When you go through a divorce, it's a lot of loss, more than can be counted on both hands some days. Memories. Dreams. Friends. Faith. Things you thought were true turn out to be false. Things you thought were false turn out to be true.
Lately I've hit a turning point. Instead of dwelling on the hurt, I've been able to dwell on the gain.
First and foremost, I've gained the time to focus on Jane and put her first. We've gained time spending nights putting together her puzzles, or swimming in the pool, or taking road trips. Time lying in bed with her when the light outside turns purple, talking about her friends at school or giving each other Eskimo kisses.
I've gained friends, really loyal friends that genuinely care for me and my daughter. And while I've lost friends, in some ways, even while painful, it's a bittersweet gain. Situations like this have the ability to cull people from your life that weren't perhaps the close friends you thought they were. And I've cried over that, but I'm also okay with it.
I've gained self esteem. I no longer spend minutes and hours and days trying to figure out what I could change about myself to be more attractive, or more fun, or just... more. I've gained the ability to look in the mirror in the morning, frizzy hair and eye circles staring back at me, and think, "I'm okay just like I am."
I've weaned off my antidepressants. In some ways it's disconcerting, because there are days where I think "I FEEL ALL THE FEELINGS." But then I realize that when you don't feel feelings, you don't really live. And in order to cope in my past, I had to not feel the feelings, because for so long the feelings crushed and hurt and confused me past the point of coping. That isn't to say antidepressants aren't important, and vital when needed. They absolutely are, and if I needed them again I would not bat an eyelash.
But I've realized that my depression and anxiety were a long, long time coming, and a result of repressing and not dealing with the big issues in my life. It's amazing how freeing it is when you finally do deal with them, and come to terms with reality. And then you realize that maybe feeling the feelings isn't so bad after all.
I've gained strength, and a voice, and the ability to carry forward in life with my chin up despite what others have said, or assumed, or heard, about me. It's not easy in this small town (and boy does it ever get small when something like this happens), but I'm doing it. I've tried my hardest not to fuel the fire. I'll continue to do so, but I've also gained the ability to no longer feel responsible for the burden of secrets that aren't mine.
I'm thankful, beyond thankful, for these "gains." I'm thankful to be a better mother, and be fully myself for the first time in a very long time. I'm thankful every morning when I wake up and see the sun patterns on the ceiling of my bedroom, and take a big deep breath and know that everything is getting better.
I'm thankful for all the gains.
I'm thankful to feel the feelings again.