Sometimes, when I’m concentrating really hard, I uncontrollably rub the three rings of my left hand together repetitively, curling the pinky finger as the friction against its neighbor creates just a breath of fleshy music. It looks like an odd nervous tick. By the time I’m realizing I’m doing it, I couldn’t say whether it was only for a second or a matter of minutes. Petty sure I’ve never done it for an hour or longer, but hey, who knows?
I didn’t always have this habit; but I’m certain I will for the rest of my life. It started about four or five years ago–the day he put the first ring on that finger. When the second ring was attached in 2008, it was not uncommon to catch me twirling that piece of jewelry around my finger several times a day.
It was just so sensuous. The metal band, always warmed to the exact same temperature as your skin, was smooth and polished, Evan after the second jacket was sauntered onto the simple marquee solitaire, it fit perfectly. The jagged, diamond-lined band created the perfect contrast to the smooth underbelly. It was beautiful. It was mine.
Or it was. An asshole pawn broker bought it for far less than it was worth (gasp). He gave me a lecture and two books when I went to sell the ring after my divorce about how women were created by god to be a man’s partner. I’m sorry, his “help-meet.” Emphasis on the meat.
But knowing nothing about what happened to me personally, he informed me that the key to a good marriage is having a woman try everything she can to help her partner become the most godly man he can be. To revere and obey, as god says to. If she doesn’t, the marriage will fail.
He raised his eyebrows at me and patronizingly asked if I was suuuure I had done all I could to save the union. Did I really want to sell the ring? (Not a very good pawn broker, right?)
After telling him yeah far too many times for a business transaction, he felt the need to give me books about being a better wife and encouraged me to read them. They were brand new, and likely filled with hilarious quotes, so I took them, calling him every four-letter word I knew in my head.
Well, there was also a complete version of the bible printed as a graphic novel included, sooo yeah, I took the books. And my small bit of cash for the ring.
Needless to say, I was a tiny bit pleased when the shop went out of business. Not a good pawn broker. Maybe he’s a marriage counselor now.
Tangent aside, all I have left of that ring is the memory of how it felt on my finger, and a weird nervous habit of trying to twirl an object that is no longer there. There’s not anymore comfort. There’s no more sparkle and beauty. There’s no more perfect juxtaposition of separate bands melded together.
And every time I catch myself trying to turn the ring, I become self-aware and am overcome with sadness. I really hate being divorced.
It’s not the loneliness- the sting of seeing couples being all domestic at a restaurant or the mall. It’s not the feeling of failure. It’s certainly not the fact that I miss having the beautiful object on my hand. And I definitely don’t need a man to be happy.
I hate being divorced because I swore, literally, that I wouldn’t be. Ever.
“When I get married, it’s until death,” I said, and I meant it. (I guess not really, huh?)
It’s a commitment to be taken with the utmost seriousness. It is a sacred union between two people who are shouting to the world they are going to live their lives together…as a team.
There’s nothing wrong with not being married. It’s simply a different lifestyle with plenty of perks (no sharing a bathroom while pooping, no more watching shitty movies the other is dying to see). And in my opinion there’s nothing wrong with same-sex marriage. I generally like to think of homosexuals as people. I know. It’s radical for Oklahoma.
But if you are going to stand in front of your friends and family, profess your love and take a vow, you don’t just give up when things get tough. You’re going to want to. You’re going to forget why you married someone in the first place, but you don’t give up. Ever. It’s just the way things were with my family.
I have one brother and one sister. All three of the children in my family married their first loves, and I believe, first lovers. My ex-husband was my first, and for the eight years we were together, my only.
My brother and sister are still happily married to their first loves with beautiful children. I’m surrounded by such love. It’s beautiful.
In our house, marriage is forever. Until I changed that.
Not going into the details of my divorce, I’ll just say my spouse crossed one of two lines that were known deal breakers. He didn’t abuse me. But there’s was infidelity. Some people can work that out. I’m not one of those people. If the relationship continued, I can see myself getting angry at him, arguing and every time I want to hit below the belt I would just remind him that I wasn’t the one who couldn’t keep my pants on. I don’t know if the punishing period would ever be over, and no relationship is better than an unhealthy one.
Plus it’s the principle. He broke the most important part of the vow. If I just said “it’s okay, we can get past it” then what’s the real value of a marriage from that point? Then if it’s okay to bend the rules once or twice here or there, you wake up one day and find yourself miserable, at a swingers party. (That’s never happened to me, but I had to imagine something truly horrific)
But while I was afraid of putting him in the punishing period forever, me going through with the divorce sealed the deal for my own stigmatization.
Like it or not, people look at a 25-year-old woman, married for two years before divorcing and think “Yep. Young people these days just don’t have the same values.” It’s like a scarlet “D” was slapped on my chest for all to know my sins. My family looked at me differently and tiptoed around questions about him or my love life–sometimes still do. They don’t make me feel “bad” for my life, it’s just hard to relate to a roomful of happy couples at family functions.
I will never, as long as my brain functions somewhat properly, forget Judge Smith’s face when my lawyer and I met him in his chambers to sign the decree. I thought there would be some sort of segment for me to explain it all. I always feel the need to explain that I wanted to go to college and get my degree before marriage; that we were high-school sweethearts who were prom dates, studied for the ACT together, went to college together for two years, stayed engaged for years before the big day. We were each others first lovers and first loves. We did proceed with caution. We did value the sacred unity.
Smith just asked Mr. Rhoads a few procedural questions, signed the paperwork and shot me the most judgmental smile before saying “Well, there you go. You’re divorced now.”
That face. That half grin paired with creased eyebrows told me he was singing “another one bites the dust” in his head. That aloof attitude that this was normal behavior for all young, dumb, non-disciplined hooligans is the reason I usually check the “single” box on applications rather than “divorced.”
That damned box just allows the same judgement to be passed from reading a piece of paper. Don’t even have to shake your hand first. And they certainly don’t put a few lines under the box to explain the circumstances of your relationship status.
There’s nowhere to explain that while a person is divorced he or she may still truly revere the practice. Nowhere to explain you did take it seriously, but there was one hurdle that tripped us up and broke our legs; You cant finish a race with broken legs or broken hearts. There’s nowhere to explain that I wish I hadn’t sold my ring because it represented such of an important part of my life (and the gold would be worth waaaay more now) there’s nowhere to explain that I fucking hate the fact I’m divorced, because unlike the diamond my body still tries to swirl on my finger, i believe marriage is forever.
***Note: this blog in no fashion is intended to be interpreted as the the precursors for reconciliation. Hating the status of being divorced is not the same as wishing you were still married.