I think of my divorce as riding a rodeo bull. Starts out with some slow bucking, and I'm thinking "Okay, this is really uncomfortable but do-able." Then as the animal senses that I am actually controlling the ride, thereby making an ass out of him in front of a crowd of people, he begins to buck harder, throwing my ass up in the air, which frankly, no one needs to see. With each crashing return to the saddle, I realize, "Holy shit. I am riding a bull. This is really happening." The ride continues and I am holding on for dear life, petrified of how it will feel to finally hit the ground, because I see now, there is no way around it. I know there's a chance the bull may give me one final kick before it's all over, making sure that I never get up again, and I brace myself for it.
Then I am on the ground and suddenly surrounded by clowns. They chase the bull away, and pull me up by my arm pits. Generally, I am afraid of clowns but these are nice ones, not like the freak in "IT." They are here to save my life. I run to shelter and take stock of my body. There is some pain, but everything is in order, it all still works. I dust off my knees and wait for my score. Then... I walk away.
Recently I was at a doctor's appointment, where, due to my fear of being weighed, being told to cut back on the alcohol, or worse yet being referred to a specialist for a black mole shaped like Florida on my back that I never noticed, (Does anyone look at their back? God only knows what atrocities I would find back there,) I was sweating like a pig and making inane conversation with the nurse.
"Can you believe that slut Miley Cyrus?"
"I like your shoes. White Crocs are cool."
"I think Blake Shelton DOES cheat on Miranda, I mean who is he kidding?"
With that last remark my nurse began to cry. These country music fans really take it to the extreme. Then she said:
"I'm so sorry. I'm going through a hard time and I know this is so unprofessional."
Immediately, I knew.
"I went through a divorce a few years ago," I said.
"My husband is leaving me for a 25-year-old. They're getting married as soon as our divorce is final."
We talked for a few moments, and she pulled herself together. As I left the office, (no mole but do have to cut back on alcohol,) I made eye contact with her and gave her a smile and a thumbs up. She has just realized she is riding a bull. This is really happening.
I remembered a few years back when I was at that same point in the process. I was in the dentist chair getting a tiny cavity filled. As I lay there with my mouth open, wondering if there was drool on my chin, a memory came to me. When my ex and I were still married we used to make our cleaning appointments for the same time. I could hear him in the room next to me say to the hygienist, "My better half is in the next room. We've been together over thirty years." Knowing he had said that when his pastry chef was probably waiting for him at the Olive Garden around the corner, with his endless salad bowl already ordered, I began to cry, silent tears running down my face.
Unfortunately, the dentist took this to mean that I was still feeling pain, and administered like 50 more Novacaine shots, making eating nearly impossible for the next two weeks.
Here is what I want to tell you folks who are riding that bull: I know it hurts like hell and feels like it will never end. It will, but you gotta take the ride. You may hit the dirt hard, and you may even lay there for a little while. It's possible that the bull will take one parting shot at you, and kick you while you are still down. Doesn't matter. Clowns in the form of your best friend, your siblings, your kids, will help pull you to safety. Once that happens, stand up, dust off your knees, straighten your cowboy hat and then, with all the strength you can muster...walk away.