Take the Most Important Thing
Posted by Kalpana
Cindy Holbrook’s divorce blog is full of good sense, empathy and fantastic advice. Reading it is always relevant. Even though it’s been 8 years since my divorce and I’m no longer at the agony and excitement stage I still find that Cindy’s posts have something for me.
The post I read this morning is called Did You Take the Most Important Thing when you got Divorced? No, it doesn’t refer to the house, or the car or the safe. It refers to ‘you’. Did you take yourself back. It’s normal to lose yourself in a relationship, more so if you’re trying to make it work. Once you realise it’s over you need to take some time where you do things that YOU like to do, where you live your life purely on your own terms (unless you have children – in which case you need to take them into consideration).
I got married as soon as I turned twenty. I grew up with my husband. Additionally I’m not very good at expressing my needs and he is very good at demanding his. He’s the youngest of six sibling and had to fight hard to be heard but was also given whatever he wanted because he was the baby of the family and much-loved. That combination means he goes through life getting his way. I, on the other hand, am the eldest of four and was expected to give up things for my siblings, to take care of them, to not be demanding. Add to this that as a woman I’ve been socialised to care for other people, and I had three children whose needs always came first. Yes, I was that kind of a self sacrificing mother. As a result of all this, when I did get divorced I had no idea what I wanted. I didn’t know where I wanted to go on holiday, when I should go, which airline I should book, whether the hotel I chose would be right – I was so spoiled for choice that it depressed me. There were aspects of being able to choose that I found exhilarating so it wasn’t all bad. I really enjoyed my weekends that now became truly relaxing as opposed to fitting in with other people’s plans. And now, after 8 years I feel that I’m much better equipped to negotiate my needs and another persons.
If you read Cindy’s blog post you would have seen that she asks you to make a list of everything you like.”Really concentrate on determining what it is that you like to do, where you like to go, how you like to spend your down time, and who you are as a person. Fill the little gaps and cracks in yourself.”
This really is wonderful advice. Use this time of your divorce to rediscover who you are. Or, as in my case, to actually discover who you are. I found out many fascinating things about myself – things that surprised me. I also indulged myself with the activities I couldn’t do while I was married. Spending the weekend in bed reading. Having my own television remote. I didn’t watch TV before my divorce – or watched with the children to keep them company and be a part of what they watched. I didn’t have any favourite TV shows or make demands to watch a movie – that fight for the television remote was not something I wanted to get into. Perhaps it wasn’t the best thing to do, to detach myself from the fray. But that’s how it was.
So enjoy where you are and make that list of what you like to do and find out who you are as a person. This is the time to be you.