Me, still living in Marriedville
On my sixteenth wedding anniversary, I stood with my left hand submerged in a sink full of soapy water, grimacing as I tried to force my wedding ring over my knuckle and off the finger that had been its longterm residence. The whole experience–the waves of pain, the relief when it was all over, and the tender, wrinkly white circle of finger flesh it revealed–was oddly reminiscent of labor and delivery.
My husband, whom I’ll call R (because it bears no resemblance to any of his initials) had moved out a week before.
The separation itself was unexpected, lengthy, and miserable, and propelled me into a coma of disbelief for months. When I finally came to, I had to wrap my mind around the unwieldy fact that I was single for the first time in almost 20 years. And not just single–a word tinged with desperation–but also a “single mom,” to me an even more pity-inducing moniker. I found this new identity unsettling, to say the least. Devastating, to say the most.
When you’ve spent almost half your life as part of a twosome, losing your spouse is akin to losing a limb. It requires a whole new way of being in both day-to-day and big-picture ways. There have been a million moments like the one during my first post-separation grocery shop when I found myself staring blankly into my shopping cart. I knew I should put the soy milk back because the soy milk drinker in the house was no longer, um, in the house–but it seemed so wrong to go home with no soy milk that I actually debated what to do (I put it back). On a grand-scheme-of-things level, I’ve been asking myself questions like “Who am I without this guy?” and “Now what do I do with the rest of my life?”
Let me now confess that I kicked and screamed my way to the blogosphere. But now that I’m here, I see that this phase of my life lends itself particularly well to the form. It’s been 10 months since R moved out, which means I have some wisdom to share, yet the unmarried midlife me is still very much a work-in-progress.
Professionally, I’ve been working as a freelance writer for about 14 years, writing mostly about parenting, health, psychology, myself, and other interesting people for all kinds of publications and websites, including Glamour, Redbook, Parenting, Health, The Village Voice, Shape, Scholastic.com and WebMD.com.
I’ve also contributed to a few books. My favorite is A Love Like No Other: Stories from Adoptive Parents, for which I wrote an essay.
I grew up in Manhattan and I now live in Brooklyn with my two daughters.
Come along as I discover where life leads me, one post at a time.