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  • Writer's pictureaeraustol

Broken Record

Updated: Jan 6

I woke up to a text from my daughter this morning. "here safe!" the text gleefully proclaimed. My three kids and their dad landed in Iceland this morning. On Wednesday, he will marry his girlfriend of three years. I am sitting on my recliner trying to form the words that are most true for me about how it feels that this man I've known since I was 17 and was married to for 21 years, will commit to another person - in a paradise of sorts. Without me there. I have been on the outside of a life that was once mine for the past four years but somehow the wedding has brought me to a reckoning that I thought I had faced. Turns out, I am still holding on to grief, expectations, anger, and hope that keep me from living this life of my now of my choosing. I have been a broken record for nearly five years in the confines of my mind and to the very few people - including my girlfriend who have held the many truths at once with me. I have cried and raged and pleaded with God to help me feel peace. I have talked around and around all the issues, all the injustices, all the ways I failed again and again.


I imagine my children at brunch with their dad this morning eating Icelandic yogurt, nutty, hearty bread and cheese fresh with condensation, and eggs with yolks as yellow as the fucking sun. I imagine them riding horses to a volcano, seeing glaciers, hot springs, and ice caves, and staying in the Scandinavian wet dream of a guest house with all of the people who use to be my inner circle, my family. I imagine the bride in her radiant, bohemium dress (I have no idea what her dress looks like), hair swept up, and the groom in his national costume overlooking some mystical mountain lake rimmed with ice and snow. And here I am... choosing these thoughts and....(drum roll please) surviving them - part thrilled for my kids to get to experience Iceland in this way, to see their father happy and thriving, to see their grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins - and part sad that there is no place for me in this picture.


I'm not sure how long it will take for me to fully let go, but I do know that I no longer want to want to be the picture. I no longer want to care about other people's perceptions, assumptions, or narratives about me. I no longer want to be concerned with how other people choose to be in a relationship or NOT to be in a relationship with me. I want to actually live my life on the other side of divorce and love the one I'm with - myself. Transition and loss are so hard and they can be an opportunity to discover new wonders of your universe - the person that you are right now. But as long as I keep trying to fit myself in a life that no longer exists or try to convince the hardware store to be a bakery, I will be like Raggady Ann in a closet somewhere.


Divorce isn't the only time that requires a reckoning of loss, an acceptance of what is and an abundance of self-love, compassion and courage. Adolescence through old age calls us all into new territories at different times for different reasons. Don't get me wrong, I'll probably still be a broken record, but I'm leaning more and more into playing new records which my girlfriend and my brother, Seth, will be happy about, because I think they both want me to spend less time listening to sad songs. One time when I was driving Seth to physical therapy last year and I turned on one of my uplifting songs, he said "Doesn't this song make you want to slit your wrists?"


For me, it's this weird dichomoty or maybe it's a fine balance I have to tenderly navigate with myself. Sad songs or writing sad stories help me and keep me from wanting to slit my wrists and they can also hurt me. I need them at times to purge and tell the truth of what I'm feeling at the moment, but if I weave them into the fabric of my story around and around, in and out, looping them into my body quilt, I can easily get sucked into believing they ARE me. That I AM sad. That I AM the miserable unicorn moscot of unmagic.

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mom.mallernee
27 Ιουν 2023

Thank you. You are a good writer and somehow you absorbed many of my thoughts and sadness just sitting beside me for one hour.

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