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gathering of dust

Sour Bob sums up the break-up of a marriage and the road to healing in such eloquent manner.

Interesting that I came across that this morning (I had never read Sour Bob, found him through a link and immediately blogrolled him) as I was going to start putting together some of my longer or more serious essays on a separate blog. Sour Bob's essay reminded me of this one of my own:

The Art of Being Divorced

There's this strange thing about being divorced. It's that you live in constant knowledge that on some level, you failed. It's a daily thing, something that never goes away, that hovers in your mind and occasionally smacks you in the face to remind you. I am an ex. Not just any kind of ex, because I've been exes before. Ex-girlfriend, ex-catholic, ex-English major, ex-Jets fan. But this ex is different because there is a legality to it that makes it binding and forever and public knowledge. I can always deny having been Jean Bergeron's girlfriend in 11th grade. It's not something I have to think about every day. But each day, when I look at my kids or put the child support payment in the bank, or see my ex at one of DJ's games or Natalie's plays, I am faced with it. I failed. Yes, he failed too. And in a much bigger way than I. And I bet he thinks about that every day, too.

I've moved on, I've rectified, I've rearranged and refurnished and adjusted nicely to my role as ex-wife. Granted, it's easier to be an ex when you are a current. I don't have to (any longer) think about being alone or lonely or making dinners for one or finding someone to have a conversation with. Hell, I did that all when I was married anyhow. My point is, some people wear the role of ex like an ill fitting suit. And some people wear it like a slinky cocktail dress. Me, I've grown from wearing that one size too small pair of pants to some real baggy comfortable overalls. And sneakers. My ex, on the other hand, still walks around like David Byrne in an oversized suit, drowning in its hugeness. It's been 4 years. 4 years officially. The marraige was all but null and void years before it became stamped on a piece of paper that it was over. And still, he can't seem to get used to the title of The Ex. Even now, with a girlfriend and potential step kids, he still looks at me like I robbed his piggy bank. He still stands at the opposite end of the field at DJ's games and sits on the other side of the auditorium at Natalie's plays.

I am a constant reminder to him of his failures. I know this. Just as he is of mine. But I try to look at it differently. While I will always and forever walk around knowing I failed in that aspect of my life, and it's a big one, I also look at him as a turning point in my life. I look at him and see what I've become since. While I will always be the an ex-wife, that is not necessarily an evil, horrible thing to carry around. Because it also means that at some point I thought more of myself than the need to be with a person who thought nothing of me. It means I rose up above the fray and gave myself a voice.

You live, you learn and you take all those lessons with you. You also take labels and tags and whatever the them in us v. them lays on you, and you make of it what you will. Once divorced, once severed from the hand that held you down, you assume the title of ex. But you get to un-assume all the titles that you hated. Fair enough trade off.

(originally posted 9/25/01)


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference gathering of dust:

» How it happened for me from One Name Left
After reading Michele's story that she wrote in response to the one I linked to earlier on Sour Bob's site, I got to thinking about my own situation, and how similar it is in ways. Joy and I met about... [Read More]


You know that's my favorite thing you ever wrote, don't you. I'm sure I told you that before.

Before reading that I never actually tried to understand the dynamics between my divorced parents or why they just couldn't get along anymore... surely the sign of a great article or post is that you can reflect the words onto yourself and learn something more about your own situation from it.

That was very insightful. I think I see my mother playing the part of your ex. Definitely food for thought.

That was very insightful. I think I see my mother playing the part of your ex. Definitely food for thought.

Wow. I'm about to get my divorce in June/July. You hit the nail on the head, Michele, as always.

That was heart-wrenching and beautiful.

I'm the child of divorced parents, and this essay touched me deeply. Now, over 20 years later, they both talk to me about how they might have worked things out, and how if they had just tried harder... It's funny being in the position, now at 29, of telling them that it's okay. I tell them that my life is better without having them fighting constantly. They tried very hard to remain friends, and I thank them for that. I tell them that maybe their marriage failed, but they have had the best damn divorce I know of.

Good luck, Michele. It's okay.

My father still refers to my mother as "The Plantiff".....

Goin' to D court today,thanks for the POV.

I'm curious as to whether it was the man, or the woman, that applied for divorce.