OK...so here's the deal.
I knew I was moving away from who I was several years before the divorce. I had established a fairly firm core before I got married and early on, things were good. I didn't particularly LIKE being married at first, but I got used to it. Mostly, it was a process of surrendering. When I told my colleagues that I felt like a wimp for "selling out" and getting married. One of them looked me right in the eye and said, "But that's the human condition!." She was telling me that it is perfectly natural to want to partner with someone and that I wasn't being weak.
So, I dug in and we established a warm place to be together. For a while. But, as my OTHER wise colleague told me: "Stuff just happens between people." And instead of using some badly needed relationship floss to clean out the gunk, it just kept building up until eventually even a power washer couldn't get rid of it all: the resentment, anger, disappointment, unreasonable expectations, lack of communication.
I scrambled for ways to ignore the gunk. I got REALLY busy with my career and my hobbies. I joined him in HIS interests. I even moved away from home for awhile to pursue a degree. And all of this running moved me even further away from the core I had worked so hard to find. Moving back to center meant shifting my whole world. I'd have to let go of the house, the status, some friends...
My self discovery had been deliberate and hard-won. After years of spinning my wheels in dead-end jobs and dead-end boyfriends, I finally found some mo-jo and I became determined to move forward. Back in school and studying for a teaching certificate, I had a lot of time to ponder: who am I, how did I get this way, how can I not be this way anymore, what do I really want to be, how would I act if I were that person. A total reinvention. And the best thing I ever did.
By the time I got married, I knew exactly what I wanted and who I wanted to be. Ten years later, I was just trying to be civil and holding my life together with paper clips and twine. If my self-hood were one of those carpenter's levels, the bubble of me wouldn't even be visible.
Since then: separation, crying, other relationships, crying, more getting ridiculously busy, crying, new job, crying, new city, crying, eating waaaaay too much, crying, going out too much, putting up with stupid men, crying, new apartment, crying, divorce, new relationship, more crying, ex getting married, therapy, long hot baths, fighting guilt, crying, days spent in pajamas, reading good books, turning off the phone, learning to say "no."
And out of all that...something cool is starting to happen. I'm catching glimpses of the core again. The bubble is moving closer to the black line. I'm making fewer moves out of desperation. I'm feeling sensible again.My beloved and I are weaving our own relationship floss and boy, does that stuff work! I'm starting to see myself again. Not the old me, but a new vision enriched by all the aforementioned events.
It's not a perfect picture, but it's moving closer to center.