I don’t remember what motivated me to call my lawyer on that day, but when I hung up the phone, I was divorced. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting exactly? Maybe a wave of relief, or a burst of excitement? Sadness? But all I got was this … numbness. I put on airs of glib delight, calling my parents and then posting on Facebook the following:
I wanted to be happy. Or sad. Or angry. Or something. To have no reaction to such a momentous, if not tragic, ending of a chapter of one’s life just makes my nearly three-year fight, complete with panic attacks, PTSD episodes, and depression, seem so pointless. Instead, I felt absolutely nothing.
At least, for the first day. Then, like a fucking tidal wave, I was hit by all of them at once …
Relief. I’m no longer in his gravitational pull. I can breathe. I can be me again. It’s actually over.
Rage. He took everything from me. I was but a shell of a person, and he delighted in knowing he sapped my spirit for his own benefit.
Loss. Time and opportunity are behind me. I will never know what I could have been right at this very moment, who I could have met and fallen in love with.
Sadness. I am damaged goods, and I don’t trust myself to love anyone. I will be alone.
Courage. But I can begin again. I can plan. I can do things and be the person I wanted to be before he commandeered my will.
Fear. What if I never do what I am meant to do because of this?
Disbelief. Surely it can’t be this easy. Maybe the lawyer thought I was another client.
Panic. What do I do? No, seriously, what do I do now?
Hurt. I remember all of the things he did over the five years I was with him and then the multiple other tiny little cuts he delivered after I left. They feel just as real, as present, as they did when they happened.
Regret. I hurt so much more than myself; people I love can’t look at me the same way. I chose poorly.
Acceptance. I am a divorcee. This is what we go through, I suppose.
Literally … all of them at once. If there’s an emotion that exists somewhere, I had it. I just sat in my car for a few hours, staring into space like I was in a trance. Later on that week, I didn’t realize that I’d found out about my divorce two days before my eighth anniversary and found some solace in the fact I wasn’t a withered mess of a person. Even when it did cross my mind, it was at 23:30 (or 11:30PM for you non-military time people), I simply said, “Huh,” and went about my workday. Of course, I had a reprise of the same emotions later on, but in the moment, I was victorious.
I’d like to say that I have processed everything and that I’m emotionally sound as the holidays approach. I’m not, and honestly? I think that’s okay. This will resurface once I receive the paperwork and go about getting my name changed with all involved entities, and probably will pop up until it doesn’t. Time will eventually lead to scars that I’ll proudly display like the one on my stomach after I fell down a telephone pole or the skin grafts on my right leg that I received after catching on fire while riding my motorcycle.
But for now? I’m dealing. I’ll be okay. And like I posted on Twitter a few months ago: