My next guest post comes from Lauren, who shared her story here a few months back. One of the posts in the series was how Lauren was blogging her way to a new career after divorce. Lauren has always enjoyed writing and her divorce was a chance for her to breakaway from her safe job and take a chance on a new career. Just recently, she announced she’s taking a sabbatical from her My Life Incomplete blog so she can focus on some other opportunities. She’s not being specific about those opportunities but I’m hoping it means her new career is taking off.
For many of the women I talk to about divorce, their first-hand experience of divorce changes their perspective of the event and it does make you wonder where all those preconceived ideas came from. Here’s Lauren on how her perspective changed:
At seven years old, I envied a kid with a casted arm in a sling. At nine, I decided I wanted glasses. My eyes were fine. At twelve, braces. My teeth were perfect. And in eighth grade, when I befriended a child of divorce for the first time – I kid you not – I was a little jealous of her.
My ex-husband would tell you that I am never happy. My explanation is a little different. All my life, I’ve craved experience. I tried every hobby and activity a child can participate in –softball, swimming, piano, gymnastics, art, dance, you name it. I hung out with every stereotypical clique in high school and tried every fashion trend that roamed the halls. I had 27 jobs by the time I was 23 years old. I moved every year in college. I’m on my sixth car in 15 years.
Perhaps I should be ashamed to say this, but it comes to me as no surprise that I would be “the divorced chick.” And as that chick, it may come as no surprise to you that my view of divorce has changed considerably since eighth grade.
Growing up, divorce was foreign to me. I grew up with married parents and friends with married parents. “Other people” were divorced, the same way “other people” have drug addictions or fatal illnesses. It was something that was sad, and interesting, but wouldn’t “happen to me.”
When I was first introduced to the life of a split family, it didn’t seem so bad. Two bedrooms! Apartment living with a POOL! (I swear, this seemed attractive to me at one time.) Only one parent at home breathing down your neck. Cake, really. My friends seemed to be doing fine — from my juvenile perspective. And the parents were low-conflict, at least as far as I could tell.
But as I grew older, I developed conviction for the institution of marriage. I became very conservative and judgmental of others (not proud) when it came to family values. I felt that people who divorced were failures, quitters, moral inferiors.
And when I got married, despite the tiny voice of truth, I never considered divorce as an option. I was so concerned with quieting that voice of truth, that I began to work extra hard to put on appearances – for my ex, for my friends and family, and for myself. All that effort wound me more and more tightly.
…Until that voice just had to scream out – I want a divorce! And I surrendered.
Now, as a three-year resident of Splitsville, I view divorce, and all personal life circumstances, differently – with an open mind and an open heart. Experience has opened me up, just as it always has.
In the words of The Divorce Encouragist, “a marriage should not survive at the expense of its participants.” There is no reason that we should be miserable for our lives because of a bad decision we made in our past. I say this with the caveat that I don’t think divorce is the answer for every troubled marriage. There are marriages worth saving. There are values to uphold. There are children to consider. But when all else fails, I don’t believe that there is anything noble in living a miserable life.
How has your view of divorced changed over time?