Thursday, January 26, 2012

growing pains

So, I've been doing the divorce paperwork. And it's not fun. I'm not going to get into much more detail than that.

Sufficiently indicative is the fact that I found myself stomping around the internet looking for fights. And since I don't generally comment on other sites, this meant deliberately reading things that I knew would irritate me, and then ranting at my friends, and saying things that weren't thought through, and hurting feelings.

It's hard not to feel that it's not fair. And it's a small step from that to thinking that others have it overly fair, and are gloating or taking their relationships for granted or in some way taking something away from me. Which is precisely what I was talking about in a previous post: my adolescent belief that everything in the world is a competition. I had hoped I was outgrowing that, but I certainly know about triggers, and that nothing changes all of a heap. I can't tell you how many times I swore I'd never drink again, or how many times I vowed, "He does that one more time and we're over." Fall seven times, get up eight.

There's something demanding to be addressed here, I believe, because I'm doing stuff that doesn't help: the aforementioned hunting for irritants, not keeping to a regular eating schedule, treating every household issue as a Crisis, etc. And normally I am invested enough in keeping myself on an even keel that I am quite good about making sure that I'm not doing these things. So something's working its way up and trying to get my attention; it's not general self-destructiveness pushing me along this course.

I'm not excusing my behavior of this week - if you've talked to me in the last few days, you have almost certainly heard me say something snappy, even if it wasn't directed at you. And that isn't helping anything. Nor is the fact that I then get angry at myself for being angry.

Having formed a hyper-competent persona over the years, and being a person very reluctant to admit to any failure to begin with ("hence a blog about your divorce?" says my mother, eyebrows raised), admitting that I don't really know what I'm doing is a tough thing for me. But, let's face it, I've never done divorce paperwork before. I've never handled a house by myself before. I don't know if I'm doing any of this right. And that unsettles me so deeply that I suddenly doubt my ability to handle anything, including the emotions - anger, sadness, humiliation - with which I have previously been comfortable. They're not fun, but I acknowledge them, I know they're natural, I work through them. And none of them stand up to dog kisses.

But one little feeling of ignorance and incompetence seems to be setting off a scenario in which I'm letting my emotions turn on me, because I suddenly stopped trusting myself to handle, and honor, them.

Note to self: not magically knowing everything is not the worst thing in the world. If you did magically know everything, life would be very boring, because there would be nothing to learn. That might actually be the worst thing in the world.

Time to re-evaluate my reasons for wanting to never get anything wrong. And part of that is posting about having a juvenile, petulant, crabby week. I get the occasional impression that this blog comes off as the work of someone who is handling a terrible period in her life with inhuman grace and courage, and while I am of course uncommonly gracious and courageous, I'm also making it up as I go. I'm going to tumble, in the sense of being petulant or unpleasant company, sometimes. I feel (honestly) fortunate in that I've done the tumble-and-try-again routine enough to have faith in it.

And now I must eat a giant meal and not listen to the news.


  1. Good for you. You're making it up in a really admirable way--I probably speak for the rest of your readers when I say I find your process extremely encouraging, because I'm going to refer back to it when bad shit inevitably comes my way again, and because it's great to read an account of someone who's good at being human. Fall seven times, get up eight is what a lot of life boils down to, and we all can use the reminder.

  2. My eyebrows, such as they are, are not going up. I am constantly amazed at how strong you are and how well you are dealing with this all by yourself.