Two years, six months, one week, and one day.
That’s how long it took to be free of my ex-husband from the day that I left him. Where I am completely disentangled, and have the ability to move forward independently.
I settled almost 2 weeks ago.
When I made the decision to leave my marriage, I was totally unprepared for what lay ahead of me. In a lot of ways, I’m glad that I didn’t know how hard it would be to begin the slow and messy, and seemingly never-ending untangling of a long term relationship. And I have come to understand why so many people remain in unhappy, and toxic relationships. It’s the line of least resistance.
So I haven’t written or published anything for six months.
I chose to do this for several reasons.
One of the main reasons being that I ended up having to take my ex-husband to court.
I was so overwhelmed by the whole experience, that I chose to just take a time out and go off the radar for a while. And I felt as though it was important to conserve my energy for the sea of unknown that lay before me, in being forced into a position where court was my only option.
I had to prepare a bunch of information for the courts.
Documenting our relationship which began back in 1994, and ending in 2014. I found the process of going back in time to recount the past to be a mixed bag of different emotions. I had to provide all of the relevant information regarding investments, bank accounts, businesses, money that was gifted to me by my parents, as well as the roles that we played individually and collectively within our businesses, and in the home.
Up until the financial settlement was set in motion, my ex-husband and I were on speaking terms. However, it became apparent very quickly that this wasn’t going to be smooth sailing.
There were really shitty things going on when it came to the finances to be split. I will not go into the details, but it was evident there was definitely not going to be a fair division of assets if I didn’t fight for what was mine.
And the whole process made me really angry.
I was pissed off that I had to take it to court. I never ever wanted that.
I was furious at the amount of money that I had to spend on legal fees.
I was devastated by the deliberate dishonesty, and downright injustice of the situation. I was angry at my own naivety in thinking this would be amicable.
I was livid when the other lawyer requested that we postpone the court hearing for another 3 months time from the original date, as my ex-husband was overseas at that time and busy getting married to his new wife, and going on his honeymoon. (Yes. That seriously happened.)
I was so panic stricken on the day that I had to go to court. I thankfully had my Aunty fly down from Byron Bay to come with me as moral support, and provide me with the strength that I so desperately needed.
I sat there in the court room while the judge addressed both lawyers and a full court room, wiping my hands nervously on my dress which were dripping in sweat and trembling violently. I was fidgeting like crazy. Tucking my hair behind my ear. Wiping the sweat from my upper and lower lips. Crossing, and un-crossing my legs. Trying to remember to breath. Anything to attempt to distract myself and everyone else from the embarrassing knowledge that I was having a panic attack in front of all these people.
I prayed the whole time. To God, to Ganesh, to Kali, to the Universe, to my Grandpa – to please, please, PLEASE help me.
And then, by some sort of a miracle, God was in the room that day. He appeared in the form of my judge.
The case before mine got a hearing date of the following year to settle their divorce proceedings, as there was a huge backlog in the court system. And I was given my final hearing date for 7 months time. My judge also had a few choice words regarding my case, and for what was so plainly obvious for everyone to see. My lawyer couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be given a date this year, and let me know that just a week earlier, a case very similar to mine was given a date in 2018.
And then another miracle occurred. A few months later, my offer was finally accepted, and I settled out of court.
I had received the email one evening as I was watching TV. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was finally over. I immediately phoned my father, and I burst into tears of elation and utter joy. I was finally free.
The range of emotions I have felt over these past couple of years, are ones that have connected me to the human in me.
The woman I am today, is very different to the woman I was when I left my marriage. On so many different levels.
I had definitely lost a part of myself when I walked away.
Emotionally, I was bewildered and terrified.
Spiritually, I was completely broken. Smashed into a billion pieces, scattered all over the ground.
Physically, I was not in a good place. I was thin, and frail, and weak. And I was tired. My God was I tired.
And today, I am changed.
Today, emotionally, I am content. Blissful even. And really fucking brave. Just layered with anxiety and fragility. The constant reminder of my clumsy humanness.
Today, spiritually, I have learnt that it’s ok to be gentle with myself. And I understand that each day, I choose to gift myself peace and happiness. That it IS a choice. We totally have a choice. And that faith goes a really, really long way. And that it’s so important to continually let go. Of concepts. Of thought processes. Of anger. Of fear. Of resentment. Of wanting to be right. Of competitiveness. Of all the bad stuff that weighs you down.
Today, physically, I am no longer the scrawny 40-something kilogram woman I was back then. I have finally gained all of the weight back that I had lost. I guess you could say that I have “found myself”. At least on a physical level. I have put back all of the missing pieces. They are just rearranged a little differently now, and I see myself with a different set of eyes. Only my hair is definitely more full of greys than it was before. But I guess that means I’m wise – or so the story goes…
In the words of Kelly Cutrone, I have learnt a lot about who I am, by discovering who I am not.
And I plan on continuing to learn more about who I am, through discovering who I am not.
I am not finished. I’ll never be “finished”. I am a work in progress, and will continue to be until the day that I am no longer here. “Ever-changing and never-changing”, like my Grandfather used to say about the ocean that his home overlooked.
But the most important lesson that I have learned is that love, kindness, compassion, understanding, and respect is transformative and transcendent.
And today, I would like to dedicate the final part of this article to my fiancé.
You have changed me, and in so many ways, you have helped show me a side of myself that didn’t exist until I met you.
I have been in search of peace and happiness, thinking that it was a destination that I was travelling towards. Not realising that it was something that I have always possessed within if only I had the right tools to access it. And that sometimes it really does take another person to help guide you towards what is right there in front of you.
Your love, kindness, friendship, support, and respect is what has helped to get me to where I am today.
Thank you for being my compass, my beacon, my companion, and fixer of all things. I can’t wait to begin the next chapter of our lives together.
To my readers, please don’t stop being who you are. Be vulnerable enough to admit you are only human after all. Be brave enough to admit you have normal human emotions. Love. Anger. Humility. Regret. Elation. Pride. Insecurity. Fat Days (yes, it’s a thing). Jealousy. Sadness. Anxiety. Joy. Excitement. All of it. It’s all good.
And keep your faith.
It’s seriously, magic…