I want to share something that I haven’t shared with many people until now. And that is my recent divorce and how I’m dealing with life afterward.
But before I get into that I want to remind you that the Maker/Mistaker Anthology ebook comes out tomorrow March 7th. I’m retiring the Maker/Mistaker brand to continue under my real name and I’m archiving all the best posts in a beautifully designed digital retrospective. It reads like a book and completes the 3 year journey of growth from my depression to awakening up until I moved to Austin and started this new chapter of my life.
So the divorce…
My wife and I were legally divorced in December of 2015, but we had separated a few months before that. It was over a year prior that we both made the decision to break up and go our separate ways.
While I’m an open book, I won’t share all the gory details. I am respecting the privacy of my ex wife and she deserves to tell the story in her own way on her terms. But you can imagine it was really difficult and emotional for both of us.
Fortunately, the divorce itself was really smooth and we have been able to stay relatively close in what feels like a familial type of love. We still text occasionally and catch up on the phone every now and then like you would a family member. We are very amicable and both want each other to be happy.
Ending the relationship
The initial decision to end the 13 year relationship was really difficult. It definitely hurt and we both questioned just about everything we thought we knew about each other and what the concept of marriage means. Not to mention what love is. What if the relationship is too good to leave, but too bad to stay? We tried to “work it out” but when the topic of divorce came up, suddenly all the pieces started falling into place and it was just a matter of aligning ourselves with it. It was the right thing to do.
As you know, I’d done a lot of emotional healing and personal development work to get through my depression. Which resulted in a spiritual awakening and me leaving Go Media and WMC Fest. Adding the divorce onto it was something I did not expect, but hey, while I’m transforming, why not go all the way?
Experiencing my freedom
At first, the separation felt like freedom. A good analogy is like breaking out of a jail you mistook for “normal” and breathing in fresh air for the first time. I went on a 43-day cross-country solo road trip and ate it all up. I was such a free man! No job, no marriage, no children! I could go anywhere and do anything! I was so excited!
I was thrilled to meet new women and enjoy not-so-serious relationships with them. I tried Tinder, OKCupid, and a bunch of other apps. I enjoyed the freedom to follow my curiosity and dip my toes into alternative lifestyles like Polyamory, Tantra, and BDSM. Through this exploration, I was able to heal some of my shame and limiting beliefs around sexuality and relationships.
Freedom turns to loneliness
I moved to Austin at the end of January and I was high on the buzz of newness and novelty. I was so excited! But after a few weeks, I started to realize that I was indeed alone. I was living by myself for the first time ever. I’d always had a companion or roommate by my side.
I like being by myself, but the loneliness hit me hard. I had expectations that I’d come to Austin and immediately integrate myself into the social scene. I actually DID that, but I kept longing for a deeper, more consistent companion. I would get frustrated when my free-spirited friends seemed too busy or non-committal.
There’s been a few times I just had to stay home and process these feelings of loneliness and accept that this is where I’m at right now. I have a really good social life, but the painful part was me missing that person who was waiting for me to come home. That person that cares about me more than anything. That person who would never let me down.
Then the thing that I had known all along sunk in. That person has to be myself.
Putting myself first
The idea fully integrated after I had been flaked on several times in one week. I asked the Universe why I was attracting this into my life so much! What is the lesson? The other night I had a pretty dark night of the soul. I meditated and cried buckets of tears as I processed visions of my life, my marriage, and my childhood.
I saw how I was flaking on myself.
I associated being home alone as the last resort. As the thing that shameful introverts do when they don’t have a social life. And when I’m at home, I don’t really have “fun” because I think I’m supposed to work and make money. And when I’m not working on making money, I’m working on self-growth, healing, or something else that’s productive. I put work first before myself. If someone invited me out, I’d flake on my own plans and go out with them. It made so much sense since being home alone was “so lame.”
But the other night I had the chance to turn down social plans and just be by myself. I chose to treat staying home by myself as a date. I asked myself questions like I would ask a date. “What do you want to do tonight? What do you like for dinner? It’s YOUR night, Jeff!” The Jeff I dated that night just wanted to watch a scary movie on Netflix and eat some cereal, light some incense, and play guitar. Normally I wouldn’t think these are productive things to do, but if I was on a date with a girl, I would totally do all of it. So why not do it with myself? It was actually so energizing! Coincidentally I watched this TED Talk about the person you really need to marryand it made so much sense.
Being happy alone
Yesterday I attended a small workshop with the author of the book From We to Me: Emerging Self After Divorce. And it was so empowering, especially after what I experienced the night before. I never really KNEW what putting myself first actually felt like. I knew intellectually that I’m supposed to be my own best friend, my own companion, or my own confidant. I know intellectually that I should love myself more, date myself more, and practice self-care. But all this stuff is finally sinking in and I am beginning to know what it authentically feels like.
It seems obvious, but it’s harder than it sounds. Despite all the “work” I’ve done on myself to heal and grow, there’s still a lot of subconscious programming and beliefs that cause me to act the way I do. It causes me to be attracted to certain types of women, or decide what is the right or wrong way to have a relationship. All that stuff is questionable and up for grabs now. I get to decide what works for me. No longer do I have to have anyone else – my parents, my wife, the media, or society tell me how I should live my life. I’m not even used to that kind of freedom. I feel wobbly and I am not used to being responsible for myself so much. But once I get my sea legs, I’ll be solid.
The more I love myself and make myself a priority, the more I can enjoy the relationships with the people in my life without having to turn them into my BFF or psuedo-girlfriends. I won’t subconsciously be using them to fill up my cup, or neglecting my own cup to fill theirs. I feel like I’ve taken a big stride this week!
Here’s what I’ve been into this week:
- From We to Me book
- The chanting meditation I cried buckets of tears to
- Snatam Kaur- I listen to her angelic voice almost every day
- TED Talk – Who you should really marry
- These WordPress themes by ThemeTrust for my new site
- This book has a horrible cover, but I’m reading it for the second time
- Authentic Relating Games for Empaths and Highly Sensitive People
Affirmations of the week:
- I get paid extremely well to live my ideal life, effortlessly and with ease.
- I am happy, safe, and joyful in my own company.
- I am peace, I am joy, I am love.