I am getting a divorce. I think we all know about this. And like a magnet I am drawing more people in the middle or post-divorce into my cipher. I may be doing it unconsciously, but I don't believe in coincidence. I need these folks in my tribe. But one of the things I have heard repeatedly from those in the divorce category is the word "failure." Before that I hadn't thought of having failed at my marriage. Now, don't get me wrong I am not one of those people who took marriage lightly. I didn't get married to get divorced if it "didn't work out." I am not that frivolous. But what I was unprepared for was the work - the nature of the work - that goes into making a relationship live and work. But that is a conversation for my therapist.
Failure. I avoid this word at all costs. I often feel inadequate in my daily life. Constantly looking around me and comparing my strengths and faults to those doing the "same" job. Mothering, teaching, being a woman.....always comparing. Feeling stuck and incapable of improving. Wondering why I keep making the same mistakes over and over again. But a failure?! That's pretty harsh. So, what did I do - I went to the dictionary to get the full and true definition of this word:
Main Entry: fail·ure
Etymology: alteration of earlier failer, from Anglo-French, from Old French faillir to fail
1 a : omission of occurrence or performance; specifically : a failing to perform a duty or expected action
2 a : lack of success b : a failing in business : bankruptcy
3 a : a falling short : deficiency b : deterioration, decay
4 : one that has failed
And I settled on the first definition - a failing to perform a duty or expected action. Expected action. The example is paying your rent. Well, yea I get that. Rent is a finite thing that can be measured and expected empirically. But marriage? What is it that is expected of me in my marriage? Everyone is different. And I began to see that I had to measure myself by my understanding of what I was or was not supposed to bring to my partnership. Yea, I failed at some of it. I am not the easiest person to get along with much less live with. And while I have a great many bad habits that have improved I think when you become unhappy with a person it's far easier to see the bad habits that didn't improve. And the final answer is whether or not I feel I lived up to my commitments or not. Some I did, some I didn't. So, yea I guess I did fail.
And I don't shirk the responsibility for that. And I have a chance to look at those things and make new decisions. And I am trying to incorporate that stigma attached to divorce and "failure." Those are not my stigmas. I failed to meet other people's expectations - and all I can do about that is apologize and vow to do better. But there is a lot of life left for me. And a lot of opportunities to make different choices with the information I have now. So, today, anyway, I embrace my failures in the hopes that they will make me a better person, woman, mother maybe even wife someday - but I doubt it :)!
Do me a favor, kay? Reflect on your failures today. Invite them in and thank them for all they taught you and all the ways they have made you the brilliantly beautiful and resilient person you are today. I am hugging you long distance and thanking you for being part of the very best reflections I have.
we are blessed may we recognize the blessing
in peace tribe,