I consider myself to be a relatively independent, capable person. But everyone has that one thing that they Don’t Do. For some women, it’s mowing the grass. For some men, it’s setting foot in the mall.
Mine was roaches. Or, more specifically, Florida roaches. The inch-plus behemoths that feature prominently in my most terrifying nightmares. The ones that will sit on the wall until you get right up close, and then FLY RIGHT AT YOU AND TRY TO EAT YOUR FACE.
For the entire duration of my first marriage, I was relieved of roach-eradication duty. We couldn’t afford monthly pest control, so we invested in Raid and heavy footwear. All I had to do was alert my ex of the roach’s last known location, and he took care of it.
Fast-forward to September 2007. I am standing in the kitchen of the house I have just moved into, staring down a particulary chubby specimen of Periplaneta americana, and it dawns on me that I will have to get rid of it myself.
In the end, I slayed the beast. There may (or may not) have been high-pitched screaming, a good bit of flailing, and a hot shower afterwards. But I did it. All by myself.
That was my first post-divorce victory.
The class I’m co-facilitating encourages people to make a list of their losses associated with a divorce. It will be a long list, the DVD tells you, many many pages of losses.
I suggest that, alongside your list of losses, you make a list of gains as well. #1 for me – Learned to Cope with Crippling Fear of Face-Eating Monster Roaches.
We tend to use our spouse as a crutch sometimes. “Oh, Joe takes out the trash.” “Sarah does the grocery shopping.” That’s not a bad thing – it’s part of finding a balance of household responsibilities and duties. But when you suddenly find yourself in charge of the whole household, it’s hard to force yourself to use those atrophied trash-taking-out muscles. This is especially true when you feel that what has happened to you isn’t fair. Divorce recovery is, in a lot of ways, like physical therapy. And even though each gain is usually accompanied by some pain or fatigue, it should be celebrated and listed right alongside the losses.