Friday, July 20, 2012

Weakness, then strength

My life right now is stuck between dream, reality, and a nightmare. Nothing feels real. I guess I'm a little numb to the pain, because if I allow myself to feel, I don't know what will happen.

I'm about to file for divorce. My husband and I have been separated, for all intents and purposes, for several months. I don't need to go into the details, but life is complicated right now. I know some people think I'm being selfish. Some people think I'm being naive. People can think whatever they want--I think I'm being brave.

Being brave isn't easy. It's painful. It doesn't come naturally to me. I'm a strong person, but I don't always want to be. I want to have the freedom to just melt into a puddle of insecurities, but I can't afford that with four children to take care of. I have to be strong.

As I lay on my floor a few minutes ago, forcing myself to do a few more crunches and glute exercises, the tears ran down my face. My body hurt all over and I just felt like I had nothing more to give. But I kept moving, willing myself to find the strength that I don't have right now.

I'm trying to be strong, but I feel so weak. Is that the natural order of things? To gain strength, we have to push ourselves beyond comfort, beyond the limitations we have set for ourselves. We must make ourselves weak in order to become strong.

I stared in the mirror yesterday, looking at the too-many-curves of my body. So soft, so flabby, so weak. I want to be strong and proud of myself, but I don't feel that way. I am not that person. Ironically, to become that person, I must believe I am that person. I have to go into a hypnotic state of believing in my own strength, when all the evidence points to the contrary, if I want to find actual strength.

And then I look in the mirror and reality crashes in. I fight with myself--I am weak. No, I am strong. I am weak. Yes, I am weak, but I will become strong.

Weakness before strength. I must believe in myself to become myself. It is the natural order of things.

But some days, it is so hard.


  1. Thinking of you with much love and concern. No one can know what we are or have gone through, but we can all love and support each other -- you are an amazing woman. Love you!

  2. Love you, Juliana. You are brave and kind and good.

  3. I'm privileged to be your friend. I believe in you. :)

  4. That was beautifully written. You are a strong woman.

  5. You are loved and are not alone. You are strong, but whenever you can't see that don't be afraid to call on the strength of a friend. I am always here for you!

  6. I don't know you or your husband. But, I'd like to offer a different sentiment... DON'T DO IT. No matter how bad you think your marriage is, you have no idea how difficult being divorced is going to be. My wife filed for divorce in January of 2011. It was finalized in October of 2011. Nothing good has come from it. Even a legal separation is better than the finality of divorce. Only you know if YOU have done everything that can be done to salvage the marriage. At the time, I thought that I had done *everything* humanly possible to hold our marriage together. In hindsight, I can see that there were many more things I could have done - the least of which was to plead for more time. Time may not heal all wounds, but you'd be surprised at how many it CAN heal.

    1. I can promise you aren't the first to offer this sentiment. All I can say to people who counsel me to change my mind is: "You're right, you don't know my life. Nobody knows the details of why I have to the decision I have. They don't need to. I may be making a mistake, but it's MY mistake to make and I take responsibility for my choice."

  7. I also don't know you or your husband, but was referred here by seeing a friend (probably a mutual friend) comment on Facebook.

    First, this is a moving, well-written piece. Best to you and yours during this very challenging time. We all feel weak sometimes, but we also all have unknown depths of strength as well. Your spirit seems strong, and good luck.

    Second, I am always amazed to hear someone say, "I don't know you at all, but here, let me give you this absolute, clear-cut advice about an incredibly important aspect of your life. I, in my complete ignorance of your particular situation, am going to tell you what to do, based on my own, completely separate, experience in life." However well-intentioned he might possibly be, his post is extraordinarily condescending.

    It is clear to me that you are fully aware of the enormity of this decision, and its implications, and that you are struggling through that as best you can. Yes, divorce is a HUGE deal, and it should NEVER be taken lightly, but I think it's pretty clear you are aware of this, and are acting according to your own best judgment.

    However it turns out, I hope it is ultimately for the best for everyone involved. Again, good luck.

  8. My friend, I am so sorry to hear you are having some of those battles right now. Things will get better in all areas. The best thing about being in a low point is knowing it can only look up.

    I want to do Zumba with you. It is not only great exercise, it is girl power and emotionally liberating. It is therapy.

    How else can I serve you? I will email or call you soon.

  9. So hard, so sad. Praying for your continued strength.

  10. I'll be praying for you. Divorce is like a death, sometimes even worse than a death. But sometimes (especially with children involved) it's the right decision. If you're just getting better from things like depression, sometimes weeds become obvious that need to be removed. But sometimes in our sudden independence from depression, we go too far. Husband is used to a depressed wife, suddenly she's not and this is a strange new world that he doesn't know how to react to - especially if he's gotten some bad habits. Can he change those? Or were those the things that got you there in the first place?

    I've seen times when it didn't have to happen, and times when I was wondering why she let it go on for so long.

    So, I'll just keep praying for you.

  11. One thing I've learned is to stay out of everyone's business. I'm not responsible for anyone's choices but my own, so why should I tell everyone what I think they should do?
    I don't know you from Adam, and have no idea what you're going through. I would say though, If you pray about it and the answer is to leave, then leave. Four years ago, I received that answer. My first thought was, "But I don't want to get divorced!" and then the impression came, "It doesn't mean you have to get divorced." Other impressions told me if I didn't do it sooner than later, the damage to everyone would be worse.
    You know what?
    I took my five children and left.
    It made our life way better, and we're still married.

    "Let the Holy Spirit guard;
    Let his whisper govern choice.
    He will lead us safely home
    If we listen to his voice."