Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Charge it to the Game

I am single again. Not suddenly: Divorced.

At the moment, I’m swimming slowly across a sea of emotions whose depths are labeled heartbroken, wistful, determined and optimistic, toward peace of mind on the opposite shore. (My bathroom scale, however, is ecstatic. It seems that as the stress dissipates, my pounds evaporate. Best weight loss plan ever! But I digress…)

My new office awaits
Uneventful and not the least bit contentious, the long overdue split was wanted by both of us. That blessing makes some parts of the transition much easier (like, well, leaving) and others remain just as tough (like, well, the children having to leave). While I’ve had this day on my far horizon for quite some time, the kids haven’t. And with them spanning 13 years in age and a chasm of developmental stages, they’ve each dealt with the break up uniquely; from sympathetic to (seemingly) indifferent to distraught.

If I could snap my fingers and make everything all better for everyone involved, would I? No. Instead, at this point, I charge it to The Game (of life, of course).

That’s part of why I share this with you today. As a writer, I think it’s the emotional experiences in life that keep us real. I’ve probably said this before in a blog, but I don’t think you can create believable characters if you’ve never been through anything. And I don’t mean that as in solely tough or negative situations. The joy of friendship or in finding your lost keys is a sentiment you can weave into the feeling of discovering love or a new planet for your readers. You have to live in order to write about life.

Even if your stories take you to the far reaches of worlds only you can imagine and pen, the plot, actions, dialogue and interactions are based on something real to you. Maybe in the world you create you flip your personal reality on its head and develop an alternate existence. You’re still examining your experiences or observances in order to move in that direction. To me, the small and big things that happen to us, don’t happen for us, that we long for, regret or aspire to, shape our thoughts as authors and what eventually lands on our pages.

So, would I change anything on this multi-year road to my now divorced state? Maybe. But, I can say unequivocally that the lessons I’ve learned – particularly over the last 15 months or so – are invaluable. I am stronger than even I, the self-professed Superwoman, thought. I am also capable of being selfless and sensitive in ways I didn’t think I would be. (I believe that’s called “taking the high road” in this situation. lol) And I remain convinced that I’m a very good mom, one who gets to add a few new nuggets of wisdom about how to take care of her kids as they embark on their new journey.

My hopes are simple: (1) That I won’t screw up and usher my kids onto Jerry Springer to diss me five or 10 years from now and (2) that I’ll soon settle into a new life space and new writing cave and get back to doing all those things I still love. Here’s to the freedom to move on. Paid in full.



Liane Spicer said...

Wonderful post! Just this week I read somewhere that you have to feel it to write it. I know it's true for me: everything I've written so far has been generated by my life experiences. Sometimes I need to get stuff down on paper to get a handle on it. At other times I need to fix things in my stories that refuse to be fixed in RL.

I wanted to write from my early twenties, but what could I write? I hadn't lived. I'd gone straight from a sheltered home and school to a sheltered workplace, a convent high school much like the one I'd attended where all my colleagues were female and ultra conservative. Ten years later when I'd done a lot of living and hurting and surviving (marriage, motherhood, separation, divorce, a transfer to a high-risk high school with staff and students that covered the spectrum and an ethos that turned everything I'd ever learnt on its head) I started writing. My starting point was the raw material of my life.

Best wishes as you start this stage of your journey. I wanted to be a perfect mom, give my son a perfect life and protect him from all the pain. Life ensures, thankfully, that that dream is an impossible one. It's not the absence of adversity that makes a good life but the way that we deal with it, learn from it and grow stronger for it.

Jewel Amethyst said...

Great post, Stefanie and great comment Liane. It is indeed true, I write from life's experiences. They are not all my own life's experiences, but they are experiences none the less.

Good luck on your new journey and remember, children are resilient.

Charles Gramlich said...

I went through a divorce a few years back, following a fairly long separation. My son was about 14 when the issues came to a head. He took it hard at first but gradually adjusted. It's certainly no easy thing.

Phyllis Bourne said...

Wishing you and your kids the very best on your fresh start, Stefanie.

KeVin K. said...

Not a life change I would wish on anyone. But you're right -- it's grist for the mill. As noted above, children are resiliant. Take the time to take care of yourself.
-- KeVin

Farrah Rochon said...

Very brave of you to open up and share this with us all, Stefanie. Another example of your selflessness. Here's to this new step in your life journey. I hope it is filled with success and peace.

Stefanie Worth said...

Thanks for the comments and support, everyone! My apologies for the delayed response. The new life has been plagued by lack of internet. Could be the universe trying to tell me something. . .or technology dictating it's time for a new service provider. lol

Liane -- I used to compare myself to college friends who were doing fabulous things in their 20s. I felt like I was so behind. But like you, I apparently had much more living to do. I think I'm better now because of the pause life gave me to experiene a very different life than I imagined at 22.

Jewel -- Kids ARE resilient. I've had more than one occasion to take note of how well they handled a situation, seemingly above and beyond their years. Knowing they're tougher than they think will help me get them through this.

Charles -- I think the lengthy estrangement worked to my advantage. By the time the legalities were wrapped up, I'd already dealt with the emotional shards that catch people after the actual split. That leaves me in a much more rationale state to move forward and help the kids.

Phyllis -- Thanks! And, by the way, Ms. E-Reader: Want to come help me unbox and re-shelve my hundreds of books? lol

KeVin -- Yes, taking care of me was one of the casualties of the split. I'm looking forward to reclaiming that personal space.

Farrah -- I'll admit that the sharing isn't entirely selfless because I find it cathartic. In this instance, it also brings a state of closure to a very long chapter. But if I can bring hope or reassurance to others in similar situations, that's pretty special, too. I'm looking forward to the next steps.