Posts Tagged ‘divorce’


Wrong Turn Down Memory Lane

wrong wayRecently I found myself strolling down memory lane with rose-colored lenses on. I was thinking back on the choices and decisions I’d made in the past and wondering what my life would have been like had I made different choices. It was in this mental space that I recreated what I thought my life would look like and began kicking myself over how young and stupid I was way back then. However, the funny thing about these strolls is that sooner or later you hit a pothole that slams you back into reality and brings clarity to why you got off of this ill-fated lane in the first place.

Our yesterdays make us who we are today. Every mistake, every hurt, every failure, and every success are threaded into the very fabric of our person. It’s okay to reflect back on these experiences – heck, do like I do – laugh about it or cry it out. Just don’t fool yourself into believing that the scenery along memory lane was other than what you remember; instead, promise yourself that these strolls are simply brief detours that don’t distract you from the road ahead…and keep it moving.


What if…?

Someone once asked me, if given a choice, would I turn back the clock to erase portions of my past?

 Sure, I wish I would have been a little wiser about whom I called friend, and maybe I spent too many seconds, minutes, hours in relationships that would clearly lead to a dead end. But, every joy I’ve experienced, every pain suffered, every accomplishment achieved, and every hurt caused has made me who I am today. If I were to tinker with time to right one wrong or to delay one day, who’s to say that I would be where I am today?

 Sitting here wondering…


Division of Labor

When I was pregnant years ago, I remember announcing the news by saying “we’re pregnant.” I thought by saying “we” I could invest my partner in the pregnancy as much as I was. I understood that because men cannot experience or feel the changes that occur within a woman’s body with pregnancy, they may not bond as quickly (or at all) with the baby and possibly lead to feelings of disassociation from the man. So by referencing the physical journey as a change that we both were experiencing, I convinced myself that this slight act might encourage a stronger bond between him and the baby. But, truthfully, I believe that I was actually trying to convince myself that I wasn’t alone in the process and that this unexpected bundle was truly one of joy and not trepidation.

 Over the years I’ve heard countless stories of other women – single, married, or in a “committed relationship” – who experienced much of the same anxiety that I felt. At a time when a woman should feel overjoyed at the prospect of bringing life into the world, she also can experience feelings of rejection and confusion from that same man who whispered words of love in her ear while planting seeds of deception.

Perhaps we (meaning both the man and woman) just got caught up in the moment and misinterpreted R. Kelly’s “Half on a Baby” all wrong. Or, we are too literal in our translation of the word “half.” It just seems that all too often this division of labor is not one that truly means 50/50.

 Most women can attest that half doesn’t come into play when the baby wakes up in the middle of the night, is sick, needs to eat, is crying, is misbehaving, and the list goes on. And, Lord help us when the love is gone. You can practically forget about half of anything.

Surely whomever came up with the saying that “a woman’s work is never done” was talking about a mother.


Mothers are not Fathers

I recall periods of my childhood when I would call out for my father only to hear my cries echo back unanswered from my bedroom walls. My parents divorced when I was very young, and my father went on to live his life far away from the young, needy arms that reached for him. I would cry and often ask my mother where he was and why he didn’t love me enough to call or come see me. My mother would just console me, assure me with her love, and tell me that everything would be alright.

My father’s absence in my young life could have left deep emotional wounds within me, but I was fortunate to have the love of a strong mother who instilled in me a deep sense of self-worth that kept me from seeking love in the wrong places. My mother did what countless women day after day do for their children when the fathers have gone missing in action. She mothered and fathered me through childhood.

But, this role was never one that should have been played by one person. No mother should ever have to play the father stunt-double. We simply are not genetically wired to be fathers.

As a mother of two boys (from my first marriage), I find that more often than not I have to wear the mommy & daddy trousers as well. I have to love, nurture, and care for my boys while instilling in them a sense of manhood – as best as I can define it. And, to be honest, this scares and angers me all at once. I am afraid that I will likely miss teaching them some key element that they’ll need to become responsible young men one day; while on the flipside, I am angry that I should even have to worry about this. So, every day I pray that I get it right and rely heavily on my husband (their stepdad) to do what I am merely not equipped to do.

Fortunately for me, I was able to establish a loving relationship with my father at age 19, but sometimes I can’t help but wonder how many speed bumps in life could have been avoided if he would have been around earlier to guide my steps…and how much of that I would be able to pass on to my children now.


I Am Not My Name

Do you all recall the scene in the movie “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” when Ike Turner demanded during the divorce proceeding that his wife Tina Turner “give him back his name”?  This scene, beautifully portrayed by actors Lawrence Fishburne (a little too realistically) and Angela Bassett, was one that no doubt has played itself out in courtrooms around the nation when some scorned man has grasped at his fleeing tether of control by trying to take back the last symbol of a married woman’s identity. The thought brings to mind an image of a dog trying to uproot and carry away – like a long, lost bone – the very tree that he just pissed on.

Just imagine if you had to change the very name that you built an entire professional career on. Imagine having to recall and change every email, bank account, credit card, login, etc. that you’ve ever created. Imagine having to change your social security card and driver’s license. On that, imagine the line at DMV…on any day. Imagine the awkwardness you’d feel when your children’s teachers and friends called you by your child’s last name. (This is a challenge I face regularly as a divorced, now remarried mother.) The point I’m trying to make is that it takes a great deal of sacrifice and effort from a woman when she decides to lawfully merge her life with another’s. (Fellas, when was the last time you had to change your name?)

And, did I already mention that this is a choice? In most societies today, it is a woman’s choice to take on another name. Just as it was a choice to take on that name, it should also be a woman’s prerogative to rid herself of it or keep it, not the man’s choice. Besides, a person’s name does not define who he or she is. A name only identifies who that person is to other people. I’ll hush now and just close with words beautifully sung by India Arie and say simply, “I am not my [name].”