Or six months divorced, whatever you prefer really. Either way, six months ago today, my divorce was finalised.
It feels like forever ago, and a complete world away from where I am now. It feels I have been living this life for years. In one respect I can’t even believe I was ever married. It’s much like that hazy recollection of times spent with one who has died – the intense mourning is over, and it is at last normal for them to be absent.
Divorce held many emotions for me, but one was full of fear too – a deep sense of failure. I hated to fail yet my marriage had failed. How I hated that sentence. It’s failure wasn’t through my lack of trying, or lack of desire to succeed. But failure nonetheless. This was coupled with shame and embarrassment, that while others could make this institution work, I, or rather we, could and would not. Having to confess to this failure felt akin to a Catholic confessional box and I approached each conversation with trepidation. I have always hated failing, a friend refers to it as my ‘school sense of guilt’. Anything less than perfection wasn’t enough. With that snatched away, how could I contend with this ending?
So what have I learnt from this failure? I’ve learnt that out of your biggest failures come your greatest successes. I’ve learnt that happiness is something you look for in each day, and find within yourself, separate from though sometimes connected to others. I’ve learnt that keeping going every day is sometimes a success in itself. Out of failure comes a route so unexpected it’s hard to imagine that wasn’t your original plan.
Six months on from the final decree, I feel proud to say – my heart is full. There’s room for new people and new adventures but my heart is full of a deep contentment and satisfaction.
The value of my friends and family is paramount to me. My time invested with them is always well spent. The curiosity and laughter of my little nephew fills my heart in ways I’d never have imagined. I never knew I would love him this much. I have made so many new friends with whom I can explore the creativity and difficulties of writing. Their vision for success is helping me to pursue a dream of writing a book. Seeing my writing published in a magazine in June was terrifying and exhilarating in equal measure and a fulfilment of a bucket list dream.
Continuing this theme of fulfilment, one of my childhood interests was the royals. I am a staunch royalist, as the below pictures highlight. I was the child with the wall poster of royal lineage, and a whole library of books on royals past and present. It has been a dream of mine to one day see the Queen. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d see the balcony appearance, pressed up against the railings, yet that’s what happened. My colleagues laughed at my excitement, I actually ran to reach the front, but my goodness it was worth it to me.
This week, spurred on by simply being in London, my colleagues and I traveled to Wimbledon and went to the tennis. Once again, my excitement was second to none as I sat court side and had a picnic on the hill. Years spent watching on the screen had culminated in arriving on a Tuesday night to see the No 1 doubles seeds knocked out of the competition.
What I no longer carry is a sense of failure, but of achievement. Much like reaching a Wimbledon quarter-final, it could depend on the way you view it. It is a success to achieve, yet unfortunate it finished. I do not feel shame about the end of my marriage, as I did all I could. I am seizing the opportunities that come my way. I’ve changed my name and I’ve become myself again.
And that is what I’m most proud of. Of keeping going and of embracing life.