I am a woman. An American woman. An American woman of Irish descent, second generation born. Translation: I am strong, and fierce, and built from stock meant to survive- if barely, with determination and a sense that survival is my birthright. I am tired.
I am at least momentarily tired.
I have been fighting and struggling and working to survive.
Most recently I have survived a divorce.
I could not survive the marriage. It was debilitating. It exhausted and depleted and too long ago stopped providing nourishment or safety or security against all that is in need of surviving. Life’s storms. Illness. Job loss and career changes. Cancer, depression, miscarriage(s), and death. Addiction, rejection, and isolation. Regular ordinary stuff too, wavering self-confidence, birthday parties gone awry, burnt dinners, cancelled babysitters, toilet cleaning, laundry, carpooling. What to wear to the interview, the wedding, the funeral. Survived, barely, dramatically, and sometimes unnoticed. Too often unnoticed.
And finally, the divorce finalized, and yet not quite. Papers signed. Sloppily drawn up and drawn out. Assets still withheld. I am tired. I wasn’t expecting to do cartwheels in the street. Well, maybe because I can’t do a cartwheel, on the grass, or a mat, or in my wildest dreams. So surely, not in the street. I wasn’t expecting to set off fireworks, or firecrackers, or even bang pots and pans and march around my kitchen. I wasn’t expecting to dance on tables or do a lap dance or even shake the booty. Well, I wasn’t expecting to, but I can’t say I wasn’t hopeful, to perhaps…or maybe…
I just wasn’t expecting to fall into a funk or hit this fog-laden malaise or become engulfed in a state of dumbfounded, disheartening, disbelief. I was hoping for closure and a sense of relief. Great, big, loud sighs of relief is what I imagined. Instead I landed in a dazed and unimaginable stupor. And so I did what I often do when things don’t sit right or register the way I think they should, I puzzled over it. This lead me to discuss it a little, or at least name it. Followed by some digging and delving and looking into matters. And what I found is this: post-divorce stress syndrome. Post-divorce stress, or the common feeling of let down after expecting to be relieved and readily available for the next part, the best part, the anything will be better than that part of the journey is pretty common place.
I thought I had prepared myself. I followed some advice. I considered other. I attempted to put myself out there. I re-connected with my inner self and I even relished in show-casing my outer self. I remembered how to laugh, play and creatively express, again. I enjoyed people and places and events that I had not enjoyed in a very long time, and I forgave myself for giving up those very things in deference to another. I worked through sorrow and regret and helped my children heal, and watched them grow and survive and begin to thrive once more. But still I felt consumed and diminished.
And then a storm comes. Sandy, a big, ferocious storm. It reminds me that I have little control. It knocks out the power and darkens the night. It somehow provides the conditions needed for much needed sleep. It gives me permission to rest and it somehow restores. This big, devastating, debilitating storm moves through destructively giving me permission to reevaluate and rebuild and revise. Carefully. Boldly. Calmly rested after the storm. Once again survived and ready to rebuild.