I cry. I am surrounded by friends who get me out of my house. They send me love texts and believe in me on days that I don’t believe in myself.
When I decided to kill “the dream”, I found that my life is pretty dreamy.