How divorce made me more grateful – it is such an oxymoron, isn’t it? Something as brutal and earth-shattering as a divorce, how can it make anyone more grateful? Well, it did, at least for me. No one ever plans to divorce (at least those with a correct frame of mind and good intentions). When you are married, you are so prepared to weather out the storm and go that extra mile. But what happens when the relationship turns into the storm?
A woman like me who always dreamed of being a homemaker, bringing up children, went through one of life’s most bitter truths. The worst part is, picking up the pieces after the storm has subsided. I kept telling myself, I lost everything to the holocaust. Yes, this is how I felt.
When I started to unpack from the four suitcases I returned home with, I realised there were pretty dresses not yet worn, so many travel destinations not yet explored. I realised how unwell I had become, my health took a beating in a 2.5-year court battle. Initially, I felt that I had lost face in this world. Somewhere I got labelled as a ‘divorcee’, it felt like a rape victim when I would walk past the neighbours sitting on benches in front of my building and staring at me. I could feel their eyes on my back until I got inside the building elevator.
I sincerely think that family courts should deal with divorces with far more sensitivity and men and women should not be labelled as a ‘divorcee’. Whenever we fill up forms, we have to tick a box – married, single or divorced. It seems like we are living with a tag and a label.
Why label us? We’re not children of lesser gods. We’re humans too, with self-respect and dignity, and both men and women deserve it. It’s just that when two married people cannot get along or live together for any reason, and they want to part ways, it should be done with dignity and self-respect. It’s not a crime, it’s a part of life we all have to accept.
I kept thinking, what did I do? I did the best I could, and I know in my gut I did. But then, shit happens. We’ve got to flush it. A bad relationship is like a bad organ or limb in your body. If not surgically removed or amputated, the poison and toxic elements will spread across your body. Just because of societal pressures, it is pointless living in a bad relationship where love and most importantly respect, faith, trust and communication is long gone.
It is after my divorce that I learnt the importance of respect, faith, trust, self-respect and dignity. I realised that I had to put myself first even at the risk of being labelled as ‘selfish’. I started standing up for myself. I started being more grateful to the people who stood by me in spirit and physically. A lot of friends I silently bid goodbye and I wished those well who chose to leave me at the time I went through my divorce.
The final nail in the coffin was, when a dear friend of mine, a wife of the ex-husband’s colleague had to bid a tearful adieu to me as her husband refused to let her keep in touch with a divorced woman.
I learnt the beauty in letting go. It made me feel so light. I started to declutter my life of relationships and bonds that did me no good. No matter what people may say today, I am grateful for all the bad experiences as my father says, “You have been baptised through fire”.
Despite a divorce, I decided to restart my life afresh. Yes, I was super scared, how it would go. But then I had to trust the process and take one day at a time. I turned things around. I became an entrepreneur, a loving partner, a better writer, a mentor, a better mom and most importantly, I became more grateful for this life. I started thanking each and every day the moment I woke up in the morning. I started forgiving as I realised holding a grudge only consumes me. Forgiveness is actually doing a favour to myself, it’s the first step of my own healing process.
I started travelling across the country and the world with my daughter. I began to look after myself more, I think I look fabulous now and I feel fantastic too. I decided not to get bitter with life as I want my daughter to believe in the good things in life. I made new friends, forged new bonds, believed in love, family and friendship. And believe it or not, the universe sent me some brilliant people in the form of friends, mentors, loving relationships and I am so content now and I feel so complete. I am now home.
If you’re going through a divorce, simply wish the other person well. Exit with grace and live and let live. Trust me, life is beautiful; don’t allow this experience scare you. There’s nothing called ‘the end’, it’s only ‘the beginning’ and it’s all good.