I am getting a divorce. Today would be our 12 year and 11-month anniversary. I wonder if I'll ever stop counting. When I said "yes" at age 23, I had no idea who I was, what I wanted, or what I was supposed to do.
I had just immigrated from Germany to America to be with my dream guy. I turned off my flirt, and part of my bubbly and blunt personality. I devoted myself to being an epic wife. And I was really proud of it all. We grew into each other, and as a hopeless romantic, I felt so loved, accepted, and safe. What I really didn't know consciously, was that I had just jumped from one codependent box into the next.
I woke up, just to fall asleep again. And that had nothing to do with my husband, and all to do with the stories I made up about myself, who I was supposed to be, how others wanted me to be, and how life should look. I turned my painful childhood, being raped, and having an eating disorder, into opportunities to grow, to forgive, and to love more.
Through it, I found my purpose and became a life coach to help others walk through the fire. I asked spirit to help me to step into my power. And I clearly remember asking to be shown everything that I needed to know in this lifetime.
Well, ask and you shall receive.
On September 7, 2013 at 6:30pm, the fire started. My husband, best friend, and my only family for thousands of miles, revealed to me that he had been unfaithful. Over the next four months, he admitted to me: 10 women in 10 years. One of them was a dear friend that told me she loved me. Two of them are yoga teachers. Most of them live in this town, and I probably know them too.
My world was turned. Spinning actually. Being a life coach, yogi, and having epic friends gave me the tools to embrace the darkness, but it did not make the pain any less, or shorten the time it took for the grief to move through me.
I contemplated suicide twice. I cried for a month, chain smoked, ate whatever the heck I wanted, watched the entire library of Netflix movies, crawled on the floor, and dragged myself to Pure Barre classes. I spent most of my time alone. The pain was so intense that occasionally I felt as though I had left my body and my legs would give out. All I could do was surrender, to get really vulnerable, and to let spirit guide me through.
Then, suddenly, I got present once again. I found an aliveness and ocean of joy and peace. Clarity and freedom coexisted with sorrow, terror, panic, and deep sadness. But I was not afraid of feeling the pain anymore. I no longer cared about the good opinion of other people. I had to make choices.
How can I handle this in a way that is in alignment with what I believe to be true?
What would make me proud?
How do I want this story to end?
How can I show up for myself fully?
What good is coming from this?
What is my lesson?
I did not just want to survive divorce, ignore the pain by being busy or pretending that I was feeling happy. And I certainly did not want to live life with the label “brokenhearted” on my forehead. Fuck that. I am gonna thrive.
Back to this moment. I am falling out of love with my husband. I forgive him. I forgive myself. I know there is nothing wrong with me and that his choices had nothing to do with me. I know this happened for me, so I could let me soul dangle. It broke me open. I feel more alive and connected than ever. I have nothing figured out, and am totally comfortable with uncertainty now. I cry when I feel sad, and nurture myself when I experience the void. I give thanks for it all. And especially him. He is my greatest teacher, reflecting back at me all the ways that I had been cheating on myself. I love his essence, and accept his dark side. He showed me mine. Now I am whole.
We hang out as friends, cherish our million memories, and share our dog. And I promise myself that if and when I love that deeply again, I am going to pay attention. I am going to savor each moment, each kiss, and each word. And I keep living my life to the fullest, independently and fierce, and interdependent with my lover. Till then, I keep taking it moment by moment, spending time with my imperfectly perfect self.