When things break down and I have to deal with them by myself, I tend to get a tad cranky and then, before I know it, I have lost all sense of reason. I’m talking about mechanical things here like the washing machine, the leaky gutters, the hole in my front porch that’s getting bigger and bigger by the second because of the leaky gutters and my damn car. It’s not as if I can’t figure out what’s wrong and call my handyman. And it’s not like I can’t stop-start-stop-start my car all the way to the mechanic all by my lonesome.
But when I’m stressed out and there’s no one to vent with and no one to share the burden, let alone the cost, I start to question everything; especially my divorce. Why did I have to marry a man I came to loathe so completely? Why couldn’t things have just worked out? Gone smoothly? Stayed on an even keel? I ask the universe.
Of course, I know that life isn’t always fair; all sunshine and flowers, happiness and good hair days, but on my “big day”, the one I’d been planning for since I was eight, I never saw it ending in divorce. No. I looked towards the future and pictured nothing but happiness and love everlasting. I certainly never pictured myself alone, trying to extinguish the out-of control bonfire I created while setting my highly-flammable wedding album and every note, card and letter he ever wrote to me on fire. But that is exactly how it turned out.
Even after all this time, I find that a day like today can really bring my post-marital resentments home to roost like a carrier pigeon on speed. And amidst the cacophony of screams and curses which sound a whole lot like Why me? Why me?, which are the result of my brain on remorse and too much caffeine, I realize that the car breaking down and the front porch rotting out from under the house is really not that big a deal.
This freaking out is just a momentary and highly unattractive blip on the radar screen of my life and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it. Whining about what if’s and imaginary happily-ever-afters isn’t going to solve my problems and let’s face it; if he were still here, neither would he. He was useless in a crisis and I usually ended up fixing things all by myself anyway so what am I going on about? In my mind he’s sharing the burden and comforting me. But in reality it was never like that. I wasn’t in love with a man, I was in love with his potential, with an illusion, a cardboard cut-out, a commercial that sold me a bill of goods that never looked like the picture on the box. I was in love with my idea of what love was supposed to be.
And so I realize that all I really need in this instance is a good slap across the face (another thing that’s hard to accomplish when you’re alone). I need to get a grip, count my blessings and remember that tomorrow is another day and one which might dawn on the side of reason.
And so, I walk to the hall and stand in front of the mirror. I hold my head up high and look myself in the eye, and I utter the words I would say to anybody in this position. Words that I will probably need to repeat over and over before this day-from-hell is finally done. “Snap out of it!” I tell myself, in no uncertain terms. And then, I step back, take a deep breath and pray that I will listen to the wise woman who’s staring back at me. And that I will do exactly what she says.