About a year ago, I separated from my Husband.
After months of going to work, coming home to immediately drowning myself in vodka, and then waking up to do it again — I knew something had to give. Now don’t get me wrong — my ex is a great man. He’s an excellent father, he’s charming and charismatic, and a hell of lot of fun.
However, here’s the problem: We were toxic for each other, and we both deserved more. We brought out each other’s worsts and we brought each other down. The best decision we made was to split. And that’s okay.
This past year has been a particularly interesting and introspective year for me. My experience of being a “single mother” has been unique. Since I have a seasoned career, I have been blessed to not be strapped financially after divorce. And while divorce is never easy, I’ve had it easy — comparably speaking.
However, I also learned though that no matter what the situation for divorce is — the stigmas are still there. And they’re very real.
The spasms of wordvomit and idiocy came at me from a variety of sources. Things like…
The mere fact that I am divorced must mean something is wrong with me.
The divorce must be my fault because I’m a working woman.
I must have cared more about my career than my family.
I should have tried harder to make things work out for my sons sake.
I must have had an affair or be married to an abuser.
But the worst of all the idiocies?
The look I get from family members, friends, and strangers when they hear that I’m a mother, but they don’t see a ring. The hilariously awkward reactions I get when I tell someone I’m divorced.
People actually feel bad for me for leaving a toxic marriage. Granted, they may not know the situation, but they assume that pity is the best reaction. People with or without context — feel bad for me for knowing I’m worthy of more, and fighting for the love I deserve.
I didn’t have an abusive husband, a messy divorce, or financial battles — it was all civil. So knowing that, I can’t even imagine the shame and pity being spatted on women in worse situations than mine.
Why aren’t we celebrating the single mother’s who made the difficult decision to stand up for themselves and fight for more? Or why aren’t we butting out and holding back judgments without context?
The fact that we judge people based on factors like divorce, gender, choices, successes or failures, is maddening. When we stop seeing people as compilations of their actions or characteristic traits — and we can start seeing individuals as good people fighting the good fight — united with us — human kind evolves.
And while we have social movements pushing to fight for justice, peace, and acceptance — I think we might be missing the point.
All of these movements are well intentioned, but they oft become diluted. Sometimes they actually create even more hatred.
What if instead of focusing on movements instead we focus on people and the unity of humanity as whole?
As a very smart man once said “We must learn to live together as brothers (and sisters) or we will perish together as fools.”
And “When evil men (and women) plot, good men (and women) must plan. When evil men (and women) burn and bomb, good men (and women) must build and bind. When evil men (and women) shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love. Where evil men (and women) would seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good men (and women) must seek to bring into being a real order of justice.”
That man, Martin Luther King Jr., was ahead of his time for certain. But his words breathe through today. We must work to evolve as individuals to love, see, and connect with people — by ridding of judgment, ridicule, and shame. We must see the good in people above all else.