“I do not want another group therapy!” I barked to Leila. She is the coordinator of Divorce care program at my new church. The church had been announcing these feel-good-it-was-not-your-fault meetings for all divorced or separated people in the congregation.
One Sunday afternoon I had written my phone number and name as an expression of interest. I changed my mind immediately but the list had gone back to the ushers. I was too embarrassed to recall it. Leila called after I missed the first and second introductory meetings. I escaped by being very rash and telling her what I had been thinking about for long-death.
It beat me how a loving God could allow His creation (me) to suffer in the hands of others. Had I not done everything to be a good girl?
Well, I know my browsing history was questionable but then again, that wasn’t a mortal sin or was it? The Ten Commandments from the good old Moses had not expressly prohibited me from watching interesting videos you know. That plus when you want to do wrong you will always find a way to justify it.
Anyway God and I were sort of in the middle of a fight. I wanted him to kill me just like he had killed my marriage. He was having none of that.
How do you explain being married at 26, being separated at 27 and divorced at 28? Where do you even start? When they talk of a group therapy for divorced folks, what I visualized was a group of bitter middle-aged women (never men) crying about their half-assed exes, passing some scrunched up wet tissues around and pretending to love each other.
A group of unbelievably irritating women whose husbands had irritated them unbelievably.
I imagined a divorced and very bitter facilitator who’d swing her sore neck towards the crowd and remind them of the theme of the group.
Facilitator: Who are we?
Facilitator: What do we know?
Members: All men are the same!
Then she would smile sadistically at the gullible listeners and lift a cup to her dry lips. Inside the cup would be a few splashes of coffee cold as her soul.
I did not want that. I did not want anybody to tell me how to handle my loss. Or was it a loss really? How do you lose what you never had? So I had resorted to identifying myself as just a single girl.
There is nothing like erasing that part of your life. The dangerous D word will always hover around you like an un-avenged spirit. You may be as successful in life as Oprah but you’re divorced. You may even be a president but Missy, you are divorced. You may get married again and be very happy in the new marriage but people will always remember the divorce.
If you let it, it can define everything. Divorce can be you if you allow it.It can become a slice of anger in the pie of your brain.
When you die, they will write your eulogy mentioning that you were divorced at some point in your life. They won’t let us forget. It is a cancer that scourges our very spirits. Divorce feels like eating your own heart.
The group therapy turned out to be the trampoline upon which I sprung my emotional life upwards. The pillar upon which my emotions finally stood. Finally I could confidently say yeah,it was well worth it.
Men and women of all ages shared horrific stories of their sour marriages. Men cried like little babies. I remember telling God how he has a wicked sense of humor. Why did these apparently great guys date sisters of Jezebel? Why did myself, a moderately sane girl marry Cain’s distant cousin? Where were they when I was looking for a life partner? Where was I when they were looking?
But Thanos once said we are villains in somebody else’s story. The exes were the villains. We, the model Christians were the superheroes without capes. Many told me how sad they were at me having to leave the marriage that fast.Others called it brave. Some said the fact that there were no children involved was a blessing in disguise. I felt confused. Too much noise for me, too much.
Twenty eight isn’t like the worst I could do with myself. I had done other things before twenty eight and I have a feeling they will count someday. The facilitator said the earlier the better.
I could not care how early or late it was. All I knew is no sooner had I walked down the aisle than I wanted to walk right up. But it was too late and my parents and everybody looked so goddamned merry. Partly that and partly because I was hungry too and wanted to hurry up to go eat the nice smelling pilau they had cooked for the occasion.
Pilau for the bride…yummy!
I also wanted to see the African-themed cake I had chosen from Mrs.Muigai.I badly wanted to see how it turned out (perfect friends, perfect). I wanted to see the decoration in the reception field. Douglass was the one in charge of decorations. I remember asking him to particularly erect white pillars and have a climbing plastic flower on each. I wanted to make sure the said flower was in place.
Eleven weeks of therapy and finally I knew with a very deep certainty that I authored the marriage. I was ready to be a wife to somebody who wasn’t even able to define husband. I was ready to be a mother too but I had not envisioned mothering a full-bearded man.
I was a broken girl too marrying to get fixed. I was not at peace with myself and I sought peace in marriage. I was not happy with myself and I wanted somebody else to make me happy.
I could not face rejection. I could not admit like his friends had admitted that the relationship was running on my very blood. I saw what I wanted to see. I saw a family with two tiny weeny babies and nothing was going to stand in the way.
I wanted to fix my husband. I wanted to solve his problems. I am still paying for that in the form of a bank loan. I wanted to make him stop drinking, stop cheating, stop lying, be responsible, love me even. God, how I wanted him to love me!
I knew I would support my man in all ways but I had not counted on being the one to pay for everything every time.I was ready to accommodate my partner but I had not dreamt of accommodating cheating, emotional manipulation and humiliation.Those,I had not factored In the equation.
I knew I am a good communicator but I did not know I had to shout and apologize for seeking explanations. I did not plan on being a detective but I eventually graduated from the Cheating Husbands School of Detectives. I spied. I found things out.
And when I did, I could not stop. That is the problem with finding out. You can’t help but keep doing it again and again and again. It is a feedback loop from hell. You take that phone to check what mischief he’s up to.Your gut tells you that it will be just like last time but you can’t help but go right ahead to confirm.
A sick obsession.Voyeurism to some extent. You found nudes of a woman who wasn’t you last week and you broke a few glasses which were a gift at the wedding.
There are so many of those—glasses. Kenyans have a glassy place in their hearts as far as wedding gifts go.
He said he was just being a good guy by appreciating other people. He even accused you of not wanting him to have friends. He said you have anger issues. You apologized and sucked his cock.Bobbing your tired head up and down his manhood as he scrolled up and down his phone to the rhythm.
You hoped to show him that you suck better than Maria or was it Mary?
He did not care. Oh, he cared for the head, just not yours.
Today you are holding that phone again, yours this time because you already know how to hack his Whatsapp account. All his messages come to your phone too. You can see more text messages of a new girl praising his bed skills.
A sting of jealousy hits you like a nauseous wave from the trench. You can’t remember the last day he touched leave alone made love to you. It is always you initiating the half-hearted lovemaking. You were degraded to begging for sex.Just like in food,the main course always disappointed.Normal married people have sex.At least they should. The pastor said it in the premarital counseling sessions.
You cry and call him to ask him why he is doing this to you. Are you not a good wife? What are you doing wrong? Does he want you to walk away? He listens, never says a word and hangs up. You now have to spend the rest of the afternoon sulking at your classmates and crying because the tall guy chose to sit in front of you and he’s blocking your view of the presentation!
Yet you keep finding out. The beginning of the end is when you’ve degraded yourself so much from finding that there’s nothing left to find out but walk away.
Because you are very Proverbs 31,you one day enroll for counseling sessions to fix yourself and be a better wife to, ‘the best man in the whole world.’ One day the fight is so bad that you get physical and almost kill him.
There is a meeting between the two of you and his parents. His mum, the sweetest mother in law any lady could ask for, looks at you with eyes filled with a silent understanding.
Later when you finally dissolve the marriage, you remember cryptic words that that woman had shared with you one Sunday afternoon.
This was the second time you were having a meeting. The Sunday was the color of pigeons. Just lacking in the tranquility. “Sometimes the best thing is to be apart for people to think about what they really need.” I have come to accept that parents want their children happy. They rarely think about the other parents’ child. This one did.
The thing about a divorce is that it bruises you. Even if it turns out to have a healthy afterlife, you remain tainted by the experience. How you react afterwards is entirely your responsibility. I realized I was married but not married. I chose to wear my scars as remembrance beads of my bracelet on my hand.Every time I look at them I see their transformation.
Each experience, they say is an opportunity to learn. I wish that were true. You do not need pain to learn. I did not need it.I could have done without it.However some of us are Balaams, unless the Biblical donkey speaks, we don’t trust angels. My donkey spoke.
People say time heals. I think that is not entirely true. God healed me by force. He had to set my head right this time.I made peace with my past. I confronted my fears of rejection and failure. I faced my worries of who to be without being Mrs. Him. I faced the pain of loving and losing. I had to separate myself from the chaos that had defined my life away from the common populace.
Sometimes we get attached to our misery. I was. What would I do without arguing with him? What would I do if I was not hurting from one thing or the other? Counseling and group therapy helped me find a new normal. I had to start loving peace, tender love and understanding.
I had to appreciate good people and let bad people be. My mission on earth isn’t to mend fraying fabrics, I deserve complete outfits.