I used to believe in permanence. I used to believe in love that lasts forever and that the defining moment was the marriage ceremony. That was it. Marriage: the moment that sealed the deal. The moment that said we are stuck together for life no matter what happened. I was under the delusion that things would just work out. We would both automatically know to enter our roles as husband and wife, as a mother and father. I had all of these ideals in my head (too many Disney princess movies) of how people were supposed to act. I was living my life as if I were in a movie and everyone in my life knew their parts and when they didn’t play them correctly, I’d get upset. The problem was, my life wasn’t a movie and there was no script. Oops. No wonder people didn’t act the way I wanted them to!
Call me a late bloomer or slow learner, but I slowly began to realize that that was not how life worked. I learned this around the age of…30. Having my own children helped me to realize this as I could not get my eldest daughter to do things the way I wanted her to since the day she was born. She wouldn’t let me sleep when I wanted, eat when I wanted, I couldn’t make her stop crying for a whole hour every day around 4pm. This dreadful thing called colic. I mean I just couldn’t make her live her life around my schedule. And she was the easy baby. I couldn’t see this about my husband at the time, though. I still was under the delusion that him, I could still change- mold and work my charm (which is kind of a form of manipulation, right?) on him. But the more I tried to work my “charm”- be more patient, be more understanding, bite my tongue, let things slide- the more I was unhappy. The charm wasn’t working. In fact, somehow my plan had backfired and I was the one being manipulated. Whaaaaat?
I was fixated, however, on this idea of “till death do us part” and “happily ever after.” I had to make things work. I had to figure out how to force these puzzle pieces to fit to make the picture look perfect, to the people who were glancing over at my life, to my family, to myself. Because that’s exactly how it looked- perfect on the outside. I thought maybe if I could just keep trying to force it, eventually things would magically work out. I just couldn’t get over the fact that marriage was supposed to last forever. I know other people got divorced, but not me. Those were the people who just couldn’t get their shit together. The woman surely was not strong enough or wasn’t smart enough to have her man in control. Divorce was for giver-uppers and that was not me.
So, I just kept living my life, continued working my “charm,” living my delusion when a year after my first was born, my second child came along. Then things REALLY started getting hard. I was lucky enough to have help from my parents and my nanny, and yet I still felt so alone and unsupported. At the time, I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. I had people helping with child-rearing, cooking and cleaning. Everything a new mom of 2 littles would need, right? Wrong. Yes, these are all things a new mom needs, but a new mom also needs another kind of support. Emotional, mental and spiritual support from her partner. Someone who you’re living life together WITH, not around. Someone who is there to tell and show you, “we got this. I see you and all the hard work you do. Thank you, I appreciate all your efforts to be the best wife and mother you can be. Tell me what I can do to help. We’re in this together.”
It was years of being in denial that I was miserable in my marriage. Years of me trying and trying to do something different, be someone different, be someone better. It was so stressful that my autoimmune disease flared up almost daily. I began having to inject medication once a week and going to the rheumatologist once a month. Life was debilitating and draining. I didn’t realize it at the time but my body was screaming at me for help. It was telling me that my environment was not healthy. It was telling me to GET OUT.
Finally, there were a couple of incidents that pushed me over the edge. I realized that I didn’t want to live this way. I didn’t want to listen to my elders. I stopped believing that staying together was possibly the best living environment for my children. Then one day my husband suggested that we get a separation. This was not the first time that he’d suggested it, but it was the first time that I jumped at the opportunity and agreed. I immediately booked a session with a therapist at the first chance I could to make sure I was doing the right thing. I was afraid. Afraid of making the wrong choice. Afraid of change. Afraid of the unknown. It turned out to be the single best conversation that I ever had. I walked away from that session thinking maybe change was not a bad thing. Maybe change was a good thing. Maybe some things, maybe all things, aren’t meant to be permanent. I felt calm, empowered even. I felt like for the first time, I was taking control of my own life.
Today, not even a year post divorce, I am a firm believer in impermanence. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still hard going through changes and all those fears still come back. But I also now know that when I feel scared to death about a transition in my life, I know that something great is on the verge of happening. I know that on the other side of that fear is greatness, something that is even better than what I had known before. So, I just trust. I trust myself, I trust the Universe and I know that I am right where I belong, because nothing in life is permanent, and I am OK with that.