Well, I did it.
I made it through the first year of being divorced. (Ok, technically, I will have on Thursday.)
I am notorious for my bad memory. (I promise, I'm going somewhere with this.) Things need to be repeated to me several times before I remember them. The majority of what has happened in my life is a mystery to me. I need pictures, journals, or stories to help me recall my past, and even then, the memories seem to be just that-stories. I know in my head that they happened, but there's generally no real feeling or remembrance associated with them. My inability to remember instances in my life bothers me greatly, as reminiscing is one of my favorite things to do. (I realize that makes no sense. This is why I take lots of pictures, and rely on other people's memory.)
That being said, there are few experiences from the last 2 years of my life that I can remember with perfect clarity. I remember going to court to finalize the divorce even more vividly than I remember the day that we were married. I guess, in some ways, that's a good thing.
I've debated back and forth with myself about telling this story for months. Whether people believe it or not, I have no intentions of saying anything that would shed a bad light on my ex husband. But even though he is a part of it, it is still my story, and I'll try to leave him out of it to the best of my ability.
I remember nothing about what happened before or after we went to court. My manager told me that I worked that morning, and I don't know where I went or what I did that night. Apparently, I blogged that day. I do remember, though, that it was cloudy and hot outside. I wore my favorite dress, which is now known amongst my best friends as my "court dress.". Normally, the person who files for divorce is the only one who needs to be in court, but I decided to go for personal reasons, and to make sure I got the right certified copy to be able to change my name. My dad accompanied me, so that I wouldn't have to be alone. I remember the street we parked on, and I still feel queasy when I'm in Phoenix with friends and we pass the court building.
It was a long walk from the car. Right when we reached the building, Ryan walked up from the opposite direction. I don't think he saw us, but my dad held back with me so that we didn't have to walk up together. As we approached the door, the security guard tried to usher us into a separate entrance. Turned out he thought we were attorneys. Probably because we're so good looking.
We ran into Ryan inside, while going through security. My dad was pleasant to him, as my dad always is to everyone, but I felt uncomfortable. I couldn't stop thinking about how two days prior, we should have been celebrating our year anniversary. There was a cold, distant feeling between us that I'd never imagined would be there.
I'll skip the boring details of getting signed in, and sitting awkwardly in the hallway. We sat in the court room for what seemed like forever, listening to the judge ask a million different people the same questions he would ask my ex husband. The questions ask if you believe there is any way the marriage could work out, if you would like to participate in the free marriage counseling that the court provides, etc. Listening to the other people answer the questions was tedious, and I made friends with the woman next to me on the bench, as we exchanged comments, and even laughed a bit.
Then they called Ryan up, and asked if Mrs. Judd was there. I sat at a table, and he sat at the microphone. Up until this point, I'd been strong. I was nervous and shaky, but unwilling to show my soon-to-be ex husband that I was weak and broken, although, in hindsight, I'm sure he knew. The judge began to rattle off the questions, and it hit me. Hard. Ryan's answers were firm. This was the end. The judge eventually said, "As of this day, the 31st of May, 2011, your status is officially single." (Disclaimer: This is the part of the story where I get really pathetic.)
I LOST IT. I turned around, and saw everybody in the court room staring at me-the lady I had befriended, my dad, and a bunch of really ghetto people. (Hey, it's Phoenix.) The strength I'd tried so hard to uphold was immediately gone, and I sobbed. I looked at Ryan, and he was gone, just like that. I think my dad held me in the hallway while I'm sure I cried loud enough that everybody in Phoenix could hear me, for at least ten minutes. Finally we went downstairs and I cried less loudly while I waited in line to get my certified copy. I said to my dad, "Will you buy me a treat? I just got divorced." Here's the thing, I may be 22, but I'm my daddy's baby. I request treats all. the. time. Needless to say, I got a Blizzard. I wasn't hungry, but ice cream seemed like the appropriate thing.
On the way home, my dad and I talked about the similarities and differences to the beginning and end of a marriage. I dressed up for both. They both had to be officiated by somebody with the authority. Both called for a signed piece of paper. I anticipated both greatly-one with joy, and one with dread. I know that I use this blog as a sounding board for my thoughts on divorce and marriage far more often than anybody wants to hear, but the impact that it has made on my life is deeper than almost anybody knows.
I suppose that I should end this very depressing post on a positive note. I suppose I could say that it gets better, because it does. I could tell you that I'm happy, because for the most part, I am. I could say that I know now what went wrong in my marriage, what I need to do differently, and what giant red flags I missed and are so painfully obvious now. It's been a year, and it's been far from easy. I don't know if it will ever be "easy." But I do know that if I made it through the past year, I'm stronger than I think I am.
In other news, I got my first tan this weekend:
And I realize that my "tan" is most people's white, but that's pretty good for me. I did nothing this weekend but lay by the pool, eat subs, drink Dr. Pepper, and play all night every night. I didn't work ONCE and it was the GREATEST. This next month is full of some pretty fun adventures, and I can't wait.
Hope everyone had a good Memorial Day!