I knew this day was coming. Just not so soon. I remember the moments. All of the moments leading up to the day where I would no longer be a wife, but a divorcee. A branded woman. Someone with more baggage than she already had. Someone that men would try to come at now because she was fresh out of a situation to see who could claim the floating prize. Tame me.
All have tried. Not one succeeded.
When I was living with my ex during the divorce process, I used to sit in the backroom, that was once our room, alone. At this point, I’d made him retreat to the lumpy couch. That was the least of his punishment for doing what he’d done, was still doing.
On said couch, he used to talk to other bitches on Facetime. Yes, I said bitches. Because that’s what a woman is when she knowingly enters into a relationship with a man whose married.
He’d have his little earbuds in, giggling and laughing at the side girl’s jokes.
I wanted to laugh, too.
I knew it was a female because of the way the tone of his voice changed. It was the same way he used to speak to me when we were young and in love. When he was trying to semi-court me. Before I just became a waste of ten years. Something disposable. A working vagina to him.
I’d lay in bed with only the thin door separating the both of us and not cry. He’d made me cry so much in the first few days of the initial process that I had used my allotted number of tears for the entire year. So, I’d NOT cry in the dark. I just laid there as he giggled with some other lady that was taking my place and thought about how fucked up that was. How fucked up that I thought I was safe from being cheated on like the rest of the women in my family and friend circle. That, somehow, I had the magic touch and that a calamity so great would never touch someone like me. How fucked that he could’ve at least gave me the decency of a human being who’d he’d known and grew up with for a decade, been to hell and back, to at least talk to that ‘other woman’ privately at his friend’s house, work, maybe, or his car. The same car that I helped him get that now she’d be driving in.
It’s safe to say that a year later, I’m still bitter.
And, I don’t mean bitter in a messy way. A way that has me stalking the alleged girl’s Instagram page or calling him late at night or randomly popping up at his mama’s doorstep and beating the first bitch ass that tries me. But bitter in the fact that I feel as though he hadn’t gotten what he deserved. During the divorce, I was too nice. Too understanding. Yeah, I had my moments of complete insanity where I said some really fucked shit, but I didn’t do him like the black women do in the movies. Like my mama had done.
He forced me to make him lunch. Pack it when he went to work. Wash his clothes. He tried to solicit me for sex, but I told him that I’d rather sleep with a hobo than ever touch him again. Yeah, that’s the kind of stranger that he turned into. An emotionally abusive stranger. I didn’t take his iPad and smash it to smithereens. I didn’t blast him on the internet. I didn’t bust the windows out his car. Bleach his clothes. Toss them on the porch. Harass his family. Harass the new girl. I stayed quiet. I stayed calm. I took the high road. Why? Because he wanted me to wild out, so that he’d have more ammunition to claim that’s why I was the ‘bad guy’. That’s why he did what he did because I couldn’t control my anger. And, I wasn’t giving him the satisfaction of being able to talk more shit about me with his knucklehead posse. He’d already spewed enough one-sided lies. Playing the victim as usual.
One day, we were halfway into the divorce proceedings and he was getting ready for work. I was in the kitchen making a meal. Playing house in a house that was burning fast. He sat down and I placed his plate in front of him. I handed him a napkin and then poured him some juice. He looked at me with that awkward smile he had. “Why are you being so nice to me?” he asked.
“What are you talking about?”
“We’re getting divorced,” he began. “You’re being too nice. I’m starting to think you’ve poisoned this food.”
I smiled an uncomfortable smile. At that point, he was a strange man sitting in my kitchen. “All the shit you’ve done to me… If I were going to poison you, I’d have already done it.”
Last night, I was scrolling through Instagram since it’s like my very private yet public diary. I went back to the posts of last year around the time I was officially divorced. Officially moved out on my own. Officially confused and stunned. No job, no insurance, or income. Just a bit of savings. He left me with nothing. No alimony. Nothing.
One of the photos, I openly express a looming mental breakdown. On another, I’m celebrating my first Huffington Post feature. On another, I talk about hope. During that week, those following months, I had to pull myself together for photoshoots, for events, and projects. Although, I was going through deep pain and self-hatred, I still had to work and keep my brand going. I still had to blog and work my social media sites. I still had to show my face and let people know that I wasn’t all the way dead. That although I felt like shit, inside was a glimmer of me still in there buried somewhere.
I was told by many divorcees that it’d take me years to get over, completely heal from the trauma of divorce. Having someone there but not anymore. The familiarity being disrupted. The meanness that was so easily given in those last months. I told them all that it wasn’t me. That I was going to bounce back quick. I was going to work twice as hard to not fall into the category of the ‘usual’ damaged divorcee.
And, I’m not going to lie. I had my days, still do when anger and resentment creeps up. When I have those woe-is-me moments that I just can’t kick. When I ask questions that I will never get the answers to. But, overall, I cannot deny the work that I’ve put in. The glow up that I’ve received one-year post divorce. It would be ungrateful to even skim over that.
I’ve accomplished more than I have creatively and professionally. I’ve been featured in newspapers, magazines, countless blogs and websites. I’ve been flown to NY. Modeled in LA, London, and Paris. I finished my memoir. Landed an agent for said memoir! My book will be on bookstore shelves. Mark my word. You’re witnessing the makings of a NY Times Bestseller. I’ve partnered with large name clothing companies. I won the Gilda Award. I’ve ate good food. Traveled to distant lands. I’ve got lost. Fallen on my face. Lost friends. Explored my body. Gotten stronger.
In twelve short months, I’ve done a lot.
Yes, today is the day that my divorce was finalized, but there is so much more to me than that.
So, here’s to another 12 months of growth, prosperity, and change.