26 October 2011

On changing my name

I am again Angela Elain Gambrel. What I haven't figured out is who that person is...

I go to write my name, and I become confused about which name to write since the changeover is incomplete.

A feeling of misunderstanding? confusion? unreality? comes over me when I sign the name. What am I supposed to write? And what does it all mean in the end besides some letters strung together meant to indicate who I am? Or is it all a legal falsehood, a lie perpetuated by society? Are we defined by our name?
And I wonder why it ever meant so much to me...

It was supposed to empower me. Return to my birth name; the name I held for thirty years. Wipe the slate clean. The final break between my husband and I without actually divorcing - discarding his name, and taking my former name back.

Instead, I cried the day my Social Security Card arrived with Angela Elain Gambrel clearly printed on it. It was the final break of our 15-year marriage. We no longer share the same name, and instead of feeling empowered by that, I only felt a heavy ache in my heart and I wanted to take it back, take it all back, because I knew that it meant the true beginning of the end, that I will some day no longer be his wife. The dream is truly over and I must move on.

I have spent days drinking wine and pouring over photos of us, happy and smiling and Mr. and Mrs. Lackey. I have prayed at times, God, please return me back to those happier times, before I got sick, before I developed anorexia, before everything imploded and happily ever after became lost. There are wedding photos and vacation photos and photos from this summer when we attempted to reconcile...

And I thought I could erase him, erase all the pain, by a mere name change?
I am grieving right now; the death of my marriage as autumn starts to fade and life itself dies and soon the cold will be here...And I will be so cold without David here.

But in my heart, I know that this is the right thing. We simply aren't able to give each other what we need. David needs his freedom to create his art. I need someone to love and cherish me, to stay by my side no matter what and to share both the joys and troubles of life with me. Simply put, there was nothing left for us to give each other as husband and wife.

I still love David, but more and more I realize it is not David I miss - because I was very anxious around him this summmer, and often felt within me that reconciliation was not going to happen - but companionship; the fun of having someone to do things with and be with.

I'm not sure how any of this happened, for once I believed that we would be together forever. I never expected to change my name again; not for the reasons I did. But there are a few days, I look at my new name and think, I can become who I once was - courageous, curious, strong, independent, often fearless, and someone who loved people and being part of their lives. That a whole new life awaits me, if only I have the courage to live the life that I have instead of mourn forever the life I once lived...

I'm not sure what I am trying to say. I simply know that it is over, and even though my heart is broken, it will mend one day. And I will look back at the pain of the last month and it won't hurt as much.

And then I will be healed, and able to move forward...

01 October 2011

I Am Not Ashamed

I am a chrysalis
Wrapped tightly in golden skin
Until one day the layers will slowly crumble
Revealing the beautiful butterfly of my soul
With delicate gossamer wings
Strong enough to carry me into an unknown future

I am not ashamed that my marriage has failed, and David chose freedom and Florida over more than fifteen years of love, shared experiences, and a real life of meaning and joy. I know that I did everything possible to make my marriage work, but it won't and I must face reality and move forward.

The first step is reclaiming my original name. We won't be filing for divorce until next spring/summer for a number of financial and legal reasons. However, I am his wife in name only, and I want to be my own person. So I will start the proceedings Monday to become who I was fifteen years ago, and know that I will at least experience some sense of closure until we can untangle the web of our two lives next year. I feel somewhat overwhelmed when I think about how meshed our two lives our, so perhaps taking this first step now will make it easier.

I continue to think about what the future holds. I am both excited and frightened. I had expected to grow old with David, and really thought this time that we would reconcile and remain together. We both said we loved each other up until the day he drove away to Florida and what I see as an empty and lonely life for him. I told him that there will be no more chances, no more tries at reconciliation. I am done. 

So now I have to pull myself together, continue to get healthy, and turn to my family and friends instead of isolating myself as I did last winter when we separated for the second time. (This has been one long year!)

Not only do I need to reclaim my name, I need to reclaim myself. That is much harder because I poured so much of myself into my marriage and trying to save it. Between that and the damage done by years of struggling with anorexia - and it is still a struggle; some days I eat like a normal person, while other days I fight to eat enough to keep me alive - I am confused about many things. I am lucky in that I had a life both before David and anorexia became parts of my life.

It really is like a slow peeling off of layers to reveal the person within. These next few months in particular are going to be periods of discovery and learning.

I am not ashamed of anything I've done. There are only two things I might have done differently: first, I wouldn't have ignored the warning signals that David's heart really wasn't into reconciling, and I would have stopped pretending that everything was perfect, that he was perfect.

But I am not ashamed to be alone, and starting over. I still believe in true love, and I know there is someone out there for me. 

And some day, we shall meet...And all of this will just be a painful, yet distant memory.