I’m going to start today’s post with a warning.
Today’s post is very personal. I’m putting it on the Internet, which means I’m aware of that fact and making it public anyway. But be warned that it’s kind of a downer.
If you know me in real life and are unaware that there are some major changes going on between my mother and my father, please close this window now. Go call whichever member of my immediate family you’re closest to and get up to date on it, because I don’t want to break the news over a blog post.
Really. Seriously. Please. Call them, email them, go meet them for lunch.
It’s a good idea to call each other and chat every once in a while anyways. I promise you it’ll only make you closer. If you don’t have their phone number, send them a message on Facebook. Something. It’s not my business to make the announcement: but they’ve had several months, and this blog is somewhat therapeutic, so I’m giving them one last chance to tell you in person.
If you don’t know me in person, take the time to call your extended family and have a chat anyway. It’ll do you good. Go hug your mom, it was Mother’s Day last Sunday. Or go hug your mother-figure, or tell your mentor you appreciate them, or go read a really good book that’s given you guidance. Take a second to appreciate where you came from.
It’s good for you.
Have you talked with them, various aunts and uncles and extended relatives, various family members and extended friends? Okay. Then before you call me, read on.
Here’s the actual introduction to this blog post.
Growing up is a weird thing.
Our exposure to and accumulation of experience is an incredible journey. It’s full of a thousand good things: hard work that pays off, peaceful mornings, beautiful views from mountaintops. We live lives crowded with people we love, things that make us laugh, things that make us smile. Some people have faith that makes them feel good, loved; some people can become completely overwhelmed with all the small mechanics that make the planet tick, some people find fascination in human ingenuity.
Last year, I had a lot of very good moments. I learned to cook. We went on an adventure in the Orkney Islands with a family friend in gale-force winds. I started writing again and finished the first draft of a damn good novel. There was a lot of music, a lot of love, a lot of family.
But the funny thing about the good is that it is so often overshadowed by the bad, which I’ve often alluded to here. With the permission of my parents, I’ll write it out here in its entirety.
What’s been happening:
Last year, my parents told me they were getting a divorce. Within the week I lost my then-best friend, who had for the previous ten years been like a brother to me. He was living in my house, with my family. When they told us they were separating, he went to another state and called me. He told me that not only did he no longer wish to be friends but that everything he’d ever actually valued in the relationship was because of my family, not me. He proceeded to move in with my aunts and tried (unsuccessfully) to turn them against me, often straight-out lying.
Within the space of a week, my entire nuclear family shattered. So I started playing the violin again, and wrote a silly book. I wrote a blog post forgiving my ex-friend, although my views on the matter have shifted. I will no longer be waiting for him to figure himself out: he’s twenty-five years old, conceited, and my life has changed immensely for the better without him in it– although his father and stepmother are wonderful people, who have been incredibly supportive throughout the whole ordeal. My relationship with my aunts has been repaired, and my ex-friend is living in someone else’s basement now.
The whole ordeal was a broken bone, and I’ve written about how I dealt with it. This blog post, after much introduction, isn’t actually about that. It’s about the fact that I’m going home next week for the first time since all that happened.
I’ve since moved to Iowa City, which is an incredibly peaceful place: literary, green, rainy. I love it here. So going home, no matter how happy I am to see my parents, is going to be weird.
My mom no longer lives in the house we’ve had for a decade, now: she’s staying in the same room my ex-friend lived in for months. The aforementioned is still working at my favorite coffeeshop in the area. I have to split my time between Mom and Dad. Not so big a deal when they came to visit me out here, but back home I’ll spend a week staying literally five minutes away from my high-school home. The boundaries that have been set are strong and were set precisely to reduce the stress of being stuck in the middle, but what do you do about the boundaries themselves?
It’s like the first trip home from college. The shadows of who you used to be form an almost suffocating humidity around you, a fog of old haunts and hangouts. It was that constant imposition of memories that made me want to move.
I’m not sure what the point of this blog post is.
I’m actually not even sure I’ll be allowed to post it. If I do post it, it means my parents consented: if not, it’ll sit in my drafts folder until I’m allowed to talk about it. It’s been nine months now, though. If their divorce was an unplanned pregnancy I’d be changing diapers by now.
I guess I’m writing this as a prelude for discussion on the matter. My parents’ relationship is their business, but watching them go through this is an education for me, and the emotional growth that comes with being connected to a divorce is pretty intense.
More thoughts to come.