This evening, walking back from the mailbox, I looked down into my hands to the large package of papers that were mailed to me by my ex.
You guessed it, after four years of waiting while he and the BHFB have been living happily ever after and buying a new house together, my divorce papers finally came.
As I was looking through them, I suddenly realized that I never really have coped full-on with the prospect of divorce itself. I mean, look at what happened…I caught him in bed with the BHFB, I tossed him out and then immediately (as in, didn’t stop, didn’t pass go, didn’t collect $200) enrolled at UNLV. It wasn’t soon after that I got the news that he and the BHFB were packing up and moving to Kentucky of all places.
Now, to my folks and friends in Kentucky, no offense to you, but to my high-browed, educated-out-the-wazoo ex, well it might as well be ‘hillbilly hell’. Okay, do you one better: he’s Atheist in one of the most religious places in the world. You know what, I’m going to ice the cake for ya…he’s a French-Canadian, anti-gun, environmentalist, Atheist in a place where you either shoot it, stuff it or marry it; none of which is appealing to a guy with four college degrees and PhD work under his belt.
Oh, the stories that I’ve heard from him make me want to pee my pants. Just the looks he gets walking into church on Sundays is enough to get me rolling on the floor, but to hear his tales of ‘gravy that requires a chainsaw to get through that smothers everything’ from a guy who’s a marathon-running, ultra-fitness, symphony-loving, Pinot Noir snob, I cackle regularly on our bi-annual phone calls. I mean, he’s the same guy that John L. Smith in the Review Journal took to task in his weekly column for calling Las Vegans uncultured and he ends up landing in the bluegrass, hell and gone from Louisville which is the nearest cultural center he can reasonably reach.
So with all that going on, school and me trying to get back on the horse after waiting for two years in my apartment alone, I never really did imagine what it would feel like when the papers finally came.
Looking back, I did do the Kubler-Ross model of the seven stages of grief. After all, getting abandoned, divorced or anything ground shaking like that, when you look at the empty side of the closet, when you have to teach yourself to once again sleep in the middle of the bed, and when you realize the promise you made that meant “forever” actually meant “for the time being” to your other half, you really do go through the non-linear process of going through what is logically likened to a death in the family. When it’s all said and done, the person you loved has vanished like a puff of smoke leaving a trail of destruction behind them, leaving you standing in an empty house that used to contain your dreams.
But it’s like what KP kept insisting to me through those first two years: You’ve got to build a bridge and get over it. So, in my own way, I guess I did. Board by board, nail by nail and OOH did I smash my thumb with a hammer a few times along the way. Well, KP never said building the bridge would be easy…
I got caught up in the fact that my life had to keep moving forward; a life filled to the brim with speed bumps along with a very large, bone-jarring pothole I had to get through to get to where I am now.
I keep thinking about the words of Atrus at the end of Myst IV: Revelation…
I love that line Rand Miller speaks with such perfection: “The harder an end is to face, the more hope we take with us to the next beginning.”
Every time I’ve had to pick myself up and dust myself off (which is becoming a far, far too often occurrence), I try to concentrate on that phrase remembering a simple truth about my life that is on one part sad, but on another quite encouraging: I don’t do well in cages, no matter how gilded. Simply, I’m not the marrying type and even though I’m sure some other goofball is going to try their best to put me back into a cage (which they really say isn’t, but we all really know it is), looking at that pile of papers sitting across the room makes me realize that outside of financial benefits that come with marriage, I still believe with all my heart that it is a useless institution.
I think if you love someone that much, a piece of paper doesn’t mean anything. I mean seriously, the expense of a wedding is cost-prohibitive, from the engagement ring to the horrible cake everyone chokes down at the reception, not to mention the cost of a dress that you’re only supposed to wear once but some girls now have collections of them. That little piece of paper, that I view as the equivalent of ownership papers, only mean things to lawyers who want to be richer and vindictive people who didn’t earn a damn dime but try to take their partners for every dime they have because they have neither the heart nor strength to put in the day-to-day work that is any serious relationship.
As far as relationships go, after my experiences and looking at that pile of papers, I’m to the point of saying “Thanks, I’m done” because in my estimation, it’s an experience I’ve had, and one I didn’t particularly like. So, I’m just going to make myself a t-shirt that reads: “Been married, learned my lesson.”
My friend Jamie once told me, “I could never imagine tying you down into a relationship. It’s just not you. Every time you get into a relationship, the whole world watches in anguish as they see you wither and lose hope. When you’re left alone and free, you are like watching a wild horse running with all its’ grace and beauty; and things like that should never, never be caged.”
See? That’s the beauty of NOT being a lemming…I don’t need someone else to be happy. I’m good on my own. I’ve gone through enough experiences to know one thing about myself: I don’t do relationships because simply, they’re inconvenient. I am tired of being stressed out by other people’s drama that has nothing to do with me at all. I don’t have children and that means my life belongs to me and no one else. So honestly, looking at that pile of papers…I’m getting that particular grin that means that I’ll finally be free. (And oooh! That’s heady stuff!)
At the end of the day, I’m happy for my ex and the BHFB. There is someone for everyone out there. Like I always say, everyone deserves happiness, even if I still look at Chihuahua’s as footballs on feet that need to be punted or sucked up into vacuum cleaners.
I’m fortunate, I’m coming out of this as really good friends with my ex, which leaves me feeling really bad for those who are getting put through the Seven Sins wringer; having to endure the lust, gluttony, wrath, greed, envy, sloth, and pride from their exes who just won’t let up, no matter what they do. What’s sad is that you can see them out in the world every day walking around, their shoulders slumped, the light in their eyes merely a glimmer because they’re two-foot-six because of all the hammering they take from vindictive exes and their lawyers who, as KP preaches regularly, “Just need to build a bridge and get over it.”
Marriage isn’t for everyone. Certainly not for me. But for those of you who believe that the piece of paper means everything, I’ll share something my ex did with me: “It’s a formality, that’s all. Nothing changes,” which I found is the absolute truth. So really, what’s the point? Gifts? Materialistic gain? If you love someone with all your heart, reams of paper wouldn’t change that, would it?
So, I’m looking across the room at my divorce papers. Life could be worse. At least I know I won’t ever have to go through this again. Once was plenty.