Last night was one of the first times in a social setting I sensed the way I write paralleled how I feel: authentic. Years since seeing several friends, the conversations proved, how shall I put it – real. No pretense or false accolades. Small talk replaced with sincere concern for the other. Not particularly nervous, I thought, as if all the time in therapy and major work on self-introspection, I was now ready and prepared for the inevitable question: “How have you been?”
With that, deep breaths and big chunks first:
-Divorced four years ago this December.
-Estranged from my daughters since.
-Moved to Riverside in 2014.
-In a healthy and committed relationship.
Next, the sprinkling of more nuanced fillers:
-Made the decision to no longer stay in a fetal position; own and acknowledge my mistakes.
-Looking in the mirror necessary for kicking ass in the process of self-care.
-Realizing the why’s my marriage dissolved.
-Finally able to get beyond being the victim, learning to use my voice.
-How I’ve coped and grown from the rejection of my kids while learning to forgive myself.
-What I’ve learned from a loving and healthy relationship.
-I like God.
The flow continued by bringing up the estrangement in an unexpected way. Eliminated was the penetrating shame that engulfed my spirit until five months ago. Critical thinking married heartfelt emotion. The two became one and a real human being emerged in the form of an newly emancipated fifty-six year old.
Listening to others, those I’ve respected for years, our conversations delved into marriage, divorce, remarriage, loss of parents, empty nesting, social media, Christianity, narcissistic family members, parenting, step-kids, dementia, WordPress, adult children, real estate, writing, caregiving, birthdays. An eclectic array of ages and backgrounds, we stood unified as genuinely caring individuals.
One need not exclaim every last personal detail of a life. Sometimes, a brief “life is dandy” will suffice. For those real relationships though, be vulnerable, be yourself, whatever that means to you. It’s scary, but, oh, so worth the risk, because that’s who you are. With time and practice, as healing continues, you’ll learn to navigate your SELF with others.
As the evening wore on, I thought of my girls, the kind of women they’re becoming.
This morning, a tweet. So easy, the words simply came:
Woke up feeling a big bunch of goodness for my girls. Much pride for withstanding such painful years. Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel.
Keep the conversation going.
We’ll find each other soon. 💜