“Things may never go back to normal. You may need to create a new normal. And that’s ok.” ~ Unknown
Seventeen years ago, I would have never understood this phrase. Then, my 50 year old mother passed away suddenly and boy did I understand it once the fog of inconsolable grief lifted! Everything was now clouded by thoughts of I wish I could call Mom, or I wish Mom could see this, or simply I miss my Mom. My new normal was now living as a motherless daughter. Gradually it became less painful to realize this was my new normal, but it never became not painful and it never will. And God how I hate for people to become motherless like me and how I hate that those who don’t really know what it’s like can criticize me or be annoyed that I am STILL grieving. It’s my normal, not theirs, why does it bother them?
And now suddenly I realize I am choosing to create a new normal, choosing to be judged and criticized, choosing to go through a painful time to find a happier me and create a new life. I admit it’s terrifying and I hate for people to criticize me or be upset with me! But it must be done.
It’s been a typical week, Husband forgot about freaking on me last weekend and has chattered away whenever we are in the same room which I try to avoid as much as possible, and I have been stressed worrying about when and how to tell my children and practicing what I would say to people. I have tried to start being more kind to myself and it does seem to help a little.
I realized that he is not going to do a single thing to move this along so I needed to start figuring out how I am going to do this new life. I am the only one that can change my situation. I created a budget and severely overestimated my expenses as a single woman in the worst case scenario and found I could do it, barely, but I could! How empowering! I have never supported myself, and was never “allowed” to handle the bills, so I wanted to show myself it could be done. People do it with less than I have!
I had also realized that I shouldn’t have any further conversation about moving out until I spoke to a lawyer. I have tried so hard to be considerate of everyone’s feelings, and I did not want to risk losing custody because of something I didn’t know not to do.
I answered the basic questions of finances and assets and children and then explained that my situation was a little “complicated.” Ha! That was the first time I told someone I wanted to pursue a relationship with a woman and I had been anxious about admitting it. She didn’t bat an eye! Then she proceeded to tell me my state doesn’t care who I see, that Husband doesn’t have to like it but once we are separated he can’t do a thing about it and can’t prevent me from having custody for it!!! Thank God! I felt like a huge weight had been lifted! So basically the worst he can do is drag his feet and make me wait a few years to be divorced.
Then I started looking for an apartment. My Girl and I looked at one yesterday. Now I am appearing in public loving a woman, though we did not act like we were a couple, and again the rental agent did not seem bothered in the least! I kept wondering if she was wondering!
I did have a bit of anxiety later in the day wondering if I really could do this, especially when I have not split my finances from Husband yet, and wondering if I made the right decision getting a two bedroom, one bathroom unit since half the time a second bathroom would not be used, and guilty for doing this secretly. Then I decided I needed to just trust my instincts, and that things would be ok. I can get a loan or another job if I needed to, and he knows it is coming even if he pretends he doesn’t. So what? So today I completed the application and dropped it off. I felt excited that I am applying to live in my own apartment, and taking steps to begin creating a new normal.
Then as if to confirm that I am going to be ok, someone replied to a forum where I had talked about what the lawyer said and how I seem to be strong briefly but then become consumed by anxiety, guilt, sadness and whatever else. She said that she thinks I am handling all this quite well and these painful feelings can’t be helped but I am taking steps to my happiness in the midst of all of them and I deserve huge kudos. That was so encouraging, even though it was an internet stranger, and much needed support.
So this week I proudly stated I love a woman, appeared in a public place with and introduced My Girl as my “friend,” and started getting things in place to move out and begin creating a new normal. And no one was upset by it! I know I have two difficult conversations ahead, but I am beginning to find my strength and confidence that I will make it through and be comfortable in my new and happier normal eventually.