My girls thought it a stroke of genius when deciding that we should create costumes to portray that cast of Disney’s “Inside Out” for Halloween. My dad and I are always up for a good costume and readily agreed to be part of the plot. We stayed in character for the better part of two hours. I played the part of “Sadness,” which is contrary to my general disposition, but given that I was better suited to “stuff my sweater” for the round character, I did my part.
I snuffed out the light in my eye and ultimately channeled my divorce self. The self from the year I spent grieving and reeling from my divorce. I muted my expression and slumped my stature. The feeling knocked into me like a familiar bad taste in my mouth. I felt tired and listless. I remember the depression.
I remember hours and hours spent playing a mind-numbing Wii puzzle game in those first days when my girls were away from me as I tried to ignore my sadness. I recall mornings waking up with the tears already leaking down my face. I embarrassingly know there were days when my only meals were bowls of Frosted Flakes.
This morning I listened to Gwen Stefani’s distinct alto singing her new song “Used to Love You.” The line that undoubtedly strikes a chord with any divorced person is: “I don’t know why I cry but I think it’s cause I remembered for the first time since I hated you, that I used to love you.” This inside out statement so succinctly captures the confused sadness and deep grief that trickles out during divorce days.
Inside out describes how you feel during a divorce. Inside out meaning raw. Inside out meaning confused and out of order. Inside out meaning that your world is now ill-fitted. I see my clients turn inside out. I see them lose or gain weight, I hear about their alcohol binges, and I read their confused, wandering, and anxious emails.
I see now, that similar to the message in the Inside Out movie, I needed to have the sadness to push me through anger, fear, and eventually back to joy. I remember the first time I got back on the treadmill after a too-many-months hiatus, I remember bringing fresh flowers back into my house with my full bags of groceries that didn’t include numerous boxes of cereal, and mostly I remember finally enjoying the ebb and flow of quiet non-kid days and relishing the noisy full days when their chatter filled my house. I felt it all and it took time. Being inside out may be hard, but I assure you that in the not-too-distant future you will see the shift of your post-divorce position finally turned right side in.