There is one question that I get asked above all others. If you're a single parent, can you guess what it is?
I bet you can because you've probably been asked it 1.6425 million times in several different ways by well meaning people.
I am always being asked if divorce has made me a different person. Or variations like, "do you feel like you've changed?" "Are you the same now as you were before your divorce?"
I'm still a goofy dork. I laugh at my own jokes. Still goal oriented. I love moving forward in my life and always have goals that I keep reaching and accomplishing.
I love being a Mom. It's the thing that I feared the most that I'd screw up but have worked the hardest at after my marriage and fear failing at it. It's not easy knowing you are responsible for raising the next generation of adults our grandparents will complain about. If you don't believe me please google "generation of entitlement." In my undergraduate work I was asked to write several wonderful papers on it from soon to be retired professors.
I'm still the same person at my core. Same values. Same beliefs. Just me. I haven't changed who and what i am from the time that I was a teenager. it was like it was wired in me. Who and what I am hasn't changed.
So am I a different person? No. No divorce has not made me a different person. No, there isn't an "old" me and a "new" me in the sense of attitude and who I am and what I stand for. No I didn't go on a crazy life discovery after I divorced or head out and "party" because I was "free."
I didn't see divorce as a celebration because it wasn't. It was one of the greatest life lessons, trials, and pain I've been through. And I can't imagine what this experience has been like for my kids although my work and my experience with my own children has given me so much empathy towards what kids experience.
I'm still a half full, not half empty. Still hopefully, blissfully optimistic yet cautious wanting to make sure that my footing is firm before taking the next step.
It's hard to say what I feel has "changed."
I use a lot of analogies with my students to help them experience empathy towards things like mental illness that they might not be able to fully understand. I can liken my experience of divorce to the first episode of Lost. You're taking a flight somewhere and suddenly your plane experiences horrible turbulence. Your stomach lurches, you feel those shaky butterfly nerves. Your hands shake. Your body longs to return to that state of homestasis where you are comfortable and things are calm. But it doesn't, and as the turbulence grows worse you suddenly start to have flashbacks--in a case of divorce it's all the arguments, the times you were wrong, and the things you did wrong. After the initial shock and landing you find yourself disoriented; you're trying to figure out what happened, and you've got to orient yourself to the world around you. But it's a quiet moment as you orient yourself and think about the next decision. It's a moment of chaos but clarity. I walked into a new world that was deserted, different and alone. It was foreign. I remember analyzing the people on Lost (I'm a psych major) and watching how the core of them never really changed. As they were thrown into a different enviornment, some adapted better than others. If it were you, what would you do? Who would you be?
I will say that things about me have become more guarded and protected. But I've always been me. I have things I work on and goals that I have. But I'm okay with me. (Mostly...I would love it if someone could actually find a good inexpensive anti aging cream? Totally not okay with the aging thing). 🙂
Are you also going through a major life change and needing some positive inspiration?
These are some of my favorites that have gotten me through:
Janae get's me motivated to finish my runs on bad days, but I get upset when she shares her apple fritter pictures. (A Gluten free life is NOT always better or tastier).
I fell across Lisa's website during my separation and loved that she always challenged my way of thinking. She's also a runner, so it was good motivation.
Stephanie's story is one of inspiration. I've also been able to listen to her story in person and she is so positive but is never afraid to show herself too.
Ashlee is incredible. She has never been afraid to show her weaknesses and strengths through her writing. If you start at the beginning--you probably won't stop reading for awhile.