In April 2022, my then-husband and I decided to separate after 12 years of marriage. While it was more my decision than his, we both agreed that we are completely different people in our thirties than we were when we married at 19 and 20, and that our individual visions of marriage no longer aligned. We were simply no longer compatible, and we were becoming exhausted with trying to make it work. At some point in time, I no longer wanted us to waste each other’s valuable time, and I felt it would be best to let each other go so that we could find true peace and happiness instead of forcing it.
After my diagnosis, I don't want to waste time
There were many transitions and difficult periods of time that occurred over the past few months since that decision, however I have no regrets. The most important lesson I learned from my diagnosis with dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans and subsequent surgeries/recoveries is that I only have one life, and it is meant to be thoroughly enjoyed. I have learned to check in with myself and to trust my intuition. Anything that does not serve my purpose or bring me joy must go.
Skin cancer didn't prepare me for divorce's difficulties
I have endured 2 c-sections, 2 surgeries to remove DFSP, graduate school with 2 babies and a job, childhood traumas, and everything in between. Nothing prepared me for the absolute tornado of going through a divorce. It is so emotionally taxing and physically exhausting, and to think people still have to function as employees, parents, and decent citizens while experiencing it is mind-blowing. I am so grateful to my family and close friends, my village, for supporting me and loving me the entire way through it. I have never had to feel lonely because I can truly rely on my people. I would not have made it through this without them.
Maintaining my mental health
Other things that have helped me survive this divorce include my biweekly sessions with my amazing therapist of 4 years, my monthly self-care regimen, journaling, spending time alone with my thoughts, my relationship with my God, healthy daily habits, and creating and upholding boundaries. My self-care regimen includes maintaining my nail and pedicure appointments, getting lash extensions, weekly yoga and meditation, a little retail therapy when necessary, and splurging on myself whenever the mood hit. Looking good helps me feel better about myself and treating myself allows me to still find joy in life.
Feelings are just visitors
Today, I feel amazing. However, understanding that everyday will not feel amazing is the key. Some days are extremely uncomfortable. My best friend once said to me, “your feelings are visitors. Allow them to come and talk to you, but then they must go.”
This has been the hallmark of my divorce journey, especially early on when the days were the most volatile; I had to tell myself I will not always feel down, sad, angry, bitter, or anxious, and I had to believe that joy and peace were coming. I finally feel joy and peace more regularly than I feel sad and angry, and to me, that is a win!
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