The one step you MUST take when starting your divorce

"Rosie the Riveter" "We Can Do It" 179-WP-1563 WWII Poster

I have to admit that starting this blog has picked at a scab that I thought had largely healed.  It has not.  And honestly, it has paralyzed me…clearly, as I haven’t posted for about a week.  My circumstances are such that I have the joy of my wound being picked at by my ex and the court constantly.  I’ll get to that later, but not today.

Thinking back on those first days has reminded me of how I survived those first few months.  I look back and wonder how exactly I made it when I felt like I was emotionally bleeding from the inside out.  And as cliché as it sounds, it was by taking baby steps…one…tiny…step…at…a…time.

My way of coping with the heavy stuff is to become paralyzed.  It’s easier for me to look at the mountain and turn right back around and say, “Oh hay-ell no!”  I will check facebook, (uhhh…I just outted myself that I’m avoiding life on the days I post incessantly!), I will bake something, I will change the sheets (because there’s nothing like fresh sheets!), take a bath, go online to get a date for the weekend (it is kind of a sport)…I even started RUNNING last year!  And not because someone was chasing me with a bloody knife but because I couldn’t deal with a painful breakup that I was trying to avoid.  (at least that last one is healthy!)

Facing the unknown of a divorce was paralyzing…hence the living separated in our home for a year and a half and becoming attached to people/things I shouldn’t have.  But when my life blew up, it created a huge wound.  It’s like being shot, except emotionally.  You would not expect someone who had just been shot to function at 100% until they have healed.  First you need to stop the bleeding!  There is time spent in the hospital where they are analyzed by doctors, the business of surgery, resting.  There are visitors and people who will come and help you while you’re getting back on your feet.  There’s rehab.  After all of that is done, you’re ready to fly again.  But miss any of these steps and you’re not going to be 100%!

I took time to just sit in the shell-shock of what happened.  Just fixing meals was difficult.  I forced myself to read a book with my boys because it helped them feel close to me on my lap and we were interacting.  Sometimes my 7 year old would read and I would zone out.  But we were together.  Then I had to call in some experts…legal aid, lawyers, financial peeps, my therapist.  OH MY GOSH!  Get yourself a good therapist!!!  After that there was more business…changing the utilities into my name, looking for a job, researching schools (remember I was homeschooling at the time), looking for places we could afford to live.  This all took time. And if I thought about everything that had to change in my life too much, I would find myself back at my Mac checking facebook again!

Give yourself a little grace as you’re navigating through this uncharted territory.  There will be bumps and roadblocks and so many mistakes. By tackling just one thing per day, soon you’re doing two…then three… then you find yourself doing one thing per hour!    And as long as you’re moving, you’re one…tiny…step…closer!

Ideas for your one step per day

  • Phone call to an attorney or more wisely, a mediator
  • Set the timer to clean out one drawer
  • Pack one box
  • Read one book to your kids
  • Call one person who has been through it
  • Wash one load of dirty laundry – washed, dried, put away
  • Spend 15 minutes looking for a realtor/new place to live
  • Call an accountant and find out how this affects your taxes
  • Make a meal
  • Go for a bike ride with your kids
  • Mow the lawn (kids can’t undo a mowed lawn!)
  • Drink one glass of wine

{BTW – I checked my facebook seven times while trying to write this post!}

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