I hate the word divorced. The cold, annoying syllables jolt me, like the crunch of ice meeting molars. Try saying it without cringing. I dare you. There’s no way around it, over it or through it. It’s a piss-poor, sucky word.
This morning I decided it was time to rededicate myself to winning the war my derriere is waging against gravity (gravity, I am sad to report, is winning) and dragged it down to the local gym to renew my membership. I was prepared to sweat and groan with the best of them but unfortunately, I was not prepared for the one obstacle that would get this great endorphin-filled, self-love fest off to a rocky start: the membership form. It required that I “check one” and there, in black and white, were the words Single, Married and Divorced. From a nearby boom box, Madonna was being ‘touched for the very first time’ but the virgin territory I was suddenly thrust into was not worth singing about and I was suddenly at a loss as to what to do next.
I’d never had reason to check the Divorced box before. It was like proclaiming to the cute, overly perky, young receptionist that I’d failed at being a normal, married woman. Can’t stand by her man. I also found it difficult not to warn her off of marriage entirely; “If you’d seen what I have….” I wanted to tell her in no uncertain terms, but she probably would have just dismissed me as a jaded divorced woman and asked me for my credit card and ID anyway, so I decided it best to control myself.
I hesitate, pen in a holding pattern above the page, trying to find a way out of this endorphin depleting moment and weigh my options. I could check Single, but then I might be mistaken for a spinster. If I check Married I’d be a big fat liar. But if I check Divorced, reality will finally sink in, which I’m not entirely sure I am prepared for. I am new to this divorce thing and the feelings that come and go are as unpredictable as a roll of the dice or the weather report. And now I am required to fill in a box that is, for all intents and purposes, a public document, and that gives me a cold chill down my spine.
But then it hits me. I never have to speak the brittle, castrating word Divorced to describe myself if I choose not to. I don’t have to confine myself to a one-word description, to sum up my life. And it is then and there I decide to proclaim myself a Divorcee.
Suddenly, I feel continental and ready for a cold martini with a twist, followed by a ride in a little white convertible, which hugs the curves of the road all the way up a steep mountain, to my seaside villa. I am chic and sophisticated, not the tag line of the Tammy Wynette song that now plays on the boom box, which is little more than a spelling bee set to music. And somehow, this distinction makes everything OK. I am ready to check the appropriate box and face the world, saggy derriere and all.