Sometimes, I am in awe of how I’ve managed to change my life in less than one year. Two days ago, it was Baby Fiece’s first birthday. One year and two days ago, I visited Fertile Myrtle in the hospital and held that hours-old precious little craze for the first time. On that day one year ago, I’d also just gotten access to records vital for my MA thesis research, and could finally start my project.
(Photos used simply for illustrative purposes and not because I miss them desperately and am sad all the time. OKAY? I AM NOT SAD ALL THE TIME.)
Now, one year and two days later, Baby Fiece is growing up, walking and talking and getting painfully more adorable every day. (Again, why I am not there?) I’ve only been gone for three months, and she is already a different kid. I can’t wait to see her and Fiece and Fertile Myrtle again, hopefully before the babies start to drive.
One year and two days later, I’ve grown up too. I ended my marriage, completed my MA, landed a job in England, moved halfway across the world, and was accepted into a PhD program (with funding!). I have pushed myself in approximately ten billion different ways since I held that tiny new life one year ago, and none of it was easy. If I’m honest, it’s still not. I miss home and my people so much sometimes it physically hurts. I’m convinced I miss them more now than I would have if I wasn’t so indebted to all of them for keeping me bolstered and afloat during the epic chaos that was my life last fall. They’ve seen the worst of me and it brought out the very best in them and having experienced such total support from those around me, I am gutted by being so far away from them. To all of you, thank you, thank you, thank you.
One year ago, I was just beginning the soul searching that would lead me to now. Relationships are supposed to make you better, improve you and make you stronger, more capable, happy. I’d known for a long time that my marriage wasn’t doing any of that for either of us, but the thought of ending something that was so meaningful (because regardless of how right we were together, I loved my husband) was so foreign and awful and unthinkable that we kept trying to make it work. We’d have arguments for hours in which we’d both lay out the enormous ways in which we weren’t fulfilled, all the ways we were compromising our lives and our futures, each and every thing we’d come to resent and simply put up with about our life together. Every single time, there were pockets of dead air, total silence, when I thought, this is the time to say it. Just call it like it is. Just spare yourselves, you guys. It’s okay.
And yet, I never did. I didn’t have the strength or the courage to be the one to say it. And maybe I never would have. It wasn’t until I went far away from home and got some tremendous perspective on what my life could be, what kind of person I could be, and how happy I could be, that the crushing weight of not saying it became more powerful than the fear of what being honest meant.
In the end, being honest with the people I loved most, despite at times being brutal and horrible and devastating, freed me from myself. I was no longer in my own way. I have done a hard, terrible, awful thing and I have survived it. In my opinion, there is nothing in the world like choosing to divorce. It’s death, but you keep living. It’s grief, for everything that happened before and everything that could have happened later. It’s shame and anger and frustration and disgust and literally every other miserable feeling there is.
But ultimately, it’s a commitment to choosing happiness. I went to hell and back in the pursuit of happiness, and it freed me. There is nothing in world now that can stand in the way of my accomplishing my dreams and getting what I need.
Everything else is easy.
Happy birthday, little beast. The first year of your life was the first year of mine, too.