Separating Stories and Seeking Purpose
It’s time to sort this story and pull apart the tasty bits, throw away the vitriol, and find the pure “off parent” story. Like pulling apart the colorful threads that are bound together in a rope, if you begin to separate the various issues you can focus and perhaps solve them independently. As a whole the strength of the problem is overwhelming and seemingly unsolvable. But taken as smaller parts, with diligence, you can find your way into a solution, or at least resolution.
In looking back at the three years since my divorce, I see how this writing journey became an important part of my recovery of self. As I was able to articulate the pain/joy/struggle of finding myself alone again I gave voice to my own recovery. What started in anger and confusion, has risen through many ups and downs into something of an anthem to self-examination and (in my humble opinion) victory.
And all the parts of this expression have formed who I have become, as I walked, crawled, cried, and sang through my journey back to wholeness. As I reflect on the content now, I see some very distinct threads.
- Divorce Process, Mechanics, and Resolution
- Kids, Parenting, Single-parenting, Fathering
- Pure Anger and Bitterness
- Depression, Loss, and Recovery from Depression
- Dating, Desire, Sex, Relationship Journey
- Poetry of Desire, Loss, and Aspiration
Assessing the strength of this rope, I see one “voice” that needs to go away. (Not be deleted, but not be encouraged either.) The vitriol and black anger that has come out, may have felt justified and righteous at the start of my fall from the family as it previously existed, it does nothing but feed on itself and stir up more of itself. Time to acknowledge it and move on. Turn it over to a higher power, if you’d like a platitude. There is no growth or healing from bitter focus. It is a step you must pass through. The hope is you move through it with great passion and without much damage to yourself or (more importantly) others. Even your ex does not deserve the vile that is likely to come up. But get it up and out, you must. In my case, this blog was started with that bitter voice. Titty dancers, Fuck Yous, and “You really fucked up,” all formed some of the energy that got me started.
Next on the list of “maybe this should go somewhere else” are the aspirational love poems. While they too have given me great hope and insight into my dreams and desires, AND they are part of the divorce/recovery journey, perhaps their song should be published elsewhere. As part of a divorce story they are tinted by the rest of the rope. But pulled away from the whole, perhaps those prayers, laments, and songs will gain a lightness. I believe they belong here, but I also know that I was probably publishing them here because of the audience that has developed.
And finally, the exciting part for me, the Single-parenting content. (Here’s a prime example: Just Being Dad Is Enough: A Hot Summer and a Ghost Horse) This thread run brightly through the narrative as it unfolded, but the energy and focus was always mixed with the other “colors” of the writing. How could I be bitching and praising their mom in the same place, much less the same post?
The first vacation (alone) to the beach with my kids was an eye-opening experience. And the joy that emerged on that first journey was one of strength and hopefulness. And the idea for The Whole Father emerged. I wasn’t ready, at that time, to really begin imagining myself as a teacher or model father; I’m still not.
But, the awareness that was so exciting to me was this. In getting divorced we have to regain skills, chores, and parts of our whole selves that we had parsed off to the other parent. My ex was really great at the beach. She loved it. She loved shepherding the kids and giving me some hours to lounge, sleep, read, whatever… But without her, there would be no down time. I had to up my game. I had to become more whole again and recapture and rework those parts of myself that had been languishing.
This was a wonderful insight. And today, I’m going to begin expanding that concept and giving voice to The Whole Father as a new blog for all the positive and negative aspects of becoming a single-dad and having to learn all over again how to be a parent. I had to fill myself back up enough to become whole again, and while I had the vision early on, it is only now that I feel competent enough to expand on that gift and road to discovery.
So I’m not leaving The Off Parent behind. But I do think there are other places for me to find joy and focus, and perhaps the weight of the “off-ness” is heavier than it needs to be for poetry or joyful single-parenting. That’s where I’m headed.
Here’s the first post: A Return to Wholeness After Divorce | The Whole Parent
The Off Parent
- The Divorce Library (reading list)
- Songs of Divorce (free listening library – youtube sourced songs)
- Laugh It Off (building a resource library of funny videos and other diversions)
- Facebook (follow us on Facebook and keep up with all the conversations)
- The 5 Love Languages (a book on love styles by Gary Chapman)