My friend Sarah and I have something we like to call #behindthegram.
It’s when you just posted this beautiful picture of your breakfast or wine tasting or sunset or whatever on Instagram – but then there’s the real story that no one can see. The kind of messy, pre-filtered scene that got cut out when you cropped it into a square or adjusted the contrast. It’s standing on chairs or tables to get the shot. It’s balancing cutting boards on armrests or side tables or dog toys (yep… dog toys).
Or maybe you didn’t eat that gorgeous stack of pancakes for breakfast at all. Maybe you really just grabbed a banana on the way out the door. Maybe those pancakes were from a brunch two weeks ago and you just thought they would be really great to post today.
That all being said, I’m gonna let you all #behindthegram a little today.
Back in February, I wrote about taking stock. I wrote about figuring out what was important to me and living my own truths. I wrote about coming up with my emergency plan in case everything I had always counted on got turned upside down.
And thank god I did.
#behindthegram, my marriage ended. The man who asked me to be his for the rest of his life decided there wasn’t room for me anymore. We walked into marriage counseling one Tuesday afternoon with an amazing date afternoon adventure planned for afterward, but instead we walked out broken and divided.
I still don’t know if I’m in the right place to be publicly writing about it. I just filed paperwork last week. I haven’t completely wrapped my head around the fact that his family is technically no longer my family. I am still angry and sad and shocked and all of the emotions that you’d expect from someone who’s husband told her he just doesn’t love her anymore.
But about a month ago, I decided to stop hiding. I decided that if someone asked me how he was, I wasn’t going to shrug and smile and protect him anymore. I was going to answer the question and I was going to do it with dignity. I have no regrets. I laid my heart out alongside his for the world to see, and I trusted that it would be safely kept forever. I poured every ounce of love and protection I had into keeping that relationship sacred and alive and growing. I can honestly say I loved with all of my being.
I probably scared off the first few people who asked me about him after I’d decided to be honest. The mechanic who asked about him switching restaurants especially. I wasn’t prepared. I was angry. I was angry that he got to disappear and I had to break all the news. I was angry that even after he left me, as it had typically been in our relationship, I was the one who had to put in the effort to make things right.
But by the third or fourth time, I had my graceful line down. “Him & I are no longer together.” I had a condensed elevator-pitch version of “why” that satisfied the small talk acquaintances. The inner circle saw my tears and heard my venom and put out the flames with their hugs and love. And with every time, the ache of telling it became a little bit less and a little bit less.
I look back on memories. I look back on the stories I have written into that chapter in my mind. I’m no longer sure what was real and what wasn’t. But I am confident that I made the right decisions in these past few months to end something that was so broken it became abusive and cruel. I am confident in my choice that him and I should no longer be married.
I am mostly confident that I am going to be great on my own. I am confident and proud that I am strong enough to support a love like that one I once stood up for, and I hope one day to be able to fully hand over my heart to another.
It’s going to take a long time to fully heal. It’s taken me a few months to even be able to start pulling apart his world from my world and really figuring out what is mine to continue on with. It’s taken every ounce of grace and poise I could muster to face certain people and keep the composure that I want to be known for. It’s taken sunglasses to hide the tears and concealer to hide the puffy eyes. It’s taken months for me to want to bake again or write again or pick up my camera again. It’s taken a lot of angry texts to friends. It’s taken a lot of nights of whiskey and it’s taken a lot of nights falling asleep with the lights on – alone.
I know I’ve let a lot of things fall by the wayside. But I’m trying my hardest to be patient with myself. I’m try to remind myself that when I’m ready, the pieces will be able to be put back together. There will be enough glue in my world to get it all back into one piece.
That new version of the whole me may have visible cracks. It may be a little more fragile and wobbly. People may be able to see that I’m standing on a chair to get the right angle or that I’m balancing a cutting board on a dog toy for the best light. Clearly behind the perfectly edited photograph, there’s a bit of a messy story.
But it turns out I’m resourceful. And down the line you look at those #behindthegram posts and laugh. Eventually they get edited and cropped, and the picture turns out to be just what you wanted it to be.
Thanks for listening and loving. Now let’s get back to the yummy part of all of this…