My therapist encouraged me a couple weeks ago to address a letter to guilt. I didn’t know I was feeling guilty, but I’ve been unconsciously wading in it for the past eight months—ever since my heart signaled my brain with the truth that something needed to change.
The truth is hard to swallow. Especially when it hurts someone you love.
As it turns out, writing to an emotion I’ve never been willing to identify is harrrrrrd. Guilt is just one of many emotions I’ve ignored over the years—anger is another one—and accessing my feelings so I can respond however I need to is weird, but also fine. (Lately I want to react like a toddler. I want to throw a fit, and my body to the floor, grunting and grinding my teeth in frustration without caring who sees. But I’m trying to be an adult about it.)
A few nights ago, I found myself scrolling through memory lane on my phone with one purpose: to remind myself how much I’ve grown this year. It’s easy to lose myself in a photo and remember what that moment felt like, what I was thinking even, and the circumstances surrounding it. Usually I cry. When I’m in the photo, I see a sparkle in my eyes—a hint of sadness or resilience, sometimes they look the same—and I see a Liz fighting to emerge but feeling so insecure. I’ve stopped wondering how she slipped out of focus and into the background because I see her pretty clearly now.
The changes I’ve gone through this year are big, and have been abrupt. But for so long I’ve lived in a perpetual state of defense. When you think the person you are is constantly facing war, it’s hard to stand firm in the knowledge that who you are is who you’re supposed to be.
You got me good. But I can’t carry this anymore. I didn’t know until I knew, and now I know. Conformity is a uniform I’m no longer tailoring to fit, and divorce is not a swear word.
My marriage was not all bad because it ended. I loved as well as I’ve learned how to love so far.
It’s okay to miss being married and still not want to be married.