Tuesday, November 27, 2007

How I Will Lose 230 lbs.on Thursday

I was going to save this post for Thursday, but the events of today all seem to be pointing to "Write Me!", so here we are:

On Thursday I go to court for my divorce hearing. 9:35 am at the 17th Circuit Courthouse if anyone wants to come and, like, root for me with foam fingers or something. I am to bring a copy of the final divorce decree which I must purchase off the Internet and print off tomorrow afternoon. I've been told that this isn't like divorce court on TV; it's a law day proceeding and I'm scheduled in amongst burglary cases and probation violations. Maybe one of them will give me a tattoo while I wait. There are two women at my work who have recently gotten divorced, and they both have counseled me to bring someone along, that no matter how emotionally detached I've become from my husband in the past two years, actually watching your marriage dissected and then dissolved by a stranger in a robe is one of the most demoralizing things you can go through. "Be grateful you don't have children," they say. "Yeah," I say in return.

I have been looking forward to this court date since September when I filed it, but over the last few weeks I've been developing a really intense feeling of dread about it. When people ask when I finalize, and I tell them November 29th there's kind of a "So, woot?" reaction and I just shrug in assent. Because yeah, in some ways it IS woot...I'm really, truly free and not in relationship purgatory where I get in trouble for checking divorced on legal forms because I'm still technically married, and where my taxes get better (I think) and I'm legally my own person again. But on the other hand, I will have to go there to the court room on my own and see my husband again after nearly a year and a half of not seeing him, and he emailed to say he's bringing his mother and I think seeing them together will make the disappointment and the failure so palpable and awful.

My father offered to come with me to the hearing, but I turned him down. I probably should've said yes, but I can't imagine why him losing a day of work would do any good. My father and I have a relationship built around saying as few words as possible, and somehow the idea of getting divorced and then sitting and munching a Blooming Onion while talking about hardly anything at all just doesn't seem very desirable. I took the entire day off for the hearing, because even though I have a scheduled docket time, my coworkers said that was really more of a hopeful estimation than a firm slot. Plus, they said, there will be a lot of crying and no one wants to come back and teach a gaggle of children after something like that. It looks like Thursday afternoon I'll have a date with my bed and my cats and maybe a weepy chick movie (okay, and some ice cream. I'm only human) and a good long whiny day of thinking about Being Alone.

I have, for all practical purposes, basically been divorced since July of 2006. That's the month my husband packed up about a third of his stuff and moved out as a "birthday present". I had taken an extended summer break from work to visit my family during this time, and when I came back to the house we had shared during the first, awful months of our separation, I returned home to a house he had left full of trash, and cat feces, and rotting food and all sorts of other awful things that make me feel like I can never get the house clean enough again, no matter how much scrubbing or bleach I use. The day after my birthday, when I moved back in, marked the very first time in my life I had been completely on my own...I was broke, terrified, living in a stinking pit of Hell, and completely clueless about what to do next.

I'd like to say the weeks and months following that summer were an inspiring journey of personal growth, complete with my very own Authentic Joan Cusack-style Best Friend who arrived with a bucket of margaritas and a sympathetic smile, but that didn't happen. I spent most of 2006 either drunk on Missouri wine (the shame!), or asleep, or dating really inappropriate men all because I couldn't handle the fact that I felt so completely lonely and unable to help myself. When 2007 rolled around, I knew I had to make a change or else I'd be so fat and slovenly I'd get fired from teaching and I'd have to start operating a phone sex business from my couch where I'd moan and coo in between bites of BBQ Pringles except I'd never make any money because I'm pretty sure no one calls 1-900 numbers anymore and then I couldn't pay my rent and I'd get evicted, and, and, and...

So anyway, 2007 was sort of my faltering attempt to move from being lonely to simply being alone, and I think there's a big huge difference between those two words. Because when I say I'm alone, I mean I know I'm ALONE...with my family an hour away, and no reliable, close friends within driving distance, if my car breaks down I'm screwed, and if I try to wax my own eyebrows, there's no one there to slap me back to my senses before half my forehead is burned off. But even if I'm alone, I can deal with the situation; when I was lonely all the time, the idea that my Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha never arrived along with my two dozen pairs of designer shoes after I filed the divorce papers really pissed me off, and I just couldn't handle it. But being alone made me start taking better care of my money and my house. It made me realize that I couldn't go out and try to date if I had no idea who I was and who I could potentially like. It made me learn to ask for help if I needed it, which was hard. It made me start a blog, and keep going on the blog even when I just wanted to stop writing and drift off into self-pity land. I've learned to diagnose all the worrying sounds in my car, and fix a few of them. I've repaired a garage door, and scraped a foot of ice off my driveway. I am more assertive, and willing to confront people to get things done. Being alone does good things.

I still get lonely now and then, too, though. This week--I guess because of the hearing and maybe a little bit of the Happy Couple Holiday Syndrome-- has been especially hard. On Sunday my dishwasher exploded, and as the cats perched on the kitchen table, I scrambled to the laundry room to grab every towel I could find to dam up the gallons of water leaking from its bottom. Today I stood at the top of my stairway, a pair of scissors in a shaking deathgrip, convinced by some odd sounds that a burglar was in my living room. Later that evening, my car wouldn't start. Twice. After a come to Jesus moment where I mentally went through my bank account to determine if I had enough money to pay for a wrecker and a rental car and determined I absolutely did not, I started it and it was fine. Everything that happened this week has ended up just fine, but there are just those moments where you wish you had SOMEONE...even an ex-husband so you could turn to them and say, "Maybe we should get a watchdog." Or something. You get the idea.

So, on Thursday I am going to try my best to go to that courtroom and just deal with the situation with as little guilt and regret as I can muster. It's probably going to suck a lot, and I am not looking forward to seeing J or J's mom one little bit, but it's going to be over soon and then I get to finally get to cut that one last tie to a past I'm not very proud of. I think I'm going to go do it alone, because after all that's happened in the past two years to change me, I think it seems fitting.


Zandile said...

Thanks for sharing all this, I admire your strength in being able to confront Thursday for what it will be, and for facing it with your chin up anyway. I hope you'll have someone "on call" anyway in case you need to distract yourself from yourself afterwards, but you've already proven you are capable on your own. I hope it goes as smoothly as possible.

Anonymous said...

wow, that's heavy. i've just barely been married for over a year, and we've already had the "did we make the right decision?" discussion. i feel for you. i'd say hope everything goes well, but how do you say you hope someone's divorce goes well? i guess i just hope it's not too hard for you, and i hope you don't get too lonely.

Vickie said...

Hugs. We'll all be with you in spirit.

Nory Roth said...

What a week you have in store! You write so eloquently about your feelings. I feel I can relate to your situation, though I have never experienced anything like it.

One thing you said that I can related to is about not having any "reliable" friends close by. (Not that you don't have friends, but RELIABLE friends.) This is my situation so often. Do you ever feel like you are the world's shoulder to lean on? But then, when you need a shoulder, everyone seems to have become double amputees?

I hope things work out on Thursday. I will be thinking of you. If nothing else, your relief will probably be palpable with the final closure on this prolonged chapter of your story.

Luna Bella said...

I love the way you write! What a great post, and what a wonderful testament to how you've moved on with your life since your separation. As vickie said above, we'll all be with you in spirit on Thursday. I imagine it'll be no fun, but I'm glad you took the rest of the day off to take good care of yourself.

Here are some courage vibes for you:


Jarrett Meyer said...

Good luck with everything today, Erin. I'll keep you in my prayers.

Lori said...

Good luck with everything; I know I'm writing this AFTER everything but I do understand. You're doing wonderfully and we're here for you.

alishapenn said...

Thank you for being so honest about the pain of a divorce. I hope you got through the day okay. Us midwestern girls are tough and I know that you'll be fine!

Shauna said...

oh wow... i'm sorry i didn't catch up on blogs last week coz i would have joined in the virtual good wishes. i hope it went okay and that it ultimately felt good to cut that tie!

(oh oh oh and i've read your AFG post three times, bloody brilliant! :)

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