Let me start by putting it out there. I am divorced. I am also single. So, where does that leave me when I have to tick off that box that gives me both options? What do I tell people when I meet them? Do I say I’m divorced or that I’m single? Does marital status matter except when you are filing taxes? If you are single and have never been married and divorced, this isn’t a question you would ask yourself, and some people who are divorced don’t define themselves as single at all, but I don’t define myself as divorced, and I am wondering what the rest of the world who is in my shoes defines themselves as when confronted with those boxes or an introduction.
Here’s a true story for you. I was at a new Doctor’s office, filling out the hundreds of forms they give you, and one at the very top was those three boxes. Marital status: Single, divorced, Married. I don’t know if it was in that EXACT order or not, but those are three boxes. I stared at three boxes and contemplated checking off divorced and single, because what’s the difference between being single and divorced? I even got up out of my chair and knocked gently on the glass that separates those working diligently behind the muted frosted divider to ask them which box to check. I think I stumped them.
Here’s another one for you. It was a new school year, which means seeing lots of new faces and faces that I might not have seen in a long time. One such face walked up to me and said the prerequisite Hello, and before I could even say hello back, she went on to say, I just got divorced. Not the type of hello you look forward to first thing in the morning!
I don’t know what it is that makes people feel the need to define themselves by their marital status. Is it because they think you might have a friend hidden away to fix them up with? This woman had not seen me in years, and yet she sought me out or to introduce herself to me as, “Hello, My name is Divorce.”
Defining Marks of Divorce
I am divorced, and last I checked I wasn’t wearing a big D on my forehead or a cape that had a D emblazoned on it. Divorce is not who I am, but it has helped me grow and mold me into what I am today. My marital status, or lack thereof, is something I am proud of. Why? Because it shows that I have been through the fire and made it out with just a few scars that are now all healed up. It shows that I can handle just about anything you throw at me and give it right back, and it shows that I know how to handle pressure with grace and dignity.
What defines me?
Being a mother. My children who I see grow into caring and loving individuals who fight for the underdog and are becoming people who I am proud of.
Being a daughter. My mother, who taught me the value of saying I’m sorry and love and respect.
Being a sister. My brother who shows me every day what it means to continue to fight for what you want.
Being a friend. Those I surround myself with who have seen my at my worst and my best and love me both ways and always.
Being a woman. Appreciating what I have to offer this wonderful world I have the privilege and joy to live in and give back to.
Being single? Being Divorced? Not even on my very worst days, when I want to hide in my dark closet in a corner and cry do either of those words define me.
So, from now on, when I’m confronted with those three boxes for marital status, I’m going to check two of them. Single and Divorced, because I can’t be defined by a box.
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