Updated: Dec 29, 2019
Young folk dream about it, single folks prepare themselves for it, our families encourage it, and then it finally happens; marriage. The fairytale. A vow to God, to our partner, in front of witnesses, who usually participate by agreeing to hold the marrying couple accountable and support them in honoring their vows.
The vows. "In the name of God, I take you to be my lawful spouse, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow."
Those are some serious vows! We just promised God and our partners that we will rock with our partners until the wheels fall off and then push that bihh while continuing to love and cherish said partner. Real Unconditional Love. I honestly believe most people enter into marriage determined to commit to said vows, to live a fairytale with their partner, even the not so fluffy and enjoyable parts of the fairytale. Most people realize everyday will not be sunny and some days you'll have to hit the reset button and try again. A commitment for better or worse, until death do you part.
But what do you do when you are committed to your marriage but your partner decides they no longer are? What are the rules when your partner quits? When they deem the fairytale to be too dark, too hard or simply no longer interesting to them? Do you beg them to stay and try to work it out? Do you continue to honor them, while they dishonor their vows? Do you wait for them to come back around? Do you wash your hands of them? Do you pray for them? Do you accept their terms? Do you harass them and troll every social media account they have?
When I was faced with this challenge, I did almost all of the above. I pleaded for him to stay and work with me. I asked him what we could do (I was told there was nothing he was willing to do). I prayed for him. I refused to dishonor my vows and entertain other men (against the wishes and advice of a few friends and relatives), I trolled him online (*insert face palm* I know...). I publicly acknowledged our separation, then I sat in the shadows waiting for him to come back to his family. I was a HOT SPIRALING OUT OF CONTROL MESS. I did not feel like or look like myself. I was enjoying my new role as mommy to our beautiful little girl but I knew she wasn't getting the best version of mommy. I had to do something. So I turned on my gospel music, and began to write down everything I should be grateful for.
My daughter. My life. My education. Gods grace. My health. My daughters health. My career. My travels and adventures. My friendships. The roof over my head. My therapy sessions. My vehicle. A sound mind. My beautiful ass body in all of its 200lb glory that carried my child.
It was at this moment that I realized the "new rules" that would govern my life and help me process my divorce.
My value does not correlate with the status of my relationship.
No one else can define me.
Heal and enjoy my blessings.
I had spent so much time trying to make myself fit into someone else's fairytale that I had stopped noticing and appreciating the fairytale that was happening right in front of me. I had allowed someone outside of myself to define my version of a fairytale. They told me what the main character should look like, how her hair should look, how her clothes should fit, what her voice should sound like and what her interests should be. My entire relationship became defined by how much I could become someone else, how much I became someone else's fairytale.
When did I forget that my value, my 'specialness' was enough as it was? When did I need reach these unrealistic relationship goals in order to feel valuable? When did the opinion of my partner define my beauty, my value, my worthiness? Somewhere along the way I had become codependent on the approval of my partner. I needed his approval in order to validate my importance. I believed everything I did was short of worthy without his stamp of approval. A stamp of approval he had begun to withhold to "teach me lessons and push me to become better."
I was at a crossroad. Do I keep spinning in this hamster wheel trying to reach my partners unattainable version of a fairytale or do I stop the wheel and take responsibility for my unhappiness and healing? I chose the latter. My partner may have been behind the wheel when my car drove off the road but I made the choice to give him the wheel and I had to take responsibility for that decision. By allowing him to "drive" me places that did not serve me, I was able to make him the villain in our fairytale. I did not have to take responsibility for my frustration, my shortcomings, my fear, my confusion. I was able to lay the blame on him time and time again because he had the wheel. A wheel I could have taken control of at any moment.
In the past declined therapy because my partner refused to go, but that was nothing more than a passive aggressive attempt to place the weight of what I was struggling with at his feet and not my own. When I began therapy, alone, I began to work through my issues and get reacquainted with myself, my passions, my power. It was then that I remembered who I really was. I was already all that I was seeking outside of myself.
The fairytale that would exist with or without my partner, the fairytale that existed before my partner; it was in my lap the whole time.
I am the fucking fairytale.