It has taken me precisely 347 days and nearly 7 hours to write this blog. I know because it was exactly that long ago when the only person who could successfully convince me to write about my divorce, Arianna Huffington, suggested that I do just that. I have started many times, then stopped, then started again...and again.
To be fair, it's not all that easy to publicly admit that I was... well... wrong. Dead wrong. Absolutely, positively wrong about almost everything negative that I imagined would happen if I got divorced.
I was wrong about the effect it would have on me, the effect it would have on my children and I was even wrong about the effect it would have on my friends and my community. Unfortunately, I wasn't wrong about the effect on my bank account, but that's probably best left for another blog post.
The source of all my misjudgments and disastrous projections occurred during a specific period of time, during which all who are contemplating divorce must endure. It's a state of mind preceding any decision: whether to stay or leave; whether to push through the pain or pull the covers right over it. It's the time when you stop listening to others long enough to find a bit of quiet to listen to your head...and, for a lucky few, your heart.
It is a time when pain is exaggerated and thoughts are cloudy and in order to move forward in any direction, you must make a concerted effort to clear the mess. A time when you're highly susceptible to all the horrible stuff you read - subjectively encouraging you to choose one side or the other - and you're utterly convinced that whichever path you take will be wrong.... until you discover, like I did, that the only thing wrong is an overly-active imagination.
I have a name for this state of being. I call it...The D-Spot.
Laugh at the name if you will. All I know is that I don't recommend finding your D-Spot, as much as I recommend finding your way out of it.
Just one week prior to announcing my own divorce to my children and friends in June of 2011, I had the misfortune of reading an article in the New York Times that left me visibly shaken, convincing me that, in addition to everything else I stood to lose, I would also lose all of my friends. The article, titled, what else, "How Divorce Lost Its Groove" went on to surmise how society was becoming less accepting of divorce. Quotes like this consumed me: "The No. 1 reaction I get from people when I tell them I'm getting divorced is, 'You're so brave.'" The article went on to infer that married women would be less than friendly to their divorced friends by offering, "several divorced women suggested that the news of their marital unraveling seemed to unnerve other couples in their social circles."
The irony is that as soon as I crossed the border out of the D-Spot, I realized that, once again, I was wrong. In fact, quite the opposite occurred. Yes, as it turns out, the year my husband swore off women, was the year that I discovered them.
Women were my salvation. They took me out. They bought me drinks. They fed my stomach and my soul. One even dragged me to go see the film Bridesmaids, which, if I had known earlier about the healing effects of that movie, I could have saved myself more than thousands in counseling fees by, instead, shelling out $20 for a movie, popcorn and a few tissues.
I also found inspiration from another unlikely source: a newly-divorced man who was taking his kids, his ex-wife and her new boyfriend on vacation. Maybe, I thought, life outside the D-Spot was actually more like real-life than reality TV.
Now safely on the other side of the D-Spot, I can honestly say that I'm half as rich, but twice as happy. So much so, that a client once called me the "poster child for divorce." While admittedly flattered by the thought, I hope my story does not encourage others to do the same, but instead, encourages confidence in whatever decision they ultimately make. I'd far rather be a poster child for living an honest life...filled with transparency, confidence and a richness measured in unforeseen ways.
If, as you read this, you're somewhere swirling in the vortex of the D-Spot, my navigational advice is to remember that you are not alone. You are safe in your thoughts and rich in self-worth. Read less and think more. Watch more real-life and less reality TV. Recognize the power in staying or making a drastic change. Whichever you decide, take comfort in knowing - and believing - that it is the right choice.
Welcome to life beyond the D-Spot. It can start many times, then stop, then start again...and again. Yet it is only after having survived that, at some point - perhaps as long as 347 days and nearly 7 hours later - you can finally finish!