I’m Sorry It Failed

It was Easter Sunday, I had just asked my husband of 6 years and almost 8 months for a divorce. Nobody enters matrimony with this end in mind.

Well, regardless of the end–divorce or death–we don’t consider it. That’d be morbid or weird.

I have so many memories from the 10 years I was with my first husband. I don’t write his name anymore. I don’t speak his name.

I’m no longer energetically or emotionally attached or in that co-dependent relationship anymore. Yet I still think back. Kind of how I used to think back on my friend who committed suicide: did I do everything I should have done?

I’m sorry it failed.

In my early, boy-crazy years, I had a habit of pushing away the nice guys who truly respected and liked me in favor of the boys who were a bit broken, a bit “bad,” and a whole lot unavailable.

Dr. Kristen Neff suggests that we can be as compassionate to others as we are to ourselves. I have been the hardest on myself–I expected perfection–I’m not very compassionate. Or, at least, that was my truth.

In the past year, I’ve gotten the privilege of practicing self-love, self-compassion, letting go of harsh self-judgement. All that good stuff.

I call it a practice, because it’s a journey. It’s a daily choice. A daily practice.

I’m sorry it failed.

There was no declaration of love from him, no profession of devotion, no suggestion of counseling or asking me to reconsider. I knew there wouldn’t be …I didn’t expect it, and I felt both hurt and relieved at the same time.

The Easter Sunday conversation reaffirmed what I had pretended didn’t exist: the truth that I had settled for an unavailable–emotionally, energetically–partner. I was 30, recognizing my relationship pattern, and I was ending the sabotage.

Weeks before this Sunday, I remember sitting three feet away from this man, my husband, I feel lonely. He glanced over at me and replied, I’m right here, while his thumbs flew over the video game controller.

I’m sorry it failed.

That phrase will probably always echo in my mind, the phrase of brokenness. He stood at the kitchen counter and looked at me, then hung his head and the empath in me heard, I’m sorry I failed. I have no idea if that’s what he was saying. Probably, and probably not.

The message to my heart at my church meeting that morning was to release this man, that both of our souls would be better off going our separate paths.

The next three months of homelessness and car-lessness (I left my car–our only car–for him) and waiting were some of the most challenging and yet most aware-filled days of my life. I wasn’t trying to be someone else or appear to be anything I wasn’t for anyone else. I was just me, cracks and imperfections and all.

Forget your perfect offering,
There is a crack in everything,
That’s how the light gets in.
[Leonard Cohen’s song “Anthem”]

In actuality, I wasn’t homeless, in fact I had 3 homes open to me during this time. And a friend allowed me to borrow his truck while he was traveling for work. This transition time was a gift.

I’m sorry it failed.

I guess I don’t see it as a failure… I put 100% effort into my marriage. I took on more responsibility when I sensed overwhelm (one might call it “enabling” in a co-dependent relationship). I read self-help books. I went to counseling. I planned fun weekends away. I took my vitamins. I meditated. I did yoga. I read inspirational texts. I did my personal best to walk my talk. I recognized when I was numbing the pain and I own that too. I reached out for help when I realized it was silly to carry a marriage on my own. I reached out to my family, his family, our friends for help when I recognized we couldn’t do it on our own.

I grew into a confident, self-assured, compassionate woman who doesn’t need anyone else to complete me. That’s huge. There’s a fine line between being a people pleaser and wearing the heavy armor of not caring what people think. And I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum.

No, I don’t see “it” as Failure. I see it as a transfer of energy, a pattern of growth. I see a union that served its purpose, but, like holding onto an inhalation, it became toxic and so I exhaled. I let go.

I’m sorry it failed. And I reply, I tried so hard to be what you needed, but now I choose to be what I need. 

That’s all we can ever be.

I took steps, one foot in front of the other. I did what was asked of me without knowing where it would lead me. I didn’t expect anything… and here I am.

Is that courage? Because I didn’t feel courageous.

Is that brave? Because I didn’t feel brave.

I am a powerful, beautiful woman. My power and my beauty have nothing to do with what you see on the outside, and everything to do with what is on the inside.

By sharing my story, I hope to spark hope and a fire in your belly. You’re not waiting for a savior. You know that whatever you invest in your body, you get out of your body. Whenever we put effort into our love, life and happiness, we get a million fold in return.