One week ago, I created a post on my personal Facebook page about recently getting divorced. I had just received a final notice (via email!) the day before, and it felt important to let my tribe of friends, family, and fans know about it. I hadn't publicly shared anything about my dissolving 18-year marriage, so I didn't really know when or how to do it. Changing my status from Married to Divorced seemed insufficient.
To be honest, I wrote the status and posted it on a Saturday night, thinking (and hoping) that it would get lost in the busyness of the weekend.
I was wrong.
Within a week, my humble ditty was viewed over 2,300 times, which was far more than anything else I had ever posted. It may have been due to my peeps wanting to send me online condolences, and it may have been due to the crazy-sexy-freedom dance that I tagged along with it. (I couldn't help it; a Divorce Dance was inside of me that was begging to be shimmied out.) But, I like to believe that it's popularity stemmed from the fact that we are all so freakin' sick of everyone being perfect all of the time. Wherever you turn, it seems like everyone has their act together and every business is killing it. Every flaw is airbrushed out. Books are cooked to look better than they are. On Facebook Fantasy Island, smiles abound and troubles are few. Like Lake Wobegon in my great home state of Minnesota, it seems like all of the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.
With all of this pseudo-perfection floating about, I believe that people are craving REAL. We are all struggling with something (or just got out of struggling or will be struggling soon), our jobs have good days and bad days, and all we really want to do is figure out a way to live happily and healthfully. When we are real, both in our personal lives and professional ones, we cut through the noise of endless distractions and overwhelming stress to touch the hearts of those around us.
Please join me on the Quest for Realness. Don't be afraid to be real with your family, letting them know how you feel and what you need. Don't be afraid to be real with your co-workers, supervisor and staff, establishing boundaries when you need to and extend a helping hand when asked. Don't be afraid to be real with friends and colleagues, for they will respect you far more for your authenticity, courage and power. Don't afraid to be real. Period.
We get noticed (in a crowded marketplace, in relationships, and at home) when we have the courage to stop the nonsense and start being us -- warts, divorce and all.
Below is the post that I shared last week. I hope you enjoy it!
[I GOT DIVORCED YESTERDAY.]
Well, to be precise, yesterday was the date that the dissolution decree was signed by a Hennepin County judge, thus making my divorce official. At 8:57am yesterday, I got an email from my attorney indicating as such, nestled in between my Verizon Wireless bill and the IKEA order shipping confirmation for a curtain rod. What a surreal moment it was to read about the end of my 19-year marriage while sitting in my car immediately after delivering a webinar on “Confronting the Tough Stuff: Outside my Comfort Zone.” As Morpheus once said, “Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.”
Many of you have known me for a very long time, and I can almost hear the collective “Awwww!” emanating from my Mac’s speaker. Several of you know Michael personally and remember the days when we were truly, madly, deeply in love. Since I have not posted any icky nitty-gritties over the last year, the news of my divorce may come as a shock.
As with most not-forever relationships, the end had been hovering for a long time. Relationships – even the strongest and the best of them – end far earlier than when we actually have the courage to pull the plug. We keep waiting, hoping, wishing and praying for months or even years that something – anything - will change it “back to the way it was”. But, at some point, the pain of continuing a lost cause becomes greater than the pain of creating a new life.
Michael and I were crazy in love for so many of those nineteen years, so I never thought in a bazillion years that I would be divorcing the man of my dreams. While both he and I could undoubtedly articulate all of the reasons why the other pounded the nails in the relationship coffin (believe me, my bestie Jean has gotten a serious earful over the years), it simply is not worth it to cast blame. The truth is, stuff happens. My former husband (that sounds so weird!) and I were no longer on the same road. Choices were made. Once-aligned priorities became forked. Ultimatums were given and threats were made. Dreams were dissected and discounted. Walls were put up. Important words were left unsaid. Respect was abandoned in favor of power maneuvering. Fear overtook everything. Time passed quickly, and before we knew it, Yes became No.
The bottom line is that our once-incredible union became irreparably divided, and it was time to call it for the future well-being of both of us. I loved Michael with every fiber of my being and will love him until the day I die. I am grateful for so much of what we created, the most important being, of course, The Divine Miss Em.
We both wish each other well and know that how we conducted ourselves during this unimaginably painful transition will impact all three of us for the rest of our lives. For my part, I am proud of how I moved through it, choosing positive responses more often than negative ones, owning my stuff as much as my fragile ego would allow, and humbly honoring the life we built together even as we pulled it apart brick by brick.
This year I’ll be spending my first Valentine’s Day in decades as a single woman, and I gotta be honest, it’s pretty scary. Many of you might be like me – navigating the Holiday of Love without having a Mr. or Ms. Right with whom to share it. But, please know this; YOU ARE WORTHY OF GREAT JOY. If that special someone isn’t in your life right now, take it as an opportunity to work on your own sense of worthiness, show yourself some much-needed appreciation, and honor all of the gifts you provide to so many.
If you are blessed to be in a relationship, here’s my advice to you: DON’T PLAY GAMES. DON’T HOARD YOUR LOVE. DON’T WAIT AND HOPE IT GETS BETTER. DON’T THINK YOU CAN HANDLE THE TOUGH STUFF WITHOUT GETTING HELP. AND DON’T STOP KISSING...EVER.
If you are worried about me, don’t be. While I am understandably emotionally tender during this grieving period, I am also feeling great freedom and relief that the new phase has begun – Theresa 2.0! I recorded this no-holds-barred bedroom dance video the night I signed my papers -- and after enjoying a big-girl-sized glass of Malbec. The joy I expressed in my Divorce Dance wasn’t about getting rid of a husband; it was about celebrating my badass courage and energizing the exciting new things that are waiting for me just ahead on the horizon.
On this Valentine’s Day 2016, I am single, I am free, and I am grateful.
May you always remember to dance, even when it hurts.