It’s been over 7 years since I walked out of our house in suburban Denver. There was so much sadness in the moment we said goodbye. But there was some jubilation in the fact that I was free from the lies and deception that had followed me in the five years I lived with him.
I remember glancing back at him and looking into my car full of my belongings in lawn and leaf bags, and thinking I’m going home. I was so thankful that I had a home to go home to. I had to escape the chaos that had become our marriage and the harm it was causing me.
This week will be the culmination of my road to recovery. I’ve spent the last seven years leaving in fear of the unknown. Feeling as though marriage had been a test, and I hadn’t worked or studied hard enough to get that A+ I desired. I couldn’t keep my marriage together for the sake of my unborn child.
But my child is why I am finally filing the papers to end my marriage. It’s unfair to her to continue to see her parents as a married couple. Her entire life, she has lived exclusively in a home with only her mom as the head of the household. One of my most peculiar fears was that one day she would attempt to put her parents in a Parent Trap situation. I don’t know why I thought that. I don’t think my daughter likes it when her parents are in the same room. She has bore witness to some of my meltiest meltdowns aimed at her father. It brings me some shame that I couldn’t be adult enough to let my anger reside in my mind for her sake.
My whole life, I have strived not to become a statistic. But it wasn’t statistics I was worried about, it was the judgement of others that kept me locked in place so long. After my daughter was born, I spent hours agonizing about appearing to be an unmarried black woman with a child. So I ran out to Macy’s and bought the prettiest cubic zirconia wedding band I could find. I refused to wear the diamond he gave me on my finger. Somehow, wearing my wedding ring was like me accepting him back into my life. This was never my plan.
Although, he and I had talked about me coming back someday. I don’t know why I said these things sitting in our bedroom as I was packing to leave him. I told him that when my mother got older and no longer cared, I could come back. We could live together again. I think I was grasping a my last shred of hope that our marriage wouldn’t end in divorce.
But the craziness did end with this gem, I also made a pact with him I wouldn’t want to file for divorce until there was someone else. I made the excuse it was about the expense. I don’t know why I felt like I needed to hang on. Just because I wasn’t getting married again didn’t mean I shouldn’t be legally bound to someone I had definitely left behind.
Falling out of love isn’t why I left him behind. I fell out of love with him every other day. Then he’d do something to charm me. I would be caught up in the nostalgia of our first date that lasted three days. I would remember the family we had created with his family. I adored his father and mother. His brother and his wife were some of the best people I had ever had the pleasure of calling family. And his family back in his hometown we the kind of people you fell in love with from the moment you met them. They added color and vibrance to my otherwise tiny family.
I didn’t even leave him because he wanted to present as the woman he believed he was. I left for the simplest of reasons. I could no longer live with lies and mystery. Nothing about us was easy. He hid everything from me. Good or bad. He didn’t feel as though he needed to participate fully in the marriage. I knew he loved me the best way he knew how everyday. But it wasn’t enough to heal us. I had left myself behind for too many years and I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror.
That’s why I will march into the courthouse this week and attempt to reclaim, Nicole, single, mommy and entirely fabulous.