“This is what I’ve come to believe about change: it’s good, in the way that childbirth is good, and heartbreak is good, and failure is good. I’ve learned the hard way that change is one of God’s greatest gifts, and most useful tools. Change can push us, pull us, rebuke us, and remake us. It can show us who we’ve become, in the worst ways, and also in the best ways. I’ve learned that it’s not something to run away from, as though we could, and that in many cases, change is a function of God’s graciousness, not life’s cruelty.”
– Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet
I have been feeling the need to get outside of myself lately. I know in my head that this divorce, this failure-of-a-relationship shouldn’t define me, but its been feeling like a jacket I just can’t quite take off. I guess this is not so unusual. Whenever we have accomplishments, we tend to identify ourselves with those accomplishments, for at least a little while. When I graduated with my Master’s Degree, I was so proud of that and happy to identify with that accomplishment. My mother started every introduction with, “Do you know my daughter, Adriana? She just graduated with her MSW.” In my fears, there are hushed whispers to friends-of-friends, You know my friend I was telling you about, Adriana? The one who’s getting divorced? We are not only known my our accomplishments, but also by our “failures”. I suppose there is no way around this, only through it. And it’s not like it’s not true. I am Adriana and I am getting divorced. Don’t you know me?
I just need a little help remember sometimes that I’m so much more than Adriana-who-is-getting-divorced and my-friend-Adriana-of-the-failed-marriage. People will say what they want, think what they want to think, and I’m sure, assume a lot of things. This I have no control over. What I have control over, is how I feel about myself and how I identify after this marriage is over, officially and otherwise. It’s hard to do sometimes, among all the disillusionment and grief, but I am so much more than my failures.
I am smart. I’m exceptionally good at my job, in that I love what I do and I feel very strongly that this is where I need to be right now. I’m a good listener and I try to be a good friend. I’m a determined crossfitter who doesn’t aspire to be the best, but who will die trying to better than who she was yesterday. In fact, I think that describes how I feel about most things in my life. I would never let a bad grade on a test determine how I feel about myself or my intellect on a larger basis. I might be sad/frustrated for awhile, but then I would get over it. I would not let it determine my self-worth. If I have a fight or disagreement with a trusted friend, I do not begin feeling like I am unworthy of all friendships, or that I am irrevocably a bad friend. So then why would I let the failure of a relationship, even as one as valued as my marriage was, determine my self-worth and my loveableness? I won’t. It’s hard not to give in to those fears and those whispers and to not take on that persona, but I refuse. At least, in this moment I do. I’m sure there will be difficult moments, difficult days, and that’s okay. I’m allowing myself that space to feel pain and to grieve, but without giving in to the self-doubt and fear.
I’m Adriana, and I’m going to be okay.
“And most important, I’ll choose to believe that sometimes the happiest ending isn’t the one you keep looking for, but something you absolutely cannot see from where you are.”
– Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet