On Strength, Independence, and Name Changes

When I walked out of the Social Security building yesterday, I had tears in my eyes. There was no one there to hug me. No one there to say it was ok—that I was going to be ok. The door attendant didn’t say “Goodbye!” or “Have a nice day!” on the way out. I held the paperwork in my hand, walked to my car, texted a friend that I was in pain. And alone.

Getting a divorce is lonely. Printing paperwork. Filling in blanks. Explaining why you should be granted to live in peace alone. Leaving your personal items in lockers at the court house. Admitting you can’t make it work.

Ever notice there’s always two chairs, sitting side-by-side wherever you go? I never need the second. That’s how life feels lately.


None of this has been the “easy” way out. The first conversation left me crying because he didn’t fight for us. When he signed the papers, I walked into the bathroom just to be out of the same room. Tears constantly swelled and all I could do was pretend to wash my hands. No. This was not an easy road. I have a tightness in my chest that sometimes takes days to go away.

I have tears that come when I think of memories. In Germany. Door County. Restaurants. Cubs Games. English Class. College Parties. So many smiles.

I’ve heard the word “strong” and “independent” and “envy” so many times in the past few months that I’ve grown an aversion to them. Those words are exactly the ones he used to describe why we’re not good for one another. Right before he said, “You’ll find someone who will care about you.” And all I heard was, “Because I don’t care about you.  I’m not that person who can.”

FullSizeRender2I’m baffled at times when people look at me and see strength and independence. I feel failure, disappointment and uncertainty often. Because it’s real.

Real is ok.

I doubt anyone is ever going to look at me and say, “How dare you be sad because someone you loved is no longer in your life!”

I’ve cried so hard that my eyes burn and I wake up with puffy eyelids. Sometimes I blow my nose so often the skin peels and I curse the makeup gods for not being able to cover it. Sometimes I’m so sad that I don’t move from the couch and watch all five seasons of Game of Thrones because I can.

That’s what real looks like. And guess what? Real is STILL ok for me.


I want to be happy. I want to be with someone who makes me happy. I want to make someone else happy. And coexist in a way that seems effortless and easy. It hasn’t been that way. And it’s damn well time it should be.

I crossed the first part of a goal off yesterday: Change name with Social Security. In 7-10 days when the card arrives in the mail, I’ll knock off the second part of getting a new drivers license.

Yes, it’s soon. But why dwell? In my heart, I think I know things won’t change, at least not how they are now. If I want to be happy, I have to make myself that way. And sometimes that requires me to do it alone.

IMG_5548Part of being strong is acknowledging the pain. And then realizing it’s life. My track record for getting through hard times, thus far, is 100%.

I don’t like to dwell—What if I already met someone who could make me happy and love me, and didn’t give him a chance? What if there was a sign, and I was too depressed to see it? What if I spent so much time on my thoughts that I wasn’t able to see a lovely opportunity elsewhere?

I knew when it was time to move on. And as much as I hate doing things alone, if it meant choosing between happy/alone and miserable/together, I’d choose happy. Every. Single. Time.

Think of it this way…. those chocolate hostess cupcakes? Snoballs?Always come in packs of two. Now I can take time to savor them both!

On Strength, Independence, and Name Changes

2 thoughts on “On Strength, Independence, and Name Changes

  1. Macknzie says:

    My best friend recently lost someone to depression who was very close to her. I gave her one of the few pieces of advice that I think I’ve ever given worth a damn: The pain never goes away, and never lessens. But over time, we learn how to make it part of ourselves and integrate it into who we are. We become new people because of it. Not especially profound, but I’ve had some grief, and that’s what it feels like to me.


    1. I love it. I’ve told people who have been in love, and then the situation changes, that it’s ok to still be in love with someone. To not validate those feelings makes it seem like it never mattered. Even if the relationship ended, it’s ok to still care. And to care forever, or a very long time. I would want someone to know that I’ve been married and divorced, but to be ok with that forever being a part of my life!


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