“I thought you would be devastated.”

My step-grandmother called me yesterday afternoon. She’d heard I was getting a divorce after nine months of being married to the man I shared a life with for six years.

“I called you to see how you were doing, and I wanted to see if there was anything I could do. I thought you would be devastated, but you sound relieved.”

I won’t go into details over why I made the decision to leave my husband, except to say that it was something I knew I had to do to move my life forward in a positive direction. I know, and the people closest to me know, and that’s really all that matters. I will say that human relationships are weird and complicated (but mostly good) and also full of grey areas. My marriage is/was no exception to that rule, and it had unfortunately gone in a direction that wasn’t healthy for me.

What I’m more interested in, at least right now, is that life keeps telling me I made the right decision over and over again, and I feel more at peace with myself than I have in a while.

Because I’m a recovering people-pleaser by nature, the first thought that came to my mind wasn’t “how is this going to affect me?” but “How will others react to the news? From their perspective, it came out of nowhere. Will it color their perception of marriage or relationships?”

and the more self-conscious part of me asks:

“Will it color their perception of me?”

But really:

Probably not, and so what if it does? Life goes on, and so will I.

That thing I mentioned about life telling me I made the right decision? It’s been all the consolation I needed these past few weeks. I’ve spent time with friends and family doing things I love every single day and night, I’m reading new books and rereading all my favorites, and I’m drawing and painting as much as I can.

Amidst all of this, a series of events happened that led to me making the decision to move to a new city in a new state. I’m leaving between mid-June and mid-July, if everything goes according to plan, and I couldn’t be more excited about life in general.

YES yes YES yes YES yes yes

Going in a new direction with my life is daunting, but I refuse to let fear of failure keep me from pursuing things I’m passionate about just because uncertainty makes me uncomfortable. I’ll get over the stress of a sudden upheaval, I’ll rebuild, I’ll love again, etc.

If you want to reach out to me privately, feel free to do so! I know this seems sudden and confusing, and I get it. I’ll be fine, I still like Greg as a human being even if we’re not going to be married anymore, and good things are on the horizon.

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“everything is hilarious” and other weird coping mechanisms

Without divulging too much, I’m going through some major changes in my life. I feel braver than I’ve ever felt as a result of some of the decisions I’ve made, but I also feel kind of like a chicken running around with its head cut off.

Sometimes, that makes me feel like screaming internally. Like most people, uncertainty isn’t my favorite.

But then I remember: Nothing is certain.

And that could easily be spun as a depressing realization, but I’m choosing to see it as liberating. And, you know what? It’s also hilarious.

I’m sensitive as hell, and this is great for some reasons – usually when it comes to relating to others, creativity, and feeling inexplicable empathy for inanimate objects – but it can also be the most annoying thing on Earth. I’ve realized that one of the most effective ways to deal with this is that every time I think something is terrifying, I follow it with “but what if it’s actually hilarious?”

Usually, with the exception of things like the loss of a family member/pet/anything but an inanimate object I was inexplicably attached to, the things I’m terrified of actually are hilarious.

I remembered a specific instance during the two years I was afraid of lightning/thunderstorms in which I was so determined to make a mad dash from the car to my front door that I fumbled all of my bags, let out an inaudible “uuuuuurrrrggh,” and managed to fling the car door open against my hip, leaving me with a huge bruise.

At the time, that was the most terrifying situation I could think of. But now, all I can think of is that I wish I could have seen that occur from an outside perspective, because that shit definitely looked (and sounded) hilarious.

In another instance, I was walking around with a guy I dated in high school, and since it was warm and flowers exist, there were bees around. Worth mentioning: They were even cute bees!

He wanted to walk under the tree like a normal person, but since I was so terrified of some unforeseen awful fate involving dopey bumblebees, I curled up into a tiny ball, cried, ducked, and miserably waded through the bees. About ten years later, all I can think is how funny that would have looked, had I not been the one so concerned about the art of bee dodging.

And that’s not meant to be an insult to Younger, Cherub-Faced Me. I had a lot of things going for me and was generally an okay person to be around, as much as a 16 year-old girl could be. It’s just that, in order to get through life, you have to find the humor in a situation like that. You can engage in self-deprecating humor without hating yourself.

This shouldn’t shatter anyone’s universe, but I feel like it’s an important reminder that’s easy to lose sight of: Don’t buy into the junk myth that sensitive and strong are mutually exclusive, and that dealing with phobias or things others might not understand somehow makes you weak.

Strength differs in individuals, and there is no one-size-fits-all definition of what “strong” looks like. People have felt tempted to assign “strong” to traits that are traditionally masculine and often show themselves externally more than internally, but I’m here to tell you that that’s shallow, myopic, and, quite frankly, complete and utter bullshit.

I might be apprehensive about the direction my life has taken lately, but I’m also excited, confident, and grateful for the people who’ve chosen to stay by my side.