I want you to know
that you can, indeed, should, be friends with your former spouse. Most especially if there are children involved. Heck, you don’t even have to have been married. If you made a kid or kids with someone and you’re not in a partnership any longer, you should work hard to be friends. You just should; I don’t need to give you twelve reasons why. If you created other humans with a human then you have a responsibility to be a decent person, if it’s even remotely possible. Barring addiction and/or abuse, you owe it to your kids to show them that peace is possible, that divisions can be mended and that hearts and old hurts can heal. Otherwise you will transfer your garbage to them and they will transfer it to their kids and so on. The brokenness you refuse to deal with is as tenacious as sourdough starter—it will live on into eternity if you don’t hoist your grown-up pants and get on with it.
I can tell you that it’s absolutely possible for this to happen, I have been married twice and I get along just fine with both of my former husbands; indeed, I believe them to be good men, excellent fathers and important in my life. If I can pull this off then anyone can.
I want you to know
that, as a woman, you can learn how to do all of the things you need to do to manage your life alone, if you have to, if you want to. You can chop your own wood, trap a mouse, replace the broken windshield wiper on your car. You can learn how to use the woodstove, how to unflood a flooded basement, how to shuck an oyster. You can clear the snow, jump-start a dead battery, check the fuse box and the dryer hose. You can get the dog to the vet in an emergency and the kid to the hospital, in an emergency. You can travel great distances, alone, wax your skis, put the bike chain back on the derailleurs when it falls off.
If you decide you want to, you can go back to school, hail a cab in New York, jump out of a plane, learn how to fight a wildland fire and clean up a toxic site. You can navigate a boat into the dock, shoot a gun, sew a dress, cut the head off the fish you just caught, re-glaze your windows and cut your own hair.
I don’t actually recommend that last one, but you can if you need to. Or want to. I can tell you that it’s absolutely possible for you to do all of these things because I’ve done them and if I can do them, anyone can.
I want you to know
that you can end your addiction to whatever it is you’re using to avoid feeling the things you don’t want to feel. Maybe it’s food, probably it’s booze, Most people love their wine. And beer. The craft beer revolution has made drinking so very cool. Except that avoiding your life isn’t actually cool at all. Teenagers and young adults take note: facing your life full-on, naming and owning your garbage and dealing with it are the height of awesomeness and sexiness in grown-ups. Going through your life blaming everyone else for your crap and using pinot noir to dull the pain gets gross after a while. Also embarrassing, for you, though you probably won’t notice it from inside your wine cellar of denial.
I can tell you that it’s absolutely possible for you, though I know more difficult during the holidays, to stop being addicted to whatever it is you can’t stop consuming in quantities irrational. You can eat every piece of cake in the bakery and drink the taps dry, you still won’t fill the void that’s inside of you, waiting for you to show up and participate fully, wholly, with grace and humility, in your very own life.
If you need me to, I will walk with you through every single minute of the hard days and every single ring of fire it takes to transform you into the beautiful All of You you came here to be, booze and binge-eating free. I’m unafraid to confess that I do have an agenda: amassing an army of present, accounted-for, able and ready humans who can help me defeat the forces of indifference, inertia and ennui and to counteract the mass anesthetization brought on by social media. There is so much work to do here, people; I think we’re all aware that it’s TIME TO SHOW UP.
I crawled my way out of a bout with bulimia when I was a teenager and I stopped drinking 7.5 years ago. There is absolutely nothing special about me; if I can do it, anyone can, including you.
It’s a very beautiful world in which we live, you don’t want to miss out on it. Your days here will be over long before you’re ready. Drink water instead. Amen.