Things haven’t been good for a while. The fighting. The uncomfortable silence. The unspoken resentments. The anger. The sadness. It’s been thicker and denser than London fog lingering in the air. Permeating. More toxic than the layer of smog hanging over the city of Los Angeles.
And so the time has come. The inevitable time to make the decision to divorce. Even if you want the divorce, it’s traumatic. How do I know? I’ve been there. I’ve been divorced and I have represented thousands of divorcing individuals as an attorney. I’ve been part of the guerilla warfare for nearly all of my adult life. I am a Woman Warrior, a Girl Gladiator, and Steel Magnolia Soldier. How did I get here?
It started with the knowing. The knowing that it was time. The inevitable knowing that the relationship must end. The inevitable knowing that it is a matter of saving your soul. The inevitable knowing that it is a matter of saving your sanity. Then, it set in. Fear. Paralyzing fear. Fear of losing my kids. Fear of not having enough money. Fear of being alone forever. Fear of the stigma. I am reminded of the scene between Lucy Van Pelt and Charlie Brown in A Charlie Brown Christmas:
Lucy: Or maybe you have pantophobia. Do you think you have pantophobia?
Charlie Brown: What’s pantophobia?
Lucy: The fear of everything!
Charlie Brown: THAT’S IT!
One step at a time, one breath at a time, one decision at a time, I kept moving forward. I applied to law school. I got in. I downloaded the forms from the clerk of court’s office and did the divorce myself. I signed my kids up for after care. I signed myself up for classes at night in law school. My teaching job had to stay in place too. Couldn’t afford to quit. I pushed through. Deep breath. Pushed through making lunches. Deep breath. Pushed through car pools. Deep breath. Pushed through teaching all day. Deep breath. Pushed through baseball and dance practices. Deep breath. Pushed through contracts, torts, and civil procedure. Deep breath.
And all of the sudden, I realized that clouds had dissipated. The sun had some out. Those fears I had? None of them materialized as reality in my life. Today, my children are happy, healthy and successful. I am one of the Best Lawyers in America. That stigma? Someone wise once told me that people will think what you tell them to think. Absolute truth.
I am a Woman Warrior. A Girl Gladiator. A Steel Magnolia Soldier. You can be too. Take a Deep Breath. We got this.