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Today marks a new chapter in my life.  Officially, on the record, I can now say I am divorced.

It has been one year, nine months, and five days since my husband and I stopped living together.  It has been one year, six months, and twenty-two days since I last saw him.

And the feelings I’m having are surprising.  Perhaps it’s because we’ve had the Atlantic Ocean separating us for all that time. Perhaps it’s the new journey I’ve adopted. Perhaps it’s the people I’ve met, the books I’ve read, the food I’ve eaten, the movies I’ve watched… but I don’t feel sad or happy.  I don’t feel depressed or angered.

All I feel is acceptance.

In the last year, the painting that has been my life has changed colors and hues, from dusky to brilliant, from earth tones to jewel.  These paints have dimmed, brightened, sparkled and crackled at various spots.  Maybe even the canvas has ripped away from the boards at one point or another, and I had to stretch it and staple it back up. At times I felt a knife had been driven through the center of it.

Someone wise once said, “There’s order in chaos.”

When we look at something close up, under the scrutiny of a microscope, we see devil in the details.  While details are important at times, frequently we find ourselves getting lost.  I think we should all remember to take a step back and look at the larger picture.  While everything may seem confusing or disconnected close up, by considering something from a distance, we can then start to formulate a sense of order in the chaos.

When I think about specific moments of my life, pre-, during, and post-marriage (starting now), I may feel anxiety, frustration, exhaustion, shame, confusion, anger…  But when I considered my life as a whole, especially the journey I’ve had in the last year that has slowly brought me out of darkness, I see a unique painting.  Now, I won’t say it’s beautiful, and it’s definitely far from perfect, but I’m still proud to call it my own.

I’m not ashamed anymore to be among the divorcees. I won’t hesitate to tell anyone that I haven’t made a single mistake that I regret or would change.  I believe everything happens for a reason.  Every decision I made, every idea I had, every experience that affected me, has brought me to this point.  The creation of my canvas may have been messy at times, but it turned out just as it should.

And now it’s time to start over.

But while divorce is usually focused on separation, disconnecting, denying, and forgetting, I’m choosing to remember.  I’m choosing to think about the journey as a whole and consider it completely (despite my impatience) before placing the first color on my fresh, blank canvas.

Because the good, the bad, the ugly developed me and made me who I am.

And I accept.

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