On May 7, right at 8:00 in the morning, the judge began my divorce proceedings. By 8:09 am, it was finished, and I’d filed the final paperwork, walked down the stairs, and out the door.
I get warnings from people who have been divorced: “It’ll hit you eventually.” “It’ll come up on you when you least expect it.” And, amusingly, offers to have sex to make me feel better.
They don’t know. They don’t get it. I already went through my trauma, mostly silently and alone. I had a couple friends I’d talk to about a lot of it, but even they don’t know the full extent. But these people that saw me day to day from mid-April 2020 on, they had no fucking clue how thoroughly I tore at my own heart, how lacerated and tattered I became. With every moment from then until I decided it was over, I visited devastation and ruin upon myself, and then I started to heal.
By the time I was done, when I told him to just stay gone, I had no emotions left for any of that. Yes, I had a rough week leading up to that Friday, but it was mostly just nerves and anxiety. I allowed myself a moment of sentimentality when I drove by the place where we met, back in August of 1997. But that was it.
I had a bad evening tonight. Not about the divorce, or being alone, or any of the expected things. It took me awhile to figure out I was mourning the person I used to be. I posted some daisies on my Instagram with the quote, “if I had my life to live over, I’d pick more daisies.”
I used to pick daisies. The exact same little wildflowers I photographed. I used to go on long walks at night, and pick a flower here, and a flower there, and come home with a full bouquet of mixed blossoms that would decorate my table for a week. I also used to have a kitchen in which I wanted to decorate the table, instead of a hardly-functioning room that mostly contains my coffee maker and a fridge that may be on its last leg.
I used to write daily in pretty journals, and tape or glue in all manner of little things that pleased me. Movie ticket stubs, a four-leaf clover I found, a pretty bit of paper, a little feather, or even a found playing card. Some part of me yearns for that and can’t reach it. I’ve had a four of diamonds and an eight of diamonds – found separately – on my desk for months. I think the eight may have been there for more than a year.
I used to dream about planting a lilac here, or some herbs there, and then actually follow through and do it. And then care for them. Lately, it’s a struggle to keep my pets cared for, and I love them more than I love most people. (My houseplants may be suffering a little, but they’re still alive.)
I used to do mail art – the most decorative little papercrafts that were then sent through the mail. We’d do round robin books, themed cards, and even tiny pieces of actual art. Yesterday, I got a letter from a person I’ve corresponded with for seven years, and it made my day so much brighter. But I don’t know when I’ll have the spoons to write back.
I used to create, to write, to explore, to be impulsive, to take joy in doing for others. Now, it takes conscious effort to just do for myself. Yes, I still give a lot of myself and my time and effort to other people, but not like I used to. And I’m sad that so many people in my life don’t know the person I used to be. She was so free.
She picked daisies.