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  • Writer's pictureJoy Juliet

I Do Not Like the Word "Divorce"

Updated: Jan 28, 2022

Ring holder with engagement and wedding ring against a window and a grey sky.

I do not like the word divorce. It sounds like a cross between “die” and “force,” and that’s what it has felt like, too. A forced death – though I’m still figuring out what, exactly, has died. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that I haven’t shared with many people that, for the past two and half years, I’ve been in the practice of getting unmarried. (I had meant to write “process” there, but I think I will let “practice” stand. Being unmarried does feel like a practice, like yoga or meditation or writing. It requires a series of small, deliberate choices, many of which seem inconsequential but, over time, can change your entire life.)

I always knew I would share more One Day. You know - One Day, when the papers were signed and I had a polished first draft of the book I’ve been working on. One Day, when the pandemic was over and all of this felt more like the past than the present. I’d share more when this messy in-between phase was behind me, and I'd gotten to the part where I no longer had to assure people that it was “for the best” because my amazing life made it so obvious that it was.

Ha! All of that has taken much, much longer than I ever imagined. The last few years have felt a bit like sitting in the heartbreak equivalent of the DMV waiting area. I’m just biding my time, hoping I don’t look too weird in the photos, wondering what everyone else is doing here, and waiting to find out if I passed the test that will give me permission to sit in the driver's seat of my own life.

Maybe it’s the new year, or the full moon, or because I finally cut my hair. Or maybe it was just because I was up in the wee hours of the morning again, after my four-year old kicked me in the head, and I couldn’t fall back asleep because I kept thinking about all of the things that aren’t the way I imagined they would be. But, suddenly, I realized that my grief ID is not in the mail. And no matter how many books I read or podcasts I listen to, no one is going to grant me a degree in heartache; there will be no diploma to frame or letters added to my name to signal to the world that my story is worth telling. And so I got out of bed and decided that today is the day to begin another practice - the practice of sharing what it has been like for my life to be broken open. Over the next year, I am challenging myself to post on here 100 times, in the spirit of the brilliant Suleika Jaouad's 100-day project, inspired by the Isolation Journals.

There are so many others whose words have been a lifeline for me. These brave souls have opened themselves up and held out their hearts so we can see them and say, “Yes, it’s broken but, look, it’s still beating.” That’s how we know it’s possible for our hearts to go on beating too. I will always be grateful to these writers. I hope that my words find their way to someone who is up in the wee hours of the morning, grappling with the knowledge that their life is about to look a lot different than anything they’d ever imagined and wondering how they will go on. And so if any of this resonates with you, I hope you will follow along, and share these posts with others.

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