I feel more alive now than I did when I was pretending to be alive.
Divorce has been a defining force in my life for the past year to the point where I sometimes actually wonder who the hell I'd be if I hadn't gotten divorced. That's how monumental imploding a marriage can be. Maybe not everyone feels that way; there are plenty of people who are glad as hell the day the divorce papers come in the mail, the day things become official.
But for me — and I'm guessing for a lot of other people, too — divorce has more or less taken over my life.
I'm divorced. I say that myself probably a hundred times a day. And it's never in some lame excuse fashion. I try pretty hard not to let myself flash my divorce cred around in order to excuse myself from normal, civil behavior.
It's more like I end up reminding myself that I'm actually divorced in order to ease the 10,000 oddball sensations that come along with trying to move through this new life unfolding before my eyes, completely unhitched from all the past that keeps playing out in my mind.
I get to fly my divorce flag mostly when I'm by myself. When the kids are with my ex and I'm sitting on the couch trying to figure out what the hell to watch on Netflix, suddenly I'll be overcome by this mad swoop of reality. I'll just be flipping around the remote, breathing in the rotisserie steam rising up from my stupid dinner, and I'm up in my own head again: This is divorce, dude. You're divorced. Whatcha gonna do about THAT?
But that's the thing: There's nothing you can do, really. There's nothing I even need to do or want to do or am supposed to be doing. Nothing at all. I'm divorced. This is my life.
I'm scared as f*ck yet I'm happy as hell not to stumble around in some broken union, but I'm hovering out there in some netherworld holding pattern, always feeling less-than-single, because I'm not really "single" or "a bachelor" or any of the terms they come up with for guys sitting down to a take-out chicken at 9 PM on a Wednesday night all by themselves.
I'm "divorced." That's my thing, my term: Divorced. That word carries a lot of weight with it, and I don't care what anyone says.
People hear you're divorced and right away they mostly figure:
- This person had some problems somewhere along the way.
- There's probably a little bit of 'damaged goods' going on here.
- And, like it or not, this is the face of someone who had love and lost it.
And you know what? None of that is entirely wrong or even unfair. I am all those things. Maybe not every minute of every single day but at any given moment if you could stick some kind of Divorce Detector in my earhole, I can guarantee it'd light up.
I'm done giving a rat's ass, though. Because the more I think about it, the more I start to realize the truth about "getting over" your divorce.
And that's this: There's a lot of self-worth and human value in a person coming to terms with the fact that there are certain things in this life we go through that we never, ever get over.
People we love die. Friends bail. We hurt other people and we turn and walk away. We experience deep tragedy and hardcore melancholy, sometimes we even set that sh*t up ourselves; other times, our luck just ran out.
We move through years, across decades, and all of our accomplishments — all of our house-of-cards dreams and bank account ups and downs, all of our so-called successes, and all of our so-called failures — end up swooping us up eventually when we're sitting there on the couch, getting ready to have a cold one.
Our very lives aren't designed to be forgotten or blocked out. The unimportant sh*t is, of course, names/faces/stuff that didn't carve its name into our bones. All that's disposable.
But all the other things — the falling in love, the shame, the lies, the glory, the hurt, the perfect sex on the beach, and the crying like a motherf*cker when someone broke your heart or even when you broke someone else's — that's what defines us. As people. As souls. As desperate animals on a neverending plight to somehow stand out from the gelatinous glob of throbbing humanity.
People don't usually want to look at their lives in terms of accepting the bad times as something worthwhile or even kind of strangely beautiful. But that's their loss because life is wicked and mean far more than it's gentle and kind. And the sooner you realize the ugly you've known is the very thing that's guided you to a higher plane of existence — to being one calmer/cooler/wiser/more patient/less greedy son-of-a-bitch (and that it's the the greatest gift any one of us will ever receive), the better.
If your life was a novel and you were the main character, would people dig your story? And if they did, do you think it's because they loved the fact that you coasted through decades of living without ever experiencing massive hurt or setback, or even contemplated hurling yourself off a moving train into a river because you were that close to not being able to deal anymore?
Or do you think the better book would be the true one — the one you've been living all along? The one with all that comedy and tragedy and anger and revenge and lust and loss and fear and hope oozing out of it.
You see what I'm saying? Our lives are so great because they're so f*cking bad so often.
Divorce is my jam now. I've known the Shakespearean heartbreak. I've cried the tears of the world's worst fool. And still, I rock-n-roll. Still, I drag my sorry ass out of bed early, thousands of cold, dark mornings so far, because I want more. I want the pain. I want the sadness. I want the tears and the snot running down my face.
I feel more alive now than I did when I was pretending to be alive, back when we were married.
I'll never "get over" my divorce. Hell, I'll never even try. Why? Because I'm alive again. And because it hurts like hell a lot of the time. And because I kind of dig that. And because the greatest godd*mn novel that's ever been written is following me around, writing itself.