some things i’ve learned in the last 2 years of my divorce process:
love yourself like no one else does. speak kindly and with self-compassion to yourself. be your own best friend.
two years ago when my husband split after 10 years together, i thought i was going to die. not from killing myself, but from heartbreak. i did not know how i was going to get through the next hour, much less the next month or year. my world was upside down. i didn’t know previously how physical the experience of grief is.
out of deep wisdom and self-survival, i framed this perfect picture of sweet little me. to remind myself to be kind and love this little girl inside me.
i moved out of our beautiful shared san francisco victorian with the help of strong and kind hired movers to a small loud street-level apartment on a gritty street of oakland. it was the hardest day ever and apart from the movers, i did it alone. i cried when my couch didn’t fit through the door “it’s not about the couch”, i sobbed on their buff shoulders. thank you.
soon, my dear friends and family came. my parents visited from maine and took me shopping for a new ikea couch and sewed up new curtains. thank you. my friend and her daughter graciously helped me put the couch together one afternoon. thank you. more friends helped me hang art. another helped me unpack my kitchen and spent my first night in my new apartment. i received all of their love and support as best as i could. honestly it was a little overwhelming. a true lesson in receiving. thank you.
i had rarely slept alone and had never lived by myself. i hardly knew if i could support myself alone financially as a single and now bereft artist. i was just teaching myself to drive again at 36 after never owning a car. the last month living alone in my sf apartment, there was a rapist on the loose in my neighborhood. i had never felt so terrified and uncertain of my future and my ability to care for myself.
the first morning alone i went to candlelit yoga and felt the grief coming out. so grateful for that class. said yes to friends offerings of anything social just to keep me going. i created a self-care calendar. marking down ways i had cared for myself that day or planned to just like i had previously done for exercise or productivity. i created gratitude lists. sometimes they just said “brownies”.
i don’t know if anyone knew just how dark i was. how broken. how much time i spent in bed watching “parks n rec” episode after episode (thank you netflix) and how the smallest text of support or post card made the biggest difference in holding on. thank you.
slowly, i returned to myself, or my new self-compassionate version. cheering that little red hooded girl along. this voice was the biggest shift of all. An inner voice that encouraged me versus criticized me to do better, work harder, be thinner, make more art/money/friends and be more perfecter.
Another big gift has been to learn to not do it all alone and create opportunities for built-in support~ your team!
creating routine support during this time has been incredibly healing:
* my weekly divorce support group led by a great therapist and others who are going through it too.
* weekly writing group led by laurie wagner where you can write it out around a wooden table.
* my yoga practice with my favorite teacher kimber simpkins who combines yoga with her incredible wisdom.
Next post I’m going to share the dear books that helped me heal.
I’m still on this journey, but I can now stomach writing it down now that 2 years have passed and my divorce is nearly finalized. It’s helpful for me to remember and hopefully helpful for someone out there to know it does get better. And if you have a friend in this place… send them some love!