No one gives you a primer for how to divorce someone. No one sends you a link to a YouTube tutorial or a checklist with inspiring quotes printed in the margins.
Lots of people whisper a consoling phrase in your ear as they pat you on the back and look at you with sympathy, empathy, or just pity.
Some stay completely silent. They are the worst, but you forgive them because you didn’t know what to say 6 months ago either.
Some show up on your door step with chocolate, wine, and a willingness to laugh or cry on a dime. They are the best and you hold them close and marvel at how much you under-appreciated them before you fell apart and they showed up to help you collect the pieces.
There are A LOT of books. Sometimes you devour them and other times you want to throw them against the wall. And sometimes the words swim in the deep end of your tear ducts.
Once in a while a phrase strikes you as so true you want to get it tattooed to your body. But you remember that you shouldn’t be making permanent decisions in this state and instead you just highlight it and write it on white boards and dog-ear the page.
You rediscover poetry and music. Somehow they are your new language of existence. They tattoo themselves on your mind and heart, indelible.
You feel completely isolated and unique while also somehow like a cliche. The best person to discuss this with will often feel like only person you can no longer speak with. That’s a lie anyway. You need to find your people and get over your delusions of unique and awful grandeur.
If you have one of those incredible “un-coupling” situations where your marriage turns into a best friend situation, I need another 12 months before I can speak to you without raging jealousy. But I’ll get there.
In the last 20 months I survived things and did things and discovered things and healed things that I thought were permanently broken. I know anything is possible.
So here’s a stab at a primer for those who need it because you are going through it or will go through it or need to be the friend at the door with chocolate and wine. It’s in the form of bad poetry, of course.
How to Divorce
Don’t check that feed.
Ok, forgive yourself for checking that feed.
Don’t call when you want to. DON’T.
Write instead. Write and shout and curse and move your body.
Distract yourself with fun.
Find an excuse to dance.
Always cry when you need to
Write bad poetry, as much as possible
Sleep, as much as possible
Always cry when you need to.
Let yourself feel shattered.
Don’t let yourself shatter others.
Schedule time to be alone
Keep dates with yourself
Make dates with others
Let your friends see you cry
Let your friends see you change
Let your friends help you heal yourself
Cuddle furry animals
Cats or rabbits or guinea pigs or tea cup pigs
Sit in the sunshine and just be
Grieve but don’t paint memories rosy
Feel loss, but don’t stay lost
Embrace what feels new
Indulge in what feels comfortable
Find others who’ve walked this path and let them hold you.
Identify those whose path leads away from yours and let them go
Always cry when you need to
Let yourself off the hook more than usual
Don’t get hooked into someone else too fast
When you can, dream of a future different from the present
Believe that you will thrive again