This time last year I had already decided to end my marriage. I had been living for so long in this world of confusion — how could the person who I married see me so very differently from the rest of the people in my life? Years of feeling unseen for who I really am left me worn down, emotionally drained and a bit unsure about myself. I knew that ending my relationship was the right thing to do but it was still so hard to cope with the picture I had for my life not working out the way I had hoped it would.
Valentine’s Day is actually my favorite holiday of the year. Not for romantic reasons but because I really love love. I love reminding people how much they mean to me and what special qualities they bring to the world. But last year I just couldn’t handle the holiday. When a friend of mine said she wanted to take me out for lunch I said yes because I figured being with such a wonderful friend on a hard day would be good for me. Little did I know what she had in store.
As I walked into the restaurant I searched the crowded space to find her. It took me a few seconds but I suddenly noticed a table full of women that I love, all waving at me. If I wasn’t in public at that moment I would have sat down on the floor and just cried into my hands. They came for me. They came because they didn’t want me to be alone for my first Valentine’s Day in which I was technically alone, romantically speaking. They came because they love me. They showed up for me. And I was floored. They even brought flowers, paid for me and set candies on the table. They gave me a gift I will never be able to repay — the gift of knowing that even when I hit rock bottom, they would be there to pick me back up.
As this Valentine’s Day approached I felt so different from last year. I had my love mojo back, if you will. I wanted to tell every single person I know how amazing they are, so I decided to try to do just that on my personal Facebook page. I started writing comments to different people about what they mean to me, and many of them commented back. It was my friend Elise’s comment that took my breath away for a moment:
Reading her comment made me more fully realize that I am so much better off than I was a year ago. Not having the daily tension that I did before, not feeling emotionally unseen, not trying to fix something not fixable, has meant that I’m becoming my true self again. I feel a freedom I didn’t even know I had lost. The freedom to be myself, completely and totally. My heart is big, it always has been. But I lost myself for a while. And now I’m finding myself again and it feels so.damn.good.
When you’re in the midst of divorce it feels absolutely impossible to see the other end of it. At least that’s how I felt. So if you’re going through this now I want you to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You have to keep trudging through that f*cking tunnel, and sometimes it will feel like you’re wearing boots made of cement and that time is standing still, but you will get there. You will get there. And when you do you’ll know that everything you went through to get to there was worth it, because you’ll be free to be authentically you.