Saturday, May 8, 2010
Desiree and other assorted angels
After six years as half of what I perceived to be a whole, finding myself suddenly single a month before my 28th birthday was a terrifying unknown. I'd never lived alone, having gone from my parents' home to college and immediately beyond where there was always a roommate (or several) close at hand, sharing in everything from the rent to the dinner plans to whether or not those shoes looked right with that top. Even C. would try his hand at the latter when pressed and he was my "someone" in every other regard as well. I had hopes that this would be the year we started a family, maybe got a bigger house, continuing to build the dream we shared of happily ever after. Sure, we'd had ups and downs, but I never truly considered that there could come a time when I would be married one day and single the next.
Getting accustomed to being my own whole, my own someone, was a massive, complicated, heart-wrenching experience to say the very least, one I never even realized I needed to go through. I believed myself to be independent, strong and self sufficient. I loved being married and taking care of my husband, and I thought that I managed to do that well while still maintaining my Jess-ness. I thought I was whole unto myself even though I was half of something even bigger. I thought a lot of things and not all of them turned out to be true.
Enter my angels. When I was overcome with sadness and self doubt, crying until I stopped from sheer exhaustion and feeling utterly lost and alone, someone always extended a hand to lift me back up off my knees once again. My family, small and riddled with their own life's dramas, were unfailingly there for me any way they could be. My boss, who has become so much more than that, flew across the country to be with me at a huge meeting two weeks after my separation because I told her what was going on and she knew I needed the support even though I stubbornly refused to take a break from work while my world fell apart. And my friends, oh my friends. Some old, some new. Some close, some far. They lent emotional support and literal shoulders to cry on. They brought bottles of wine and laughter. They got on the yoga mat with me. They distracted me with girls' nights, lunches, parties and stories swapped about our trials and tribulations with relationships and dating. Each and every one of them is an angel. They helped me pick out furniture for my new home and christened it with love. They let me vent, rage, cry, laugh, reminisce, dream, worry, hope. . . whatever I needed. They never judged me as I spent more than a year going back and forth through the maze of my emotions, missing C. and wanting to save my marriage then being furious at him and wishing it was just done with already. They provided comfort and reminded me of my core beliefs, my faith, my spirituality, that ultimately are what have sustained me throughout all of this and really constitute my Jess-ness. They are angels, tried and true.
The newest angel I met was Desiree. Big and brash at first take, I didn't expect much from her other than that she had a job to do and no doubt she would do it well. Desiree was the clerk at the courthouse who took my divorce papers and filed them. She was the one who looked into my eyes as the tears spilled over against my will, handed me a tissue and said something like "Mama, are you sure about this? If you're not, it isn't too late" to which I replied "It has to happen." She sized me up I suppose, saw the fragility, the fear, the hurt that still live beneath the surface no matter how far I've come or how put together my outfit is and organized my papers are. And she must have seen that I needed a lifeline thrown out to me at that very moment because I was dangerously close to sinking, so she said "Don't give up on love. You know you gave all you could to this and if it didn't work out, then that's okay. You did your best. You have to believe there is someone else out there for you, but you need to be careful not to shut love out. Don't be afraid. Don't give the next one a hard time because of the things this one did. Believe in love."
If you open your eyes, heart and mind, you will find what you need is right there in front of you more often than not. If you're really lucky, what you need will happen to be what you want as well, making it easy to take advantage of. But that is not always the case. We are prone to missing the signs, often mistaking our angels for just another face in the crowd and being so closed off to the wisdom and truth that abound in the most mundane of places. That book that a friend recommended months ago or that piece of advice that your therapist gave you and you never took. . . they'll surface when you're ready to be open to them. It was within me to be honest with myself and learn to walk through this life as my own whole, my own someone, but I needed my angels to help me along the way. They showed me the signs, sometimes shining the light on them over and over again until I saw what was always there, until I internalized the wisdom and the truth and made it my own. For this and all that they have given me, I am so grateful for my angels. Many of them know who they are. Some have no idea how they have touched me. And the best way I can honor and thank them all is to try and be an angel myself to someone who needs it and keep this cycle going so that none of us ever has to feel alone.
Posted by Just Jess