Sheesh! No one imagines that when those words are said to you, that they gonna be talking about Club Divorce. The gym club, the book club, the running club maybe? (ok not that one for Divorced Gal – DG) … But the divorce club? I mean it doesn’t exactly sound like the club that you want to be part of does it? It seems to only have negative, yucky, stigma filled connotations attached to it. When you become a member of the divorce club, it’s like you get the word tattooed on your forehead ~ DIVORCED. People start to identify you that way – meet my friend DG (she is divorced) Gee what gave it away? The name DG? Or the forehead tattoo? Or is it that I’m dressed in black and all the other sheep are in white? Is that I have a herd of children tugging at me, with no husband in sight? Hmmmmmmmm?
This is when I nod, smile, wave and do my little DG bum shuffle dance (kind of like Beyoncé meets Barney the dinosaur – vaguely sexy (I like to think – it’s probs not!? At all!!) but mostly really funny and throw the spectators off-ish. My reaction and light hearted (I’ve lost the plot) response to my ‘she is divorced’ label usually gets met with an awkward giggle, a sigh of relief that I’m taking it so well or a quizzical WTF once over. It’s like ‘Oooooooookay! Why is this divorced woman so cheerful and nonchalant? Not to mention slim and groomed? Shouldn’t she be obese from comfort eating, miserable and make up free? I mean what’s with the bright blue nail polish and flicked out hair, and all that mascara??’.
Then, there are those that DG has known for years. The ones… that cross the road when I approach. First time it happened, I had to do my late Great aunty Mildred’s (may she rest in peace) under arm sniff test – just in case. These are the ones that start to read a label on the washing powder as if their life depended on it, when I approach them in the supermarket. The ones that think either maybe divorce is contagious or that maybe now that I’m single I could not be good to have around their own marriage…
At first I was a tad taken aback at being ignored and amputated from these people’s lives. They had seemed to really like me when I was married. But then I gravitated towards other friends (many who are also divorced and in the same boat) and let go of worrying what others may be thinking or what their motives were, when they hacked off the DG ingrown toenail. I don’t judge anyone or hold their fear of catching the D disease against them. I get it. Maybe it’s just their own fear and insecurity and I am a reminder that anyone can get divorced.
My Divorced Gal Facebook page is really interesting. I get a stat feed telling me how many are looking at my posts and opening the link to read my blogs from www.divorcedgal.net that I share. I can get between 100 and 2000 hits per post but never get lots of likes. I get amazing feedback from so many that say they enjoy what I post, but they do not want to be associated with divorce by having their name on the page as a like. Even some of my closest divorced pals do not like. And it’s not seen as very cool for my married followers to like either. What will others think if they like my posts? That they want to get divorced?
My own parents were divorced and I remember certain family members all those years ago ( even though DG is only 21ish or there about-ish) having a certain judgmental attitude towards my mom. It was obvious by the way some of them cut contact with her and also by the way they had a certain look of disapproval on their faces when they saw her. And when she dared to remarry, it was even worse.
I never chose for my life to take this path…but it has and I’m trying to make the best of it. I’ve grown in many ways from the experience and I am not ashamed that this has happened to me. In fact I realize that I used to be horribly arrogant about being happily married and I have learned far more humility and also how to be more in the moment, because one never knows what is around the corner in life.
I have always been a bit of a tree hugger and after this – I am in some ways more so. Part of my purpose now is to help others see that they can survive the life shatter that is divorce and maybe even be better than they imagined that they could be. I have incredible empathy for the pain and the shock and the fear and all the rest that is part of the process. I know for sure that married or divorced, we need to support each other. Part of this is celebrating those that love each other and are committed to their spouse and marriage, but also to have less judgment for those that don’t make it and manage to carry on smiling, breathing and seeking to create a new life.