“There is nothing stronger than a broken women who has rebuilt herself.”
– Hannah Gadsby
My marriage ended.
Sure, there are dates – the one when we said it’s over, and the one when started living in separate houses – but it was broken long before either of those.
There was so much hurt, for so long before then. There were walls built for protection, avoidance strategies in place of healthy communication, an absence of intimacy.
The ending took time. It hurt, and it was messy.
I think sometimes we like to pack our emotions about these things into neat little boxes, tied up with a ribbon on top. Clean, simple, easy to understand.
Even the painful emotions.
And obviously it was painful. Lots of people understood that side of it, it was the default response from most people when they found out. “Oh, you poor thing, that must be so sad”. But it definitely wasn’t simple, and there was no way to bundle it up into a nice, neat package.
This particular ending was excruciating pain and undeniable relief, at the same time. Security lost and freedom found, at the same time.
It was an exhale of tension, followed by an inhale of possibilities ahead.
It was tears, anger, grief, and rage, mixed with gratitude, peace, growth, and rest.
It was flashes of regret, mixed with growing awareness that the present was only possible because of the past – and the present is beautiful, blossoming, beginnings.
It was anything but simple.
I’m not defined by my marriage ending. Or by any of the things that have wounded me, broken me open, left scars. Neither are you.
But I am changed by them. I’m more aware of who I am, stronger, more passionate, more fully able to let myself be seen. So are you, if you’ll let yourself be.
My scars are reminders of growth. They’re no longer gaping wounds that require immediate first aid, attention, and care. They’re evidence of healing that’s taken place, of an experience of brokenness that lets me connect more deeply with others who’ve been there.
My scars don’t look the same as anyone else’s – my endings don’t have the same story as theirs – but they have some similar characteristics, our shared humanity guarantees that. And the beautiful, possibility-filled beginnings that are ahead of me now are only there because of the endings I’ve faced. For that, I am immensely grateful.
If you’re facing an ending right now, please be gentle with yourself, let yourself feel all the things. Don’t let others try and package your emotions into easy to understand boxes. But also remember that there is hope and healing available to you, that one day your scars may be reminders of space made for beautiful beginnings.
If someone else allows you to see their scars, or even their wounds, please don’t assume it’s all pain, no matter how it looks. Maybe try “How are you feeling about that?” rather than “Oh you poor thing, you must be so sad!”. Allow them the space to share, if they choose to, and you’ll discover an incredible opportunity for connection.