So now it’s been six years since I left him. This is everything I have done in six years: worked at three different schools, moved five times (owned one house, rented the rest), filed for bankruptcy, got myself a DUI, made a couple of good friends who are now gone, watched my dad die, and earned a Master’s degree in educational leadership. My kids live with me every other week so half of my life is without them. That makes only three years out of six that they have lived with me. I live alone, no boyfriend, with my dog. I struggle every month with bills and constantly worry about how I am going to pay for unexpected expenses. I feel sorry for myself sometimes because I don’t feel I earned this miserable life. In fact, I feel like I have worked hard to get ahead and have raised two well- adjusted kids in the meantime. I also yearn for the validation of what I have been through from my family. They have never given it to me, to them, I asked to be in this situation when I decided to leave him. I feel like I have been damned for making a choice that was based on what was best for me and my kids. I didn’t leave him for another man, I didn’t cheat, I left because he was abusive (mostly mental but it got physical near the end) to me and I knew that if I let the children live like that it would ruin their lives. I often wonder if I ruined all three of our lives by divorcing him.
My expectations for life after the divorce and as a single parent were shortsighted. I just wanted out and I knew I had the strength and confidence to live without him or any other man. I remember thinking that I would soon have a new life, a new husband, a new home. My children would have two families that loved them. I remember believing that I would get what I deserve. Now, I wonder if this life I have now is what I deserve? I don’t like people that feel sorry for themselves, especially those who have the power to work hard to change their circumstances. I try to avoid complaining and feeling self-pity, but I often crumble under the pressure and beg God for the answer to “Why is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve this?” Then I feel sick because I am feeling sorry for myself. I have become what I loathe in others.
My mind is constantly on overdrive. What can I do to make my life better? Why is my life so bad and not what I worked for? Back and forth, back and forth. My doctor and therapist tell me it is my battle with “the dark place,” my depression. It is important to know that even when I succeed at something, like earning a Master’s degree and losing 50 pounds this past year, brings me no joy or satisfaction at all. I have worked my way into the scenario in which I advance in my field and finally make the money I need to support my family. I do not have much hope. Every day that goes by without an interview or an offer makes me regret taking out a $65,000 student loan for an advanced degree.
I am trying to accept that I will continue this way of life for a while. I will continue to rent a house because my credit won’t allow me to buy anything. Making ends meet will be my way of life and if history is any indication, I will remain alone. Maybe, just maybe, I will meet a few good friends along the way. One major obstacle to this plan is that in three years my child support will end for my daughter. I will not be able to make it on my own with a teacher’s salary. What will I do? If nothing changes, this worry will reside in my head for the next three years
Well, this is the tricky part. I already mentioned my plans and fears for the future. It would probably be a good time to mention my blessings. I am healthy, I have a place to live with a car in the garage that I own. My children, relatively speaking now, are happy and healthy with bright futures ahead of them. They have two parents that love and take care of them and an extended family that cares as well. I have a job that brings a paycheck and I can pay my bills, barely. I am not being abused by anyone but am also alone. I have food in my kitchen and I am smart. I seem to be motivated as well because even though I continually feel like there is no hope for any change, I keep trying. I try to thank God for all of these things daily.
I try to remind myself that I am a strong woman for leaving a bad marriage. I have raised my kids and, for the most part, been a good role model. I have taught my daughter that she doesn’t need a man to take care of her. I have shown my son that women will not need him, he will have to earn them. Deep down I don’t regret it, even when I have to take payday loans and shop at the dollar stores. Wasn’t it Dr. Phil who said, “It’s better to be from a broken home than in one?” I really do believe that.
I will continue to pray for the acceptance of God’s plan for me. I ask him to show me the way to his plan, to be open minded enough to see the signs. I pray for the strength to accept disappointment and the wisdom to know which way to go. Most of all, I pray that this life I have now is not the life He intended me to have. If it is, then I pray that He help me accept it and move on.