Guest Post: Chambanachik

*Hello, loves! Over the course of the next few weeks OWTM will have some wonderful women guest posting about their own experiences with divorce. Each of their stories are unique and I hope you'll learn some valuable lessons, whether you've been through this process or not. Today's guest is Erika of Chambanachik. She's a fellow military wife/divorcée, mama to two beautiful babies, and a dear in-real-life friend. Stop by to say hello!*

{The Leaving}

"Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave."  — Cormac McCarthy

It’s so deep in my past at this point, I hardly think of it anymore. But what Meagan is going through is what I went through several years ago. I remember how surreal and intimidating everything felt, the way my world seemed to spin in circles, and how it seemed unfair that I was supposed to somehow get on with this life while trying to process something as life-altering as a divorce.
But, for me, it wasn’t ending the relationship. It was the leaving.

I prefer the status quo above nearly everything. I couldn’t fathom the thought of picking up my belongings, my friendships, and my job. I couldn’t imagine leaving the curves and bumps of streets I drove every day, or the slowed-down drawl of southern Indiana that I had become accustomed to, or people who were intertwined into my life there. It wasn’t that I was even in love with most of it. It was just paralyzing to think of starting over, as if all of it had never happened. As if I hadn’t existed for those years. As if they were empty.

 One late summer evening, as the sun was setting and the moon was rising over my lawn, a very sweet friend sat on the concrete step with me at my front door, and she told me to go. Katie probably knew there was a good chance I would stay in that little house forever, and that I didn’t know how to be brave on my own.  As the sunset’s glow turned into a deep dark punctured by a few small stars, we talked about it. About the things I would leave. About the possibilities I would gain. About the way I would grow. I’ll always be grateful to Katie for that hand pulling me out of the quicksand.

I spent my 24th birthday packing up bits and pieces of a life; keeping books and clothes, and throwing out a beaded white satin gown and photos from that trip to Jamaica. Two days later, I stood on the ramp of a U-Haul, directing family members about which things needed to go and which could stay. I probably cried once or twice during that long drive, but I also already felt the courage in me begin to spout. When I collapsed onto my bed that night, in a bedroom of the house I had grown up in, I still felt a little bit like a child, unsure of what I was doing and if I was doing it right. But the courage that it took to leave was growing even that night, and it would continue to even months after I had left. I did it. I was gone.

It wasn’t an easy road, of course. The depression I had struggled with for so many years came back with a vengeance for a while, and I coped with it in some destructive ways. When Meagan came by and said goodbye a few nights ago, she mentioned that she missed touch. I understand that instantly. I would crawl into bed at night and wish that someone, anyone would hold me. Any hug from a friend, anytime a co-worker brushed by me in the hall, any affection from a boyfriend…anything that felt connected suddenly became so valuable, because I didn’t have that connection anymore. There were bouts of joy, a relationship here and there, but the longer I lived this new life, the easier it became. Suddenly, I realized I was peeling back the layers to who I actually was. I liked that girl so much better.

And after I left, I became married to someone I actually truly loved. I had a daughter and, now, a newborn son with him. The family I was meant for has happened, and it wouldn’t have happened otherwise. I had this story sitting here, waiting for me the entire time.
The leaving was hard, as it should be. But it brought me to a beautiful place.


Unknown said...

I understand this. The leaving is hard.

Dani said...

Beautiful post, and such strength you two have. Missing you both and the Chambanavoy!

Unknown said...

Beautiful post!

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