Wednesday, 23 December 2015.
It’s a school holiday morning just before Christmas in wintry, dark, freezing Finland, and the wind is blowing hard and relentless in Helsinki. Anna is alone – her new home finally ready, after a couple of months of shopping for furniture and household gadgets.
The new stuff is from Ikea, K-rauta, Kodin Ykkönen, Verkkokauppa and Masku, and the handpicked second-hand objects are from antique shops, as well as tori.fi. As she looks around, Anna feels satisfied with the Kenwood kitchen appliances and the PAX wardrobe with its shiny white doors.
The moving process has taken lots of the usual pragmatic creativity and focus, hard work, screws and nails, boxes, closet space, hooks, and above all the help of two-three friends. How would she have managed without them?
Gratefully, she realizes that now that everything has fallen into place, she’s feeling happy – strangely enough…
You see, Anna has just moved out of her ex-husband’s home, six days after their twentieth anniversary. Sure, they’d spent the last two years discussing a possible divorce, so it hadn’t come as a total shock, really. (The first time they threw the idea around had been eight years earlier).
All the investment of time, affection, energy, forgiveness and patience. So much emotional stress! So many attempts… Eurgh.
Then, when he’d recently made up his mind to go through with the divorce, she hadn’t been able to avoid an exhausting ten days of sudden tears in the shower, the car drive to work, and nooooo…!! Even in the middle of a lesson once, in front of her ninth graders, when she’d burst out crying while explaining the difference between the past simple and the present perfect.
More like a complicated past and an annoyingly imperfect present!
What a waste of life!
The first night all alone at her new place had felt like purgatory agony and shame, until the next morning, when her childhood friend Tom, a Brazilian living in America since he was ten, called to check up on her. An experienced divorcé, he had lots of empathy and a few good tips to offer. Grateful for the support, they repeated the phone calls for a few months into 2016.
Anyhow… today is today. And today she is feeling cheerful.
She is listening to a YouTube link Tom has sent her. It’s a lecture on love, sex and dating by Andy Stanley, who provokes the listener with the challenge “Are you the person the person you’re looking for is looking for?”
Andy believes that after a breakup, people should take a year off dating and spend it on becoming a better character instead. That way, one will later be able to both expect and welcome into their life a better partner.
Hmmm, wow, brilliant, Anna thinks to herself, I’m gonna try and do just that!
Her teens Kristiina and Joey are spending the first separation days with their dad, before they come to stay for a week on Christmas Eve. How must they be feeling???
Joey had wanted to move in with Anna from night one, but she simply couldn’t let him. No way!
Had to go through the dark inferno of the first nights alone, all by myself. You don’t want your kids to see that…! 😭😭😭
Mr. Ex helped her with the move, financially and otherwise. Besides agreeing with all of her suggestions – demands! For example, that the teens live every other week with each parent, so both will keep a close bond and take their share of the responsibility.
Who wouldn’t want that privilege, right?
They are actually going to have their first Christmas party as a broken-up couple together 💔, hoping to make the new beginning a little less tough on the teens.
Don’t you see?
Although the day has come when there are no options left but to face the music, dealing with the marriage-turned-bad with brutal honesty, Anna believes it’s vital to think of the kids and try to make the whole mess as easy as humanly possible for them.
She’s trying her best!
Aye, aye! I remember feeling I was about to become a bitter wife.
Like, you know those fifty-year-old women you see working behind the cash register sometimes? The ones with thin, stiff lips who look angrily at you, the customer, and you have no idea why? They just look so sour.
Whenever Anna sees them, she thinks of two things.
OMG, I’m NOT going to become one of them – they exude so much anger!
And when she’s feeling more merciful, perhaps something like, Who has hurt them? Their man?? Cancer?
What now?? What’s to become of me now? Hmmm…
I know. I know!!
Life has given me tons of lemons, but just you wait, Mr. Ex!
Wait and see how much lemonade I’m about to make! I’ll let you have a taste of it first. Maybe you’ll miss me?
Or drown in it for all I care…
Anna rides that stupid emotional roller coaster.
No… That’s bitter. – and bitter can’t be the taste she’s after now.
Long, long sigh.
OK. Then what?
Think, Anna, think.
No. Feel it in your gut!
She looks deep into her soul where a very nice vision pops up.
Instead of resentment………… My first ingredient:
Lots of sugar for me… 😊 and for my future Mr. Boyfriend. 😊 — Anna smiles now, more satisfied.
I may be vulnerable, but I am strong!
I feel fearful, oh damn, so very afraid!
I’m actually sweet. A very loving person! — she protests — Humpf.
If you really, really know me and you care to see… you can’t help but feel it.
(Hmmmm… I don’t think Mr. Ex agrees… Haha! Well, fuck it, who cares?)
Anna’s been working hard on seeing her cup half full – at least during the long days she’s been super busy organizing her new place, as she adores hard work and easily dives into new projects.
Now, sitting down on the brand new couch, she’s thinking that she’s had enough negativity, enough tears. She’s just had enough. She desires a new, hopeful beginning. Anna does not want to end up alone and miserable.
Is that even realistic??
Yes, she must be brave. She needs to go to work, earn a living, pay her bills. The teens need her! She just has to survive this hurricane with dignity and joy – and not too many tears.
Yes, that’s it.
It is thus that in that spirit of stubborness, she makes up her mind. Sisu!
You know what? I’ve succeded in being a positive person even in the midst of life’s many problems. I’m not going to go bad now!
I don’t want to.
A bitter 39-year-old divorced woman?
After all, if life gives you lemons… whatever! Make lemonade. Yay!
Healthy lemonade, with just the right amount of sweetness.
© 2017 rf