I had an interesting conversation with two of my friends who are divorced. What I love about these two women are that they are brutally honest with caring hearts. They are supportive even when they may be delivering information that they can see about me that makes me uncomfortable, but I trust them to help me through the journey. And funny thing is, they don’t know each other so the message was clearly true since both of them had the same opinion.
Here’s the scenario: I’ve been in this rental with all of the items from the marriage for a few years now. Surrounded by the furniture etc. that the ex and I picked out (mostly he chose), I hadn’t realized the heavy pall that it cast on me. Here I thought I was healing (and I am), but seeing these items day in and day out, sleeping in the marital bed, are reminders of a lifestyle I don’t currently have.
Example: What began this whole eye-opening cry-fest realization was that one of my friends suggested I sell the dining room set in order to make room to get rid of the storage unit I have been holding onto since the divorce because I had no room for those items in the current rental. The thought of selling the dining room set had me bursting into tears. Being that my friend wanted to help me get to the bottom of how I was really feeling, she walked me through processing the emotions.
What I realized is this: That dining room set held memories of the lifestyle I miss and don’t have anymore. Holding onto it was keeping me mired in missing my role as wife, mom, hostess, and part of a couple who were financially stable. I am not using that set anymore because my lifestyle has changed so dramatically and I really don’t need it anymore. I could release it (and maybe make a few bucks to buy something I would like in the future) and clear the way to embrace this chapter of my life even more.
But the story in my head that unfolded was that I wasn’t embracing the new chapter as much as I thought because underneath it all, I was still missing my old life. And to add complexity to it, I don’t want the ex himself back, but I want that part of me that I had defined myself as for decades even though it no longer fits reality.
Heavy stuff for sure. But once that realization hit, it was as if the carefully patched stalwart core that I’d been holding so tightly to cracked open and a flood of tears were released. It’s easy to think that we have embraced the new life because on the surface we have. I am happier divorced than I was married even though that’s hard to say, but it’s true since he became a stranger. And I am grateful for the freedom to explore this next chapter of who I am for I have been feeling more like “me” over the past few years. But there’s a deeper layer of healing that obviously hadn’t been touched.
It took hours and two different friends to help me to untangle the dining room table dilemma. To clear the way for choosing to see it is still unfolding and processing. And while I could berate myself for my feelings, tell myself harshly to just ‘sell the darn table and move on,’ it was more than that obviously.
The good news is that one of my friends who lives nearby loves to organize and is willing to come help me to get rid of what no longer resonates in my life. This is something I’ve wanted to do from time to time, but was not able to bring myself to do it alone. So I am grateful for her offer and yes, I’ll be taking her up on it in the Fall.
Because Fall is a time for letting go. There’s some quote about the trees are still the trees even when they shed their leaves. I am still ME even when I’ve shed that lifestyle. What defines me is who I AM and not the roles I play, the jobs I have, the place where I live, the items I’ve accumulated.
And while I’ve known this cerebrally and in my heart, I’ve not chosen to really begin to release myself from this mired, tangled past in order to embrace the present Janie. But I am now…
Does this story resonate with you? Any advice or sharing is greatly appreciated if you feel like you’ve had something similar happen to you.