This year marks 10 years since the divorce. It has been a challenge transitioning back to a single person co-parenting from a married person co-parenting. While it was a challenge, I knew that I wanted to learn something from that event.

I knew that I did not want this event to define me. I was so serious about how I wanted to transform, that I decided early on that I would not label myself as a divorcee. More so, I knew I did not want to label myself as a single parent. You see, I do not believe-NO-more strongly, I KNOW that my singleness does not define my parenthood and vice versa. My children didn’t receive a different parenting experience because of the divorce, they received a different experience because of the way we handled the divorce.

There is no pain or failure like going through a divorce.”

~Jennifer Lopez

Now that I am here, 10 years later, I wanted to really connect with an optimistic side of this experience. That is just who I am. In the darkest of times, I work to find the lesson, the positive, the ‘other’ way of looking at things. Finding things to learn from the divorce experience was just the way to honor my divorce. It happened, there is not denying it, so why not learn something from it.

Well this blog has been a mental process for awhile now, and it always began with ’20’. I would cringe when I thought about coming up with 20 lessons about an experience that was so dark. I remembered the question in the primetime show, Being Mary Jane, when Mary Jane asked a gentleman on a date, “what did your wife teach you?” Although, I haven’t asked this question to a man, yet, I have asked, ‘what did you do to contribute to your divorce?’ Of course, all of these questions are great questions-they’re ingenious really! But I wanted to stick with the lessons.

So, this past Sunday, I jumped up at about 6 am and began writing. These ‘things’ were in my head. Before I knew it, I had more than 20-and they are written just as I thought them….in the exact order.

So, 20 lessons ended up being 31 lessons I learned from my divorce…

  1. That I didn’t stop loving him on the date of the divorce
  2. I understand why people get separated and stay married 
  3. What it really means to be married until death do you part 
  4. That it was important not to date while I was raising my children as a single person and co parenting 
  5. That my children were affected by the divorce 
  6. That 20 years is a long time to erase
  7. That the behaviors in the marriage were not personal but lacked maturity 
  8. That the choices he made outside the marriage were not about me
  9. That the divorce was the result of BOTH our actions 
  10. That on both the dates-marriage and divorce-I was young 
  11. The generational curses -behaviors are real
  12. That I was well taken care of 
  13. That the world sees you differently after a divorce 
  14. That it is true-your married friends will see your singleness after the divorce as a threat 
  15. That I am not ‘divorced’ but that I ‘experienced’ a divorce 
  16. That I am not defined by the event that took place in 29 April 2010
  17. That my previous marriage may be my last 
  18. That my decision not to re-marry has nothing to do with my previous marriage or the divorce 
  19. That the only person that changed during the marriage was me 
  20. That the man I married was the same man I divorced 
  21. That I didn’t expect perfection in my marriage but commitment 
  22. That commitment doesn’t only mean fidelity 
  23. That God is always present 
  24. That it is more difficult than I thought to date after a divorce 
  25. That you can miss feeling loved 
  26. That it is more difficult than you think to choose respect and honor over the simple presence of a human being
  27. That everyone doesn’t have your best interest 
  28. That my divorce was the result of anger 
  29. That there is a difference between spiritual guided marriage counseling and therapy and sometimes a marriage needs both not just therapy
  30. That divorce is an event not an identity, a label or a relationship status
  31. That the last 10 years have been challenging and while it didn’t feel like it 10 years ago, I survived the divorce 

Yall, this journey wasn’t easy, but it was necessary. It was necessary because the divorce occurred and in order to survive, I had to grow. Growing required me to acknowledge my contribution to this bad event.  It is likely only two people (areas) will know how I really feel after the divorce-my therapist (if I ever get one) and my journal. My true feelings around the divorce won’t be shared because they could provide a narrative that likely no one will understand. Ugh, I probably don’t really understand why I feel the way I feel, but I had to acknowledge these feelings if I was ever to grow.

I pray that sharing my journey helps another survive and embrace their journey. In the meantime, be You, love You and forgive You!