This is an article I wrote for the Huffington Post blog series Divorced by 30, I hope they accept it!!
I have always tried to be honest about my shortcomings. Tried to be aware and perceptive about my faults, what I needed to work on, where my weak spots were; but that does not necessarily mean that I have always faced them with grace or dignity or that I didn’t push others in the forefront to hide mine. I am human and stubborn and many times I screamed that it wasn’t my fault, there were times I didn’t listen, that I didn’t fight fair that I fought to win, that I just wanted to be heard and didn’t listen, didn’t learn. I am guilty of all of these things, of saying hurtful things when I was angry, of walking away instead of listening, but I never stopped trying. I can honestly say I never gave up on the hope of love. The love that we as little girls are spoon-fed, told over and over in our books, cartoons, movies, that we will be saved, swept away by Some guy who will be our perfect match, our soul mate.
I met my so called knight in shining armor when I was 21, it was Halloween 1996 and I was out celebrating at a local dive bar with my friend Andrea. I will never forget seeing him through the smoky haze of the bar and then gathering up the guts to walk up to him; I was so nervous, hands shaking, he was so handsome, and I thought so out of my league. But he just smiled up at me with such a big smile and said absolutely when I handed him my number, asking him to give me a call sometime. He was beautiful this boy I would love, who I would lose myself so completely in that it would take me 4 years to get back up, gain my strength and be me again. We had so many fun times but we were young and young love never seems to have that lasting stick, it seems instead to be all about heartbreak and lessons. I married this one though, because I wanted it to be forever and at 23 that word, forever, was obtainable. At 40, I wonder if there is such a thing, forever love. We were young, passionate, and stubborn and though we loved each other, love it seems is never enough. After two years together and living together for one of those, we ran off to Las Vegas. Young lovers on an adventure, just us and there was something about us doing it alone that added to the excitement. Afterwards though I felt cheated of a real wedding, no family or friends to celebrate with, no dress, champagne or cake. It also created a strain with his large Hispanic family who felt even more cheated than me at not being a part of our getting married. We lived happily for a year, but reality always has a way of creeping in and it just became too hard to hold ourselves together. He cheated, and I was broken, and our story ended, though not so easily. There was many tears, late night phone calls, and showing up and driving by places just to catch a glimpse of him. I was a mess, even though I did initially leave and was the one to file for the divorce; but I felt so betrayed and I knew deep down that I deserved so much better than what I had been dealt. My Dad did not agree with my choice of divorce, he was catholic and believed marriage was for better and for worse. He never realized how hard it was for me to make the choice I did as my Parents were still married, and stayed married for 48 years till he passed away this past August. I wanted that, that forever kind of love.
Being divorced at 25 is not easier than being divorced when you are older, but it does leave you with a certain young freedom; for when it comes to loss we reach a bottom through our grief, our heartbreak and so we sense we are free since we have nothing left to lose, becoming reckless, free in such a dark sense. I think society is more forgiving of the drunk, sobbing hot mess of crazy at 25 then it is at 40. I can say now that I am glad I got divorced, but back then I thought my world had collapsed and I was so completely broken and lost. I am able to look back now, 15 years later and see that it was never going to last. We were two young kids playing house. We were loving each other as an escape, not as a way to grow and evolve in a true partnership. We had different hopes, ambitions; we were raised in completely different worlds. We did not spend the time talking about our future, kids, our fears, and our hopes. We just loved each other blindly, thinking this was enough, but it never is. Divorce is sadness at its most poignant; it is a depth of heartbreak that changes you, changes the way you look at relationships, for you have seen first hand that happily ever after love doesn’t always last, at least it didn’t for you. I learned from being divorced at 25 that love is hard, raw and breaks your heart, but the truest form of love holds your hand through the shitty times and loves you through the hard times. Loves you even when your not lovable, Loves you when the passion fades, the sink is full of dishes and your looks are waning. The truest form of love stays, even when its hard. I grew because of my divorce, it changed me, it made me aware of myself and what my worth was. I realized that I had to believe I deserved that kind of love, and that being afraid of losing it everyday, holding onto it so tightly just crumbles it to dust that blows away when you open your hand.