I’m getting a divorce.
This isn’t news to anyone who knows me. The person who is soon to no longer legally be my husband and I have been split for 6 months, and the split was on its way for at least a year prior to that. Maybe longer. There were a lot of reasons. Sexual incompatibility, a 16-year age gap that when we got together we defiantly declared not a big deal, huge differences in our spirituality, general personality clashes.
But this isn’t meant to be about him, what went wrong, why perhaps we should not have been married in the first place.
If someone had asked me 7 years ago if I thought I would get married, I probably would have said no. I didn’t believe in “true love”, “the one”, or anything like that. And when eventually I did get married, I didn’t believe in it then, either. I don’t think you need to in order to get married, in order to commit yourself to someone else.
I’ve never judged anyone for getting divorced, for getting married, for conducting their relationship as they will as long as there is compassion and honesty. However, when I realized I wanted a divorce, I was deeply ashamed. I felt like a failure, like everyone around me was going to look down on me, to shake their heads and tell themselves they had known all along.
But the time between when I said to myself “I need to get a divorce” and when I told my husband I was moving out was not terribly long. I didn’t want to try counseling with him. I didn’t want to give it one last go. Things were too broken for that, and we’d said before “this is the last try”. It seemed we were always on a “last try” of some sort. So when I said I wanted to move out, within a week I was gone.
After I moved out, I only cried over it once. It was the first workday after my move. I was in the car, on my way to the office. I was listening to some pop song or other, and suddenly I felt incredibly unmoored, like a helium balloon that had just been let go of, and it was that physical sensation more than anything else that made me cry.
I spent the remainder of April and a good part of May having very few emotions and very little in the way of sympathy for anyone, including myself. When I emerged from that space and slowly, tentatively, began to let myself be affected by those around me again, I realized the subconscious brilliance of my mind – I had sleep-walked my way through what would have otherwise been the deeply sad time.
Now, months later, as I stare at the paperwork on my desk and begin to fill it out, to finally take the steps towards legally separating myself from someone, I don’t actually feel much regret about any of it. There’s still some lingering shame that I entered into the marriage, some regret for hurting someone else and letting myself be hurt so deeply, but if I am happy where I am in my life now, and I am, why wish away the things that somehow, inexorably, carried me here?
Because of Pennsylvania state laws regarding no-fault divorce, I won’t be legally divorced until early 2014, but instead of some sort of aimless, helpless balloon, now I get to feel like I might be a bird.
Margaret Bashaar’s poetry has been collected in two chapbooks – Letters from Room 27 of the Grand Midway Hotel (Blood Pudding Press) and Barefoot and Listening (Tilt), as well as in many literary journals and anthologies. She edits the chapbook micropress Hyacinth Girl Press, attempts to repair antique typewriters, and spends far too much time in haunted hotels in coal mining towns for her own good. She’s only been suspected of being possessed once, and hopes to someday become a rogue taxidermist. Follow her on Twitter @myhyacinthgirl