Today is February 28, 2016.
Ten years ago today, my world...the go-to line here is to say "my world shattered", or "my world fell apart," but ten years out, it doesn't feel like that anymore, so to write that feels fake and overly dramatic. Ten years ago today, my first husband, whom I shouldn't have married in the first place, told me he wanted a divorce. My whole life I've heard things like "You forget the pain of childbirth," and I always thought that was probably bullshit, until I went through it twice without pain meds and realized a few months out that the details of the pain were fuzzy and that it doesn't seem like it was all that bad when I look back. I know that's bullshit, because it hurts like hell, but time softens the razor edges. Heartache is like that too - it gets dull with time. I guess that's why it feels disingenuous to claim my world fell apart back then, when he said those words to me. I still remember those words: "Fuck it, I'm done. I'm coming back to El Paso, I'm getting my shit, and I'm done." Or something like that. That's probably not an exact quote anymore; it's been a long time since I remembered that day in any real detail.
The truth is that by the time he said those things to me, I'd been hoping for so long that he'd say them that it was a relief they were finally out there. So while I was scared and sad and heartbroken, I was also relieved and excited and ready to start a new life. I was shaky with the anticipation and dread of it all; the dichotomy was so strong. Change is always scary, even when it's good for you.
In the aftermath of that breakup, my mom called me brave. Of all the words she's spoken to me, those are the ones I carry with the most pride. My Momma thinks I'm brave. Because I moved away from home, across the country, to be with a man I loved...and because I moved back home, across the country, when he no longer loved me. It would be easy to shrug it off, to diminish the chances I took with both of those moves, to say I'd been foolish, not brave. Momma is right, though; I was brave. I can totally do hard things.
I quit my job this past Friday. The one I used to love. The one I'd come to refer to as a "soul-sucking whore". I'd like to tell you that I was a brave badass and told them all to go fuck themselves before I walked out without warning, but that's not how it went down at all. Not even a little bit. The true story is that I started job-hunting back in November. I created a brand-new badass resume; the benefit of doing all the things for nearly nine years is that it gave me a ridiculous amount of experience and crazy skills in so many different aspects of running a business - I am an absolute rock star on paper. I went on a few interviews, one of which I bombed spectacularly. That threw me into a funk for the end of December and most of January, so I stopped job-hunting and started eating instead. I gained 15 pounds in 4 weeks, and avoided my friends for the better part of two months. I decided I'd stay where I was until annual bonuses came out in March, then I'd start looking again.
Instead, a man called me in late January. He said he'd found my resume online - one of the jobs I'd applied to in the thick of my search required creating/uploading your resume to the site, and I'd made it searchable because, you know, why not? I never expected anything to come of it, and I was completely skeptical of this guy when he called me out of the blue. But the work was similar to what I've been doing, and he said he could meet my salary requirements, so I agreed to meet him for an interview. I liked him right away, but I was leery, and still licking my proverbial wounds from my magnificent flop back around the holidays. I asked questions in the interview such as "how often do your employees cry at their desks?" and "what's the worst part of this job?" and "how much time do you require from your people after hours?" Things I probably never would have said if I'd been courting them, but I'd decided I was all out of fucks and if this guy didn't like me, it was no skin off my hide. I hadn't gone searching for him, after all. I didn't follow up with an email or thank-you card; in fact, I didn't even call him back on the day I'd said I would. But he called me, and wanted to sit down again, so I met him and his right-hand-gal at the local Vietnamese restaurant for lunch one day. I liked her, and I liked her answers to my crazy questions, specifically the one about crying at your desk - it was as if I'd grown a second head. Apparently that's not normal stuff in normal jobs? Who knew?
Less than a week after that lunch meeting, my (now former) boss called me into his office. A VP had sent out an email (presumably while hung over from last night's scotch binge) that basically said I was incapable of doing any portion of my job correctly or effectively. He didn't start the email off that way - in a style that is very much his own, he was responding to a problem I'd highlighted on one of his pet projects, and in his efforts to deflect blame, his message devolved into an attack on my professional reputation I've worked tirelessly to build for the last 9 years. Thankfully, only my boss and direct supervisor were copied. Thankfully, my boss knew better. Thankfully, my direct supervisor, when confronted by my boss to discern if there was any truth in the accusations, could not provide a single solitary circumstance in which the VPs words would've been true. I went home that night determined that I was going to find a way to be gone within a month - I could not work there anymore. If that drunkard was saying untruths of that level about me in an email to my boss, who was he speaking them to out loud? He was going to ruin me professionally within the company, and I'd spent too many years killing myself for that place to go out like that.
The next morning, at 8:30, I received a phone call with a job offer. With a twelve percent base salary increase. With monthly bonuses. Company paid cell phone. Immediate vacation, insurance, retirement. I waited until the following Monday before I turned in a four-week notice. In retrospect, I should've given the assholes two weeks and been done, but I'm too dedicated for my own good, I guess.
I'm hesitant to use words like Fate or Destiny, but it sure does feel like things in my life have a way of working out with excellent timing. And I'm not religious, so I don't like to throw around the term Blessed very often, but more and more I find that's the perfect word to describe my life and the things that happen to me.
My divorce from my first husband was finalized September 29, 2006. Jimi and I started dating less than a month later. Ten years later, here we are - house, dog, two beautiful people we made with our love for one another. It's amazing to me how different today was compared to that day a decade ago. Everything I wanted back then is everything I have now. My life today is the reason I was able to walk away then - my determination to have THIS life rather than THAT life. Every tear was worth it; as in childbirth, every wave of pain was worth the life that was born from it.
I'm so thankful my ex-husband was more brave than I and was able to say those words that set us both free from an unhappy marriage. I wouldn't have this if he hadn't done that. And I am so thankful for this life.
I begin my new career on March 7 - I'm taking this next week to clean my house, declutter my head, have lunch with girlfriends, buy some business casual clothes, and, of course, celebrate the 3rd anniversary of the birth of my beautiful eldest daughter. It's a celebration, yo!
Life is awesome. I can't wait to see what happens next.