In the summer of 2006, my dad helped me set up a stereo in my post-marital-separation residence. The best thing about the stereo was that it featured a turntable, and I had plenty of old vinyl to spin. After making sure that everything was hooked up correctly, I dropped the needle onto Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, then sat down on the floor (I had no furniture). When the music enveloped me, I released my body backward, onto the hardwood, and laughed out loud.
I think my father worried that I was crying, but my emotion-of-the-moment was far from “despair”. I was listening to my own music, in my own space. In that moment, I didn’t have to be a wife or a homemaker. I realized that I could now eat when (and what) I wanted, sleep when (and where) I wanted and watch all the damn foreign films I wanted without negotiation. I was free. And for the first time in a long time, I felt like… myself.
Marriage can trap us. In the beginning, things feel so good that we let it happen. Sometimes at the end, things get so bad that we don’t care to escape. Either way, it’s easy to lose the connection to You while identifying with a Lifetime Partnership.
When the partnership ends, we often flail wildly about as we struggle with an independent identity. The process might feel horrific or exhilarating. Or both. You might laugh or cry. Or both. Lean into it, all of it. Swim in the tears and soar in the joy. Explore that space as you recollect and re-connect to the parts of You that lurk between notes, in old shoe boxes or underneath the neon lights.
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.