I started thinking about getting divorced several years before I actually did it. I had been vaguely unhappy for years, and couldn’t quite put my finger on why. But because my daughter was so young at the time, just thinking about divorce gave me incredible anxiety. Making a pro/con list was an obvious way to get my jumble of thoughts figured out. The biggest con was that I wouldn’t be able to see my daughter every day, and the thought of that pretty much shut me down. I couldn’t bear the thought of not having her with me all of the time. We had been going to marriage counseling for about a year at that point, and it didn’t seem to be helping. I felt a lot of guilt about it as well - I kept thinking there was something wrong with me. I had a healthy baby girl whom I adored, was married to a nice man (not a great husband, but a good father, and a nice guy), we had a house and cars and good jobs - all of the things that are supposed to make you happy when you grow up. And yet there I was, anything but happy. I was also seeing the same counselor individually, and I remember saying to her that maybe this was just what marriage was like after so many years. And what if we did get divorced, and then I got re-married, and was equally miserable after seven years with someone else? In my mind, if I was going to be miserable anyway, I might as well be miserable with the father of my child. So I sort of resigned myself to misery.
Everyone is getting divorced. Any by everyone, I mean Blossom.
The turning point for me was during the fall of 2012. I was teaching junior English that year, and we were in the middle of a unit on the Romantics and Transcendentalists. We were reading all of this inspiring literature, and I was trying to impress upon my students the importance of being true to themselves. We had discussions about leaving our mark on the world, being scared but acting anyway, and needing to “take the path less traveled”, all of the tenets of Longfellow and Emerson and Thoreau. And yet, it occurred to me that I was not following the advice that I so enthusiastically pushed on my students. I was letting my fears keep me from doing what I wanted. And at that point, it was clear that whether I was ready or not, what I really wanted was a divorce. Once I seriously opened up my mind to the possibility, I started noticing that other people were getting divorced. I kept hearing stories about celebrities who were getting divorced, and Mayim Bialik was one of them. I remember thinking, “if Blossom can get divorced, I can too.” I started teling myself that people get divorced all of the time. They do. It’s not the end of the world, and it won’t ruin your life. In fact, it might actually make it better.
Children's books as relationship guides
What finally pushed me towards the decision to get divorced was a book that I read with my daughter, called “Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs,” by Mo Willems. I purchased this book for my daughter several months prior, because she loved dinosaurs and it sounded like a pretty funny story (which it was!). We had read it countless times before, but this time I was really ready to listen. What got me was the last page of that book. It said, “If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave” (Willems). That was it. I was in the wrong story. This wasn’t where I was supposed to be. I was living in the wrong house, with the wrong partner, and I needed to get out. So I did. A few days before our 10th anniversary, I told my husband that I wanted a divorce. He was angry, to be sure, and probably felt blindsided, even though I knew he’d been miserable too. But after the shock wore off and I stopped second guessing myself, I felt as though an incredible weight had been lifted off of me. I had an opportunity to start over and finally live an authentic life.