The Truth About Divorce

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By definition, divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or other competent body, but the truth is that the dictionary can’t describe emotions as powerfully as we feel them.

Whether you have been included in it, witnessed it, or never experienced it, everyone felt the strong emotion that the word “divorce” evoked upon seeing the title. Every word we read links to an emotion we feel. For some, this word embodies suffering or confusion while others classify it as a curse word, but that’s the thing about divorce: It’s not only one emotion but a flock of feelings combined that comes rushing down on you all at once.

For those of you who have never dealt with this before, imagine going into a Biology test fully prepared, but when you are seated, a History paper is dealt out and you are told that no questions are to be asked. Nobody knows or understands the fear, incapability, and anger boiling inside of you. Everybody seems to be continuing as they normally would. You’re too scared to raise a hand and ask, for it will either humiliate you or evoke punishment. You wish that someone would just have warned you about what to expect, and yet you are left alone, waiting for it to end, with no hope for what is to come.

Parents often forget that children are not elastic. We can’t extend to both sides of this abyss that they create without snapping, breaking, or falling apart. They unknowingly make us choose between black or white when all we see is grey. They use us as a telephone line to communicate the things that they don’t have the courage to say to one another face-to-face. They think we won’t comprehend the message — not knowing we are fluent in the language — all the while reminding us that they love us, that it’s “for the best, but not your fault,” that we will now have “two homes, how fun!”

I can’t promise that you won’t experience pain, suffering, and a whole lot of anger, but I can tell you this: They raise you as their child, to do as they say and to listen to their commands. You will learn values from them and even adopt some bad habits, but that DOES NOT make you them. You are your own person, and you create your own destiny with your decisions. Just because they made bad choices and influenced your upbringing or emotional state does not mean that you have to stay in the hole that THEY dug. Unfortunately, we are all addicted to pain; it creates this sturdy wall inside us, protecting us from any other emotion and battling acceptance. Herein lies the secret: You Can Fly…

The decision lies within you. You can claim peace inside you by looking to the future — YOUR future. Yes, their lives will continue. Maybe they will find each other again; maybe they will find someone else. It is not your concern. Your own happiness is your priority. Trying to fix them will only break you apart and stretch you further; you are not a handyman. Trying to divide yourself into two pieces is no good either. You can only love them wholeheartedly if your heart is whole. You are not selfish in pursuing your happiness; in fact, that’s only the beginning of what you deserve.

Their choices don’t define who you are or what you will become because YOU are the one walking along your own path choosing the direction as YOU see fit. (And if all you see is grey, then choose your favorite shade of grey.)

So I plead with you today: Spread your wings and fly out of that hole up into the sky, and stare at the great future that lies ahead with admiration for each new sunrise and sunset. Soar over the abyss and acknowledge the bruises that have helped you toughen up, because there are two ways to approach a History test you were unaware about:

Sit silently and allow panic, despair, and anger to take over your soul as you scratch guesses onto the blank lines, trying to peek at everyone’s answers.

OR

Page through the paper, giggle at the pictures of iconic people in the years before makeup, WING it, and walk out knowing: It was only a test.

Zéandri Rautenbach is a high school graduate with her adulthood staring her in the face. Even though her name is hard to pronounce even in her own country, South Africa, she wears it with pride. When she isn’t releasing her emotions in a book, she’s showering them out on paper. Nothing brings her more joy than supporting people through her stories, and she hopes that this will one day amount to becoming a novelist. Other than literature: antiques, classical music, and hysterical puns (even though she can’t make them) are her fuel. She can be reached on Facebook or Instagram: @zeandrirautenbach

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