At the start of the year, my partner of 14 years asked for a divorce. It was terrible. No-one “did” anything wrong. There was no infidelity, no abuse, no substance issues. We just didn’t work romantically anymore – maybe ever.
I sat in my living room asking, ok. Now what? Seriously – what? It’s not like I have experience of getting divorced to fall back on, and every movie plot with a divorced dad shows him living in a run-down apartment with hand me down furniture, and no clue how to take care of himself or his kids.
So I Google it.
Not helpful. Pretty much found the same thing. The focus was on simple things like how to keep a house or take care of your kids. I found it pretty amusing, and at the same time insulting and overly stereotyped. What I needed was real-life support, and it jus wasn’t there. I wasn’t ready to meet up with other divorced dads – it was all too raw and new to me. I was still trying to figure it all out.
9 months later, I still am. Some days are easier, some days not. I was in therapy prior to the separated, and I still go weekly. I talk to friends and family. But at the end of the day, these months has really been about me, what’s in my head, my fears, my grief and loss, and an undying question I cannot answer – who am I?
Many days I struggled. People asked how I was. I said fine. I put a good face and spin on it. But behind it all was the fear of telling the truth. I’m not ok.
I have dark moments – darker than I ever experienced in my life. But it felt like I couldn’t be honest – with them or myself. I needed to put on a show.
Now, I am not one who has ever claimed that something like music has saved me. But here I am, saying music saved me. or more that music caused a reaction as the lyrics caused me to rethink where I was, what I was doing, and how I was seeing the world. I heard a song by a female artist on the radio, and I liked it, and asked Siri to find it and play it for me. Had no idea the artist or title, so I pulled out a lyric I heard over and over again “I Believe” and went with that.
First, Siri in all his/her widow, went with the Jonas Brothers. No offense to them, but not what I was after. Then Siri suggested that maybe I meant Christina Perri’s I Believe.
The singer was a woman, so sure – why not. Except it wasn’t the song, at all. But I listed to it anyway, and a chorus caught my attention. Over and over and over she sang, “this is not the end of me, this is the beginning.” I couldn’t get it out of my head.
So I went back, and listened to the whole song, closely. Every word, every moment. And it just struck a chord. It started a movement in my psyche, a change in perspective and thought.
I was not alone. Many have been here before, have felt what I feel. And many more will come after. It was time to renew myself, to find purpose and direction – without any preconceived ideas what that meant.
And I needed to talk about it. For now, anonymously because I’m not there yet. Maybe one day I will be. But for now, this is my way of saying I’m not alone. You’re not alone.
And this is not the end of me or you, this is the beginning.