There Ain’t No Shame In My Game

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“A” my name is Alice and my husband’s name is Albert.

We live in Alabama and we sell Apples.

“B” my name is Bonnie and my husband’s name is Barry.

We live in Bermuda we sell Bananas.

“C” my name is Cindy and my husband’s name is Charlie.

We live in Colorado and we sell Cars.

Remember that childhood game? Those were the days, right? As a kid, I used to dribble a basketball on the driveway to see how many times I could get my leg around the bouncing ball as I tone deafly sang an alphabet song of the names of boys I’d marry, places I’d live and things I’d sell. I never did make it all the way to the letter Z without losing control of the ball but if memory serves, I could easily get halfway to the letter M. Back then, “M” my name was Mary and my husband’s name was Mike. We lived in Minnesota and we sold Magic.  Life was grand.

Fast forward to adulthood, I can still recollect being young and dreaming about the future. As a Jersey girl, I think I knew it was highly unlikely I’d ever live in Minnesota but the probability of meeting and marrying a guy named Mike wasn’t too far-fetched.  After all, it was a pretty common name. And about selling magic? Well I guess I thought anything was possible.

So why the walk down memory lane? Because it’s amazing how the road we travel takes twists and turns we never expect. Sure I eventually grew up and  got married but not to a guy named Mike. And I never did sell any magic. But I did buy into the dream of finding my man, settling down, having children and building a happy life. That plan worked for a while. And it was good. Until it wasn’t. And then I knew I needed to change course. But how? Fuck if I knew. I was married to a man who loved me; I had children who relied on me for everything; and I truly felt I had a responsibility to keep my core family unit intact at any cost. Except I realized there was no price tag worth compromising my own happiness. You can’t buy fulfillment and you can’t charge peace of mind on a credit card.

As my marriage was falling apart I found it harder and harder to blog about the daily grind. I’m all for writing about the trials and tribulations of parenthood and deprecating myself about the thankless job that is motherhood and my [in]abilities as a [not so]polished homemaker; but in good conscience and in fairness to my kids and husband, I felt it only right to take pause while all hell was breaking loose.

And I’ll admit all hell was breaking loose. For too long nothing made sense. My emotions were all over the place. I would break down in the most random places and at the most inopportune times. I knew things were spiraling out of control when Drita, the lady from Publix who liked to wheel my shopping cart to the car would casually ask me how I was and I’d immediately start to cry. Poor Drita. She was just trying to make friendly conversation while loading groceries into my trunk and here I stood sobbing like a baby in the middle of the parking lot. I also knew things were going from bad to worse when I had to boycott any and all Adele songs. The second I’d hear her belt out those [painfully depressing] lyrics the sooner I thought it would be less painful to swallow dry laundry detergent!

Let us also not forget about the weeks of carrying around a portable machine to monitor my blood pressure. I used to feel my heart pounding out of my chest so much so I was convinced a main artery was gonna explode. I would sit in the car with the cuff on my arm and press the button over and over and over until I either got a healthy read or the machine malfunctioned; whichever came first.

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Of all the low moments I think the most unpolished was while on a business call with a stranger. Yup, you read that correctly. A complete stranger. I had always been good at multitasking, but this was not the time nor the place to co-mingle my personal life with my professional life. One minute we were talking strategy about how to take the blog to the next level and then out of nowhere, I went bat shit haywire crazy. Not my proudest moment, but definitely my most unpolished. I can’t say I’ve ever sent a follow up email quite like the one I felt obliged to send after portraying myself as a total lunatic. I suppose  the silver lining was that the unrehearsed depiction of my unpolished brand couldn’t have been more authentic!

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That had been a wild wake up call; though I didn’t really need to be awoken because night after night I was barely sleeping. I would pace and pace and pace into the wee hours contemplating the [repressed] inevitable. I’d have full blown conversations with myself rationalizing the differences between being courageous or deeming myself a coward. I’d try to make a case as to the merits of staying versus going and then I’d reverse my position so I could argue the validity of the other side. My inner monologue sounded less like an articulate soliloquy and more like the climax scene with the entire ensemble cast from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest!

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I don’t know what to do.

Yes you do.

No, I don’t.

Yes you do.

Ok I do. But how? What do I do?

I don’t know. Why are you asking me?

Because you said you knew.

No I didn’t. I said you knew. I didn’t say I knew.

What?

What, what?

Oh my God. I’m going insane.

I know.

What? You’re going insane too?

No. I’m not going insane. You’re going insane.

What? Shut up. Shut up. Just SHUT UP.

Ok. Think.

I am thinking. All I’ve been doing is thinking.

You were raised to trust your gut and not become complacent, right?

Right.

You were taught to be strong not weak, right?

Right. But what will people think?

Since when do you care what people think?

True. I don’t care what most people think. But I do care what some people think. 

You know you only get one life. You don’t get two or four or nine lives like cats. You get one. And it’s short. One shot. You know this right? Don’t blow it. You deserve to be happy. Everyone deserves to be happy. Don’t they?

Yah. But I don’t want to hurt my husband. And my kids. Jesus, my kids. I can’t do this to them. They will be destroyed.

They’re not gonna be destroyed.

Um, yah they are.

No. They’re not.

Yes they are.

No. They’re not.

Shut up. Shut up. JUST SHUT UP.

Look, if you’re okay, they’ll be ok.

But I’m not okay.

Then get okay.

But I’m freaking. And I’m scared. And overwhelmed. And freaking!

You already said that.

I know but I need help. Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.

What are you, ninety-two with a broken hip? We all fall. It’s not about falling. That’s not the part that matters. It’s about getting up. Are you gonna stay in the hole forever or are you gonna get up, dig deep and pull yourself together?

Um….

Um nothing. The questions are rhetoric. Get up, dig deep and Pull. It. Together. You’re cheating on yourself by not living your truth. You’re not doing anyone a favor by staying in a marriage that doesn’t work anymore. One day your kids will understand. And so will your husband. He’ll thank you. Everyone deserves to be happy. No one deserves to live half-fast.

But….

But nothing. You can’t until you can. And you can because “S” your name is Silver. Right?

Right. I can.

Yes! You can.

I can?

Yes! You can.

Are you sure?

Oh my God. I can’t.

What? You just said I could!

I meant, I can’t, like I can’t even… Like when people use it as an expression when they can’t even deal with whatever it is they are trying to deal with. You know?

Wait, what? I’m lost. Can I or can’t I?

Oh, for fuck’s sake. YOU CAN. YOU CAN. YES YOU CAN.  “S” your name is Silver and YES YOU CAN.

Okay. Okay. Shut up. Shut up. JUST SHUT UP.

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The decision to divorce was not perfunctory.  I spent days, weeks and if I’m being completely honest, I spent years struggling over how to fix what was broken and if it couldn’t be repaired, how to end it with all the dignity, grace and class I had.

Much to the chagrin of the Yentaville town in which I reside, the demise of my marriage was not the result of one isolated incident. There was no acute laceration that tore us apart or a scathing scandal to gossip about. In retrospect I wonder if that would have been easier because then we’d have something definitive to point to as a reason for why the marriage had been rendered irreconcilable. Instead, it was an excruciatingly slow bleed of two people who were growing farther and farther apart instead of closer together. After many sleepless nights and countless hours seeking the advice from marriage counselors, therapists, spiritual advisors and one amazing divorce coach (yup, there’s such a thing as a divorce coach) Billy’s famous lyrics resonated with me all too well. “Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes. I’m afraid it’s time for a goodbye again.” I knew the time had come to say goodbye to my unpolished marriage.

The months that followed are somewhat of a blur. The best description is to say it’s been an outer body experience. The day I called for a consultation with the first of several attorneys to interview I floundered like a fish out of water. My voice cracked as my hands shook and I stumbled over finding the right words to say. I used every ounce of energy to hold back tears but the second the receptionist  hung up I cried so hard that I gagged and vomited. The irony was while the call clearly signified the end of a chapter, it would also signify the beginning of so much more.

I’ve tried to block out the memory of the morning we told the kids about the divorce. And for good reason. I wish I could say it was only awful because awful would have been a picnic compared to what it was. I don’t know that I’m ready to revisit those emotions now, if ever, but rest assured you’re lucky to have not been privy. My babies hearts were shattered and that’s something I have to live with every single day. However, I have trust in the power of unconditional love and support and I believe time heals all wounds. I’m confident my children will be okay. Why? Because if I’m okay, they’ll be okay and I know I’ll be okay.

“S” my name is Silver.

Some may argue we live in a society where people are convinced numbing themselves is how to be comfortable. It’s easier to be numb than it is to feel pain. That protective bubble we create to ensure our safety only works if you’re content living in the confines of a small space. I lived in that bubble for as long as I could but when faced with the truth of knowing I had outgrown my surroundings I didn’t want to be numb anymore. I couldn’t be numb anymore. I wanted to feel even if the feelings would be unquestionably uncomfortable. Last April, when I wrote the article Bursting Your Own Bubble, it was just days before I officially filed the papers. On some level, it was my way of coming to terms with what was happening.

So yes, I got divorced. I failed at marriage. I got a big, fat, fucking F on my marital report card. Don’t hire me as your tutor for how to have a healthy marriage because I flunked the course. But in my heart of hearts I strongly subscribe to the theory that failure introduces us to an idea you never want to happen again. Looking back, I have no shame in my game but I have to own up to my share of the marital failure and take it on the chin. I’ll take the big, fat, fucking failure and I’ll use it as a learning tool. Will there be mishaps along the way? Obvs. Will it be hard? Yup. It already is. It’s so hard. Am I scared? Beyond. I’m scared shitless. But the only thing scarier is knowing how unhappy you are and not doing a damn thing about it. The only thing scarier is looking in the mirror and not recognizing your own reflection because you know in your gut you’re not living truthfully. The only thing scarier is ignoring your inner voice even though it gets louder and louder and louder with each passing day. That can be unpolishedly terrifying and everyone deserves to be happy.

You know you only get one life. You don’t get two or four or nine lives like cats. You get one. And it’s short. One shot. You know this right? Don’t blow it. You deserve to be happy. Everyone deserves to be happy. Don’t they?

JUST TO LET YOU KNOW… There ain’t no shame in my game. “S” my name is Silver and no, I don’t have a husband. Maybe someday I’ll get remarried and we’ll live somewhere spectacular and sell something special. But for now it’s just me and I’ll tell you what I won’t sell. I won’t sell myself short. Not then. Not now. Not ever.

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