I’m no longer the woman I was when I was someone’s wife. I might look a little like that woman. Occasionally, I crack some of her jokes. I still treasure a few of her possessions. But I’m not her.
The end of my marriage signified the beginning of a new identity for me. I excitedly left the small town I’d grown up in and moved to the city, closer to my job. I traded my fun, fast and impractical car for a more economical model. And from then on, I savored lots of opportunities to learn and grow as a person…
I took a yoga class. I’d been practicing yoga off and on in my living room for several years, and my ex thought it was a ridiculous hobby. A few months after the divorce was final, I decided to let my curiosity take me a little deeper into the practice. I found a studio close to my new house, and I signed up for a slow-paced class. After a few months, I stepped up to faster flow and became a devoted student. Through yoga, I became better acquainted with my body. I learned how to steady myself, how to push myself and how to trust myself. My mat became an icon of inner reflection as well as outer expression as I shed the shell of my old self and opened to a new way of being.
I took a photography class. My grandfather was a photographer and I grew up loving the Ansel-Adams-inspired black and white prints that adorned books, newspapers and the homes of my family members. Knowing this, my husband once bought me a fancy camera as a Christmas gift. Unfortunately, I was too intimidated by all the knobs, buttons and filters to use the equipment for anything beyond the automatic settings. That is, until the Spring after our divorce when I signed up for a photography class at the community college. For six weeks, I had scheduled time devoted to my camera. I learned the functions of the previously-scary settings, and I felt more confident. I also gained a better understanding of the multitude of ways to view and interpret the world around us. Through the viewfinder, I learned to adjust the focus and make my vision a reality.
I got a Bachelor’s Degree. After high school, I attended a business school and obtained an Associate Degree. At the time, I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up, so I thought it would be best not to invest a whole lot of time and money in the full-blown College Experience. Three jobs, one marriage and one divorce later, I was ready to finish what I hadn’t quite started. After getting a B (might as well have been an F) on my first paper, I learned that I’d need to adjust my personal settings and get comfortable in a new zone. I did, and less than two years later I had a pretty piece of paper to prove it.
I became a student of divorce… and people… and life, in general. From the time I announced my divorce (and was surprised by most reactions), I was fascinated by the topic. In an effort to understand our culture’s crazy (so I thought) approach to the event, I read piles of books about separation, divorce and family structures. When my studies introduced me to personality disorders, I read a pile of psychology books about narcissists, control freaks, sociopaths and bitches. When I realized that even crazy people are still people, I read about ways to exercise kindness and compassion in even the most difficult circumstances. I attended a workshop about the Buddhist approach to divorce. I took an online parenting class. I went to a local DivorceCare group. Eventually, I discovered the profession of divorce coaching and drove ten hours to obtain training. A few years after that, I collected a couple mediation certificates. And I’m still learning what I can, where I can.
I’m not the woman I was when I was married. I’ve learned since then. I’ve grown since then. And I intend to continue the trend.
More from DivorcedMoms:
- 3 Transformational Effects of Divorce
- 10 Ways Divorce Helped Me Grow
- 10 Unique Divorce Survival Tips
- An Open Letter To Divorced or Divorcing Parents
photo credit: A library afternoon via photopin (license)
Tapia Corel says
Thought you might appreciate this.
Tara Eisenhard says
I LOVE it 🙂 Thank you!!
Jeremy Mount says
All those things she could have achieved WHILE she was married. If she was “holding back” on live maybe that’s the reason FOR the divorce in the first place.
Listen…getting married doesn’t mean you place your identity on your spouse…GOD NO!
You get married because a FAMILY requires two people to habitate together and you also don’t want to live your whole life going from partner to partner and have no one to share your life experiences with when you are 80. But marriage isn’t permisson for you to make your lover your only outlet for ALL your enjoyment.
Can you imagin how exasting it would be to entertain someones EVERY expectation of joy?
Part of keeping the intimicy alive in a marriage is EXACTLY what she is doing in her devorce…having her own life.
Stay married and take that yoga class. Stay married and go back to college. Stay married and take photography.
IN your next marriage HAVE a life. It makes you a lot sexier to him or her. And you are sexier looking because you are happy.
Jennifer Grant says
Jeremy, how do you know she could have done all that while married? Of she didn’t have a husband who thought she should take advantage of those opportunities then, no, she couldn’t have done those things. And, even if she could have, if she no longer loved or wanted to be married to her husband would she have been doing him any favors by staying in the marriage? Would you want to be married to a woman who didn’t want to be married to you? Please don’t assume that women give up part of themselves in marriage voluntarily, sometimes they have no choice because they don’t have a husband who supports the choices they make.