This post is dedicated to my friend and co-worker, Faith. You see, without her being a powerful woman who stands up for what she believes in, I would have never realized my potential as a woman in the workforce. And without her being a beautiful human being who saw my pain long before I was willing to admit it, I would have continued to live in denial. And without her being in the right place at the right time, I would have struggled in my state of limbo for longer than necessary. So thank you Faith for being all those things to me and so much more. This one’s for you!
That brings us to where I last left off:
Crying unicorn tears with Jason Mraz and looking for the good in the midst of chaos. I was living part time in the Antler Den and every few days I would come home to my kids and we’d do all the silly COVID games that everyone was so fond of early on: fancy restaurant-at-home night, silly videos, puzzles, Netflix binging, baking new recipes, sunset walks, coloring, crafting, and jammy days all day long. And then a few days later I’d return to the Antler Den and cry. Yes, being alone for the first time in over 20 years was scary and lonely, but more than that, there was this unsettled feeling inside my soul. Partly because of the back and forth movement, but in larger part because secretly–even though I had clearly been told that it was over and we were actively separating our assets– I believed that there was still hope that I would wake up from the nightmare and we’d reconcile our relationship and repair our broken family. I was in limbo, both physically and mentally. And it was exhausting.
There is this playlist that my dear friend Bob (the hostess with the mostest from the post “Foxy and Roxy go to La Quinta post) curated for me. The only two artists on the playlist are Alanis Morissette and Kelly Clarkson and when played in order, the 14 songs walk you through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. The playlist begins with the song “Not All Me” by Alanis and ends with “Invincible” by Kelly, just to give you a flavor. As I walked alone along the trails of my neighborhood with this playlist in my ears, I could roughly gauge where I was in my grieving process that day (note: grief is not linear, it’s more like a twisted tango…two steps forward, five steps back). I would consistently get stuck on song number 10: Limbo No More by Alanis, and the rest of the songs from that point on were simply not relatable. I remember telling Bob that I just wanted to be out of limbo. I wanted to will my way out of it. And he gently reminded me to be patient and that I would know when I was there.
So that brings me back to my friend Faith being in the right place at the right time. It was almost a year ago to the day that she was taking a hike with her brother when she noticed a woman dressed in an overly pulled together hiking outfit. “This is Boise,” she thought. “Clearly she didn’t get the memo that we’re a super laid back-put-on-whatever’s-on-the-floor-sweats-and t-shirt-type of hiking community.”
And then she saw her hiking companion
That’s right. My then husband was the one who LuLu Lemon got all dolled up for to hike Table Rock. Faith didn’t say anything to my ex, nor to LuLu Lemon lady, but she did say something to me when she got home. With love (and I’m sure a ton of anxiety and hesitation), Faith called me and told me that she had just seen my husband with another woman. ***Silence. Breathing. Confusion***. Perhaps it could be his sister? Faith asked? Or maybe a co-worker? No and no. On that fated Friday morning, Faith gave me the gift that pushed me to the other side of limbo.
There are a few colorful words that I expressed in my journal that day that I will not repeat here. Firstly, they were reactive and full of rage. Secondly, the intention behind telling my story is not to bash my ex-husband, but instead about me owning my story. Because I don’t want my story to own me anymore. I want to tell it, thank it for the lessons that it has taught me, release it, and move onward and upward.
In the song Limbo No More, Alanis singsI sit with filled frames
And my books and my dogs at my feet
My friends by my side
My past in a heap
Thrown out most of my things
Only kept what I need to carve
Something consistent and notably me
Tattoo on my skin
My teacher’s in heart
My house is a home
Something at last I can feel a part of
Sense of myself
My purpose is clear
My roots in the ground
Something at last I can feel a part of
To finally commit
Somewhere I belong
‘Cause I’m ready to be limbo no more
There is one part of that song that made me giggle when I heard it for the first time after what would’ve been our 20th anniversary. You see, instead of celebrating in Tahiti (like we had always said we would), Faith and I got tattoos on that day. Her’s was her first and it was in commemoration of her mom who was a truly beautiful soul (apples don’t fall far from their trees), and had recently passed away. And mine was my phoenix, with my word of the year “RISE” embedded in the tail. Her’s used actual ashes, and mine was rising from the ashes. It’s so poetic that it’s almost enough to leave it at that. But imagine the grin that spread across my face when I heard (as if for the first time) the part of the song where Alanis sings “tattoo on my skin, my teacher’s in heart”. It was a serious, Laugh Out Loud moment between me and the universe. With my teacher friend at my side, I got a tattoo on my skin that will forever commemorate the end of 20 years of marriage, and the beginning of a whole new life for me. And from that day forward, I had finally reached that place of inner calm that Bob had told me to patiently await: I was in limbo no more.
So what is the lesson that I’ve learned from this chapter of my journey through divorce?
When I think back to the past year and a half, living inside this pandemic while going through a divorce, I come back again and again to the word conviction. I want to emerge from this pandemic truly knowing what I believe in and why I believe those things. My conviction for this chapter is to speak the truth in love. I have said that phrase for years to remind myself that it’s okay to have tough conversations, if they’re entered into from a place of love. And that’s what Faith did. She knew that my knowing the truth was more important than her discomfort in a potentially awkward phone conversation. That’s a true friend right there. That tough phone conversation reminded me of how important it is to look after one another with love. Sometimes we don’t think we have the right words. Sometimes we may question ourselves. But in the end, love will always find a way. So let’s all try to speak our truth in love. It might just be the thing someone needed to hear today.