Now everything is over. The "Maazoon" has finished writing down the names and the dates. You both have signed the papers and said what you were supposed to say. You split ways at the gate to start over, separately. Whether you leave the Maazon’s office in good terms, with the little respect and dignity left, and exchanging good wishes, or whether you leave with people having to hold you back from throwing your heels on him or beating the hell out of him, there is this moment… this moment where you feel your heart throbbing and your mind bursting with a million thoughts. It’s over… Everything came to an end; all the history, all the memories… GONE. "All by myself", cold and scary has replaced a familiar and warm word "us". There is no “us” anymore… A thought that scares you to the bone.
There is no "home" now. Whether you go back to your parents' house or decide to live alone, all places seem so cold and inhospitable. You can’t seem to find a familiar face, and no matter how many people surround you, the cruel feeling of loneliness is ripping your heart out to a million sad little pieces. No matter who’s around, they're just not good enough. You want only him… you just need his presence. You just need to go home and find him there, even if he was just lying down sleeping on the couch.
And you ask yourself thousand little questions: How did this happen to me? When did this start? Am I awake or am I having the worst nightmare? Is he really gone? Is it really over? Where am I? Why am I not home?
Was this all my fault?
Should I have given this marriage another chance?
Did I make a big mistake?
Separation after divorce is the most agonizing experience a woman can go through. The anguish, the misery associated with losing a life partner for a woman is twice as hard as it is for a man. From the minute the decision is taken till the time she’s able to get over him and stand back on her feet, divorce is an emotional rollercoaster, a very bumpy one.
The first week is more often than not muddled. “Division of the assets” and the clashes, disputes, and battles associated with it are pretty dramatic. A home, a whole life is being torn down. Hundreds of memories are being packed along with the belongings. You look at your house and it’s a mess, as if the CIA has taken it over in search for some criminal evidence. Both your stuff and his are laying on the bed, on the living room couch, on the floor waiting to get packed in suitcases and cartons. Both families are there, and perhaps things get ugly and you have to get into a fight over who gets the Jacuzzi or even the Movies collection! Blah!
And after all the packing, you take a final glance before you leave the house that has been your home for such a long time. You look at the empty corners and the cold walls. Here you watched that movie, there you had your first lunch, and there you told him you were pregnant… And the place suddenly seems gigantic and freezing cold. You feel your heart sore in a way you’ve never knew. You wish you would never leave but the house has suddenly become so bitter it is literally pressing its walls together squeezing you out… so you leave forever…
I paint quite a picture, don’t I? Well, the reality is even sadder, more complicated, and bitterer. For what it’s worth, does a woman’s life end with divorce, or can she be able to stand back on her feet and move on? What’s after divorce?
I’m not tackling this topic now just for divorced women all over the country, but also for women who are entrapped in failed marriages, and can’t rescue themselves just because they’re scared of what comes next.
I wish I could type those words; divorce is a piece of cake! But I can’t. I can say though that divorce is – like anything else – hard only at first. A few sayings come to mind; “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, and “this too shall pass”. They saved my life.
For months I woke up in the morning with tears in my eyes. Sometimes the tears would fall before I even open my eyes. I would wake up and find them on my cheeks wondering where they had come from. My heart ached as if the weight of the world was resting on it. For months and months until I thought I was never going to recover, that I was going to be miserable forever. Sometimes the pain is so hard to take it makes you have doubts, makes you think that you really made a mistake, makes you think you were not going to survive.
But I survived. In fact, that experience made me a different person. It made me what I am today. That experience with all its misery made me realize what life was really about. It made me realize that what little time you have to truly live is precious. It made me think positively about everything. It made me capable of seizing every opportunity.
It all started when I took a simple decision; I decided I was not going to let an experience ruin my life; as simple as that. It was either I lie down in a corner and let my heart bleed to death, or I get up and face whatever there was in the way of life. I took the decision to survive and do whatever it takes to be happy, to make myself happy.
For so long I have had dreams and aspirations. I've dreamed of learning to dance, I dreamed of playing the guitar, I dreamed of learning Spanish, I dreamed of going to India. For so long those dreams were just items on a wish list, and I never did anything to make them come true. As I realized there was no one in this world who can make my dreams come true but me, I learned how to act, how to seize opportunities.
So I fetched a dancing instructor. Two months later I became a dancer. I moved to learning guitar. I renewed my last-used-in-10 years passport. I learned a little Spanish.
As each dream got realized I got stronger, more confident that I could make things happen. I took baby steps in the right direction; independency, personal growth, survival. It feels good to know you are capable of creating a life for yourself. It's empowering to reach your dreams and beyond, and it makes you forget all about whatever it is you've been through. As a matter of fact, it makes you cherish the bad experiences more than the good ones. Those were the ones who made you stronger. And those are the ones you know you'll do better next time, because you've already gone through them. You know the gist, the tricks, you know the name of the game and you're best at it.
Divorce also gets you to know more about yourself; who you are, what you like, what you don't like, what you want from life, and how you want to do it. Because knowing yourself is a lot easier when you're on your own – let alone when you had just got out of a relationship. That is the best reward life could grant you. There is nothing better than knowing exactly who you are. It immediately affects the quality of your decisions, since you already know what you want, you just need to figure out how get it. You will find when you marry again, that you're doing better than your other friends who've been married only once. Because this experience gets you to know yourself inside out, you become more confident, more secure, more self contained. It doesn't get any better than that.
Divorce is a scary word, yes. But like anything else in this life, it's the way you look at it that makes it either good or bad. Imagine how good this word sounds for a woman who is being beaten up everyday by her husband, or who cries herself to sleep every night because of him, or who is being emotionally or financially abused. It then becomes a relative thing. Divorce is just a way out. And trust me, you'll find a way to survive, just be positive, and be confident that this is your chance to finally make things happen for yourself.