In December I wrote an article for YourTango that I entitled “Why I’m Finally Divorcing My Ex-Husband – 5 Years Later”. The Huffington Post picked it up, changing the title to "Why I'm Giving Up My 'Amicable' Divorce", and it was read by far more people than I ever expected.
Including my ex-husband.
Anne Lamott wonderfully wrote in Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” I believe in that premise, but what’s far more important to me is that what I do for a living calls upon me to tell my story and to own my truth. My job as a coach for Single Moms propels me to tell my story fearlessly, in order to give hundreds, even thousands, of women permission to do the same. If my words can give even 10 women permission to come out of the darkness and stand as the powerful beings they were truly meant to be, then my calling has been fulfilled. And so I tell my story, fearlessly and without apology.
Since the article came out, I have had numerous women thank me for my bravery and honesty and say that I have given them the strength to bring out the same in them. I have had countless women come to me for coaching seeking the same truth for themselves, asking me to help them uncover their darkness and bring their power into the light. They see themselves reflected in me. They know me and they know that I will know them.
Since the article came out, I have also lost the very fraught and complicated friendship of my ex-husband and his fiancée. I have also lost my beloved in-laws.
So, do I regret it? After all, wasn’t the premise of the article that I never wanted to have anything to do with him ever again, given that five years into divorce he was still abusing me in subtle and not-so-subtle ways (and I was still playing my victime role)? Wasn’t the whole point of writing that article that I was done with him and our dynamic and that I was drawing a clear boundary, a line in the sand, that he would never cross again?
Yes. That was exactly the point. And…the article was written in anger after a particularly inflammatory argument three days before Christmas when emotions were higher than usual. Our marriage had crumbled on Christmas Eve five years earlier and since then the holidays have been particularly hard for us both. Additionally, his parents were in town (with whom I am (was) extremely close) and we were trying to navigate how to still do “family” stuff while simultaneously trying to have it all be more separate, given that my ex and his girlfriend were attempting to forge their own holiday traditions (and I really didn’t want to third-wheel it, yet again). To top it all off, our son was really resisting the change and the stress was getting to everyone. All in all, an inflammatory argument was pretty much pre-destined.