Gandhi said to a starving man God is food.  To a starving, longing and desperate me my former husband is food.  No I don’t seek to objectify him or humiliate me but just to talk about the one thing no one likes to face,especially me, change is hard and it’s especially hard when it involves love.

I sat with him after the movies over a glass of wine, yes we still hang out like that, and thought–“God in heaven why is he still so cute to me?”  Then I tried, very poorly, to flirt a little and then I wondered why everything I do since being divorced feels and looks like everyday of my thirteenth year of existence–awkward in every way.

Let me tell you fifty one and single, living with my adult daughter and toddler grand daughter is not as glamorous as it sounds. I always knew I had about twenty pounds to lose but it suddenly feels like forty because there’s no one to say; “don’t worry about it honey–you always look great to me.”

 That’s just the small piece in the larger picture. When you’re in a relationship you sense that you fit somewhere and when you’re out in the world together other people sense that too and all those imperfections don’t seem as visible. Now I’m out and visible as all the imperfections are no longer covered under the umbrella of my husband who told me everything was okay. 

 As a greying woman alone in the world with my extra twenty pounds and sagging neck I have become an untouchable. No one really wants to see me because it could happen to them.  I feel as if I stand as a reminder of just how fragile anyone’s world can be. One wrong move and everything you took to be your life could be gone, just like that. Of course logically I doubt anyone is really thinking I’m screaming out my truth as a failure but I am wearing it each day punctuated as a frown or an awkward pause in the conversation because yet again I forgot where I was. Grief makes me weird.

The essential question I’m asking myself is what do I do now that it’s all fallen apart? How do I be human now that I feel like nothing? I think the answer comes down to compassion, forgiveness and gratitude.  I am no longer holding my ground. I don’t know who was or is right or wrong, I just know I don’t want to hurt anyone.  I am sick of sleeping with my anger. It only wakes me up all night long ranting about something which has no clear conclusion so I am going to divorce that anger right now publicly.

I am grateful for all the good years of being married and watching our children grow. We have twenty four Christmases behind us of shopping for people we love. Not everyone gets that but we did and I’m damn lucky.

So, yes I am a failure.  I didn’t make my marriage work forever and I never became the famous writer I hoped to be and most of the time I feel awkward and out of place yet I am still here, still alive and still in love and that’s something.  I will make it through despite the fact the “god” I’ve chosen on this night isn’t hearing my prayers.  We can make it, those of us who didn’t stick around for the twenty fifth anniversary or the gold watch at work or the tidy portfolio. Those of us who made a mess of things honestly with the best of intentions are still here and we’ll find our way even if it takes us longer.  Change is hard and it’s especially hard when it comes to love.



3 thoughts on “

  1. This brought a tear to my eyes. It is so hard to change from the comforts we have grown so used to. Life continues to bring changes within ourselves, our children and our relationships. Time is a healer, that’s for sure.


  2. Hi Julie – I love this post and your writing. Your story is very similar to mine. I get what happens when you are no longer a part of a couple. I felt self-consciousness, diminished and vulnerable. I hated losing the security and dreams that went along with the having a husband as part of my identity. In the end there is nothing to do but stand on my own two feet and see what happened next. It is about staying “game” and alive for the rest of your life. I still mourn for my kids and our family, but the kids were going to leave me in the end anyway. And my husband was never going to fill in my missing pieces. I’ve taken much better care of myself than anyone else has – now 10 years divorced. I tell myself, “Love yourself – be your own best friend. Only you can discover what’s right for you.” I just bought this banner and hung it in my apartment: “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” (Buddha saying) This comforts me. Betsy


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