I hate to admit it, but I feel like I've been operating in a haze for the past couple of months with the divorce. (Those words still want to make me vomit.) It's been a month since everything was finalized and I've been grappling with personal identity big time. The word I keep coming back to is unrooted.
What's in a name? Every time I go to fill out my name or sign something or give my email address, it's inevitable I'll get it wrong. And then there's the instant pang of recognition that the name no longer belongs to me. That name encompassed family and love and security. I met my ex when I was a sophomore in college – the time when my parents had just split up and my mom started getting really sick. So I had my family unit, and I still had the closeness with my mom even though it waned as time progressed. Then she died and we got married and I had his family unit. Now, I feel completely alone for the first time in my life. I know that I have friends and for that I am incredibly grateful. But that lack of family connection is just so weird. So I sign my maiden name again and just wonder who this woman is.
Is home where the heart is? I never wanted to stay in Kentucky when I finished school. Back then, I had dreams of moving to NYC or LA or San Diego or maybe San Francisco. I always joked that I married a Kentucky boy, so a Kentucky girl I would stay. But now? I have no family here, no husband here, no job here (none of my clients are based here and I can work remotely anywhere there's good internet). The Kentucky roots have been cut. So do I stay, or do I go? The possibilities are both exciting and terrifying. I do have roots with friends and various organizations here locally, but those are things I could have elsewhere, or maintain from long distance.
For Thanksgiving, I went to Florida with my friend, her husband, and 2 boys to stay with her parents, who I've known since high school. They live on a bayou and there was a dock that you could sit on. I mentioned that I saw dolphins while I was there (and thankfully didn't end up crying on the bathroom floor). The next day, I went outside to sit on the dock and stared at the water for a while. As soon as I put my head down to look at my email on my phone, I heard a splash. I quickly hopped up and got to see several dolphins swimming around.
The last time I saw dolphins was in Mexico while on my honeymoon. I wanted to swim with them, and it was so much fun. I loved seeing them out in the wild though – just looking for food. I got SO EXCITED about those dolphins. Giddy, really.
We made it to the beach briefly, and I just remember feeling so horrible about myself. My jeans were tight, I didn't have a coat, my hair felt dirty, I was itchy from an inadvertent gluten reaction. But after being on the water and in the sand, I was truly happy for a brief moment. I started thinking how I could live on a beach, or in a city, or if I decided to remain a Kentuckian, that's an option too. For now though, no decisions (other than refinancing my house in my name only). It's just so interesting to have options. Water does make me really happy and calm though.
I keep trying to focus on getting through the holidays, which is proving to be difficult emotionally. I just want to have fun and move on, but I'm really freaking sad. I'll have to tell you a story about the Christmas Tree another day…
Saw this and posted it on Instagram – it's a fabulous reminder for us all.