Not Okay? Not the End II
I was twenty-three years old when I learned that my parents were getting divorced. The information wasn’t news to me. My parents always had a very volatile relationship with very high highs and very low lows. By the time I was fifteen I was stomping around the house yelling “just get a divorce already!” I saw too much, I knew too much and I expressed that by avowing to be completely different from my mom and dad. To me, my dad was oppressive and my mom was weak for not fighting him on things she knew weren’t right. I was a rageful bitch who took every opportunity to tell my parents how bad they sucked. I slammed doors, I threw fits, I caused scenes.
I spent most of high school and college trying to settle down young and create the family I really wanted. At twenty-one I moved out of the house on a whim and never went back. I played house and always dreamt up ways our relationship would be perfect, when our relationship wasn’t so different than my parent’s in so many ways. That relationship ended in 2008 and I was able to spread my wings for the first time. I was living in Manhattan wasting student loan money and back on the hunt for the perfect partner.
In the meantime, my family had moved to South Carolina. They sold our house and bought a simple home in a cute community only minutes away from the beach. The plan was to be entrepreneurial and free up some money to help me with law school when they could. TBH I actually had hope. That hope was short-lived.
When I found out my parents were getting divorced naturally I made it about me. I was in law school, surrounded by a different “class” of people and I was about to be from an even more broken family than I already was. I was concerned about my parent’s finances. I was concerned about having to be concerned when I was supposed to be focusing on me. I was embarrassed, disgusted and insecure.
You always hear stories of parents waiting for their kids to go to college or get out of the house before filing for divorce with the hope of sparing them the heartache of a broken home. There’s no question that a divorce is more complicated with younger children, but divorce is more than just a breakup. It’s the breakdown of a family unit. And people aren’t always better on their own.
Being old enough to understand what’s really going on is not much better. Regardless of effort, I would hear bad things from each of them about the other. I would see each of their individual struggles and blame it on the other. I avoided phone calls, drank a lot and worked hard to be someone completely different than I was raised. I was becoming an adult during a time I felt most alone and unsupported, all because of my parent’s divorce.
But, the last ten years have been extremely formative. After a lot of reflection and hard lessons learned I don’t need to reject my parents in order to be a version of me that I’m happy with. My mom, dad, sister and I have all fallen on some really hard times over those ten years. At times it truly felt like our world’s were falling apart and yet, somehow, we made it. Don’t get my wrong, none of us are perfect, but when it comes down to it, we remain a family and do what needs to be done to make sure we all remain standing.