April always seems to sneak up on me. Living where I do, you never know what winter will bring. At times, the entire city seems stunted by the cold. There are nights when even the warmest blankets can’t take away the chill. The ice has been known to ruin many occasions and the cold weather turns people into hermits.
I have always been partial to springtime. The entire world comes out of its shell and sighs with relief. The trees begin to bloom. The grass shows its pretty shades of green. The wind becomes warmer carrying aromas of flowers, rainy nights and cookouts with the promise of longer days. The sights and smells can brighten the darkest thoughts. The sunshine begins to thaw our cold souls. The rain washes away the salt and grime left behind from the winter. And we all smile a little bit more.
In our life, we go through so many seasons. And I don’t mean the ones in nature. Childhood is the start of it all and everyone’s is different. Maybe you have two parents in your life, maybe one, sometimes none. You might have siblings or maybe not. There is school and learning and hopefully happiness that will lead you into the next stage. Being a teenager is tough. It was difficult for me and even harder for those going through it now. You learn so much. You develop as a person and then, all of a sudden, you find yourself in your 20’s. There is college or maybe a job to pay the bills. Whatever decision you make, it’s scary. Your friends change. Your living arrangements change. You may fall in love. You will probably fall out. You begin to find yourself and question every single detail in life. These are the seasons of life. And they just keep going. Mine have brought me to my 30’s. And, let me tell you, it’s not any easier.
If you have been following my blog, you know I am going through a divorce. All of my seasons brought me to this point and, little did I know, prepared me for this struggle. My tears remind me of the tears from my first love. The pain reminds me of my mother consoling me and also teaching me her strength. The loneliness reminds me of moving away from home. And the sadness reminds me of the happiness to come.
I seem to go back and forth between wanting to bloom and wanting to crawl back into my shell. All of the emotions and changes, both in life and nature, made me start thinking.
We all accept the changes the Earth presents us. Sometimes we bitch and moan about driving in snow, cleaning up leaves, mowing the lawn, etc. But we do it. So why, when someone we love presents us with change, do we fight it?
I know that I have presented those in my life with a burden they didn’t choose. I live with this pain daily. I know that many question my mistakes, actions and, for some reason, the way I’m moving forward. And for those that do, I politely ask, what did I ever do to you? And I, in typical Melissa style, present you with a not so polite fuck you.
I also bestow upon you a list of what not to say to someone going through a divorce. I offer this list as a learning experience. I offer it as a reminder of common courtesy. I offer it as a mental note of the times you fucked up and I didn’t judge. And I offer it as an answer to anyone who wants to question my life going forward.
Do not say how much their situation is hurting you.
Like I said before, I know the pain I’ve caused others. That being said, why remind me? If you are talking to me about this awful situation, be my friend or get the fuck out of my way. The last time I checked, my marriage certificate included two names and I’m guessing you weren’t one of them. I also don’t remember you being there during the tears, the fights or the loneliness. Oh, but shit, you are hurting because of my divorce? Grow some balls because that’s what I’ve had to do.
Do not compare a divorce to a breakup.
I have been in long relationships. I know the pain. I have stood by my friends in their times of heartache. I will NEVER take that away from anyone. Pain is awful and everyone’s story is different. Unless I am forgetting how it works, you didn’t have to go to a lawyer to break up with your ex. You didn’t have to split property with this person. You aren’t worried about finances, alimony or marital assets. I’ve been through breakups. I am not saying they didn’t hurt. The permanence of forever exists in marriage, as it does with divorce.
Do not bring judgment.
I won’t go into this too much but please remember what you have done. Remember your faults and your flaws. None of us are perfect. None of us are supposed to be. This world is full of hurt. All we can do is look forward and try to better ourselves. And along with that, the lives of others.
Do not say nothing.
The beginning of the end was awful in so many ways. I am lucky to have a lot of support. I am also lucky to have a lot of friends with big mouths. The most awkward situations I was in were the ones where people tried to pretend nothing was happening. You certainly don’t need to broadcast it, but pull the person aside and let them know you still love them. Trust me. I have left many parties, occasions, etc., because the silence made me feel uncomfortable. And hell, if you don’t have the words, a nice hug will do.
All of that being said, I have put my foot in my mouth many, many times. Everything we say can be fixed. Every hurtful moment we cause can be mended. This list is solely based on personal experience. If you have something to add or would just like to talk, please comment below.