You know, her song "Don't Cry Out Loud"? I'm not sure that anyone knows (or would admit to knowing) much more than the song's main chorus. Come on ... you know it:
don't cry out loud, just keep it inside, and learn how to hide your feelings
fly high and proud and if you should fall, remember you almost had it all
When I have a day like today (note: I wrote this yesterday March 21), the only thing that keeps me strong is repeating the Melissa Manchester Mantra and biting my lip until I can go home and cry in peace. What is most frustrating about the whole process of divorce is the sheer unpredictability of emotions and not knowing whether or when a comment, a song, a scent, a sight or even nothing in particular can take you from normal to oh-so-sad in a split second. Like today. It was a normal day. I got in a good, hard tempo run in the [completely unwelcome] early Spring snow in the morning. It was a "working" run, not an enjoyable run, but I felt great nonetheless. My workday was normal. And then a comment - a completely unknowing, unintentional, casual comment - took my day from normal to not. After work I went to Trader Joe's to do some grocery shopping and was, I felt, surrounded by families and couples picking out their dinner and hugging and laughing and having a grand old time together. So, like Melissa Manchester says, I didn't cry out loud, I kept it inside, I hid my feelings. Nobody wants to see someone crying in Trader Joe's, right?
Fact is, I miss normal. I have a new normal and I'm getting used to it. But it's still so new. Everything is still so new and so different. I still feel weird not wearing a wedding ring. I still don't know how to grocery shop for just me and the kids. I don't know what do to about my last name. I get scared - terrified- when I wake up in the middle of the night alone. I still catch my breath when I wake up on mornings that the kids aren't here and pass their rooms with their beds made. When they were born, I never, ever -- ever -- imagined I would spend a day apart from them. And now, well, now is now.
So, today was hard. Thankfully, the hard days are not as frequent. Most days, I am fine. Wonderful. Great. Happy. Cheerful. Optimistic. Hopeful. And then ... and then there are days when I am not, like today. I debated whether to share, but something in me wanted to do it. Maybe to show that behind the hopeful optimism and the distractions of decorating and accomplishments in running, at my core, I am honestly a little scared. Of what, I don't know. Being alone? Being hurt? Making mistakes again and again? I don't know.
Oddly enough, I keep thinking a lot about the sermon from a wedding I attended a few years ago. The pastor (who was married) said to the happy couple something to the effect of: "This is your wedding day. Today is easy. It is the easiest day you will have. You're in love, you're young, you're happy. But marriage ... marriage is hard work. It is one of the most difficult things in life to balance 'you' with 'we' and maintaining a sense of 'you' when you become a 'we.' The people in this church are your nearest and dearest and they are here to help you when you need them. Lean on them." And while the pastor was talking about building a marriage, his words are so apropos for when a marriage falls apart, too. It is, likewise, so hard to figure out who "you" are when you're no longer a "we." And my God, do I lean on my friends and family.
All this to say, today was a hard day. But tomorrow. Tomorrow will be better.
See you swoon,