“If a woman has a choice to save her soul or her marriage, she needs to save her soul. God will come with you.”
– Glennon Doyle Melton
I vividly remember the first time I decided I didn’t want to be married anymore.
I was sitting on my bed watching Oprah’s Next Generation Thought Leaders. I didn’t know what I was seeking at the time, but I knew I was ready to learn. If there is one word that sums up my personality it would be the word seeker. I am constantly seeking. I am intrigued with learning about how to be resilient through life challenges, how to fulfill my dreams, the nuances of being a woman and most importantly, how to be the best and truest version of myself. So that is why I was sitting on my bed watching Oprah that night, subconsciously seeking an answer.
My story holds three very important life lessons which changed the course of my life. I share them with you because in hopes that you can relate to, or find some shred of truth and wisdom to guide your own life. They were instrumental in my growth and are the reasons I am here today.
This was my first lesson: If you are going through something ask the universe or God for answers or some guidance. Seek out your answers.
I remembered that as I was watching the show, Mastin Kipp was talking about transforming his life. He told his story of being homeless and couch surfing at the time. I saw Gabrielle Bernstein talk about getting over a drug addiction and changing her life around. During Gabrielle’s talk, I started to think about my own transformation and became so buried in my own thoughts until I heard my brain say “I don’t think you should be married anymore.”
All my thoughts instantly stopped.
I was completely silent and sat there in shock. You know when you just feel something, deep inside your heart and deep inside your….soul? That is what I felt.
Let me rewind a little bit and I’ll preface it with saying this. This was my truth as it was happening to me. I can’t speak for any other version of this story.
Rayya Elias, a well-known author says that the truth has legs and sooner or later it always stands. I heard my truth that night and I sat there with it because internally at the time, I didn’t have the courage to stand.
Despite that powerful moment of truth, I went about my normal routine and just put the thought out of my mind. I couldn’t bear to think of leaving him or this life that I had co-created.
I remember the first time that I realized I had a huge problem. It was a Tuesday and I was driving to music class. I was driving and singing when all of a sudden I started sobbing and wouldn’t stop. Music is so deeply personal for me and somewhere along the drive all these bottled up feelings came up to the surface. This became a habit. The emotions that I was feeling at the time were so overwhelming for me.
I took three showers a day because I knew it was the only place I could cry without being caught. I felt that my self- esteem was constantly being attacked and that I had no one to talk to about this and had nowhere to go. Most of the time I felt confused and when I didn’t feel confused I only knew one thing for sure: I didn’t want to be in this family anymore.
There is intense stigma attached to divorce in the Indian culture. I’m sure the stigma crosses all races but Indians pride themselves on marriage eligibility. It is literally considered the third metric of life: school- education- marriage.
Regardless of understanding that, I didn’t know how to silence this nudge I kept feeling, the one that kept telling me to go. I had two choices. I could stay and settle for comfort or I could leave and go into the unknown.
The internal battle had started. Was I being practical about this? I made a commitment here that involved for better or worse and clearly, this was the worst. How could I just pick up and leave everything behind? Where the hell was I going to go?
Here’s the second lesson that I learned through experiencing it for myself. There is a major difference between ‘a feeling’ and ‘a knowing’.
This was a knowing and here’s how you can tell the difference. To ‘know’ comes from a place deep inside of you. It is this overwhelming feeling of understanding that you must take a certain action. Oftentimes it feels like some other force is at work here. The entire energy of it is different. It has nothing to do with your ego and is different from ‘wanting’ which is desire-based.
Needless to say, I knew this.
So with a heavy heart, I left. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.
And now here’s the third and final lesson: follow your intuition to make the next right move for you.
Every time I feel confused I close my eyes amongst the confusion and ask myself these three questions, What is the best thing to do here? What is the morally right thing to do here? And what does my heart really want to do? Sometimes those answers don’t align and other times, because of the confusion, nothing comes to mind. In these cases I give it twenty-four hours and the answer shows up for me like a tiny light in a dark tunnel, just bright enough for me to see it, guiding me where to go.
This is my personal experience. I have shared it with you because I know there are important time-tested truths here that can possibly help you if you are facing a challenging situation. I think it is important to say I don’t advocate divorce but I do promote taking charge of your life and not being a victim to your circumstances. Freewill is your birth right and you always have the freewill as a human being to change your circumstances.
I also get asked about regret quite often. Do I regret getting married? No. This was a very necessary chapter to my life. No book makes sense if any of the chapters are missing. Regarding my ex-husband, he was, and is, a wonderful man. If we passed each other on the street tomorrow we would still be cordial to each other because we don’t believe in conflict. He just wasn’t the right person for me and that is ok.
I’ve come to realize that every relationship, including friendships, has its seasons. Some seasons last an entire lifetime and others don’t. Our season was up and it was time to move on.
The follow up question that I am often asked is “Are you happier now?” The answer is a resounding yes. The woman that I have evolved into and the lessons that I have learned along the way are undeniably divine intervention. I never thought in a million years that I could move to hardest city in the world and be financially, mentally, emotionally and physically independent. As a woman, there is a certain peace that comes with that. Throughout this process I became a scientist of myself. I learned very quickly what I want and don’t want in my life. I learned to see red flags and know when to take two steps back. I learned the true meaning of prayer and what it means to have a disciplined faith. I learned the value of a support system with my family/friends, how to be authentic and share my heart.
Most importantly, in the quiet moments of my life, when no one is around, I learned to rely on the voice that spoke to me that night on my bed, the very voice that told me to go. For it is the very reason I can stand here, a changed woman and now, share my truth with you.