I don’t know where to start.

A few weeks ago, I was at dinner with a friend in DC, and tried to make a list of all the crazy things that have happened since …I guess since I last posted. It’s been dizzying, and not all good. I feel like I want to go hide somewhere without people for three days just to try to make sense of it all, to write and think and breathe.

I haven’t been writing much, here. Telling stories for others instead of myself is a safe way to hide. I don’t really want to write much about my life here–I don’t want “messy life processing post-divorce” to define me. Here. At all.

But in another light, that stuff, the depression and awkward gestures toward healing, the gangly relational in-between as I grow into myself and my new life all over again, that is all part of my story. And to not write about it, for me, is a little bit of denial. I want to keep it all tightly private and hide it from all but a few close, safe friends, and then let you see the butterfly rebirth later. But that due date keeps getting pushed back and it’s a process that’s out of my hands and just so painfully slow and natural and un-time-able.

So maybe, maybe, I’ll try to straddle the divide and stay safe but let you see me a bit more. After all, I can’t be the only one whose post-courtship-ideals life fell apart. I can’t be the only one whose parents initially edged close to “I told you so,” and didn’t seem to understand that their involvement couldn’t have prevented things from going badly [but may even have made things worse with their attempts at “accountability”]. I can’t be the only CP/QF daughter whose marriage fell apart for reasons unrelated to courtship or parents, but possibly tied to the hurry and seriousness parents and courtship pressure forced on a nascent relationship. We’ll see if I can or will write about these things. I’m not sure yet.

I feel lonely a lot. I think that’s okay, though it’s hard. I keep wanting to react to it by creating busyness or change, by looking at job listings in California and New York, by committing to a flurry of projects. That’s not healthy, and this week I’ve done what I keep finding myself having to do with every element of this transition: go out alone and sit with it. Breathe into the stretch as it burns in the deep tissue of my soul. Feel not just the edges of the pain, but press into it and find the center.

Right now I’m living with good people who took me in and gave me a room. I saved up–finally got myself a car (despite no credit history!), working on getting an apartment, found a roommate, making plans. Things are coming together, I keep saying.

But even with things coming together, I’m going to be in transition for a while, I think. Filing for divorce in the DC area is really complicated, since there’s not a no-fault option in MD or DC. Being the organized one doesn’t really make my life easier, either. I’m really ready for that to be done and over, but I’m also stuck with the social stigma of “not-yet-legally-divorced” if I want to date casually or meet new people. I’m not quite a social pariah, but it’s uncomfortable.

Trying to keep some things stable, I’ve been gardening a lot. My host family has been so kind to let me use a couple of their garden beds, and I’ve got lettuce, cilantro, carrots, broccoli, peppers, garlic, squash, zucchini, mint, sunflowers, cosmos, poppies, alyssum, and bachelors buttons. I’ve recreated happy memories with these selections, pulling pieces of California, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, and buried them in the ground and watched them sprout, weeded and watered and thinned and harvested. It’s so healing.

I just finished the last day of Sunday school class, which I’ve been teaching weekly since last fall. This too has been a constant and a place where my life-mess doesn’t walk in the door with me. We sit around the table and fill out worksheets and talk about Jesus and the Israelites and the early church and ask questions and decide we don’t know everything, but we like that Jesus loves us.

Friendships have shifted, in all of this, and I’m not sure why (it’s not directly caused by people rejecting me because of the divorce), but it’s tangible and uncomfortable and strange. A lot of it is me changing and others not, and not being sure how to relate, how friendships work for this same-but-different self. I’m more introverted, more emotionally exhausted by social interaction. I like the slower pace of this, but it’s also awkward in general.

Expectations are low. I don’t know what tomorrow’s going to be like, how I’ll deal, what promises will be broken, what to do with trust cast off and thrown back at me, what to do with my constant need to withdraw and protect myself. I haven’t been writing much. I feel like when I do, it will be a long slow process of telling myself my own stories and then reintroducing myself to myself, the new version who embraces her new identity and is moving forward.

I’ve been reading bell hooks a lot, again. All About Love: New Visions has been a lifeline to sanity. Similarly, Runaway Husbands by Vikki Stark (I may do a review of this one here soon). And I’ve been plunging into a lot of novels, novels that don’t have much to do with my world. Escapism isn’t wrong when you don’t have time to rest sometimes, right?

So hi. Maybe I’m back again. And if I’m not back as frequently as before, know that I will be again, after I’ve sat on the floor and breathed into the stretch of this season over and over again until I can tell you how it feels without falling to pieces.

Posts that resonated with me recently:

When Too Many Things Are Happening
How to Weather June


Spring arrives late this year.
The cherry trees in front of my building already
dropped their blossoms, suctioned to the pavement
but I’m still wearing my wool coat in the mornings.

“Dreaming of April” is my March song
But she came and is slow to breathe life into the city this time.
I don’t resent it. I’m surprised by this.
But when my soul is slow to germinate toward the light
It seems right for the thaw to match the pace.

My hair is starting to grow back now
from when I sheared it off —
Happy Valentine’s day to me.
She called it “situational depression.”

I don’t want to jinx the shift,
but I’m counting bright mornings.
We’re at three in a row, today.
Maybe, maybe?

Everything is intuition right now,
feeling the edges of decisions,
Fingering the shapes of new things.
Breathe into the stretch. Close your eyes.
Feel the burn and release.

I wrote this after it snowed at the end of March and the cold was lingering long. But a few days more turned everything around and it was hitting the 80s, and I got happily sunburned. -H