Well yesterday I took myself off to Trocadéro to visit the Eiffel. I went back to the base of the tower and looked for the bench I sat on that day, four years ago when I realised my marriage was over. I didn’t find that exact one but I found one close to it underneath the tower. I scarcely remembered how beautiful it is and what a masterpiece of engineering it is. There is much detail which makes it a feast for the eyes when you’re close up.
But this post really isn’t about the Eiffel. It’s about the journey I started all those years ago that I have finally closed the chapter on. Being who I am, I appreciate closure and resolution. This journey through divorce and into healing has been one of the most difficult things I have done to date. It didn’t help I got into a rebound relationship almost straight after the divorce and didn’t give myself time to lick my wounds and have the healing at least start before trying to commit emotionally to someone else, in that broken state.
That relationship had it’s place in my life, as do all relationships for each of us, so it wasn’t all bad. It taught me exactly what I will and will not accept post divorce and for that I am thankful.
I have spoken before about needing to put things down simply because they are heavy and I can honestly say that this is exactly what I have done. There is a lightness in my step and an ease in my breathing that has been coming for months. There is a sense of wonderment and achievement knowing that I have come to the end of the book I started four years ago. There is no more satisfying a feeling than closing the cover and putting the book on the shelf.
There were days when I scarcely believed I would ever feel like myself again, when I would ever breathe easily, when the scars of that time would be flat and white and barely visible upon the surface of my heart. Today is that day. I can delve into that time in my life as if diving into a pool without being overwhelmed by those emotions and memories. Today is the first time I have not shed a single tear whilst writing about it.
Each person’s journey is different but some of the things I’ve learned in these four years are:
1) Get talking
Whether you do it with a therapist (I would HIGHLY recommend a professional) or a good friend, talk about it until you feel like you’ve talked it to death. Do not underestimate the cathartic nature of talking and putting your thoughts and emotions out into the ether. Try not to see therapy as a long term commitment. One of the best things my therapist said to me was: “You’re not going to be here for a long time.” Immediately I felt that this phase was transitory and he assured me I would emerge from the flames scorched but not consumed. He was right.
2) Get busy
Whatever it is you decide to do, keep yourself distracted, certainly initially and try to limit your hours in solitude. Yes, a large percentage of us are introverts and that’s exactly who should not spend too much time alone, in our own dark worlds with nothing but our pain as company. I didn’t seek out crowds, I kept myself busy by spending time with my nearest and dearest, all of whom helped me to process different aspects of my failed marriage and subsequent journey through healing.
3) Get crafty
Start a project. A craft project, a cooking course, a diploma in crochet, get a puppy and go to puppy training classes (the value of an animal’s unconditional love can NEVER be over estimated). Try not to bury yourself in work alone. I found creative outlets were the most rewarding and also far more fun.
4) Get travelling
Plan a holiday, either to a place you have never been or to a place you love and want to return to. Keeping your focus on a time and place in the future will help distract you as to where you presently are. Research your destination and do and see things you would otherwise not do. I decided to move toward the fear–as it were–because great things happen when you step outside of your comfort zone. I can attest to that!
5) Get some tea
The almost other worldly magnificence of tea is a secret long known to many, including my grandmother, who used to say that ‘There is nothing cup of tea cannot fix’ and in this day and age when you have millions of different types, there is sure to be one suited to you. I personally love green tea with mint and Earl Grey which is infused with bergamot. Tea does more than just arouse your tastebuds, it warms your bones and gives your soul a hug. Put down the coffee, don’t be scared.
6) Get pampered
Go for a massage or a facial or a pedicure once a month. Little treats like these are magical little indulgences that lift your mood and make you feel good about yourself. If you find a good therapist, she could even become a friend!
7) Get moving
Go for a walk along the beach, go for a walk around the block, sign up for acting classes or dance classes or mime classes. Learn a new language. Experience something new, do something new, meet a couple of new people, who knows where that could lead!
8) Get helping
One of the best ways to forget about your own pain, is to help other people through theirs. We just have to look around us to see how much pain the world is in to see that we can make a difference, even in the smallest of ways. The world needs more people who are prepared to set aside their hurt and get up and do something good for someone else without expecting anything in return.
Kindness has no cost to anyone.
9) Get tipsy
Not all the time and don’t drink to cope, that’s not what I am advocating. The benefits of sitting at your friend’s kitchen table and sharing a good bottle of wine are invaluable. Plus you can sleep at your friend’s place so you don’t have to drive and who doesn’t like a pajama party?! You can watch Friends reruns and make breakfast together.
10) Get laughing
This one is hard when you’re hurting because sometimes we feel that to laugh while we feel so sad is bizarre or even disrespectful to our pain. It’s harder to feel sad while watching a comedy show or a funny movie and will relieve some of the sadness induced tension, even if it’s just for an hour. A good belly laugh is therapeutic and releases feel good hormones like seratonin and oxytocin which have prolonged effects.
Finally, in closing, always remember that in the end, everything will be ok and if it’s not ok, then it’s not the end.
Thank you for reading.