I’m Back – The Confession
December 30, 2014 – The Confession
It’s almost the beginning of a New Year and while I am not one for resolutions, nor “clean slates”, it seems like an apropos time to do just that – resolve to live in the world and circumstances in which I actually do, not perceived to, and do my best to have somewhat of a “fresh” start.
This blog post has been a very long time in the making and the reason is that I am in the process of getting divorced.
I was too ashamed to have anyone know and, in fact, with the exception of a few relatives and close friends (at least on my side), that has pretty much been the case. Until now.
I went outside this evening and it was incredibly still. The air was crisp and the only noise was the faint rumble of cars driving by a half mile or so. I don’t know if you have ever had the opportunity to be in complete stillness and almost complete darkness with no one around you but it is incredibly humbling. It’s the sort of quiet that makes you want to cry – not out of sadness nor out of joy – but out of a sharp clarity of how fragile it all is.
I took my role as a husband and as a father as my most serious role, and now, only one remains. Perhaps the severity with which I approached these two roles may have actually worked against me. One thing I have learned during this difficult year is that the relentless and never-ending mind torture in trying to figure it out “where and when it went wrong” is a waste of time and completely and utterly useless. No matter how many times I may have been told that or read that, I had to learn this for myself.
There is no “it”. There is no “when” or “where”. There are a series of “its” and “whens” and “wheres” and like a friend of mine said to me: “sometimes you just have to trudge through the shit.” That was the plan. I took it for granted that that was a given in any relationship – especially marriage where you have very real things to deal with like children, finances and trying to maintain a modicum of sanity and perspective.
Though it was not my idea, the guilt that I feel for failing my family in some respect is palpable – so much so that when I don’t have my kids with me, I can physically feel the heaviness come upon me like wet sand hardening in a ritual burying at the beach. That is probably a bad metaphor but that is really how it physically feels. I have to get out of my house and out of my skin.
I am not looking for sympathy nor answers. I am thankful for great parents and amazing friends. Mostly, I am eternally grateful for the kids I have. They are truly amazing and, in truth, have coped far better than I had ever imagined and certainly far better than I have.
There is no escaping who you really are when you have children. There is no mirror that can possibly reflect like that of a kid – that is until it is no longer safe for them to be honest with you. That is the struggle that every parent balances – being open enough so that you can show your vulnerabilities while still maintaining boundaries. If anyone has figured that one out, you are one enlightened soul.
I write this blog post for me. That is it. I want to continue to be authentic and true and unashamed. Simply put, I don’t want any secrets. Some people may say that divorce is common – many families go through divorce. Not mine (he says foolishly).
I worried about such silly things – if people at work find out, I will be looked at as one of “those” people (whatever that means) because the perception of “having it all together” is so important in corporate America. Vulnerability, no matter how much people espouse the virtues of emotional intelligence, is still seen as a weakness by many, not to mention the subtle wonders of whether it effects your work. I worried that people that had known my wife and I for years and years would talk, make conjecture, start rumors. I worried what people I barely know or haven’t seen for 20 years would surmise. This is stupidity. I would never allow my kids to engage in that type of thinking so why was it ok for me to allow it for myself?
None of that is in my control. I worried what people would think. Now, I only worry what my children think. It really is that simple and I can honestly say that I did everything in my power, right or wrong, to keep the family unit whole. It is true, though, that the only thing we ever have control over is our own reactions.
I am soon to be a divorced man. There it is. Not part of the plan but you know what they say about life and plans, right?
The adjective “divorced” – no different than others applied to me – a man with unruly curly hair, a twisted sense of humor and a need for authenticity. It is, in the end, nothing more than a descriptor. I am not running from anything anymore. Nor should you.
May 2015 bring you peace and happiness,